You’ve heard the infectiously catchy track “Electric Love” all over the radio. On Spotify. In your friend’s car. Everywhere. But we bet you aren’t entirely familiar with the man behind that insanely unique voice. Get to know Garrett Borns — better known by his moniker, BØRNS — via our Q&A with him below.
SK: While you gained attention for your hit “10,000 Emerald Pools,” “Electric Love” really blew up. (It’s truly a fantastic, catchy song.) How did it feel when you began getting airplay and media attention for it?
Garrett Borns: It felt like a big high five. I recorded those songs with really good friends of mine, Tommy English (for “Electric Love”) and Kennedy (for “10,000 Emerald Pools”). To hear them on the radio is an amazing feeling.
SK: You’ve been compared to MGMT and a few others. How would you describe your music using this formula: It’s like combining ___ + ___ , with a dash of ___ , and you’ve got BØRNS.
GB: It’s like combining sugar + pheromones, with a generous scoop of L.A. sunlight.
SK: You’ve mentioned in past interviews how specific locations have inspired your music. What, currently, has been an inspiration to you and your songwriting?
GB: Currently it’s being on the road. Just got back from a two-week Europe tour with my band. Played a beautiful festival in the Netherlands, and summer in Paris is dreamy.
SK: Whether it be their talent and music or how they handle themselves in the spotlight, who is one current artist you admire and why?
GB: There’s a new French songstress named Petite Meller. I remember seeing her video for “Baby Love” for the first time and being totally absorbed into it. Her musical taste, old cinema influences and the way she dresses is very unique. I had the pleasure of singing a duet with her that will be coming out this fall.
SK: Not too long ago, Taylor Swift was in the headlines for her thoughts on Apple and Spotify’s streaming services. Are you on Team Taylor? What are your thoughts on it?
GB: I respect a huge pop star looking out for those smaller artists who need every cent they can get from streaming services. But either way, big or small, no artist’s hard work should be taken for granted because the internet makes it so available.
SK: Technology has changed the way we listen to and experience music. It has even changed the way we create and maintain relationships. But live music has always been such an important, personal experience for many people. How important are live shows to you? How important is it to create a lasting, memorable experience for your audience?
GB: The most important. You don’t have a glossy computer screen to smooth you over. You’re exposed and naked, and it’s exciting! My favorite live shows are always better than the records.
SK: What’s one live show that completely changed you and left a lasting impact on you?
GB: I saw Father John Misty this past spring while on tour through the same city. I’m a big fan of his records and his voice. He puts on an intrinsic performance; he really gets lost in it. His band is amazing, and you’re devoured by every second.
SK: One much-discussed topic these days is body shaming and female objectification. While plenty of celebs are pushing body positivity, we have artists who continue to use it as a way of drawing audiences in. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think female objectification is still a problem in the music industry? Should it change?
GB: Don’t exploit women to get people to like your music. Write better songs.
SK: There were plenty of reports of music festivals not equally representing female-led bands/artists on their lineups — that they’re very male-heavy. What are your thoughts on this? Is it unfair, or are people getting worked up for no reason?
GB: Music has no gender.
SK: What can you tell us about your debut album? Will it have a very similar feel/sound as your EP, Candy? Will we see/hear any collaborations?
GB: I recorded my full-length with Tommy English. The EP was full of fantasy love songs. This LP is inspired by lustful experiences, analogue keyboards, soaring, layered California harmonies and sweet, sensual themes.
SK: Starting July 21, you’re heading on tour with Charli XCX and Bleachers. In honor of Bleachers and Jack Antonoff, what is your favorite John Hughes film and why?
GB: John Hughes, a fellow Michigan guy. Just watched The Breakfast Club on tour. Brilliant film. And of course the Simple Minds theme gets me every time.