Alternative punk rock band Voodoo Bloo recently released their second UK single, “MMA,” via PlasticGroove Records. Inspired by regretful drunken decisions, we sat down and spoke to vocalist Rory Macdonald about the inspiration behind the track, his own regretful decisions, and how he ended up relocating from Sheffield to New Zealand.
Thanks for your time Rory, how’s life treating you at the moment?
Rory Macdonald: “I would say more than great, just started a new job, music is going well, lots in the pipeline, I’m excited but not stressed about anything, all just seems easy yet good, you know?”
Your new single, “MMA,” is about regretful drunken decisions. What about you? Any funny/regretful stories when drunk? What inspired the song?
“Well, I think you’ve already hit the nail on the head in terms of inspirations, but as for any funny/regretful stories, I think the one where I thought I was going to die, told the person that I liked at the time how I felt, passed on what songs I wanted to be played at my funeral to my closest mate, all because I coughed up what I thought was blood, but just turned out to be phlegm… I overthink quite a bit if that wasn’t blatantly obvious by now.”
You relocated from Sheffield to New Zealand. What prompted that move? How different is life in NZ?
“I think that’s a question more for my parents than me, and honestly I couldn’t tell you all that much about where I grew up, like, I’m able to remember every room of my childhood home and how the house was laid out, what was in each room and such, but I can never remember actually being there, apart from my first memory of life (that being Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ music video being playing on MTV in my lounge, followed by Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Californication’). All I know is New Zealand, but at the same time I’ve never felt like I belong to anywhere, a nowhere man to some extent.”
What do you miss about Sheffield/Yorkshire?
“Again I can’t remember all that much, but New Zealand candy is just not at all the same, I buy Yorkies and Hula Hoops at every opportunity I get.”
Okay, onto the album… it’s got a very personal theme running through it. How difficult was that to write about?
“Honestly, it was odd because every piece of material that was very personal, especially the last three songs, felt like they happened in an instant, no pauses to think how they should sound, it just happened right before my eyes, but that easy flow felt more like a rollercoaster dropping into a cesspool of dark times rather than a weight being lifted off my shoulders. That (aspect) came later with the release of the album, but physically it was some of the easiest music to write, just not so much in the emotional sense.”
On the flip side though, how did it help you with that situation by writing an album around it?
“Well, playing into what I mentioned before, once the album was actually released, I finally actually accepted the events surrounding the album which was a huge thing for me, it felt like I could finally move on and live life like I used to, but whenever I feel like I want to remember those times I can just go to Spotify and play my own pain, which is something I don’t believe a lot of people even get the chance to relive.”
Mental health has been a huge concern over the last 15 months, what about you? How have you managed your own mental health?
“For me, it’s all just balance, I keep myself super duper busy on a daily basis, and though this is not a tactic I would recommend to anyone, especially those who stress out easily, surrounding myself in work from the moment I wake up to the time I need to sleep makes me feel way better about everything. My ADHD brain never switches off, so I’ve just had to learn how my own head likes to be treated, and I think I’m treating it just fine.”
Going back to the concept of the album, you’ve talked about having very few people to talk to. How has music helped you in general?
“Well my first love is music and it always will be. I find it easier to feel euphoric or sad or angry around songs than I do around humans. Music can’t hurt me in the way that people do and, for that, I’ll never cease to be in love with it. It was there for me when no person was, and I can never pay it back for that.”
Once the album is out, what are your plans to promote it?
“Ahhhhh, I think at this point just keep your eyes peeled, you’ll know when it happens, too many tricks up my sleeve and the cards are falling out already.”
You’ve described the situation as coming at the scariest time of your life. What have you learned about yourself as a person from those experiences?
“I will trim out some details here for the sake of not exposing personal information, but toxic masculinity is a term and construct that became very apparent to me during this time and just how much it can affect someone’s life. I learned in a very hard way how terrible it is to keep things bottled up and just how stupid it is to not allow yourself to cry. We’re all bloody human, and some guys really need to learn how to be one.”
And looking to the future, what are your hopes now that life could be returning to normal?
“Well with what we have on the horizon, I’m sort of in this process of reinventing myself, or at least pulling myself apart in a cathartic, not self-destructive way. I’m really trying to find out my values and aspirations, which is something I don’t think I’ve ever really done before, I’m just at a point where I’m allowing myself to breathe, and it feels great.”
We’ve talked about Sheffield and NZ, what aspect of life in each place do you think would translate well if it was introduced to the other, and what aspect do you think wouldn’t translate so well?
“To put it simply:
Easy translations: English lollies, New Zealand culture
Terrible translations: Both of the accents (for example, I have to translate my grandparent’s ‘Yorkshire-isms’ to my girlfriend, and I have to translate her to them)”
Thanks for your time and good luck with everything. Over to you to wrap things up…
“Hmmm, how does one wrap things up? I mean, maybe you’ll like this, I don’t know, I think about it quite a bit: When was the first Monday? And how do we not know that someone’s accidentally misplaced Monday in the week since then?”