This generation are being constantly criticised. The under 25s are perceived as being narcissistic, vain, ego maniacs. When in reality we accept our fate as doomed; we’re up to our eyes in debt to get an education that doesn’t secure a job, we’re paying for our parent’s mistakes, fighting our own battles. The truth is, we may hide behind filters, flash a smile for validation in likes and twist our problems into jokes for meme material.
“It’s weird isn’t it?” Rory Wynne asks. He’s sat on the desk in a dressing room, knees up. I perch beside him. It’s a slightly awkward set up, if I’m honest.
“People take selfies like ‘I’m not sure about this one’, so they kind of contradict themselves. Which is why I think they [the press] don’t like me because I’m just full on arrogant.”
Amongst the bags of apples and bananas, and the packets of crisps (there’s no ready salted left, he’s demolished them), Rory is cool and collected. He introduces himself with a handshake and wears his signature sunglasses. He’s quietly spoken, and at times I have to apologetically move my recorder closer to him.
Though, I’m not sure that ‘arrogant’ is the right word. Referencing the likes of Liam Gallagher (despite the tension that “he supports Manchester City and I’m a United fan”) and the Stone Roses as his inspirations, he calls himself a rockstar. Whilst I’m eager and curious, Rory is more reserved, not boisterous or dominant.
His recent EP What Would Rory Wynne Do? Offers different elements of his personality. Thinking about it he offers, “I think it changes on every song.”
‘Star In The Sky’ “is about somebody I know who was always doubting themselves. So I was like, I’d better write them a song to tell them how good they actually are.” He says, about the psych tinged melodic slice, “Because I’m a nice person.”
The stormy ‘Tell Me Now’ reminisces a time where he “was confused as to what was going on”, whilst ‘In The Dark’ is a song where he admits to feeling “desperate”. The fourth and final song however, ‘After Me’ is quite simply Rory “saying how great [he] is.”
Featuring the line ‘you are the second greatest thing in the universe after me’, he laughs, “That line is the best line I think.” In fairness, he argues, “At the same time I’m saying I’m a genius, I’m also saying that that person is the second greatest, so it’s quite nice in a way.”
He has every right to be a bit cocky. He kind of is a modern genius. His age isn’t worth commenting on, instead just trust that he’s young, but that by no means affects the music. His songs are intelligent, witty, bright. They provide snapshots into his mind and life.
They even reference his ‘very soft’ hair, that’s just as perfect in real life as it is in his one press shot. Hair maintenance is something taken very seriously: “In Bristol we had to leave dead early and I couldn’t have a shower. I was there and my hair was all a mess, and I was like ‘I can’t go on’, until somebody told me there was a shower downstairs.”
If it’s one thing Rory knows, it’s who he wants to be. This might be his first tour, and his EP may only be less than a month old, but already he’s thinking ahead. With another EP already up his sleeves he hints, “the songs are slightly different, I don’t like to stay on the same thing, I like to develop. You have to keep moving.”
A subtle but shaken head to artists that reference popular culture, Rory says; “When you hear songs with that – not to name anybody, so as not to annoy anybody, you just think that nobody’s going to know what Sainsbury’s is in twenty years or whatever.
“I love timeless music, because it’s just classic – I like classics.”
There’s a hint of romanticism in his songs, that isn’t shyed away from. He talks about the girl who kicks his shin under a table, he pleads his apprehension to revealing that he loves the girl who makes him feel worthless, and he swoons over the addictive quality of his faraway queen.
“I think my voice gives the songs a uniqueness, and then I dunno, it’s just a different way of writing. I think most musicians take inspiration as it comes, whereas I have to sit down and… it’s more methodical I think than most writers. If you get me?”, he asks. You can tell the care that goes into each track, for “a good song has good verses and good choruses, and a great song has good choruses and great choruses. If you can sing along to a chorus and belt it out, it’s a winner.”
Rory’s old school way of writing and performing transcends onto his social media presence too. He doesn’t update his pages, and you won’t catch him snapping shots of his chips and gravy – I learn he’s a proper Northerner in this sense.
“It was more that I felt like in this day and age you could message a musician and then you’re just talking to them. But you couldn’t message David Bowie or Prince or somebody like that, so it’s having the separation between the artists and the fans.
“But when I meet them, I embrace them like I’m not like a twat… can I say twat? I’m not like, a not nice person. When they message you, it’s more like I don’t know what to say.”
Talking to Rory is like biting into a toffee apple. I entered prepared, bright eyed and excited to meet the guy painted as an enigma. The first few tries were difficult, but the middle is as “delicious” as his forthcoming tracks. From hovering on the edge of the desk, I got to know the poster boy for Johnson’s Baby shampoo. He offered me a stroke of his hair, removed his glasses, and let me walk him to the closest Greggs.
To end the evening, we danced to fellow Stockport lads’ ‘Cut Me and I’ll Bleed’. He had three Jack Daniels and cokes in his hand.
Words by Tanyel Gumushan