What do Fallout Boy’s “Dance Dance,” Eve 6’s “Inside Out,” Tory Lanez’ “Fall Back,” Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” and Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy all have in common? They populate Borgeous’ “Most Recently Played” list on iTunes.
“Everything influences everything in some way,” the producer John Borges says. “I don’t even look at music as a genre, music is just how you feel. I can listen to a fucking Nickelback song and be like ‘I like Nickelback’ that day. I don’t want to see the genres. I just want to see what mood I’m in.”
As a kid born in Miami and raised in Orlando with a half-Jamaican mother, the Los Angeles-based producer has never known life to be a black and white affair. Borges’ music exists in the spaces between sonic borders. He rose to fame with cross-genre singles like the Dutch-house slash hardstyle hybrid “Tsunami” with DVBBS, festival house anthem “Wildfire,” and the star-studded hip-hop EDM banger “Toast” featuring Wiz Khalifa, Waka Flocka, and Whoo Kid.
“I fell in love with the scene before I fell in love with the music. The energy, it’s undeniable…”
This myriad of cultural and musical influences was recently distilled through several months of studious labor and road-tested trial and error until all that was left was a debut album. On 13, Borges gave fans 15 moods to try.
Each track follows the producer down a different path. It opens with a party on “Ride It” featuring the iconic Sean Paul, an accomplishment not lost at all on Borges’ Jamaican family members. “That’s all they ever ask me about when I see them,” he laughs.
With sidewinding synths and a heat that radiates, “Ride It” was an easy choice for a single, but the album quickly changes pace into heartfelt piano chords of “Wanna Lose You.” There are beachy, tropical moments on “Young in Love,” even as singer Karmin brings a bit of country twang to its optimistic melodies. There’s a vibe of UK garage and R&B on the infectious “Going Under,” and anyone looking for classic big-room house anthems need look no further than “Satellites” and “Oceans.”
Released on Geousus Records, his partnership with Armada music, 13 is a massive achievement for a guy who only discovered dance music eight years ago. Soon after moving to LA, the wide-eyed music lover stumbled onto the grounds of EDC Los Angeles.
“I fell in love with the scene before I fell in love with the music,” he admits. “The energy, it’s undeniable, and back then it was a little more PLUR than it was now.”
A passion ignited for the people and places that dance music touched. Its rhythms seeped into his blood and pounded through his brain. It was only a matter of time before he was DJing the city’s nightclubs, then working his own style into the four-on-the-floor format, and that fresh approach unencumbered by what should or shouldn’t go into a dance music song is what ultimately has give Borgeous a leg-up on the competition.
It’s what caught Insomniac’s eye and got him booked at EDC Orlando for what will surely be a full-circle moment to remember. Riding the high of 13’s reception, Borges is sure to bring flavor from every corner of his arsenal as he tears it up in the city he used to call home. He might even drop some new tasty treats for the audience—not that he’s rushing the magic.
“I’m just taking my time more than anything now,” he says. “I worked on single to single for the past two and a half years and then working on my album for the last several months. I just want to put it in first gear for a little bit, be a little bit extra picky, and really make something that’s crazy…I think of every day as something to prove. I’ll always have that drive and muscle no matter what I do. I don’t have that bone in my body that says ‘relax,’ so I won’t say I’m relaxed. I’m just being a little more strategic and patient with putting together something for next year.”
You can catch Borgeous doing this thing at EDC Orlando on Friday, November 4. Tickets are available here.