“Fashion, it’s sort of a poor man’s theatre show,
in a way whatever you wear can really change the performance.”
– Garrett Borns
It was a cold winter day in Berlin, when we met Garrett Borns, the 25 year old singer-songwriter from LA, for an exclusive interview, before his sold out show at Lido. Besides from talking about his coming studio album, we talked about living in a tree house, the fountain of youth and of course fashion.
You‘ve been on tour across the world for a while now, do you sometimes miss your tree house?
Oh yeah, I always do! I don’t live in a tree house anymore, but I still have fine memories of it and I go there in my mind sometimes. So yeah of course I miss the tree house.
Living in a tree house sounds pretty adventurous, what was the best thing about living in a tree house?
I think it’s the fact that it’s always constantly changing around you. There’s always like different fruits and different trees and there’s like a lots of different creatures in the backyard, like cats and chickens and skunks. There’s always something new, I suppose.
You currently live in LA. Do you miss LA? If so what do you miss about it?
I don’t miss LA when I’m on tour, not really. I mean touring, that’s supposing you’re able to be somewhere new, but LA always is a nice place to kinda recalibrate I think after a long tour. Everyone is juicing and exercising and trying to stay young. The fountain of youth is in LA.
What do you think of Berlin? Have you had any interesting experiences here?
I really like Berlin. I was here like a month ago, to do some promo and I stayed at the Michelberger Hotel, I love that place! Met some cool people. Seems like I always meet interesting artists or musicians when I’m here. And there is just art everywhere and it seems like a very cool place! Everything just looks cool! (laughs) It’s very pleasing to look at.
You‘re in Berlin to play in Lido tonight, and your second studio album, ‘Blue Madonna’, is on the way. What can we expect? How does it compare to ‘Dopamine’?
Well I recorded it with Tommy English, who produced ‘Dopamine’, so I guess that’s how it compares. Other than that I think it’s very different.. Just the kinda songs I was writing and how I am singing on it and what I’m singing about. I think ‘Dopamine’ was very much kinda like this longing for some sort of an electric, magnetic, sensual experience and this new album is more like the duality between mortality and immortality.
Could you name some things that inspired you whilst making this record?
I was reading this old sci-fi novels, that kinda inspired some of the songs. Some old paintings by this man named Carl Dobsky, he did these really provocative paintings, not provocative in like a sexual way, they are just really intense to look at. And there are always people looking up at the sky at some like greater thing. You can’t tell what they are looking at, but they’re kinda scared. That was kind of inspiring!
You‘re quite experimental with your instrumentation, using Theremin and Mariachi bands amongst others, what inspired you to use these exotic elements? And how do you find these musicians?
Well the Mariachi band came from my neighbourhood. I lived in this very kind of noisy neighbourhood in LA and there’s always just like chihuahuas barking and ice-cream-truck with bells and Mariachi bands playing every night. I just loved being around that, such an inspiring place. And so I wanted to do a version, which reminded me of that. I love Mariachi music, I think it’s so uplifting and like beautiful and real. The Theremin, that was just something I’ve always been kinda fascinated by. And it was used in Beach Boys recordings and it’s kinda like a sci-fi element. And I found this Theremin player, just an amazing classical Thereminist.
I‘ve heard that you‘re quite the night owl, and prefer to work whilst others are sleeping, is this true?
Yeah, I can be. Especially when I’m on tour, my sleep schedule gets so fucked. There’s calmness to night time that I really like.
You used to be a magician when you were younger. Why did you stop that and decided to become a musician or did it just come naturally to you?
I feel like magic was just kind of my way of being an artist and challenging myself. I like to putting together like a full routine and having like a whole show. And being a performer and frontman and talk to people, entertain them and keep their attention. There’s always some kind of challenge that I find really interesting and a lot of things are very much synonymous with music. Magic and music it’s very much a magic show when you’re watching musicians play, ‘cause it’s like how you’re playing that instrument. Why is it making me feel emotions, you know.
Do you have any childhood heroes?
Robin Hood! He was there taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Sweet dude, looked cool, shot the arrow, he had a really great aim.
If you could go ‘back to the future’ and be able to do a time travel – would you go back in time, see what the future holds for you or are you fine with the presents?
I’m pretty okay with the present. The future kinda freaks me out. And I’m pretty already freaked out with everything what is happening in this world. (laughs)
You‘ve directed your music videos. Do you think it’s important to branch out beyond music?
Yeah, I mean music is really just my way of being able to do everything else. Because I really love film and I’m always writing from kind of visual daydreams. I have to be able to see the music when I’m playing it. I was like putting those together in sort of an actual cinematic thing and all of the artwork and everything I directed from the album. So yeah, music is just one aspect of it. I like to include everything.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion, it’s sort of a poor man’s theatre show, in a way whatever you wear can really change the performance. And it also puts you into a character. It helps me to perform differently and just be in that character. It’s like a costume.
How would you describe your style?
It’s always kind of changing, but I guess experimental. I like mixing old stuff, like vintage clothing, with new things. I kinda like mixing different eras.
Do you have an indispensable piece of clothing for you?
I don’t know if I’m that attached to anything.. I don’t think so.
What did you pack in your suitcase – do you have any travel essentials?
Pretty much just enough clothes to wear on this tour. Some silky shirts and I packed a Miyake suit and I have a Gucci suit as well.
You’re kinda brand ambassador you’re modelling for Gucci. What else influences you in the way you dress besides from adorable Gucci suits?
I love everything else Alessandro is doing, he collects a lot of these antique things and kinda mixes that with stuff now, with street wear, which is cool. And he has a sense of humour that I love.
Is there any magical venue you’d really love to play one day?
Hollywood Bowl would be great! I’ve heard Red Rocks is really great. Maybe somewhere in Greece would be nice.
Have you ever been to Greece?
No, but I’ve seen pictures.
We heard that you’re a cat lover/cat person and you love tuxedos & suits. How do you feel about catsuits?
Catsuits?! Are you talking about a skin tight, latex sort of catsuit?
Yeah the ones Freddie Mercury used to wear while performing on stage in the 70’s.
Oh damn! (laughs) It’s a new experience. I’m all about it.
Can you imagine to wear a catsuit?
Well to be honest, we can’t wait to see Garrett in a catsuit – you should better keep ya eyed peeled, because you never know 😉 Also keep your ears and eyes wide open for ‘Blue Madonna’, which will be out in January 2018!
xx smoke and echoes