IN CONVERSATION WITH: BØRNSJanuary 27, 2016
The release this year’s Dopamine has aided BØRNS in stretching his name out across countries, the Internet, and beyond. “I guess it’s in the rhythm,” he tells us of the West Coast move to LA and how it’s had an effect on the album, “Picking up on vibrations from Los Angeles. Also there’s a good amount of samples hidden in the songs, like coyotes in the canyons at night, birds chirping outside the studio.”
At first listen, you might not be able to catch these little organic intricacies. The album, which was completely recorded digitally, has the type of sleek production elements that make it hard to draw your attention elsewhere. What’s not difficult to take note of is BØRNS’ very distinct falsetto: his voice doesn’t quite sound male nor female, but has a touch of Feist-like pop distinction, which makes sense. He admits to us that he has a soft spot for big, Major key choruses about fantastical love for someone else.
Speaking of big appearances, the video for one of the songwriter’s most popular song to date, “Electric Love,” is something to watch. This glimmering, screaming neon display shows Garrett Borns outfitted in a sequined jumpsuit ala The Darkness or David Bowie, passing through some symbolistic kaleidoscopic vortex. It’d be easy to put him in that ostensively glam rock category, but his cult-like following places him as somewhat of a pop star, too. Taylor Swift and her mom are big fans of his music, for example.
Which doesn’t seem to have gone to his head. Growing up in Western Michigan, he was first inspired to make music a career after working with a childhood piano teacher. Eventually, that led him to studying music at his local community college.
“Michigan gave me a beautiful environment to explore and create as a kid,” he says, “I think it gave me a sense of mediation at a young age, too. I suppose that’s a good head space to tap into as I grow.” Another reason getting a tweet call-out from the Pop Princess herself isn’t really that big of a deal.
Recently, BØRNS relocated from New York City—where he’d been building his music career—to a treehouse outside of Los Angeles. It was there that he collected sounds (birds chirping, coyotes) and influences for Dopamine. “It seems like the more instinctual you make a record, the more fun it is to play,” says the 23-year-old songwriter. “It’s important to get out all your ideas in a certain time period of your life, that way you can start fresh the next time around.”
While we’re excited to hear what he’s got in store for “the next time around,” we’re also totally content keeping Dopamine on repeat for an undisclosed amount of time. Like it’s namesake, it just makes us feel good.