Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Song-by-Song: Hip-hop artist Nory breaks down new album, Altar Boy

"... the album as a whole was inspired mainly by my upbringing"

Posted by Kelly Rae Smith on Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 9:39 AM

click to enlarge nory.jpg

It's been a while since local hip-hop artist Nory (Austin Butler) has released an album, or at least released one to the public for an extended period of time. We seem to recall hearing about a release perhaps last year that was only available for a day or two, and we missed it. Thankfully, there's Altar Boy to get us through the rest of an increasingly strange 2018. Thanks, Nory.

Read all about the creation of Altar Boy with a song-by-song breakdown below, all written entirely by the artist himself. Enjoy.


The Title

I believe an appropriate way to begin speaking on my recent album would be to start with the title.

Altar Boy is a title that was inspired by both my upbringing and one of my favorite films The Dangerous Lives Of Altar Boys. The film is about a group of boys who grew up in Catholic school, but also in Southern America and how that affected their minds. The situation they found themselves in forced them to find ways to escape through mischief and creativity. This theme tied into my album and mind state growing up in the Christian South. Film aside, the album as a whole was inspired mainly by my upbringing. Being raised by a single mom in an extremely Christian household molded most of my morality and faith. That being said, the album is also about the duality of having an absent father, and how that played with my psyche. I produced all of it myself so that the project would reflect my mind as true as possible.

"A Reservation at Dorsia’s"
This song was originally made in 2015. It starts off with a verse dedicated to my girlfriend. With everything that I had going on, I felt it was important to speak to her first. I wanted to explain myself to her in a way I felt I could do it best. The second verse however, was more or so dedicated to whoever is listening. At that point I was explaining myself to everyone else.

"Coyote [ Good A*ss Job ]"
"Coyote" is pure reflection. I was facing myself and my life. “Good, bad, ugly and everything in between” is a reference to the constant wave of events that I’ve found myself dealing with over the years. Growing up, I often found myself and my family at places in our lives that were either really good and positive, bad and not alright or worse. Sometimes things got down right “ugly.” This song is a reflection, and reminder to myself of how that unbalance has built my mind to be a bit tougher. Almost as if I’m telling myself, “You’ve been through it all. You can handle it”.

"Brick [ Overture ]"
When I made this track, my intentions were to step in the mind of people I grew up around. People who’ve had to do things they didn’t necessarily want to in order to survive or help their family. I saw a lot of this kind of sacrifice growing up. With close friends, especially.

"Montage"
Montage is visual song, or at least it was intended to be. The beginning is my current self visiting the old places I’ve been. Initially, I’m discussing my state of life with my friends from that side of my past. As the song goes on a wave of memories hit me. Memories of being younger around those parts and having to walk to school. I would often have to deal with bullying on those walks. At some point in my past, I reached a breaking point and started to fight back. It was almost like I had reached my breaking point with life. Those scenarios taught me that I was going to have to mature a bit faster.

"Altar Boy"
Confessional is the only word that comes to mind when I think of this one. I treat phone calls with my mom like catholic confessional in a way. Whenever I check up on her, or she checks up on me, It’s always a cleansing process for me. I tell her how I’m feeling and where I feel like I’m going wrong. I would often talk with her about how I felt like I thought way differently than the people around me. She helps me stay on track.

"Nory’s Mom Speaks [ Skit ]"
The album is dedicated to my mom. I felt it was only right to let her speak for herself. We were having a conversation and I decided to record it. I wanted to hear it later and be able to replay her exact words. I love when things are candid or unscripted. I didn’t want to tell her what to say. I just wanted her to say what was in her heart like she always does.


"Burner Phone [ 032395 ]"
Burner Phone was originally recorded in 2016. I had just got off the phone with my mother when I started making the song. I wanted to embody that power up I felt after hearing her voice. She reminds me of who I am, where I came from and who she’s always made me to be. Someone who truly believes in themselves.

"Neverending Story"
I wanted to summarize this feeling I’ve always felt overwhelmed by as a child, and even now as an adult. I’ve always felt haunted by this lack of complacency. I find it really hard to settle or stay in one place. In the movie The Neverending Story, this dark cloud called “The Nothing” was destroying a beautiful world of imagination. The song is kind of an ode to that concept and how it relates to me. Everything that comes after is to represent the different ways I found myself coping with that feeling. I found myself drowning in vices at times. After that, you start the record over. There’s a lesson in the loop of the whole thing.

As far as how everything came to be production, recording and mastering wise. I made every song by myself, in my room. I wanted to be very honest and vulnerable with this album and I find I can do this best when alone in my environment. My room is like my haven. I can thing about anything and say the things I wouldn’t say with others around.

No one had heard it or heard of it until I put it all in Khari Lucas’s [Contour] hands for the final master. Which happened in his room.

Stream and purchase Altar Boy here on Bandcamp.

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