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Interview: Rory Nellis


Ahead of launching his stellar new album, There Are Enough Songs In The World, at Belfast’s The MAC on Saturday, November 11, we catch up with Belfast’s Rory Nellis to talk momentum, collaboration, the craft of carefully-considered songwriting and more.

Go here to buy tickets to Rory Nellis at The MAC

Hi, Rory. You release your new album There Are Enough Songs In The World in just under two weeks. How are you feeling ahead of getting it out there?

The final mastered track just came through today so I’m extremely excited and unbelievably relieved that it’s all done.

Tell us about the recording process for the album. Who did you record with and who was all involved in the process?

I recorded it with Phil d’Alton. He’s a pleasure to work with and has done an amazing job. He played keys and sang for me on most of the tracks too. Bass was mostly covered by the beautiful Herb Magee and most of the drum tracks were done by Peter J. McCauley. All those guys, along with Andrew Brown and Walter Thee Goon, added a lot to the album. Like… a lot.

You’ve released every track on the album as a single. Why did you take this approach and how have you found it?

I thought it would help me build some momentum and I think for the most part it worked. The process was helped immensely by the great artwork done for each track by Michael Eaton.

Which track on the album is your favourite and why?

It has to be a tie between ‘Not Allowed To Be Broken’ and ‘Wild’. The performances and the recordings for both these tracks far exceeded my expectations and, dare I say it, made me a bit emotional when I got the final masters.

From identity, belonging, solace and discrimination there are some themes that are threading throughout the album extremely well. Viewing the album as a whole, do you think there’s one defining idea or mood that stands out for you?

I think you’ve summed it up pretty well there. My big concerns are usually that there isn’t enough of a common thread so it’s reassuring to have it fired back to me.

You are one of a handful of artists in the country really flying the flag for the craft of songwriting. Have you always viewed writing music as something that requires attention to detail and patience?

Yes absolutely, at least in my case. Some people can make other approaches work though. I work very hard on my music but I’m a firm believer that anyone could do it if they followed the process and they have something to say.

Seven Summits is a band that you’ve fronted for several years, but your solo stuff has taken precedence over the last two or three years. How do you approach writing music here compared to that project and do they offer up two different types of reward as a musician?

Seven Summits write very collaboratively, which is a fun process. A lot of the time I just write the melody and the words and the rest is worked out in the rehearsal room. With my own music, it’s a very different approach. I have to be much more disciplined to practice and run through the tunes. The biggest downside is not having a band to bounce ideas off, although Phil is a great help here.

You launch the album at the album at Belfast’s The MAC alongside Owen Lamont on Saturday, November 11. Why did you choose Owen for support and what can we expect from the night?

Owen is a good friend of mine and I’ve loved his voice and his music since The Delawares days. I was chatting to him one day when we were out for a walk with our kids and he agreed to do it. His tunes and his band are brilliant and I highly recommend checking them out.

is the editor of The Thin Air. Talk to him about Philip Glass and/or follow him on Twitter @brianconey.