“Oh god, so…” Ryn Weaver re-adjusts herself on the sofa, swinging her legs to stretch them out. Despite being eight hours ahead of her usual time zone and just a day into an international trip, she’s talking enthusiastically about her debut album, when the conversation takes a philosophical turn.
“You know the Rorschach test? Where they show you an ink blot and based on your experiences, you shape it?” she asks, relaying this all back to the journey of her first full-length. “Well, to me, it’s about me leaving this awful relationship, which was that guy, and making sense of that. In that sense, I guess it’s a coming of age record.”
The relationship she’s referencing is the one that shaped her breakout hit ‘OctaHate’, which set the internet airwaves alight within mere hours back in 2014. A tale of twisting emotion and foot-stomping satisfaction, it worked as both the match that sparked Ryn’s career and an intense outpouring of honesty that enabled her own healing process. As she sits, chattering away in a West London hotel suite, she’s ready to start unveiling the bigger picture.
“The record is about me moving to California and being super irresponsible,” she goes on, opening up to the themes of ‘The Fool’, “having all sorts of lovers and doing whatever I wanted. Then, from there, I started getting more serious with someone and realised it was because it wasn’t an awful situation, I was being treated with the upmost respect. But, you know, you learn bad habits from the bad relationships in a sense. By the end of the record, I’m kinda questioning myself, maybe I was an equal part of that problem because maybe I’m just too young and afraid of commitment myself. Maybe that’s why I dated the assholes; because when you finally get given someone who’s so wonderful to you, you don’t know how to swallow that pill, but at the same time, I don’t think that’s bad. The album’s called ‘The Fool’, but it’s more about, ‘Are you a fool? Would you be a fool to settle for what you always thought you wanted? Or would you be a fool to leave and maybe not find that again, but maybe maintain freedom?’ It was kind of about me getting addicted to freedom, quite honestly, and realising I don’t need to be co-dependent.”
Bubbling with affection, Ryn darts from the subject of ‘OctaHate’’s video star being one of her best friends - “I met her through that awful relationship so I thought it would be really fun if we included her as she was the one that helped me find out how shady that dude had been” - to her thoughts on the lack of “cred” female artists are offered in the music industry, proving that - whatever the subject matter - she’s not one to hold anything back.
“I think it’s really important to be honest,” she confirms, returning to the lifeblood of ‘The Fool’, “and with this record, I kinda wanted to write a story in a way, while still making it feel like a really sound album and not sacrificing the quality of sound for that. I feel like I always want to be writing, for the most part, from my personal experiences. I wouldn’t say it’s confessional, but it’s kinda my way of flushing out how I feel.” That’s something optimised by the idea behind her first single. “Half the time I don’t even know how I feel because there’s so many things going on, so when I actually write it down, it clears things for me.”
‘The Fool’ isn’t just eleven tracks of all-out empowering giddiness; within its forty minutes, Ryn journeys between both boisterous pop and more gentle sentiments. While some tracks are dedicated to the wilder instances of her life, there are also moments of sensitivity and introvertedness. It’s an album that sees a young woman questioning her own self in the world around her, while all the time trying to make sense of the pressures and challenges she’s being forced to face.
“The very last song on the record is called ‘New Constellations’,” she explains, “and it speaks to the great explorers and the people who charted the stars. It’s like, the day that they discovered the earth wasn’t flat, they weren’t like, ‘My work is done!’” she laughs, wiping her hands clean in imitation. “They were like, ‘Cool, I knew it, told you. Now I’m gonna keep looking for more’. So, for me, that was my struggle with that relationship. Just because I found what I wanted doesn’t mean that’s where I want to stop. It’s a new benchmark and a new standard but I don’t know… Especially in this business and career choice, it’s very hard to maintain a relationship, or in general! Love is so confusing, but for me, I’m just at a free time in my life. I think this was about me growing into that and realising that I’m powerful on my own. I think for my whole life, I was looking for answers in relationships and always wanted to have that other person, my other half, and now I feel like I’ve come to this place where I don’t need that.
She moves on to her love of Tarot and how it soon came to play a role within the album too. “I was super inspired. I don’t think you have to be heavy into Tarot to understand the value of the metaphor that’s presented in the cards. It’s just beautiful art more than anything and I was super drawn to the image of the fool because it was kind of how I felt. I feel like - at least in that relationship - I was this sad little clown. I felt like I was making all the wrong steps. I feel like there are fewer stigmas around women needing to settle down and lead that traditional life. I think a lot of us girls have been taught, ‘Isn’t that what you want? Don’t you want to be happy and committed?’ There was this part of me, a guilty part of me, saying ‘Isn’t this what you’ve been looking for?’ and then the opposite side kept saying, ‘Don’t you love the life you have?’ I just felt like I was going crazy!”
Whether drawing the attention of millions of listeners, or simply trying to work out her place in the world, Ryn Weaver is certain of one thing: that she’s only at the start of what she hopes to be a long career, and she’s going to be doing it completely on her own terms.
“I’ve been growing a lot in front of people,” she concludes. Since ‘OctaHate’ first went online almost a year ago now, all eyes really have been on her. “I mean, I had a bit of a plan but I wasn’t some developed artist, thrown into this four years after my project had been created. I am pretty much just me and this is what I write and I like these things and they don’t have to align! I don’t have to be a poster child for a specific thing. You’re allowed to wear what you want and be what you want. You’re allowed to be an artist who’s got your own fashion sense, and do what you want to do. It doesn’t have to be so thought out. I’m just doing it my way and if people don’t like it, I’m like,” she flips the bird and smiles sweetly, “‘Mmhmm, bye!’”
Taken from the August issue of DIY, out now. Ryn Weaver’s debut album ’The Fool’ will be released on 4th September via Mad Love/ Virgin EMI.