The Beatles, Squid Game and Arsenal: Rory Nellis of Belfast on music, dreams and again

The Beatles, Squid Game and Arsenal: Rory Nellis of Belfast on music, dreams and again

Belfast musician Rory Nellis will release his third studio album early next year.

He recently started a campaign to help fund its production.

He is also ready to play his first concert since 2019 at The Deer’s Head in Belfast in November.

READ MORE – Live on the waterfront in pictures when NI stars take the stage for a special concert

Lee Campbell spoke with Rory for Belfast Live about how he grew up with The Beatles, a music-inspiring coffee shop on the Forest Side, about his current single “Strange Behavior” and about his love for gunners.

Lee: You’re going to play your first gig in two years at Deer’s Head in Belfast. Sum up how you feel.

Rory: I’m very excited to go in there and take the stage with the band. I’ve done a lot of live broadcasts and a few solo concerts over the past, but haven’t performed in full for about two years, so I’m looking forward to it.

Lee: What would be your best album of 2021?

Rory: St. Vincent’s “Dad’s House” is great. I heard she was interviewed in “Sodajerker” in a songwriting podcast and she’s just a great artist. Brilliant texts and massive riffs.

Lee: Do you have a new album on the way – any updates about it and when can we expect it to appear?

Rory: Yes! I just launched “Kickstarter” which will help fund the production of CDs and vinyls.

It is due out in January. I’ve been working hard on this for about 18 months now, so I’m excited to finally start the process of bringing it out into the world.

Lee: Your current single “Strange Behavior” is a great track. What is it about?

Rory: Thank you. This is an indie pop / power pop song about the importance of opening up to friends and family.

I think it’s very important to stay open and keep talking to each other.

Fortunately, this is becoming more and more normal.

Lee: Speaking of “weird” as a singer-songwriter, what’s the weirdest request for a song you’ve ever been asked to play live?

Rory: Ha-ha. I have been asked 50 Cent several times. It’s hard to pull on an acoustic guitar if you don’t know the words.

Lee: Who influenced you as an artist and why?

Rory: There have always been a lot of The Beatles in my house, so their songwriting has always had a big impact.

Over the years, I’ve definitely picked up the influence of American alternative bands like Grandaddy and Weezer.

Most recently, I think my songs evoke a bit of Laurel Canyon atmosphere: people like Neil Young, Johnny Mitchell, Carol King and Buffalo Springfield.

It’s always hard to say for sure, but it seems so to me.



Belfast musician Rory Nellis

Lee: There’s a lot of re-mastering (he’s, mess with) some classic albums, including ones like The Beatles. As an artist, how do you feel about this constant flow of “anniversary” reprints?

Rory: I think some of them were justified. I liked the release of “Let It Be” Naked because I think the abbreviated versions of the songs were something of the fans.

I really think that at some point you need to leave the classics alone and continue anyway.

Lee: I believe you met your wife at the legendary Limelight location in Belfast. Other than this significant rendezvous, what is your favorite Limelight memory?

Rory: Without a doubt, the album of my old band Seven Summits came out in 2012.

We worked very hard and gathered a huge number of people. It was absolutely amazing.

A few years ago I also went to Mac Demark and it was a fantastic night. He is so cool.

Lee: Where would be the most inspiring place for you in Belfast, Rory?

Rory: That’s a good question. I once wrote a few texts that I was very happy with at a coffee shop on the Forest Side, so sometimes I go back there when I’m stuck.

Other than that, I love the Giant’s Ring, Belfast Castle and Lagan Meadows. We have really lovely outdoor spaces.



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Lee: Taylor Swift recently performed on stage with local singer Tyrnan Khafron. Who would be the duo of your dream surprise and what would you sing?

Rory: Hard. Or Bob Marley and “No Woman, Don’t Cry,” or Belinda Carlisle and “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”

Lee: You are a big fan and follow Arsenal. Who is your favorite ever gunner?

Rory: My first game at Highbury was against Leeds United, and Lee Dixon scored an absolute scream. He has always been my favorite since that day. I also played in school, so we were kindred spirits.

Lee: Have comments on this madness of “Squid Game”?

Rory: It looks right on my street, but I had a new single a few weeks ago and I just haven’t had a chance to watch it yet.

Maybe after the album’s release in January I’ll find time. Either way I always come to things late.

Lee: Your live concert is part of the brilliant music festival “Sound of Belfast” from 4 to 18 November. Which NI band or music do you think broke through some barriers and became the lead for other local artists?

Rory: Ash and Snow Patrol are obvious examples, and they continue to support NI musicians very well.

However, at the moment some wonderful people are making their way.

Hannah Peel, Riva, New Gentiles, Joshua Burnside and Mologian, but some of them are really hardworking and creative artists.

We’re really spoiled here, and there’s a great scene that supports.

Rory Nellis will perform on November 12 at The Deer’s Head in Belfast. Learn more about the concert on Facebook.

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