INTERVIEW: Rojor | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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This month sees the release of World In Flames, the 17th album by Teesside singer-songwriter Rojor. It is an album crafted to give you a warm pop embrace, despite tackling conflicts and world strife head on. You would be hard pressed to find a more committed musical artist and social commentator; Rojor also happens to write and perform superb songs that have made him a mainstay on BBC Radio 2 playlists for several years now, and this album is guaranteed to enhance his reputation and earn more national radio play.

I had to find out what continues to inspire Rojor and how he keeps those creative fires burning. “I just love picking up the guitar or sitting at the piano, so the fire still burns strong – I’m curious and I love to learn. I learn everyday as a musician and a writer,” he continued. “If it’s the music you’re interested in (rather than being famous or whatever) then music is a friend for life.”

Rojor explains that the subject matter of his songs are often very contemporary. “I see my albums as a sort of diary and World In Flames was largely written in the last 12 months, so as a writer you can’t ignore what’s going on around us. The pandemic, the climate crisis, the food banks. I think it was important not to ignore these issues.”

I think all positive change comes from people working together. The solutions are always humanitarian. Anger and aggression are dead ends

Rojor’s sound is a smooth and accessible one, created in the songwriter’s own studio. “I guess over the years I’ve crafted a sound around the classic indie rock combo of bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. Rhodes piano often features, and that warm sound is something I cultivate. I love the idea that the notes you don’t play are as important as those you do – I like to leave space so the words and melodies can really cut through. The songs are central to what I do. When I started out, I just wanted to write songs – learn how to do it – the craft of it. To tell stories. I’m still learning.”

In Rojor’s capable hands issues are discussed sensitively and sensibly but in no way is this a depressing listen, in fact quite the reverse. “I am a positive person. I think all positive change comes from people working together. The solutions are always humanitarian. Anger and aggression are dead ends.”

The final song is Eston Hills, and I have a confession to make here as back in the last Century both Rojor and myself attended the same sixth form college nestling beneath those hills. “Many Teessiders will have that memory of climbing Eston Hills to the nab and looking out across the Tees Estuary and beyond. The song is about remembering all those who have gone on ahead, those who have walked the same streets and asking for their guidance. We are all just passing through.”

As an artist, Rojor is definitely enriching the lives of all that his music touches as he passes through.

Rojor launches World In Flames on Friday 6th May at The Georgian Theatre, Stockton.


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