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Rory Storm’s Musical Alter Ego Is An Electroclash Loving, Arts Student From Working Class West Auckland

Listen to Rory Storm’s ‘Disco Train’, an avant electro pop departure from his darker musical past.

by Noisey Staff
02 May 2016, 2:05am

Rory Storm has spent the last fifteen years making heavy and experimental noise or music that he explains as, “Jandek-style acoustic songs about my emotional issues.” But “Disco Train," the New Zealand musician’s latest track, veers more to the avant end of the electronic pop spectrum. That could be related to the fact that Rory recorded the tracks in between hanging out with his kids and watching Frozen. Taken from an album to be released on cassette through Wellington label Epic Sweep, the track cracks with simple drum beats and an unusual vocal that comes from a surprising source. Take a listen below and read a brief chat we had with Rory.

Noisey: Love it or hate it that Frozen song can stick in your head.
Rory Storm: Yup, it’s counter-revolutionary but I actually really like Frozen, however terrifying the branding is. Partly because I get to watch it through the eyes of my daughter, who is a Grimes-obsessed preschool hipster, and she loves it. You know there’s something genius about the fact that there’s a generation of girls growing up whose childhood anthem is, when you look at the lyrics, a freak giving a colossal middle finger to the man. If you listen to it, Elsa is basically like, "I am amazing, and if you don’t recognise it then totally and utter fuck you." Thanks Disney. In terms of influencing my music, not as such, no, although I have a soft spot the kind of vocal style Eurotrance it’s descended from. Here’s a really good example of music so awful it’s like art. Not art, but like art. Armin van Buren’s mix of "Winter Stayed."

What is the Disco Train? Is it based on an actual train or is it more of a state of mind/idea?
It’s just a bit of mundane random word association from the fact the beat in that song is Disco #14 from 1001 Drum Patterns To Use. But yeah, I mean if you want it to be some kind of early 80s American Bandstand clip in a pastel video key then sure, if that works.

Where is the vocal sample from?
The vocals are my voice put through a pitch shifter to sound like a young woman. The politics of this are interestingly problematic. It’s a worthwhile experience othering yourself like this – it allows you to step away from your music and see it objectively. (And it’s weird hearing how it exaggerates my NZ accent which isn’t very prominent in real life). I have a whole persona for my female alter ego – she’s a Laurie Anderson, electroclash, T.S. Eliot fan in her first year of a Humanities degree, from a trashy working class West Auckland family, working her way up, called Shelley – like Mary Shelley – Frankenstein’s monster which is a pretty obvious connection.

The Rory Storm cassette will be available soon from Epic Sweep records.