Q&A: Singer BØRNS on his new album and reading Playboy for inspiration

Singer and songwriter Garrett Borns, better known by his stage name BØRNS, will be performing in D.C. at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Thursday, just before the release of his second album, “Dopamine,” on Oct. 16. We spoke with the “Electric Love” artist about his goals and how reading Playboy inspires his music.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: When and why did you decide to start Dopamine?

A: I put out the EP for the album last November. As to why I decided to start the album, that’s an interesting question. I’ve never been asked that before. I think it was just the right time and I needed to keep the momentum going.

Q: How do you think your songs relate to the album title?

A: The album in its entirety is inspired by dopamine, this chemical in your brain that increases pleasure. And every song is pretty much about having this chemical connection to someone that exists when you’re really close to them, but can also be felt when you’re far apart.

Q: You’ve talked about how material you come across, such as Playboy magazines, or visions you have influence your work. Can you elaborate on that?

A: Yeah, so I often sift through random pieces of literature and magazines and look out for words that jump out at me or for sentences to inspire me or my mood. Playboy magazines in particular really went along with the theme of poetic sensuality that I feel like really inspires my work. They have a way of advertising that’s very sexy and playful and fun.

Q: Can you give me an example of how material you’ve come across has directly influenced your work?

A: So a song on the album, “Overnight Sensation,” was inspired from a Playboy spread I saw. It was this photograph of a woman lying on a couch while daylight poured in from the curtains and that scene just inspired that particular song.

Q: Do you have any specific goals or expectations regarding this album?

A: Well the main goal is to just get this album and my music out into the world and to have people listen and react to it. And in terms of expectations, I don’t really have them – or at least I try not to. I can’t really expect to know how people will react to my work. I just have to believe in my own artistic ability. But I hope people like it because it’s just a very intimate record for me.

Q: So this is your second album. Is there anything you learned from the touring and release of your first album that you will carry with you this time that will help you improve as an artist?

A: Yeah that’s a good question. So the experience with the release of my debut album has been very eye-opening and has been a great teacher to me. It’s taught me a lot about travelling, and who I am as a performer as well as who I am in the studio. But mostly, I just learned so much about performing that I never knew before and it’ll help me this time around.

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