“Let’s write a whole set in a week and see what happens.”
Meeting at music college, Eggy (lead vocals and synth) Tommy (co-lead vocals and guitar), Tom (drums) & James (bass) were destined to form Porij. With a welcome refusal to be pigeonholed, the band describes their music as “whatever we want it to be. Every song is different.”When asked how they would describe their music to a new listener, the band’s response is as punchy and sharp as their danceable lyrics and hard-hitting basslines: “Dance music live.” And the three components of the Porij recipe? “Live, DIY, and hat.”
Live: Porij note that their music has often been perceived as hyper-produced electronica which is difficult to transform to a live setting. One only has to see the band live to discount this myth. Guitarist and co-lead vocalist Tommy hammers this home: “When we record our songs, what you hear is what we play.” As opposed to spending hours mixing and mastering, Porij spend lengthy amounts of time making sure the music doesn't sound like it’s been collecting dust in the studio for weeks. Harnessing their years of learning how to play UK garage live, it seems like this hard work has paid off.
DIY: Everything about Porij is a DIY endeavour – “trying to explain what you want to someone after you’ve tried to explain it to three other people isn’t easy. We’re being creative on a budget. Even as we earn more, we’d rather use the money ourselves to grow our own personal vision,” notes drummer Tom. With an effort to avoid pastiching themselves, Porij has created a wide array of visual and audible material ranging from being covered in breakfast foods to pointing the finger at gendered injustice.
Released over the summer and written in December of last year, ‘Nobody Scared’ is about “the feeling you have when making a journey by yourself. You feel the injustice of that emotion and are fighting back and trying to take ownership of your own narrative. What weird simulation are we living in where 51% of the population have to feel these intense emotions?” Such lyrical inspiration for Eggy was born from personalised experiences that are unfortunately universal. This is something the band is particularly cautious about – “there’s a delicate art to writing a protest song – something that Rage The Machine are very good at” notes bassist James. “They can write overtly political statements which are completely coherent with the music they’re making.” However, ‘Nobody Scared’ is different: rather than existing as an overt call to action, it grabs the listener’s attention through its ‘empowering and uplifting’ grooves, subliminally pointing you towards its vital subject-matter.
Hat: Hat? Porij tip the hat to a whole host of genres, and this is evident in their music. Mentioning their fondness of The xx and indie music, drum ‘n’ bass, garage, Tom Misch and his four to the floor tunes, jazz, and the club scene in Manchester, it’s unsurprising that Porij have crafted their own sound. The band notes that their music fits in well with the current music scene’s ambivalence towards adhering to traditional genres – they describe 150 as “an Afro tune with Khruangbin guitar” whereas ‘Can’t Stop’ is an “aggressive mix of garage and house breaks”. When asked about the public reception to their music, Eggy laughs about how “people are confused about what we are. But that’s cool because we’re doing something new and dare I say… original?”
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Words: Poppy Richler
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