Portrait of an artist - Borja Lange

The musician, Borja Lange lives in the hills of Cabrera De Mar, located on the Mediterranean coast of Cataluña, Spain. It's only half an hour drive from Barcelona but we got lost and took the road high above the sea that gave us a sense of diving into the sky. Then it was a drive down a winding road, taking you to the wilder side of the coast. I don´t know how many curves we had to navigate but in the end we found Borja at his home, a wonderful, remote place where you can enjoy the sun and listen to the surrounding nature in almost absolute peace. 

Once we came into the house and unpacked our cameras, Borja offered us coffee and mate. We sat on the little wooden porch and looked at the view outside. These are the memories of a magic day that we got to spend with him. It was literally a couple of days before the national lockdown. 

We talked about liberation and restriction of music, as well as a sense of comfort and security when submerged in the water. He uses words like ´higher force´ and ´lifestyle´ fearlessly, where others might avoid them for the anguish of sounding basic or pretentious. He gets away with it because he is unselfconscious and the antithesis of pretension. On a breezy spring morning, the air thick with pollen, he told us how he lives here and how important his relationship is with memory, water and music. He seems to be moving towards something not quite attained yet and we are delighted to catch him in the moment of self- transformation and discovery. 

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What's your name and what do you do?

My name is Borja Lange and I commit myself to life.  I have been studying music at the Liceu Conservatory of Modern Music for four years. I´m also a waiter during the week. Basically I dedicate myself to appreciating and playing music as well as living consciously as to who I am. 


Do you have any obsessions?

I have an obsession that sometimes comes and sometimes goes and it is the subject of the order and cleanliness. More than anything it appears when organising my house, my room and my things. I always try to make everything pretty tidy and cleaning seems to work out things better for me. On the other hand,  just as often a disorder gives me more creativity at times.


Is this the first place you live in since moving to Spain? Where did you grow up ? 

I grew up in Buenos Aires, in San Isidro near the Río de la Plata. A very nice place, with a lot of nature. 

I moved to Spain in September 2015. I came here to Cabrera de Mar, because my father was going through surgery for lung cancer. He was here in this town, in the house that he had bought. 

During the first couple of years I lived in the house of my dad's best friend.  It was a beautiful house with a garden with vegetables, roosters and a lovely family. After that I decided I was going to stay here and study Music in Barcelona. 

Smoking musician Borja Lange


How does music affect you?

Music affects me, in its own eternal right. When I'm listening to music I feel lots of things. It takes me away to different places. 

To make music though, I think  it's crucial to have at least a minimum of music theory to understand it.  That's why I'm studying jazz, and I learn a lot from my teachers. 

Most of the time while I'm listening to music, I try to put my theoretical ear into certain parts, to be conscious of the harmony, rhythm, melodies, scales, silences, chord progressions, intervals, etc. That helps me a lot to progress and to develop new ideas. 

Music is like life, where there are times of tension and repose.Since the moment I wake up until I go to sleep I am thinking about music. I'm always playing, listening, composing, studying or practising. I think it's something I’ve done since I was a little boy.

To say the least, I think music makes us better human beings, gives you honesty and freedom, as well as the ability to resolve tense situations in a “harmonious” way.


What kind of audience do you play for? And what kind of places?

Last summer I was playing for the surf camp´s clients. I'm generally playing blues or jazz jam sessions. Or when we get together with the conservatorium friends, in a little bar. If not, I play at home, for my family.

Plus, there are some nice events coming ahead where I´ll be playing live with a band project I´m currently practising with. 

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How did you discover your musical interest?

When I was a kid, I used to take my bicycle to school in the morning, no matter if winter, rain or summer. Usually I would do the journey with some Walkman or Discman, so I started to realize that those trips were cooler if i was listening to some of my moms cds. So from there on, it became kind of an addiction.

At the same time, my musical interest keeps on changing, for example, for the last four years, I've been really interested in jazz, swing, bebop, and all those kinds of variations of “jazz”.


What connection do you feel with the water?

Water is one of the elements of nature in which I am most content with. When I get into the water I feel like I am in another world. I connect with a higher force. My father is a professional sailor. He sails all around the world, so we have always, since a young age, been in a deep connection with water, oceans, seas and rivers. The water and the ocean is a superior force, which cleanses and connects us with ourselves and with that force of nature, right? It is similar to music.  It's this power, that excites me, that empowers me, raises me and I feel overjoyed. Everytime i can, I take my van, and I go to France, Portugal, Morocco or north of Spain to surf, and to spend as much time as I can in the ocean.

Musician Borja Lange lavanda & guitard


Are you interested in something that is happening in contemporary culture besides music?

Yes, I love architecture, cinema, painting and design. I love going to museums, the one I like more is de Pompidou, in Paris. Also I had the opportunity to visit the MOMA in San Francisco, or the Dali's museum in Cadaques. I think, if we are sensible, we can spend a really good time observing and feeling different types of art expressions.


What is your starting point when composing? Do you find a melody or lyrics first?

The composition process of mine arises when I am experiencing a very high or very low energy situation. All these moments make me want to express myself with music. So I take a guitar and I start ´streaming´ all that “data'' that is in my head related to that feeling. This gives me a sort of power to start improvising over the new ideas. 

The improvisation is always my first step of a new song. Usually I start from a chord progression, and then I try to put on a good melody. If I sing the melody in the shower or on the motorcycle, then this one is the good one. 

For the moment, I'm working on my first album as a soloist, where all the songs are inspired by love situations I experienced in Barcelona. The idea is to tell a love story with 6 songs. In which every song describes the relationship, from a lovely beginning until the sad end.

Portrait Borja Lange musician

 

Who were your influences when you were growing up?

As I commented before, I started with my mom's and dad's music. Luckily they had good taste in music. My dad used to listen to Argentine national rock artists like Spineta, Charly Garcia, Sui generis, etc. Also I remember he used to listen a lot to Joe Pass, and I couldn't understand what that old man was playing on  the guitar. 

I was a kid, and those jazz chords were making me really nervous.

My mom studied Classical and Contemporary Dance. She is a Dancer. So, she used to listen to a lot of music, from classical, to jazz, starting from Tango to  any sort of good music. She gave me a Violin when I was 13 years old, and I began to study classical music with a really good teacher who played in the Philharmonic Orchestra of Teatro Colon. I played classical music with the violin for nine years . Then I started studying music in Buenos Aires, and I still continued studying here in Barcelona. 

Nowadays I'm really hooked on Jazz. I listen to artists like Lee Morgan, Chet Baker, Jim Hall, Grant Green, Thelonious Monk, Ron Carter, Roy Hargrove, Mike Stern. 


Does music translate into colours?

Sure, I can relate to it with the colours. For example, if you mix yellow and blue you have green right ? The same happens with music, depending which notes you mix the result is completely different. 

Portrait of an artist Can Pep Rey

 

Text by Marta Marszalek 

Photography and Video by Belen Pogliaga 

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