Weird Pop: An Interview with Abigail Ory


 
Abigail Ory loved music, but knew her passion was in film.

She grew up surrounded by her parent’s own musical talents, and remembers composing melodies on the piano as early as age 9. She wrote lyrics for fun, however, instead of dreaming about pursuing a career in music. She participated in theater projects, played in a band in middle school, and even had songwriting competitions with her friends. When it came time for college, she believed that music would continue to be a hobby while she studied film.

“My attitude towards it was that I was going to keep [music] as part of my life but for right now I wanted to focus on films,” she said. “I'm going to put music aside and when it calls to me, I'll come back to it. It took me two months of not doing music to think I'm going crazy; I need to go back to music and that was when I knew I was never leaving again.”

Just about two years ago, Ory started putting together old and new songs for her recently released EP, Don’t Mind Me. She had the opportunity to work alongside esteemed songwriter Donna Lewis who sifted through her lyrics from the last eight years and helped her perfect five songs.

“Waves” was written when she was a sophomore in high school and tabled it about a year later before revisiting it with Lewis.

“As I was getting a sense for her writing style and her approach, I was thinking how she would probably really like this song that I wrote in high school,” Ory said. “When I pulled up this super old recording of this super old song, as it happened, she loved it and started reworking it. She really had a great feel for it basically right off the bat.”

“Quiet Company” was written in the studio with Lewis while they were recording other songs. Ory wanted a track that was more emotionally heartfelt and thought back to one of the first songs she played for Lewis. She worked on it a bit by herself before bringing it back the next day and really living in the moment as they put its pieces together.

“All I Want for Christmas is Emotional Stability” was also written during her high school years and channels her love for alternative Christmas music and the idea of parodying the genre. “Doomsday” and “The Tooth Song” share similar stories in that they were written on different forms of public transportation and potentially concerning to other passengers. They are also incredibly different in that “Doomsday” shares imagery from heavy metal and bluegrass to create a sound that she affectionately refers to as “weird pop”.

While she admits that she is still searching for her own unique sound, she spent this EP experimenting with anything she thought sounded interesting. Those sounds came from her feelings of making music that didn’t sound like her, or didn’t sound original, or wasn’t motivational. In the end, she wanted to “throw together a bunch of songs and take them as far as possible in the direction that I like going with them and not worrying about what they’re supposed to sound like.”

She also was fascinated by experimenting with sound techniques that she learned during her film studies. Little ornamentations or certain sound effects was a concept she wanted to test, and what she brings to each song really helps them stand out as individual tracks.

While Abigail Ory believes she is still searching for her sound, it’s clear that she found something that hasn’t been done before. She focused on songs that she wanted to create and gave them melodies and choruses that she wanted, and had a tremendously positive experience in creating that. Don’t Mind Me is five songs of pure Abigail, and anyone listening is sure to fall in love with her weird pop.