Electronic Soundscapes: Conor Walsh on creating and crafting Wornoc

By Aideen O'Flaherty

Conor Walsh, a skilled rock guitarist from Millbrook Lawns in Tallaght, recently turned his attention to crafting textured, electronic soundscapes for his new solo project, called wornoc.

With a background as part of pop-punk outfit Downhill, and most recently as a guitarist in alt-rock band Versive, Conor has varied music tastes that filter through his work.

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Tallaght native Conor Walsh

Conor, who is a past pupil of St Mac Dara’s Community College in Templeogue, has delved into his interest in immersive electronic music to create music as wornoc.

Having recently released wornoc’s debut single ‘Signs’, Conor told The Echo about how his passion for making music has developed, what it’s been like for Versive in the midst of the pandemic, and collaborating with the drummers for Billie Eilish and PVRIS for a live drum playthrough video of ‘Signs’.

Was there a particular moment or experience you had that made you realise that you wanted to be a musician?

I grew up in a very musical household. My dad plays the pipes and is a lover of Irish music. I grew up playing fiddle at a very young age and, as I grew older, I began to pick up other instruments like guitar and, at one stage, the button accordion.

The bands that I adored as a teenager were Nirvana, Metallica and Blink-182. I have a fond memory of my mum taking me to my first concert, which was Red Hot Chili Peppers at Lansdowne Road.

I think after that, I was pretty hooked and knew I wanted to just play music. So, it was a combination of being exposed to a lot of traditional Irish music as a child and discovering rock music in my early teens.

You play guitar in the alt-rock band Versive, who you released a new single with earlier this year. What has it been like for the band to adjust to the issues caused by the pandemic in relation to the music industry?

We released our single ‘The Unknown’ in January, which was a long time in the making, but that’s a story for another day.

The last few songs that we put out, including this one, were all recorded about a year before the pandemic hit, so we were just waiting for the right time to release them.

Right before the pandemic hit, we signed to Paper + Plastick Records.

The label encouraged us to release the music as we usually would, the only difference was we couldn’t do a release show which was a shame.

You recently released the debut single for your solo project, wornoc. Why did you decide to create a solo project, and is it something you've always wanted to do?

This project has been on the cards for about two years, but I found it difficult to find time in my life to get the project off the ground, as I was busy completing my Master’s degree and I was finishing up recordings for the new Versive stuff.

When the pandemic hit, I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands, so I had no excuse but to get the ball rolling.

I have always been a fan of film and ambient music so I began to spend days creating textual sound, avoiding writing music as I would for Versive, and learning how to become a better audio engineer, all of which resulted in the birth of wornoc.

You started working on wornoc after you built a recording studio in your back garden last summer. What was the experience of working in that recording studio like?

It’s the best! I love that if I have a moment of inspiration, I can leg-it out to the studio and lay down some music.

Most of the music I have written for wornoc so far has been out of impulse – I don’t think I would have remembered any of the ideas if it weren’t for my set up.

I have the studio rigged in a way that suits my personal needs. Everything is wired in and good to go within two minutes, so I can basically plug in and record without the hassle.

Your debut single, 'Signs’ is also the first song you wrote as wornoc. What inspired the track?

It was inspired by a single sound on a synthesiser. I was about to call it a day one evening and I accidentally hit a pre-set on a synth, within that moment I knew I had something.

I was so used to writing music on guitar with Versive that switching up instruments sparked a new form of inspiration.

The barebones of the track was written within a couple of days, but since I was recording and mixing the track too, I spent a few weeks really fine-tuning stuff to the point I was proud to release it.

A live performance video of 'Signs’ features Andrew Marshall, the drummer for Billie Eilish, and Justin Nace, the drummer of PVRIS. How did this collaboration come about?

I reached out to the lads in the early days of the pandemic, they are super nice and down-to-earth fellas.

I actually had them in mind for a different project that never happened but, over time, I kept in touch with them both and thought it would be interesting and fun to have them both do a live drum playthrough video of ‘Signs’.

I believe Justin and Andrew had a connection through mutual tour managers that Billie and PVRIS both shared, so they were happy out to work together on this project.

The video can be found on YouTube, and it should be released in two weeks or so.

Where can people go to find out more about wornoc?

You can find me on Spotify, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, all under wornoc, or the handle @wornocmusic.

My first show is on January 29 in Whelan’s (Upstairs), and tickets can be found via Ticketmaster.

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