Here's our first ever official music video, for the song "Arrest Me"!
We caught up with local writer Kelsey Simpkins for a Rift Magazine interview, talking about Secret Youth and 80s and chillwave...
They’ve been teasing us for a while now, releasing singles here and there – as far back as a year ago, with “Let Loose,” and “Leagues.” Minneapolis-based five-piece Bora York (Rebekah Bartels [vocals], Chris Bartels [vocals, guitars, keys], Brian Seidel [guitars], Bjorn Nilsen [drums], Jamie Kauppi [bass]) has finally released their second full-length album, Secret Youth, following their 2013 release of Dreaming Free. Collaborating with talented names such as Matthew Call, Josiah Kosier, Charlie Wirth, and Cory Wong, this brainchild project of Chris Bartels radiates the energy of many. It’s unabashedly a pop album, with the heart of an indie rock geek; which makes for a stellar party-playlist pick, road trip mix, or live performance. Although Secret Youth is already out in the world (released July 21, 2015), this Friday, Bora York takes to the stage for a real-time debut of their best material yet.
It’s kind of a funny story, but I met Bora York at their first show. I had just moved to Minneapolis in 2012, and was at 7th Street Entry for possibly the third or fourth time ever. (I’ve since lost count. Fifty, sixty, maybe?) Forever remembered for the moment’s combined novelty, I gushed to Chris and Rebekah about how wonderful they were live, how I planned to work in the Minneapolis music scene, and promised to keep in touch. Sometimes it’s fun how things turn out.
A few weeks ago, I got to catch up with Chris and Rebekah Bartels of Bora York, over beef and lamb gyros, quinoa salad, and garlic mashed potatoes, and hummus and pita at Zakia Deli in NE. Besides the food, we discussed everything from where Secret Youth got its inspiration, and the pros and cons of playing lots of lives shows, to managing a musician’s life with a young kid at home (their son Elliott now just around one year old).
These two juggle much in their lives, but seem no worse for the wear. In fact, Bora York’s second full length was produced and released independently on Chris’ own Anthem Falls Music. Rebekah herself is on the cover, making the most of what they thought was a bad series of photos at a press shoot. And she won’t admit it outright, but her fantastic voice isn’t her only talent – she also plays drums (although not on this album). They’re a pair, and five-piece, overflowing with skill and creative ideas, but a humble bunch at that. So since they won’t come out and proclaim how fantastic their new record is, I’ll hail back to that excited young woman of 2012 to help them do it.
KS: When did Secret Youth start happening? Was there a lot of left over material from Dreaming Free or was there some kind of break in between before something new?
CB: It was such a fun process with Dreaming Free, I don’t think we ever considered not making another album, so it was just a matter of what kind of style. We wanted to grow, but also have that same essence to it.
RB: After we released Dreaming Free, we played a bunch live. After a while, we were like, we need a couple new ones. Once we started brainstorming, and getting creative with where we felt like we were moving to, we’d add a couple of those in. There was a single we’d play live, and thought ‘we should put that on the album!’ Because it didn’t fit with the other one.
CB: “Midnight Glow” was a song for fun, that was before any of the Dreaming Free stuff. It matched the new style more… thought ‘that’s a fun one to do… let’s do that one.’ But playing live definitely influenced where we went with the album.
KS: “It sounds like the 80’s” isn’t an insult in my book unless it’s the only descriptor you have for a band. But Dreaming Free does have the shoegazey side of the 80’s, and Secret Youth is more the dancey side of the 80’s. There’s more of a mellow sound in the previous release, and now it’s more of a peppy feel.
CB: The first one is more ambient… but the few dance elements we had, are so fun live, and we get the most reaction out of that, and we were listening to more of that. Dreaming Free was more exploration, was supposed to be a folk album. I knew Rebekah would sing on it, but then was like ‘no, you need to sing this chorus’ and then… we needed another front person. The new album, you know, let’s make some heavy hitting pop songs, intentionally from the start. “Secret Youth” and “Forever Ocean” come to mind.
RB: The second album has a lot more power behind my vocals. This one is groovy, funky, powerful songs, for me especially.
Today is the official release day of our sophomore LP Secret Youth!
First off, we want to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your support - every Soundcloud listen, every Facebook share, every retweet, every time you show up at a gig, and every time you hit pause on T. Swift and blast our dream-pop sounds from your car instead... we're so grateful. Having you all as part of this creative family is one of the most exciting and rewarding things for us as musicians.
S T A Y C O N N E C T E D
The new album.
The Music Ninja recently premiered our latest single "Arrest Me," raving "It's soulfully crafted, funk-inspired, and an absolute blast to groove to."
Press Play says simply... "We bloody love Bora York."
Next stop... the album. Stay connected on Facebook and Instagram for updates. We don't have a date locked in yet, but the release show will be this August in Minneapolis!
The second album is getting close. Really close. It's been fun to see the direction of the new songs and to look ahead towards a release. I love the process, and I also get antsy towards a release show and playing more live, as well as just being able to put out another full-length online.
We're in the process of putting together concepts for a couple music videos as well.
Here's some shots of recording drums with Bjorn a couple weeks back:
So there's the song. Here's a bit of what else is happening with us these days and some factoids about us:
- Chris and Rebekah just had a baby boy (their first child) together on April 23.
- Chris writes and produces the songs almost entirely at home in their Minneapolis two-bedroom apartment.
- Recent placements of Bora York songs have included ABC's The Middle, CBS' Criminal Minds, a few different MTV shows, and a Buick ad.
- In contrast to the songwriting for the first album, which started out as intending to be a folk album, Chris and band are writing new songs based on what's been most fun to play at live shows - thereby leading to more dance-heavy songs in development... that, and 80's synth pop.
- Bora York has done everything (recording, pressing, PR, booking, management) independently through Chris' own label / music house Anthem Falls Music, where he also composes and releases other albums. Taylor Lewin, who can often be found engineering a new record at Humans Win Studio in Minneapolis, is working with Chris and the band on production input, PR, photography and video, and more. He's also worked with fantastic local musicians Grant Cutler, Step Rockets, and more.
This was from our last show before baby Bartels arrived a few weeks ago. We played April 6 at 7th Street Entry with Enemy Planes from Minneapolis and Wild Ones from Portland. It was a fun time. Thanks to everyone who came out, and thanks to Taylor Lewin, Jordan Nimlos, Vienna Lewin, Josh Riggs, Charlie Wirth, and Jill Miller for helping with the video.
Tune in this Wednesday at 9/8 central to hear a Bora York tune (who knows which one!) featured on CBS' Criminal Minds!
To check out some of BY's past placements and features, go to anthemfallsmusic.com/reel.
Hey friends! Welcome to our new website. While I'll certainly do my best to keep things updated here, following us on facebook and twitter and instagram and all that good stuff will keep us connected the most.
Here's a quick update of what's going on in the BY world:
- Rebekah and myself are having our first baby (boy!) in early May. If you've come to recent shows, you've no doubt noticed Bek's belly!
- We're writing new tunes. Lots of new tunes. Our next single is called "Let Loose" and we'll have details on a release date very soon. We're excited about the new-ish direction that our music is going and are looking forward to sharing it with you all.
- Thanks for all your support! We love connecting with you all online and especially face to face at shows. We'll be playing this Sunday, April 6th at 7th Street Entry. Come hang?