Porij interview: “The dance community is so welcoming… we want that to be part of our musical DNA”

Porij promotional shot for debut album Teething

When a band is approaching the release of their debut album, there are generally a handful go-to buzz words to describe how they’re feeling.

Nervous, excited, scared. In the days leading up to the release of Teething, Porij are feeling them all. Yet vocalist Egg Moore, has a slightly more interesting way of putting those feelings to words. “I feel fizzy.” Egg laughs, nestled in the bar above the venue in Leeds the band will play that night. “I feel so excited to have it out in the world and be able to let go, but I’m also really scared to let go and be like ‘okay, you can have a go on that now, I’ve had it for a while’.”

It’s not just Egg that feels fizzy, though – Teething, the band’s long-awaited debut, has a certain effervescence to it too. Teased through a string of singles and a tour of grassroots venue that saw them debut the tracks live for long-time Porij fans, it is an explosive display of who Porij have become.

The last few years have been turbulent for the band, and Teething immortalises the good and bad of those pivotal times.
“It was life happening around us,” Egg explains. “We were all living in different places in the country, a lot of us were at our parents’ houses, we didn’t have any money – we still don’t have any! It was quite chaotic in that sense. We’d be sending each other beats on Soundcloud a few hundred miles away and it was quite difficult to logistically organise.”

“We’re more settled now,” they continue. “We all live in the same part of London, things are more settled in that capacity and just being able to work through some of our shit writing the album has been quite good.”

Teething ventures through familiar, well-explored territory, but does so in a way that can only be described as distinctly Porij. A track-by-track narrative of the highs and lows that come with navigating your twenties, Porij have crafted an album brimming with resonance: even when it is at its most devastating, it offers a hand on your shoulder to bring you back to feeling okay again. ‘Ghost’ is achingly vulnerable; a window into the world of Egg and their bandmates, Jacob Maguire, James Middleton and Nathan Carroll. It traverses wrought emotional spheres, but Porij’s deliciously fluorescent take on dance consistently makes those emotions easier to carry.

“I think there are definitely moments where this is the most vulnerable I’ve been out of the music we’ve released,” Egg reflects. “Those emotions are so closely linked. Crying and laughter are so close. Crying can be super euphoric, and your body naturally releases endorphins when you cry. Having that euphoria with vulnerability is such a human experience that it’s a question of how you translate that into song.”

Porij have mastered that particular skill, their beats feel like a release. Teething has moments of real raw sensitivity – ‘Stranger’ is a stunningly delicate moment – but it almost feels purifying. The album sparks in different directions and covers a lot of ground even within singular tracks, but it allows them to create tracks more innovative and cathartic than ever before.

“It was amazing to get to write a full LP – we could write album tracks and we could be bold, and we could go to places where we know they don’t have to be radio singles. That was super exciting, and it was conscious,” Egg says. “Having that light and dark has always been key, even just within songs. Songs like ‘Unpredictable’ sound like very dance-pop songs, but if you listen to the lyrics, they’re very bleak. I really like having that juxtaposition within songs. It gives it a bit of a sprinkle, a bit of a hundred and thousands effect. You can be having the worst day of your life, and it can flip so quickly and you’re at the pub having a great time, and everything’s cool.”

The album is, itself, unpredictable in this way: twisting and turning through emotions in a manner that will hit home for many of Porij’s listeners. It has a prismatic quality, each track refracting in a different shade and hue and forming one kaleidoscopic, freeing experience. It’s undoubtedly something the band have picked up from their love for clubbing, and the out-of-body, exhilarating experience that takes place under club lights.

“I think we’re all big fans of clubbing, and the club scene,” Egg explains. “The reason is it’s escapism and euphoria, and letting go of your inhibitions. The dance community is so welcoming and such a safe environment, and I think people really feel like they can be themselves at dance events. You let go of all the pressure. We definitely wanted to incorporate that into the music we were writing because it’s so important to us. We want that to be part of our musical DNA for sure.”

Porij promotional shot for new single 'Unpredictable'
Jesse Glazzard

Porij’s live shows capture that magic, and Teething has somehow found them bottling that into a record too – one spin, and you feel as though your bedroom could be the dark floors of your favourite club, and all the adrenaline and glee that comes with that.

The band spent a long time sitting with the album, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that they have so succinctly managed to bring that feeling to the studio. “We recorded the album on and off for nine months. A lot of bands go in and do it in and out for two weeks. We had a lot of time to explore all the ideas we had and really go down all the rabbit holes and take every twist and turn and be super conscious of what we wanted these songs to sound like. We were afforded the luxury of being able to explore – we were like kids for nine months, it was amazing. We really lived that album.”

Working with David Wrench, Porij were able to distil the essence of the band into 11 tracks. It’s evident that they poured a lot of themselves into each composition, and the result is a complex journey of different sounds and experiences. Each listen uncovers something new, which is a sensation that was incredibly present in the writing process for Egg. Getting to grips with themselves and really digging into who they are and why was crucial to Teething.

“It was really cathartic – everyone says that writing is like free therapy,” Egg agrees. “It was such a formative and transitional period and it’s really weird being confronted with yourself so fully. I don’t think I had. I think you’re very self-aware when you’re growing up, but suddenly I just became very self-aware,” they reflect. “I think a lot of this album is quite insular in the sense that I was picking apart what makes up me, and how I want to perceive the world and how the world is perceiving me. It’s that coming of age, what’s going on, we’re all a bit lost – help! With the highs and the lows, it sounds quite bleak but there are real highs in your mid-twenties and things are really exciting and you’re doing lots of things for the first time and it’s good to have that on the album too.”

Teething feels like a moment frozen in time for Porij, but a moment they will want to revel in, and their listeners too. With each beat, it feels as though time will stretch on endlessly ahead of you. All that matters is these songs, and this world, that Porij allow you to inhabit for a short while.

With a myriad of festivals on the horizon, Porij are set to offer that escapism to a whole host of new crowds and dance the summer away, with tears and grins in equal measure. “It’d be good to have a moment to live life for a bit over summer,” Egg concludes. “Get some more inspiration, find ourselves in more terrifying situations, get into scrapes, and write some more silly songs.”

Teething is out now via Play It Again Sam
featured image: Jesse Glazzard

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