We welcomed indie pop artist Garret Borns — or BØRNS as he goes by on stage — to our Walkers Point Studio on Wednesday. Nate Imig got to sit down with him for a bit in the on-air studio. BØRNS told him “I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Milwaukee but enough times to know that I love it.” That’s a good thing because we kind of love Milwaukee too. We also love and are pretty much obsessed with his single “10,000 Emerald Pools,” and have been playing it for a while now.
The song isn’t a weird new reference to the Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City. Instead, it’s actually about a real place.
“Not as tropical as the title but definitely as shimmery I suppose because it’s actually a place in Vegas. It’s a house in Vegas that you can actually Google map it if you’re really curious. But yeah, it’s actually the address of a home.” (10000 Emerald Pools St., Las Vegas, NV)
Obviously we had to check this out for ourselves and here is the actual house on Emerald Pools St. Okay, that’s on a similar level as Fairy Chasm Road or Juniper Lane. It’s awesome.
The music video for “10,000 Emerald Pools” is filmed entirely under water.
“Reading the treatment before we actually filmed the video, everything sounds really great on paper and when it comes to recording under water there’s definitely some setbacks you have with, you know, breathing. And the whole idea was I was going to be upside down, in a pool, lip-syncing, and watching this angelic girl swim by me.
“And the thing is, when you’re upside down in a pool, the first thing that happens is water goes up your nose so we had to plug my nose with wax and also you have to let all of the air out of your lungs because otherwise you’re buoyant so you have to deflate yourself and actually go perfectly underwater.
“So I was reading the treatment and I called up the director and I was like man this treatment sounds really cool but aren’t we getting a little over zealous, like it sounds pretty intense but he was like ‘No man we can do it! We can figure it out!’ and so it was a very, very long evening.”
Taking over the air
Then we let BØRNS take over the airwaves for a half hour. His first song goes along with a trend we’ve started to notice with pretty much everyone we’ve talked to recently — everyone is obsessed with the new Tame Impala album, “Currents.” BØRNS first pick was “Cause I’m a Man.”
“First off, great title. It’s a really awesome concept for a song too. Tame Impala just knows how to do that super sweet psychedelic vibey compressed drums.”
BØRNS talked a little bit about his first time at Lollapalooza, too.
“It was great, it was very dusty, and sweaty. All things great about a festival. It was my first time to Lollapalooza and playing Lollapalooza. It [the crowd] was very large. And Young Thug played right after me so I don’t know how much of that was a mixed crowd for him but either way it was fun.”
The next song BØRNS chose actually features Young Thug — Jamie XX’s “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) ft. Young Thug and Popcaan.”
“His [Jamie XX’s] new album is amazing. It’s a really cool take on a record these days because I was reading up on it and there’s a lot of samples of the radio from like the 90’s I think? And so just some really cool rare samples that he turned into a very classic, accessible record. And this song starts with a barbershop quartet and then just goes into this really cool feel good.”
Enough about other people though. What inspires BØRNS?
“I do a lot of listening to other artists to definitely expand my mind on songwriting. I do a lot of just unconscious listening. I feel like I put on music to do the dishes or just walking around on an airplane I like to be just like falling asleep or washing dishes or just something that distracts me.
“And I definitely like to pick apart an album and learn all the songs on an album that I really like. So for instance, George Harrison’s record, ‘All Things Must Pass,’ is a brilliant record and really showcases him as a solo artist. And I’m just going through and learning all of the songs, all of the chord progressions and seeing how the melodies lay on there and I always learn so much just learning a full album.”
And BØRNS, as it turns out, always had a niche for music starting when he was about 10.
“I guess I was always dabbling in music, kind of a consistent dabble since I was pretty young I guess. Always into writing songs, and covering songs and learning Billy Joel songs on the piano.”
He has some advice for anyone starting out
“Just write a lot of songs. Because it’s all really just about the songs man. Like you can wear a really cool outfit and get a shiney rad guitar but really what it comes down to is, are those songs gonna get stuck in people’s heads? Are they gonna touch someone emotionally? You gotta be able to sing a pretty song.”
Two other songs BORNS chose:
? “TV Set,” by The Cramps — covered by Spoon. – “Whenever Spoon does a cover of something you can always trust that it’s going to be super vibey and rad and heavily showcase a shaker and a nice drum beat.” – BORNS
? “Without You,” by Tobias Jesso Jr. – “Sweet melodic goodness. Just a piano, and a guy, and some heart break.” – BORNS