- Words Liam Cattermole
- Photography Erica Snyder
New York indie-sensation ROREY speaks The Smashing Pumpkins obsessions, her new EP and why NYC is the perfect blend of chaos and inspiration.
2023 has seen the return of many high-profile New York indie artists who defined the early 2000s with their fiercely unvarnished and uncompromising sounds. From The Strokes’ endless list of festival headline slots to Yeah Yeah Yeahs breaking their nine-year hiatus with an explosive new album, big bands are capitalising on a renewed interest in gritty guitar music. 23-year-old ROREY is the latest NYC sensation revelling in the city’s indie odyssey. Like the bands before her, she’s capturing the angst of youth in a raw and honest way, while embracing relatable tales of a Gen-Z’er today.
Finding her passion at seven years old, when ROREY first picked up the guitar, she knew music was her deeper calling. Songwriting became an emotional outlet for navigating through her personal growth, relaying stories with a rawness few artists manage to capture so distinctly. The rapidly rising voice is on the cusp of releasing a highly anticipated debut EP, inspired by the distortion-fuelled sounds of ‘90s grunge. But this isn’t a project littered with vague references to a romanticised sub-genre, it’s one that sees ROREY go on a musical metamorphosis of her own, embracing the unpolished nature of her unique recording style and process.
“Sit w It”, as the EP’s first single, narrates a tale of unrequited love, where ROREY finds herself being pushed away by someone she was once closest to. To celebrate its release, we sat down with the blossoming artist to speak The Smashing Pumpkins obsessions, embracing her imperfections and why New York is the perfect blend of chaos and inspiration.
Hey Rorey, how are you? What’s been your greatest moment of 2023 so far?
Definitely putting out “Sit w It”! This song has been sitting in my notes since February 2022, so I’m excited it’s finally out doing its thing.
If Rorey ruled the world for the day, what would it look like?
Running around naked in the woods with my guitar foraging for berries. No money, no work, just vibes.
You’re about to release a new EP, which pays homage to 90s grunge. Is there a specific band from that scene and era that particularly inspires you?
I’m so excited, it’s my first project! I’ve listened to a lot of The Cranberries and The Smashing Pumpkins while making it. I got really into The Smashing Pumpkins album ‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’, it’s on repeat 24/7.
Was there a part of the recording process you found most challenging? How did you eventually overcome it and what have you learnt from the experience?
I’m so neurotic about my vocals. I spent hours compiling a singular verse for texture. I can definitely get overly obsessive and have been known to leave a mixing session crying. There were five versions of the song, and 15 mixes until it got mastered. At a certain point, on more than an intellectual level, I need to accept art is inherently imperfect people connect with the rawness. I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but a girl can try.
What are you hoping listeners take away from it? Are there any elements even your biggest fans would be surprised to hear?
I think we’ve all wanted to impulsively text that one person or pick up the phone and tell them off. It’s become an inside joke now between me and my friends to just sit with it, and I hope my fellow anxiously attached girlies resonate and are inspired to move on with or without an apology. There is a track on the EP that has a slightly different texture and is essentially a love letter to myself. I’m excited to see the response to that one.
“Sit w It” is our first taste from the project. How did this one come about and how do you think it epitomizes the stories you want to tell on the EP?
I fell in love with my best friend; I didn’t know I was into girls, and our relationship became very cat and mouse after I told her how I felt. We met up at ‘The Underground Cafe’ where she promised not to ghost me and spoiler alert, she did! I didn’t even intend to centre my project around that experience, it just wrote itself truly. The project, from start to finish, is the genuine self-growth journey I’ve been on in real-time.
You’re from New York, a city known for producing so many great indie bands. As part of a new generation of indie artists, what about the place creates such a hotbed of talent?
It’s the perfect blend of chaos and inspiration. No one leaves the same.
If you could go back in time and meet any iconic artist, who would it be any why? What do you think a collaboration with them would sound like?
Amy Winehouse. I’m sure we’d pick up our guitars and make something brutally honest and painfully emotional. Tears.
What advice would you give to artists looking to break through the noise and start a music career?
The music industry has shifted to be centred around such contrived visual content consumption. I would encourage any artist to stay authentic, as cliché as that platitude is. People connect to unfiltered art.
To wrap up, do you have any tour or festival plans to coincide with the EP’s release? If not, is there anywhere that you’re aspiring to play soon?
I’m working on my live set now and will definitely be playing shows around NY this summer! My dream is a European tour and we’ll get there.