Talking With Tora: New album, new sounds, new experience

Electronic ‘chillwave’ band Tora have recently released their new album ‘Take a Rest’, and we are absolutely frothing over it.

The self-produced and mixed record was mastered by Grammy Award nominated engineer Andrei Eremin, who has also worked with Chet Faker, WAFIA and Hiatus Kaiyote.

The group has been putting the album together for a number of years now, travelling around the globe for inspiration and taking unusual live sounds and incorporating them into the recordings back home in Byron Bay.

Tora have played Glastonbury, Falls Festival, and were a Triple J Unearthed winner for Splendour in the Grass in 2014. They’ve also made appearances at The Great Escape (UK), Best Kept Secret (NL), and Germany’s premiere festivals Fusion Festival and Reeperbahn, as well as over 70 other festivals and headline shows across Europe, the US, Mexico and Canada.

We had a chat with band member Jo Loewnthal about the album making process and what we can expect in their upcoming national headline tour.

You wrote the album over a period of two years in various locations around the globe. How did this experience influence the album?

Everywhere we went had an impact on the sound of the album, with different places and different musical influences, but also just experiencing different things and going through different highs and lows along the way. It impacted a lot of emotions put into the album. I always find I can’t create unless I’m having new experiences, and touring the world was filled with so many experiences which enabled us to pack an album full different ideas.

Is there a particular event that’s stayed with you from this journey?

There’s definitely a few, the one most obvious being our time in Amsterdam. Life on the road can be pretty exhausting. Amsterdam was a particular time where we got quite caught up in everything and a bit lost [head to Tone Deaf to see a vlog of their experiences there]. Also, ‘Empyrean’, Track 14 on the album, is a song about the homeless community in Montreal. It’s not necessarily about one particular person, but our way of relating to those people who have to go through the freezing cold winter and not knowing how they survive.

How does this album differ from your previous EPs?

Largely, it’s a step up in the sense that we’ve put a lot more thought into it. We’ve taken all the things we loved about the first two EPs and put it all into an album. There’s a lot more focus on the lyrics, storytelling, and deciding what people can relate to. I think there’s also I step up in production quality. We put a lot more time and thought into making inventive sounds and bringing something fresh to the table. The album as a whole is a bit more collective than previous work because we wanted there to be something in there for everyone. Overall, I think the album is more collective than anything we’ve made before.

What was it like working with Andrei Eremin?

That’s actually quite common question. We didn’t actually get the chance to get in the studio with him because we were all busy with other stuff, so it was a back-and-forth process. We sent him the files for him to master, and he was really efficient and gave a bit of input. He was really friendly and effective with his work.

We’ve definitely spent more time practicing for this tour more than we ever have before, and I think we’re going to be bringing a lot of energy to the stage for people to just rock out and dance to.

Last year you toured with RUFUS, what was that like?

Yeah, it was really good! Those guys are such down to earth friendly people. We made really good friends with them and ever since they’ve been really supportive of us, which is awesome. The tour itself was amazing – playing to crowds of over 5000 people is something we’d never done before. It was a really big learning experience for us seeing how things work on that level of professionalism. We learnt a lot on the technical side of things, like how the crew set up the stage and how they get the sound they actually get. Fan-base wise, we were exposed to a lot of people and we got to hang out with an awesome bunch of people. So overall it was an amazing experience.

You’ve played at a bunch of music festivals across Australia and the world. Which one would be your favourite?

That’s a good question. I would have to say Best Kept Secret in Holland. They look after their artists so well and make you feel really welcome. All the stages are beautifully set up, and there’s a really good mix of music with all the different artists. The show we played there is probably one of the best shows we’ve ever actually played – it was a one-o’clock slot in the middle of the day and we started out with about 100 people watching, which grew to about 2500. It was really nice to see people discovering us.

What would be your favourite song from the album?

All of us have different opinions on that. Mine changes every week depending on my mood, but at this point in time I would say ‘Too Much’ is my favourite, with’ Love Life’ a close second.

What can we expect from your upcoming tour?

We can definitely expect a step up in the overall experience. We’ve put a lot of work into making sure that there’s something a bit more capturing this time around. We’ve got a lighting technician who’s made a light show for us. We’re going to be playing a bunch of new songs from the record, and some of the old favourites. We’ve definitely spent more time practicing for this tour more than we ever have before, and I think we’re going to be bringing a lot of energy to the stage for people to just rock out and dance to.

The band continues to solidify their position as one of the most lauded live acts in the country. Their upcoming tour is one not to be missed. Catch Tora at Jive Bar on Friday July 7th (tickets here), accompanied by indie producer Moohki and singer-songwriter Allume.


Image: Tora FB

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