Following the release of his debut single, "10,000 Emerald Pools," Garrett Borns – aka BØRNS – is delighting us all by dropping his very first EP, Candy, which was released earlier this week (Monday, Nov. 10). The singer-songwriter mixes a unique sense of sound with a heavy flow of harmony all spiced with a wondrous blend of synth-pop. Most of which he began writing in his tree house home located in Los Angeles, California. Yes, you read that correctly.
Having grown up on the coast of Michigan, the young musician has always found himself embracing the artistic culture, whether it be through selling art or performing at children's parties, when he himself was a kid, believe it or not. He then began playing local gigs and soon found that he was supporting himself as a professional musician, something he tells Music Times he "feels really fortunate" about.
BØRNS just finished up taking New York City's CMJ festival by storm, which sat as his very first time performing in the city. And now, he talks with Music Times about the experience, his new EP, and how landed on the lead single's killer title.
KYLE DOWLING: You just released your debut single, "10,000 Emerald Pools" earlier this month. How has the reception been?
GARRETT BORNS: It seems like it's doing well! There's been a really positive reception. I wasn't sure how it would do because it's very much a summer song and in LA it's a very perpetual summer, so dropping the song in the middle of October in LA makes sense. I wasn't sure how it would be elsewhere, but it has been perfect because all the blogs have been like, "Hold onto summer a little bit longer!" People also tell me it's the perfect road trip song, so it was really cool to hear all that. People are really connecting to it, which is cool.
KD: How long have you been writing and performing?
GB: A good amount of time. I've been doing it since high school, maybe even middle school. I guess I've always been writing and singing songs. I just never did it to earn money. But when I had to support myself I did local gigs. I never thought I'd do it as a career though, and travel. Before I knew it, I was doing it. I feel really fortunate to do that.
KD: On the single, you've said, "When you feel an emotion so visceral and potent, the songs write themselves." With that, how do you approach writing songs?
GB: I try not to sit down and write songs. I really like writing music on the fly or with other people or just when they're around. I feel the best songs come out of silly concepts. That's how the first single came about actually. That song just sort of happened. 10,000 Emerald Pools is my friend's mom's address in Las Vegas. It's the only address in Las Vegas with a theme song. [laughs]
KD: Is each song written with a different process?
GB: I'd say so, yeah. I'll always hear a song and think I'd like to grab one little piece. I remember hearing Billy Joel he would write so many songs and take bits and pieces from each to make one, like putting them together. So it's a lot like that – mixing and matching little scraps.
On this EP, a lot of the songs were written in this tree house I'm living in, and I loved how the songs sound like there's an echo.
KD: As you gain popularity and get the backing of a record label, are you afraid of that ruining your process?
GB: Not really. I feel deadlines can be very inspiring. There's been so many times where I'm in the studio writing the song and we still have to write a chorus or verse. I'd rather wait until tomorrow but we need to do it in 15 minutes. And honestly, a lot of the time it turns out to be better than it would have if we waited. It takes away overthinking.
As soon as I signed, I definitely felt the weight, but it's the name of the game... and I love it. The label really respects a lot of my artistic ideas. There's a lot of artistic freedom, which is great!
KD: You were in New York for CMJ. Was it your first time playing in New York?
GB: Yeah! It's great. I didn't know what to expect. I've lived [in New York] but never played out. The guys that I was working on music with in New York never got to hear the final product so they're really psyched about it. But playing in New York is definitely a different vibe than playing elsewhere. I like it!
KD: The debut EP Candy is out now. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
GB: I definitely has a big Southern California flavor to it, early 60s vibe. I think it's a summer record for all seasons. I cant wait for people to hear it.