When Tora’s latest album came across my desk last week as an advanced stream, it is safe to say I was immediately hooked. I had listened to the band’s hits including fan favourites ‘Too Much’ and ‘Another Case’ in the past, but the second album aptly titled Can’t Buy The Mood (in this case you can certainly stream the mood) was a clear winner. But to back up the highly-successful debut album Take a Rest is a challenge many artists know all too well and for lead vocalist Jo Loewenthal, they used that pressure to their advantage.
“I think there is definitely pressure, and I think the pressure is essential. If you apply the right amount of pressure then you can get great results”, the artist explained to ICON. “If you’re not trying to step it up you can get lazy, but it’s so much more about the music more than anything else. It’s something that we ourselves enjoy to play, listen to, create… That’s why we spent so much time on it and I guess that’s what we do with all of the music…”
Hailing from the relaxed habits of Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, the four piece band made up of Thorne Davis, Shaun Johnston, Jai Piccone and Jo Loewenthal have known each other since school. Bass player Johnston and Loewenthal dropped out of school at 16, and “decided to go for it”. That was 10 years ago, now Tora is slowly but surely adding experiences to its extensive resume and includes tours around Australia and Europe with sold out sets in Amsterdam, Melbourne, Paris and London. Additionally, the likes of Sir Elton John and Annie Mac have both played Tora’s music on the international sound wave of Beats 1 and BBC Radio 1. When I asked Loewenthal if he ever thought this was all possible, his response was confident.
“Yeah. I think that when we decided we were going to do music we would have to put in everything we have, but we knew if we did put the work in that we would be able to tour the world,” he reflected. “There is a lot of good moments but I guess one of the first very significant moments was at Fall Festival maybe four years ago now, we played at the Forest Stage on New Years Eve… that was a big moment for us, that was our first big stage show with a proper crowd.”
Tora now boasts a widening fan base thanks to its relaxed indie tracks – with over one million monthly listeners on Spotify alone – and intricately layered sounds. With smooth vocals, distinctive drum loops, strings and electronic integration, the 2019 album is evidently different thanks to its lyrically-driven tracks. While the words are considered and drawn from the band members’ experience, subtle nuances to the current political climate seep through for a socially conscious album.
“I definitely have a couple of years of feeling like I was trying to understand more… I’ve done quite a lot of thinking about not just my own experience but also the bigger picture stuff,’ he explains. “Some of the songs have references to political things, there is a song on the record called ‘Bring Me Down’ and it’s a very condensed, shortened political discussion between the left and right … There is a heavy polarisation in the political world … I mean the President of America uses Twitter as a platform to speak.”
Returning from a summer touring Europe, Tora will take to Sydney, Melbourne and Byron Bay in September to bring their album to the live sphere. For more information, visit here.