Fragile In Design: Porij Interviewed

Breakout rave-pop group chat to CLASH...

Porij sit in the middle of a whole maze of influences. Crisp indie laced with pop, the band also point to the energy – and production – of rave culture. A superb live act, the group – formed while studying in Manchester, but now based all over – took their time before delivering their debut album.

Released to emphatic acclaim, the band’s ‘Teething’ LP was a spectacular introduction. After a delightfully busy few weeks on the road, we caught up with Porij in their tour bus – discussing everything from the best clubbing spots in Manchester to the brilliance of Nia Archives.

Hello Porij! How are you?

Egg (vocals): Yes we’re good! We’re just on our way to Bristol. This is our last in-store – we’ve been touring for three weeks, but today’s our last day!

How exciting! How’s the response to the album been?

Egg: It’s been amazing! We did a big headline tour for the two weeks leading up to it, and then we had a big party in YES in Manchester. Which was funny, because it’s where we had our first ever headline gig. A proper full circle moment, it was so cute. We took over the bar and then we went straight into instores. It’s been absolutely wild. I’m delirious, but it’s been wonderful. 

What would you say are the biggest differences between London and Manchester as a musician?

Egg: Manchester, I think, it’s easier to start out, because there’s a tight-knit community there. Just in the Northern Quarter alone, [you have] so many incredible venues in such a small area, it’s so good when you’re starting out, because it means you can be gigging all the time. It’s good for cutting your teeth. We gigged for like a year before releasing anything, we just kept hopping on random gigs in Manchester and Leeds!

The proximity to Leeds is such a good thing, because their music scene is really thriving.

Egg: Our first ever gig as Porij was in Leeds, it was a jazz gig at Belgrave! Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester all being so close is great for gigging. 

How would you compare the club scenes between London and Manchester?

Egg: Most of the clubbing I did in Manchester was at The White Hotel, because I really found a venue I liked, and I just ran with it. Also it was a bit tricky, because when I was there we had COVID, so like, for two years… both impeccable clubbing scenes, but Manchester has that history, with the Hacienda, and I think everyone talks about that history, but there’s not really…like a full scene in the same way, as there was. And London, I think, just because of the size of it, is quite scatty. So much to choose from, it’s almost paralysing. 

[At this point everyone in the bus joins in]

James (bass): Manchester is a little bit more accessible, and I say that as someone not coming from London and not growing up with the nightlife. There is all this great stuff and there is cheap stuff there, but it’s a little bit harder to find…because it’s so big, all of the scenes and stuff are a bit more spread out. 

Nathan (drums): I’m gonna contradict all of it and say I think they’re exactly the same. I think like all the sorta clubs I go to, it’s like seedy, underbelly places. I spend most of my time in weird little converted garages and whatever, and both have such an exciting, buzzing scene of those kinds of club nights. I think they’re both really exciting cities to go out and explore. 

I suppose a lot of it comes down to knowing where to go… I do love The White Hotel though. It’s so good there.

Egg: This is the issue with Manchester! It’s like, I know that I like The White Hotel, and I know that if I just turn up it’s gonna be some mad Kazakhstanian DJs – or, like, a punk gig. So why would I go anywhere else? Although to be fair – YES always has some nice disco events on, that’s good vibes, 

Nathan: One of my favourite places is The Old Abbey Taphouse. It’s such a nice little community hub, especially in that part of Manchester. With the radio station upstairs, I think it’s amazing there.

There seems to be a big resurgence at the moment of mixing indie elements with dance.

Egg: Yeah! One of my favourite songs is ‘Dance Yourself Clean’ by LCD Soundsystem – you can play that in any club, and it would go off. I love that intersection – it’s the kind of things that makes people move. It doesn’t need to be club music, but it still counts as dance music. And I think what’s really fun, especially about the UK right now, is that we’re becoming more and more genreless. Artists are making really exciting music, blending influences from all different places. I mean like, even someone like Nia Archives, who makes incredible jungle music, but with the biggest pop sensibilities as well! They’re more club-heavy than we are, we’re more the other end of the spectrum… kind of flirting with the club, but she’s in the club, flirting with indie a bit more. It’s cool!

It’s been nice that the music scene is thriving again – doesn’t seem to be so saturated with the same album coming out over and over again!

Egg: I think it’s nice that we’re all having fun again! And we’re not afraid to experiment, not afraid to be a bit silly sometimes, and we can just really explore our sound, and it’s been really wonderful to see this year with all the great releases so far.

What’s the rest of this year looking like for you guys?

Egg: Our main aim is just to play in front of as many people as possible. It’s been so magical seeing people connect with the music in real time. Until you’re with each other experiencing it, it just has a whole new impact. It’s exciting to be back on the farm [Glastonbury]… although we’ve got a curse where we always play on the Sunday. Last year we clashed with Elton John… and it turns out everyone really likes Elton John! But the line-up is STACKED this year. We’re really excited to see everyone!

‘Teething’ is out now. For all Porij tour dates visit their social channels.

Words: Tilly Foulkes
Photo Credit: Matilda Hill-Jenkins

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