After their triumphant return with the breathtaking “Dry Land”, we caught up with Bora York to talk all things bright and beautiful. Hear what the couple had to say on what’s next to come.
To bring you up to speed, if you haven’t heard of Bora York, where have you been? Blessing our eyes with their indie synth-pop tracks for over 4 years now, the duo share everything together; music, partnership and connection. We caught up with the couple to discuss the future and what to expect.
Hey both! How are you doing in the land of Bora York after the fantastic reception of “Dry Land”?
Chris: Doing great, thanks! Just continuing to make music and chase our three boys around… that keeps us pretty busy around the clock.
The new single really is something special. What was the process like writing and producing it? Do you write together or do you have a different formula?
Chris: Thank you. Typically I start writing each song, whether that’s lyrics and melody, or producing and recording the music first, and later working on lyrics. Then Rebekah usually joins in on writing vocal parts. I actually remember first writing this on our porch last summer or fall. I came up with the chorus first. Lyrics are often the most elongated part of the process for me, but that chorus just came to me. It wasn’t til later while writing the bridge that I realized what the song was inspired by and going to be about.
Rebekah: Chris is definitely the main creative brain behind the songs of Bora York, coming up with themes, structure, instrumentation, and lyrics. Then I get to come in and help develop melodies and refine the song lyrically as well. You’ll usually hear a lot of different harmonies and layers in our songs, which are a big part of my role in writing as well! It’s fun to find places to ad lib lightly over the melody to bring an instrumental quality and textures to the vocals.
If you could both pick 2 (each) favourite current artists who would they be?
Chris: At this moment, I think it’d be The Gentlemen Losers and Day Wave.
Rebekah: Definitely into Maggie Rogers and Washed Out right now!
Now your sound is based around folk element but with an indie synth pop approach, was there something that inspired you to create this original sound? For example; the scenery where you live, musical influences?
Chris: Subconsciously, the scenery or setting definitely could have played a part, now that you mention it. We live in the city, but the view outside our back porch (where I started writing the song) feels very woodsy. Unlike most of our songs, I started this one with only an acoustic guitar, so I’m sure that played a part. Also, when I started writing the first ever Bora York songs back in 2011 or 2012, I actually thought the album and project as a whole was going to be folk. It naturally turned into more of a synthpop thing, but maybe those folk roots are still there, and obviously they come out from time to time in some of our songs.
Music obviously is a big part of any musicians life, but do you both have other hobbies that you enjoy that gives you inspiration for songwriting?
Chris: At the moment… not really. For some people maybe that sounds like a bummer, but it’s not at all for me. We’re just in a season of life where there’s not too much time for a whole lot besides family and music. Good thing I love both a lot. Getting together with friends as much as we can is important as well. I do enjoy sports, in particular golfing. But of course, in Minnesota, we’re still a ways off from that right now!
Rebekah: I love creating in general. I enjoy working with my hands, building my own furniture, making my own art, and spending time creating a peaceful and inviting atmosphere in our home. We love hosting friends, new and old—some we’ve made through music collaboration! I love that people can come and get a sense of who we are as a family when they walk in the door, sit on the couch, and share a good cup of coffee and conversation. As a stay-at-home mom I also love doing puzzles and arts and crafts projects with our boys! In the summer I love being outside and attempting growing food in our garden!
What’s your favourite thing about being in Bora York? Is there anything you don’t like?
Rebekah: I know it’s cheesy, but I love being in a band with my husband! I feel blessed that I get to be a part of the extensive musical world that Chris has created. I not only get to support his dreams but also be a part of them, and we get to use our unique talents to compliment each other. My second favorite part of Bora York is our fan base. Even if our shows are few and far between during this season of life, it almost feels like a super fun family-reunion-dance-party. I always look forward to seeing people who have been there from the very beginning, and connecting with those who came out for the first time!
Chris: I just like writing and recording songs more than most things in life, so really that’s where all my music projects, including Bora York, are born. That being said, Bora York is special because it’s less introverted than my other projects, for the most part. Writing with Rebekah, and then the aspect of playing live, with our friends in the band, and just being able to go out from time to time and play our songs for people – in person – not just the internet – is something that is always a special thing, and an important thing.
To be vulnerable, I don’t like the anxiety I have with it all sometimes. Whether that’s anxiety of what Bora York “should” or “shouldn’t” look like as far as a band, playing live, or where our priorities should be. Or the internal struggles of release schedules and social media and things like that. Music is more than a hobby for me, which is really a dream come true, but that also means I never quite get the chance to shut my brain off with all these songs, and releases, and promotional ideas, and shows and schedules, and all of the above. But – I wouldn’t have it any other way – I’m just learning to grow in all this, figure it out a day at a time, and enjoy the whole process.
What’s your favourite album of all time? Tricky I know… If you’re struggling, top 3?
Chris: Definitely tricky. I think even top 10 would be tricky for me! Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Jonsi and Alex – Riceboy Sleeps, Jimmy Eat World – Clarity… wait, no… Tame Impala – Currents… wait… Radiohead – In Rainbows.. wai–
Rebekah: John Mayer – Continuum, Mariah Carey – Daydream, Brooke Fraser- Albertine. Classics 🙂
Are there any upcoming artists that you’d like to recommend to us and our viewers?
Chris: Absolutely. I’m convinced the world will fall in love with Ben Noble soon. Friend of ours, but just ridiculously talented, and ridiculously good music. Same goes for Maple & Beech. Luna, Luna. Vansire. I’m also pretty involved in the ambient and modern classical world, for those that dig that stuff. There’s so much good stuff coming out, but here’s just a few – Elijah Bisbee, r beny, Noise Trees, John Hayes.
What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in music?
Chris: Write. A lot. Produce, a lot. Play a lot. Go to shows. Meet with people. A lot. Figure out what you love to do, and do a lot of it. Even if you think it sucks at first, keep doing it. Constantly work those muscles. Also, share your creativity, even if it’s scary – even a decade or two down the line, you’ll never think that a song you write or produce is perfect. It’s not about perfection – it’s about creating and putting things out there – that’s the only way to get better, and to grow and develop and find open doors of opportunity. Besides, I’ve found that “perfect” recordings can be pretty life-less. I’m obsessed with imperfections – that’s where the depth in music is found – that’s what listeners connect with the most.
What’s in store next for Bora York? Any upcoming releases? A tour?
Chris: No tour lined up, at least in this season of life for us. But yes, lots of singles coming out this summer and fall, and eventually our third album, either late 2019 or early 2020. We’re busy writing and recording right now. We’re also soon pressing our first album, Dreaming Free, to vinyl, which will be a first for us. And I stay busy with my other music projects, as well, like Elskavon and Blurstem.
Today sees the release of Bora York’s first vinyl printing. If you’re a vinyl fanatic and love indie-pop, check out this link to order now – https://qrates.com/projects/17886