For starters, this interview occurred over two phases: over the phone and in person when Tora played the Lansdowne on the 12th of September. Therefore, it can be said that this interview is similar to the career trajectory of Tora themselves, as they have, over the past few years, been between two places; Australia and Europe.
The first tier of the interview left much to be desired, anticipation rife. It was clear from the beginning of our phone call that the band’s discography runs deep. Channeling the likes of James Blake and Little Dragon, the boys are a long way from their roots.
Originating as an indie rock band based between Byron Bay and Melbourne, it was through constant evolution and a passion to create that saw the band morph into a more electronic based band.
Even though Tora’s music is electronic, the boys make a point to play each instrument live. Before I saw Tora play, live instrumentation is a focal point of any band that I see play, for me anyway. It’s great to see electronic artists playing their instruments, because quite a few artists hide behind keyboards and essentially press play.
In turn this has helped the band in their ability to play music and their instrumental skills. Jo articulates the transition to a more electronic based production as a turning point in the bands’ career thus far. “It made it so that you no longer had to think between what you’re human capabilities are. It pushed our instrumental abilities, since what we were writing was so much more complex than what we were playing.”
When an improvement in you’re ability transpires, it’s easy to expect more of you’re art. However, Tora’s originality has never been in question. They have come together as friends, which saw their music and popularity grow organically. They have managed to stay true to themselves, finding their niche and working on it as a collective.
Tora as a whole are extremely underrated. A band who posses their ability should not only have 2500 (rough) views on one of their live performances of ‘morphine’ on Youtube.
They are great at every aspect of being a band and their music production is tight. Although, I firmly believe that their most underrated aspect is their songwriting and delivery.
The melodies and tonal literacies the band manages to accentuate their instrumentation with clean words. However, Tora have taken their time to morph into their current space. Starting out as an indie rock band with their origin rooted in Byron Bay, it’s safe to say that their sound has evolved and morphed over time.
Loosing a band member would hurt many bands. Tobias has an incredible voice, but since his departure, Jo has really come into himself over the last two albums. In speaking with fellow concert goers when Tora player the Lansdowne the appreciation for Jo’s voice runs deep, “ Jo’s voice is nothing short of angelic.”
Jo said over the phone that when he first heard James Blake, his understanding and the way he viewed music and its production changed. “It was around the time I first heard James Blake’s first album and Little Dragons first album that a new perspective of music and how it can be put together came to me”.
Once Jo came to the realisation that he could follow a more electronic based production approach to music he realised something had to change. “So we moved back to Byron Bay (they were in Melbourne) and began to make music in a studio setup at home with the computer being the tool you use to construct the whole thing.”
Jo would go on to say that having a computer as the focus helped their sound morph, “We were just experimenting with an infinite amount of sounds…which naturally made the songs sound like they do.”
Shifting to a more electronic based production scheme pushed the band to new levels of musicianship that they had not yet attained. “It allowed us to hone our craft and make these chord progressions and melodies that we wouldn’t have been able to make on the fly.”
The whole process of recording music into a computer, a more digitised way of creating music allows the chance for further refinement. “It really opened up this new perspective on being able to listen back to what you’re creating when you’re creating it. It gave us the third person perspective while we were creating.”
This helped the band progress as Jo states, “if you’re just playing it you really can’t hear what is sounds like objectively.”
When a band is able to create records that genuinely connect with the listeners, the next natural career progression is to tour their set. There’s always been a fear of living that expensive touring life. There have definitely been times when we’ve tipped over the edge and gone out of balance and thats probably why we’ve focused on writing music and being in the studio.”
“I think we have found a bit more of a balance and we’ve been preparing for next year where were going to be doing a lot more shows and we’ve found what makes it a lot more sustainable and what it takes to be healthy and happy.” Which ultimately is all we want for each other.