Tora is totally chilled

Tora - making 'chill waves'.

Tora – making ‘chill waves’.  Their latest EP, Eat the Sun releases on October 6.

Verandah Magazine staffer Louise Macaulay caught the local Byron Bay band Tora at the Mullumbimby markets, and was blown away by their laid-back style.

I love chill wave music. In fact there is only one thing better than lying in a hammock with a glass of 2007 Bourgogne chardonnay, and that is lying in a hammock and listening to the relaxing sounds of a chill-out-wind-down cd. I’m a great fan of that style of music and I’ve been searching for a local band I could see performing it live.

The relatively new genre of ‘chill wave’ evolved originally from a music style in the UK known as acid jazz and a group that tweaked my initial interest was a band known as The Happy Mondays. I was never able to see them live, but I played Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches for a decade. I also read that Sean Ryder spent a lot of time in Ibiza – a place that has been the Mecca for rave and chill out music for a few decades. The Happy Mondays were indeed a rare live rave set.

I’m a frequent visitor to the Mullumbimby Farmer’s Market, and on my most recent visit I found myself in a state of blissful joy soaking up the sounds of Tora, a five piece set of local electronic musicians playing the very music I love. Toby Tunis, Jo Loewenthal, Jai Piccone, Thorne Davis, Shaun Johnston make up Tora, derived from the Greek word for ‘now’. It’s somewhat downtempo from The Happy Mondays, but I was still blown away. I listened to them perform a few songs, bought their CD but wished I could see them in a setting where people were more consumed by the music then the simple purpose of being at a market.

When I got home I did a bit of research and found out that the group, who won the 2014 Triple J Unearthed competition which led to a spot on the main Splendour stage, are local to Byron. Although they’ve only been together since 2013 they’ve recently completed their first Australian tour and have released three cds, as well as the EP, Get Like It, which I bought for myself.  Their latest EP, Eat the Sun, is released this week –


Immersing myself in their music – and their self-titled EP, Tora, is balm for any tired soul – I found that the band, with its electronic music and talented gentle vocals, easily conjures up visions of mountains and surf. Tora play an unstated homage to the area they come from, although sadly this amazingly talented group does not play many gigs around here. Not surprisingly they are in demand elsewhere, so I felt lucky to have caught them at the relatively uncrowded market. Their only forthcoming local gig is at the Mullum Music Festival on November 21. It looks like I will be battling the crowds to fit this one in, but Tora are indeed well worth chilling to, and in the meantime there’s always the hammock – and their new EP.

Eat the Sun is released nationally on October 6 via Tora Music Band Camp:





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