Børns is having a big year that’s about to get bigger. After drawing huge crowds to his afternoon ACL Fest sets each weekend, he leaves for New York. He’s scheduled to play "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon later this week, right before dropping his debut full-length album on Friday. We sat down to talk with the 23-yr-old pop phenom after his set.
Austin360: You’re from Michigan originally, where in the state are you from?
Grand Haven right on Lake Michigan. It’s very sand duney
So almost beachy for the Midwest.
Super beachy. A lot of people think (Lake Michigan) is the ocean because it’s so massive and the beaches are so nice. Really sandy open wide beaches. It’s kind of a tourist town actually. It gets kind of crazy in the summer.
That explains so much. Your music is so beachy. It seemed like a disconnect that you grew up in Michigan. We’re the cold months hard?
It made you appreciate the beachy months… There’s like icebergs and stuff. It froze pretty far out. I would always cross country ski out there with my husky. … I really liked that variety of seasons because in the summer you’re building tree forts and going down to the sand dunes, running down them and swimming in the waves rolling in. In the fall there’s all the color tours. I love Michigan. Love it there. My heart is there.
Talk to me about "10,000 Emerald Pools." You said it’s a song about falling in love under water?
It was a song that I recorded with my friend (Jack) Kennedy who is a really talented creative dude…I was like "What if we wrote a song about going on a tropical island and you’re there and you go for a scuba diving trip. And then you’re underwater and you see this woman. She’s scuba diving and you guys fall in love right there. The plankton (waves hands). It’s such a romantic sparkly place to fall in love with the coral reef, fish all around. Then you turn into mermaid and have crazy mermaid sex, I don’t know.
You’ve got such a summery pop sound. We’re you trying out a bunch of things and that’s something you happened upon or has it always kind of been in your heart?
I think it’s always been there. Growing up I loved listening to the Beach Boys and BeeGees… The Turtles did it a lot too. They had very sexy verses, very moody, and they had these really grand choruses. (Sings) "I can’t see me loving nobody but you!" There’s something that felt so good about recording like that.
Is it a little surreal to be playing to these huge crowds all of a sudden?
Yeah I always want to make sure it’s happening organically, that I’m not forcing anything. I found a management team in L.A. that really believed in what I was creating and wanted to give me the time to create it before we start talking to labels or anything like that. That gave me some peace of mind. I didn’t want to just get signed because they were like ‘This kid’s got kind of cool style and he’s got a good voice." I wanted to get signed because they liked the body of work that I made and trusted me.
I read somewhere you used to do a magic show when you were 10.
I had a regular gig at a restaurant where I did table magic, a lot of card tricks, some money tricks kind of things that could fit in your hands. I liked that the most.
Did you make stuff disappear?
Yeah I made stuff disappear I can do that.