A musical storyteller, Borella has come a long way in the Toronto music scene over the last several years. Often playing her beautifully curated sets at some of Toronto’s most influential underground venues, Borella is one artist to watch. We spoke to Borella ahead of her set at CODA on August 30th, where she will be opening for the infamous Hernan Cattaneo, and here’s what she had to say…
Tell us a little bit about your background in music, did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in the arts?
My musical training started at a very young age with percussion instruments, before I could read or write. My dad is a percussionist who used to play in bands – so he wanted to ensure that we continue his path in music from those early years. Later on, I got introduced to guitar and pursued with Spanish and classical methods in high school. I also used to be a hardcore ballet dancer during those years. So, to answer your question regarding my career path, yes, I always knew that it was going to be arts and music for me.
Other than your musical upbringing, and your love of the Berlin music scene, what other influences – whether it be people or experiences, prompted you to pursue a career in electronic music?
It started getting serious for me around three years ago, when I had my first trip abroad with a close friend. We attended an electronic music event where I got to see a lot of my favourite artists live – for the first time ever. Everyone had their own distinct sound, a creative representation of their origin and character. It opened my eyes to the versatility of this style of music and the broad spectrum of it. It was a very intense feeling, I was very inspired. I immediately purchased equipment for both production and mixing when I got back to Toronto.
“In general, I try to be creative with my sets and take the audience on a musical trip, painting different landscapes with unexpected moments and surprises.” – Borella
Your sound is known to be melodically dynamic but most often falling on the deeper side of electronic. How do your sets differ depending on the venue you’re performing at (i.e. CODA/Parlour vs. Vujaday/Cherry Beach?
I try to be diverse with my sound while adhering to certain qualities — consistency is key. I’m very melodic and deep, as you know. However, my club sound is definitely different from my outdoor sound. I usually like to play downtempo to midtempo sets, with warmer basslines and more tribal elements when I’m outdoors or on a beach. The club atmosphere though calls for something different; I like to play tracks that are more synthy, dark and progressive. In general, I try to be creative with my sets and take the audience on a musical trip, painting different landscapes with unexpected moments and surprises.
Toronto’s music scene has been developing more than ever over the last decade or so… what have you specifically noticed about the underground music scene, that you believe is shaping artists and music lovers in the city?
Today there are many wonderful groups in our city that are putting their efforts into creating new and exciting experiences by throwing parties in different outdoor and indoor venues, and bringing a good number of international artists on a weekly basis. Nothing is more inspiring and intuitive than being exposed to new sounds in a well-curated and positive space, with like-minded people.
Who are some of your artistic influences and role models at the moment?
This one is a hard question. The list is very long. Artists like Ibrahim Maalouf, Dhafer Youssef, Pink Martini, Jun Miyake, Gustavo Santaolalla, and Café Accordion Orchestra have inspired me outside of the world of electronic music throughout the years. However, in terms of production and mixing, Jonas Saalbach, Tim Engelhardt, Viken Arman, Mira and Hernan Cattaneo are a few names that have been inspiring me continuously.
Hernan Cattaneo is a veteran in his craft as well as a leading artist in the music industry. What are you looking forward to most about opening for him? Do you have a musical connection with Hernan?
Hernan is definitely one of the most inspiring and influential artists in our industry. He is one of the very few artists that can disconnect you from reality and allow you to float in music with his endless sets. As you know, I’ve always been very inspired by the Berlin scene, and Berlin Progressive and Deep Tech is quite different from the Israel scene. Opening for Hernan, I look forward to blending these sounds together and seeing the vibe it creates.
You previously made your CODA debut this past June, opening for Alfa State at CODA. How will your set be different during your opening slot for Hernan Cattaneo on August 30th?
This set will be structurally different from the one I played in June. With locals nights, every artist adheres completely to their own sound without the need to adjust to be musically aligned with the headliner. My previous set at CODA was definitely darker and synthier — next one will be more atmospheric and progressive.
Be sure to catch Borella during her opening set for Hernan Cattaneo at CODA on Friday, August 30th. Tickets are available for purchase here, and stay tuned to the Facebook event through this link for event updates.