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What's Your Sound — Tora

Byron Bay has given us some fabulous things – pristine beaches, spectacular surf, the freedom to go barefoot to the supermarket, and, of course, four-piece electronic band Tora. A group of multi-instrumentalists, songwriters and producers with a vast musical palette, each of Tora’s members grew up and met in sunny Byron.  

In August 2019, Tora released their sophomore album Can’t Buy The Mood, completely written and produced by the band themselves, along with all the design and artwork. An intriguing array of beautifully crafted songs full of lush grooves and intimate moments, it’s earned them enviable comparisons with the likes of Radiohead and James Blake. Not to mention, sold out shows across Europe and Australia. 

Below we chat to Shaun Johnston, Tora’s bass guitarist, about some of his favourite tracks – from pianist Nils Frahm to gabber artist Djrum.

Your go-to headphone test track?

Usually, when testing new headphones or a set of monitors I’ll start with Gravity by John Mayer.

This track has a well-rounded mix and seems to sound good on most systems, but you can tell straight away if it's banging on a good set of headphones.  

What's the first song you played on the Nuraphone?

It was the same as the track above, but the following track I would have listened to is Where’s The Catch by James Blake. It’s got a solid kick and crisp production; the Nuraphones work really well with his music.

The first of your own tracks you listened to on the Nuraphone?

The first track of ours I listened to was Morphine, I wanted to hear how the low-end punchy kick and bass would sound with the Nura set to personalise and adjust the Front Row amount.

These headphones really give you a different perspective of your mixes and production choices, great for referencing.    

Your favourite song to relax on flights/tour with?

A great song from a beautiful album is My Friend The Forest by Nils Frahm, any track off this album is a great relaxing experience. This track is one of the more raw tracks on the album, the Nuraphones give you the chance to hear every note and even the squeaks of the sustain pedal. 

The track you always play to rescue a dance floor?

Make It Up by Tirzah is a good one for most situations, although there’s not usually a particular track that always works. Really depends on the environment you’re in and the crowd dynamic.

The song that has had the most rewinds?

Leon Bridges – Shy, this is one that we’ve listened to a lot recently. A beautiful example of jazz/blues/soul meeting pop effortlessly and gracefully.

One track you’d recommend the nura community listen to on the Nuraphone?

Our new track Tiger is out now, we think nuraphone would display it in the best possible way. We love when our listeners listen first on quality headphones or speakers it gives you the clearest impression of what we had intended the listener to hear when working on the song.

The track you play to show off your eclectic tastes with?

Showreel Part 2 by Djrum, this track has some incredible sound design that puts to test any headphones ability to amaze the listener and reflect accurately the time spent crafting incredible sounds and creative mixing.

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