I caught up with Edmonton sound engineer Jason Borys for a quick, caffeinated chat about his recent collaboration with Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan and their resulting EP, God Told Me To, which is out courtesy of Dan Snaith’s (Caribou) Jiaolong imprint.
It was through fellow Edmontonians Shout Out Out Out Out that Greenspan first heard Borys’ live mixing chops. Following a show in Toronto, Borys was hired on as the touring sound engineer for Greenspan’s synth-pop duo, Junior Boys.
Signing on to tour with a band as critically praised and well connected as Junior Boys, one quickly finds themselves in the throes of a long, globe-spanning tour. And, on an extensive tour, distractions become necessary. Distractions can become habits, though — exotic and expensive habits. Through an infectious grin, Borys confesses that he managed to pick up his own habit while on an early tour – modular synthesizers.
“They had their systems beforehand. After touring together, even Foster [Junior Boys’ touring drummer at the time] was a Eurorack addict. I saw it always lying around and they definitely pushed me over the edge,” says Borys.
Borys continues, explaining that another by-product of the long touring is that he and Greenspan developed a solid rapport. And when some downtime lined up for both of them, Borys loaded-up his modular rig and headed out to Greenspan’s Hamilton studio for some borg-like synth syncing and jamming. Pieces of the jamming were then collected as the speaker-crushing techno juggernaut God Told Me To.
“There were zero expectations,” he recalls. “It really was us hanging out and instead of talking about synths, actually getting to patch up and use them… It was, really fun and of course, nerdy. More often than not something organic would get us dancing and excited.”
When I ask how Caribou’s Dan Snaith became involved in releasing God Told Me To, Borys is quick to admit that it was through Greenspan’s connection to Snaith. But it’s obvious that Borys isn’t the only one who’d been introduced to exotic and expensive distractions while on tour.
“Dan and Jeremy grew up together. They’ve toured together lots. That modular nerd thing extends to [Caribou/Jiaolong’s] Dan and Ryan. We’re all on a nerdy modular mailing list.”
God Told Me To is out now via Jialong Records.
Story and photo by Levi ManchakAB, Alberta