Interview: Rory Indiana

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With their forthcoming second EP, ‘Ruling Class Crooks,’ Brighton quartet Rory Indiana showcase a knack for taking soaring melodies and wrapping them around steep guitars and flourishing percussion. On songs such as ‘Leave Me’ and ‘Burnout Behaviour,’ it is clear the 18 months since the release of their debut EP have been well spent; honing a tight, riff-driven sound that is carried with an underlying groove.

Having previously been named as one of our 50 bands to watch this year, Rory Indiana are quickly living up to their early promise as ‘Ruling Class Crooks’ enables the four-piece to stand out from the growing pool of new UK rock talent.

Nevertheless it seemed like a good idea to speak to guitarist Ben Clement about all things Rory Indiana; their background, their growth, ‘Ruling Class Crooks,’ their impending UK tour, the Brighton scene and more.

AH: Even though we included you in our “50 Bands to Watch in 2016,” some people might still not know who you are. Can you give us a brief round-up on the history of Rory Indiana?
Ben: And thank you very much for that. We’ve been Rory Indiana for two years, we’re a four piece Alt-Rock band from Brighton. We’ve had the pleasure of sharing stages with the likes of Empire, Qemists, Fizzy Blood and Rival State amongst many other great names. Dan (Ely – bassist) and Rory (Kaye – vocalist and guitarist) grew up together and have been in other bands together and separate. Josh (Gale – drummer) and myself have both been other bands simultaneously and all joined together to create Rory Indiana.

AH: So you’re gearing up for the release of your second EP – ‘Ruling Class Crooks.’ How would you sum up the overall tone of the EP?
Ben: The EP feels like a huge step forward, it’s an amalgamation of four people with the same view but slightly different approaches blending their musical forces together. There’s brutal riffs that can be followed by smooth melodies laced over clean guitar in the same song. It’s the melancholy songwriting style we wanted while writing this EP.

AH: It seems since the bands profile has grown in the eighteen months since ‘Empiricism’ was released. How has the band evolved during that time?
Ben: We’ve learnt a lot about being in a band. We’ve spent a lot of time together and become a much more tight nit group than we were eighteen months ago. We’re all a lot closer now – not that we hated each other eighteen months ago. We’ve been lucky enough to run around the UK on a few tours in the latter half of the eighteen months so playing every night really gets you knowing each others stage personalities, there’s some moments that tie our live performance in to a nice package! It’s the little things like that that we think make the biggest impact.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASUfMz60DnE?list=PLs6AC8CcFu1yDaJ0vaZ9-wjsc78w7Xwd_&w=100&h=480]

AH: The first single from the new EP is ‘Leave Me.’ So what is it about?
Ben: ‘Leave Me’ is about an internal battle, where vices affect your relationships, make feelings overwhelming and warp your perception. It’s an anxiety anthem, where overthinking shapes and dictates your outlook on things.

AH: We understand the use of masks, smoke and red flares in the video for the track has a connection to the overall EP?
Ben: It’s inspired by the title track and why that track poses as the name of the EP. ‘Ruling Class Crooks’ is quite an angsty track, the lyrical content has very much got a protest vibe. We quite like EP’s to have a theme more than just the music. The masks correlates with the melancholy sound in the tracks. Leave Me is just following the theme we set.

AH: ‘Ruling Class Crooks’ sees you working with Chris Coulter (Arcane Roots, Emp!re). How did you find your time working with Chris?
Ben: Chris is a next level producer. During our time with him, he tapped into the band perfectly, knew exactly what he was doing and what we wanted to achieve. The thing that drew us to him was his amazing back catalogue, being mostly bands that we really take inspiration from. We cannot recommend Chris enough, if you’re in a band with a few songs and stuck with who to go with, Chris is without a doubt the man for the job.

AH: The release of the EP will also see you going out on a headline tour. For those who haven’t seen you before, how would you sum up a Rory Indiana show?
Ben: We put everything into the time slot that we have onstage. Just like the music or the artwork, the live show is another element to the band that is very important to us. We love to put on a show as well, so it doesn’t matter if we’re playing to the sound guy one night or a sold out venue the next we’ll play like it’s the last ever time. So wherever in the UK you manage to catch us, you’ll see us putting all we’ve got into it, you’re there for a show and we try to please haha.

AH: You’re going to be touring with Faux in April too. It seems you have a tendency to play with other emerging UK bands. Do you think having that common connection helps everyone involved?
Ben: Yes! Definitely! It’s so important to make bonds at an early stage and help each other out, plus making friends with other bands is always fun, bringing each other out in your hometowns, getting a little merry (only if there’s a day off the next day haha) it’s the best! We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy every band.

AH: Additionally does it show how strong the UK rock scene is right now with up and coming bands?
Ben: Yeah for sure! It’s bands that are up and coming and even really established bands, it’s all across the board. I remember seeing Architects sell out the Roundhouse in London a couple years back – mental show. Similarly last month we played a show with ZOAX who blew me away beyond words, so yeah the UK rock scene is very strong at every level, it’s in a good place at the moment.

AH: By doing some digging online, you’ve been called a success story product of the BIMM (British and Irish Modern Music) Brighton. How influential was your time at the college in developing Rory Indiana?
Ben:
BIMM teaches you a lot, at some points it’s a lot to take in but over the years, if you’re in a touring band or even just playing local shows as a hobby, you’ll start to realise things that make sense that you were taught at BIMM. It really helps that most of the tutors are touring musicians and are really down to earth and more than happy to share stories. It’s a thing that if you put a lot in, you’ll enjoy it, if you half arse it, you won’t see the point in it.

AH: We recently spoke to fellow Brightonians H_ngm_n about the local scene. Why do you think it’s been producing so many good bands lately?
Ben: We Love H_ngm_n! There’s a few reasons I think. I suppose recently there are great great bands getting massive success such as The Xcerts, Royal Blood and Architects. That’s very inspiring! They’re always around Brighton when they’re off tour and always up for a chat. Brighton is just a great hub for creativity. There’s always something going on! There’s a great rehearsal place called Brighton Electric as well which if I wasn’t a musician, I would probably just go to hang out anyway. The staff are great, great bands come through there, and there’s a fully functioning bar – which is amazing!

AH: Do you want to recommend any local bands our readers should check out?
Ben: Yeah definitely, all our friends bands: Quiet Lions, Blue Eyed Giants, Fathoms, Press To Meco, Josh Mac and Baby Goliath. They all at least have a track or an EP out, all amazing bands for all tastes! – Get stuck in!

‘Ruling Class Crooks’ EP by Rory Indiana is released on March 25th.

Rory Indiana links: Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

March
21 Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham
22 Garage (Upstairs), London
23 The Live Rooms, Chester
24 Milo’s, Leeds
25 The Scene Club, Swansea
26 The Haunt, Brighton
31 Tunbridge Wells Forum, Tunbridge Wells

Words by Sêan Reid @SeanReid86)

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