Aussie indie/dance band Tora came up into the radar with over 20 million streams, having played the likes of Glastonbury and Falls Festival, an Australian support slot with RUFUS under their belt and a series of forthcoming UK / European shows in October.
The Byron Bay electronic four-piece Tora finally announce their debut album Take A Rest.
Set for release 9 June, which they will perform live on their Australian tour this June before heading to Europe and the UK.
Singer Jo Loewenthal details the album:
“Most of the songs on the album have been written over the last 2-3 years and were influenced by experiences we had whilst touring the world, resulting in quite a broad sound. We borrowed a few synths from friends, and we recorded a lot of organic sounds in the cactus garden at Jai's house, where a lot of the songs were produced. Some of the songs have flies, bamboo creaking in the wind, washing machines and even the sound of us scraping and hitting cactuses with rakes.”
He goes on to add:
“A lot of this album is more upbeat and dancey than anything we've made before, so the title is not so much referring to the sound of the music, but more so an encouragement for the listener to forget about their problems for a moment and 'take a rest' from their responsibilities while they listen. Making the music was our way of escaping reality and finding a peaceful place in our minds, so we hope the listener can find that same place when listening.”
Produced and mixed by the band in the idyllic surrounds of Byron Bay, before being mastered by Grammy nominated Engineer Andrei Eremin (WAFIA, Chet Faker & Hiatus Kaiyote), ‘Another Case’ follows on from the intricate first single ‘Amsterdam’ - a track which traverses from pocket grooves and bass-driven beats to soaring vocals.
Tora have an extensive touring CV, with spots on the line up at The Great Escape (UK), Best Kept Secret (NL), and Germany’s premier festivals Fusion Festival, and Reeperbahn as well as over 70 other festivals and headline shows across Europe, the US, Mexico and Canada.
The band have amassed a combined 20 million online streams from previous singles ‘Poly Amor’ and ‘Twice’, and EP’s Eat the Sun and the self-titled Tora. As previous winners of the triple j unearthed spot at Splendour in the Grass, Tora continue to solidify their position as one of the most lauded live acts in the country.
We are glad to introduce you with Tora!
Bizzarre: How did you meet each other? How did your story begin?
Tora: We all grew up together, some of us have been in each others lives since we were 9 years old. We went to the same school, a couple of us were actually were in a high school band together. Shaun and I dropped out of school aged 16 to go and study music, a couple of years after that we formed Tora.
B: What’s it like being in a 4-piece band?
Tora: It’s great because you have 4 minds working together on a common goal. It’s also a very comfortable feeling walking out on stage with your 3 best mates, you can’t really have a bad time because you’re just doing what you love with the people you love. I feel like touring would be a lot less fun and quite lonely if we weren’t all doing it together and even when it comes to finishing music, it’s so important having a few pairs of ears there to give everyone perspective, especially because we all have unique tastes in music.
B: Tell us 3 things you enjoy doing together as a band?
Tora: Well without being boring and saying the obvious things like ‘playing/creating music’, there’s a bunch of stuff we like to do together.
We love exploring new places together, so whenever we’re in a new city or country, we usually go for a pretty big walk when we arrive and find our bearings together, perhaps go out for a dance, the normal things haha.
We don’t do it as often as we’d like to, but we do love a good game of volleyball together, although 2 vs 2 isn’t that easy so we usually get a couple of mates to come join us.
I’d say the most common activity we do together outside of music, is have picnics by the river or beach, perhaps a beer or two and lots of good chats while soaking up the sun.
B: Jo, you said that “Most of the songs on the album have been written over the last 2-3 years and were influenced by experiences we had whilst touring the world” can you tell us which kind of experiences these were?
Tora: Well a song that I can think of straight away is ‘Amsterdam’, I think if you listen to the song and read the lyrics it’s pretty self explanatory what happened. ‘I became stoned in my Amsterdam home I got high for a week approximately, now I’m full blown, I don’t know home, my hours could be weeks’. When you’re touring for 7 months, constantly exhausted and overstimulated, it’s easy to lose yourself and in all honesty I lost myself for a while there. That’s why the album name ‘Take A Rest’ is so appropriate.
To touch on a second song, ‘Empyrean’ is a song inspired by the homeless community in Montreal. We were just so blown away by how cold it is in that part of the world and we felt a lot of empathy for anyone who has to go through a winter in that place without a home.
B: As you said, your album was recorded with a lot of organic sounds, did you face particular problems while producing it? Did you have the inspiration for that kind of sound naturally or did you have to work a lot on it? (for example for the washing machine)...
Tora: Yeah well because a lot of the writing happened in different parts of the world, when we compiled the ideas that had been written individually, very quickly we realised that there was a pretty huge polarity sonically between most of the ideas, so we had to find a way to make them all fit together in an album.
So we spent about 2 months together working day and night just rerecording parts, playing around with new effects that we hadn’t used before, making sure that every song had something unique, but also something that tied it in with the rest. Often we’d be working on a track and say ‘man this sounds too clean, it’s too studio’ so we’d go and record something from our surroundings, sounds from the garden or kitchen or whatever, just anything to make it sound more real and more interesting. We wanted it give the listener a real sense of the environment where we produced the record, which was Jai’s living room.
B: How should we experience listening to your album? Sitting down on the couch? Working out in the gym?
Tora: Personally I think this album is suitable for various moods, it’s pretty chilled so someone wanting to relax and get absorbed in the music could just sit down with headphones and get lost in the sound.
But when we perform it live, it’s quite energetic and a lot more dancy.
It’s also the kind of album you could put on in a dim, candle lit bedroom with someone you love.
B: How did you record “Amsterdam”? What makes you think about the city and its surroundings?
Tora: It’s funny you ask about this one specifically actually, because I was looking through my phones voice memos the other day and I found a little recording of me just singing the beginning lyrics and it was dated back to September 29th 2015. The day we played at Paradiso (the same day I met my dutch girlfriend haha). I was in a bit of a tour haze then, but once we were back in Aus, probably January or Feb 2016, Shaun and I were making a piece of music with guitar and bass and suddenly that vocal line came back into my mind, so I sang it on top and it just seemed to fit perfectly. Sometimes things that you write or record on you phone without thinking, end up making a lot more sense later down the track.
B: Finally, tell us an interesting fact about Australia?
Tora: We ride Kangaroos to school…haha okay no that’s stupid.
Hmm, well Australia is a similar size to Europe (excluding Western Russia), but it only has 23 Million people, so there’s a hell of a lot of road between each major city. Note to touring artists, fly…don’t drive.
Tora - Eat The Sun