The Writers Block Backstage

The Writers Block With Tora

The Writers Block With Tora

Following the release of ‘Deviate’, the first single since 2017 album ‘Take A Rest’, Byron Bay electronic 4-piece Tora, have today dropped their follow up singles ‘Morphine’ and 'Can't Buy The Mood' as well as announced the release of sophomore album ‘Can’t Buy The Mood’. Read on as frontman Jo Loewenthal answers a few questions about what to expect from the album. 


What can we expect from your upcoming album release?

On the upcoming record people can expect to hear an eclectic array of sounds, staying true to the typical nature of any Tora release, sonic diversity is what we’re all about. From upbeat dance tunes to slow burning singalongs, it’s all tied together with the classic Tora quirky production style. The key difference is that this new record has a slightly more mature song writing style, with more time and energy put into the lyrical content.


Who were your main influences when writing the album?

To be honest we haven’t had any specific influences this time around, perhaps you could say we have taken more inspiration from our own previous work than from anyone else.





What are your favourite tracks on the album and why?

This is a tough question haha! I love them all for different reasons. From an uniqueness perspective I would say 'Mother Forgot' takes the cake. From a song writing perspective I think 'Similar' and 'Deviate' give me the strongest emotional reaction, and from a production perspective I love 'Morphine', it’s dark, dirty, but somehow bubbly and upbeat at the same time. Then there’s 'Paramount' which seems to be the favourite of many people on their first listen, which automatically makes me like it more haha.


Peak and Pit of the writing process?

The process has been drawn out over the period of 2 years, so there’s been many highs and lows throughout. I guess the highs are the moments when you come up with a new idea and it’s all fresh and exciting, and then the lows are those late moments in the process when you’re fine tuning every little sound and every layer in the mix, and you can’t tell if what you’re doing is improving the song or making it worse.


Any (in particular) memorable moments?

For me a really memorable moment was when I was writing ‘Similar’, it was around 2am one night in the middle of last August, when I decided to try recording this melody that had been floating around in my head for the previous couple of weeks. As soon as I started singing the vocal melody, lyrics just raced into my mind and it just suddenly made sense all at once. In a single moment of absolute inspiration I sang ‘everything emotional comes out all at once...etc’ I only recorded 1 take of the lead vocals which I ended up keeping on the finished version because it just felt right the first time. That was a special moment, because I wrote and recorded those vocals all in one simultaneous moment, something that doesn’t happen very often for me.




If you had to describe your album in three words, which words would you use?

Eclectic, Surprising, Quirky


If you could collaborate with any artist or producer, who would it be? 

James Blake


When writing the tracks on the album, what came first? the music, lyrics or melody?

It’s different for every song, sometimes a melody will live in my head for weeks before I try to build a song around it. Sometimes I write down a random lyric in my notes on my phone and then find a place for it later. And sometimes we just start making a beat and add vocals to it later. It’s always a different process, but it seems like this big subconscious puzzle which is being put together by our minds over a long period of time. Different pieces will show up at random times and then during the breakthrough moments in the studio we realise that stuff just fits together, it’s kind of crazy how it works.


What was it like working on your album in The Writers Block? 

An absolute pleasure, the facilities there are amazing there and it really is an inspiring place to work in. It also helps knowing that our friends at universal publishing will come in and listen at the end of each day, because it motivates us to make sure we get stuff done.


Do you constantly write or is it more of a ebb and flow? 

For the most part the writing is constant, whether it’s consciously or not there are always ideas coming through which are documented as voice memos or notes in my phone, which can later prove to be very valuable pieces of the puzzle. The time spent actually consciously focusing on refining ideas is slightly less consistent, but still generally it’s a part of every normal week.


What was the writing process like for your most recent single, 'Deviate'?

I actually started writing Deviate 3 years ago but decided to shelf the idea as I got stuck, then about 10 months ago we rediscovered the idea and realized it had potential, so we fleshed it out and then got stuck again, so we shelved it for a while longer until we finally realized we needed to strip away the majority of the layers. After we flipped it a third time back in August we finally got it to its final form. It was one of those frustrating songs in the sense that we knew it had potential, but it took so much time to take it all the way. Double edged sword, incredibly frustrating, but equally satisfying in the end.


How was the writing of this album contrary to the making of your previous?  

I think the process was actually pretty similar in many ways, although this time we spent a lot more time focusing on the lyrical content.




The tracks on the album could easily be described as nostalgic. How did you go about giving your music this quality?

Ahh really? That’s a nice compliment! I guess the nostalgia must come from the state of mind we were in whilst writing it, it was a very self-reflective period in all of our lives, so perhaps that has naturally come through sonically.


Do you all fall into the same routines when writing and recording? 

Sometimes yes, but generally we try to keep it fresh by bringing in new instruments, new plugins and always striving try learn more and apply new techniques to ensure we are stepping it up with each release.


When thinking about production, what is the most challenging factor?

I think the biggest challenge is to find something new, which we haven’t tried before. Sound design is a whole beast in itself, finding sounds that we haven’t heard before and fitting them together in a way that makes the song sound better and not worse or overproduced can be a challenge, but when you find the balance it’s rewarding.




Shaun, Thorne and Jo from Tora by Carlos Walters

How much does the mix or master of a song affect the final product?

For us, mixing and mastering is actually kind of a part of the writing process, so it’s a massively important element to achieving our sound. We write, record, produce, mix and master all in the same swoop, which allows us to make sure that every layer we add is necessary to make the song sound like Tora.


Listen to 'Morphine' and 'Can't Buy The Mood' here!