It's 1 o'clock in the afternoon when Garrett Borns, known by his stage name, Børns, calls. The Michigan native has just woken up, and he begins by apologizing for his groggy state. His exhaustion is understandable. He's had quite the year: a debut album titled "Dopamine," tours with Halsey and Years & Years and sold out shows across North America and Europe, all while garnering more than 100 million plays on Spotify.
For the 24-year-old, everything revolves around feelings and living in the moment, an instinct that translate into his music with full force. "They're all a kind of cerebral mindtrip I have with love and the feelings that go with it – longing, lust, etc," he says of his songs. His dreamy vocals with throbbing drum beats and syncopated synths make for catchy pop anthms that aim to explore the depths of human emotions.
Amidst his jam-packed schedule, Børns slows down for a moment to chat about his studio debut and his insights on love, lust and leaving it all on the stage.
Can you talk to me about the inspiration behind "Dopamine"?
It came from an EP I recorded called "Candy," [from] when I first moved to Los Angeles. It was kind of about me just figuring it out – being lost in the city, but also lost in my own lovesick emotions. "Dopamine" came from being on tour and having to record an album in between tours. It was me getting ideas, thoughts and fantasies, love, poems, those sorts of things, out there.
Dopamine is the chemical hormone responsible for feelings like love, which seems to be the encompassing theme of the album. What interests you about it?
What fascinates me about dopamine is that it's tied into your addictions to things, your longing for them. Whenever you think about a really good experience you had, that's when it's released. Or when you're thinking about something that's going to give you pleasure, whether it's chocolate, music, women or whatever. It's about these enticing things.
Why did it become the title of your album?
It came from writing a song called "Dopamine." I just wrote this hook for a song. I kind of forgot about it for a while, then I pulled up that demo again. I was in the studio and showed [producer] Tommy English, and he was like, "Oh, that's a cool hook. We should do something with that." We wrote the rest of the song to it, and it became the title track. It sort of fully encapsulated all of the other songs.