Interview With DJ/Producer Connor Bvrns

Maleeha Keenan

PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 16: (FRANCE OUT) A model walks the runway during the Raf Simmons Men Ready … [+] to Wear Fall/Winter 2013-2014 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 16, 2013 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images Connor […]

Connor Bvrns, Inspiring through Edge and Avant-garde

There has always been a strong relationship between fashion and music, but the connection between the two has never been as strong as it is today. Despite the uncertainty that many creatives faced in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, others have used the unusual circumstances as fuel to further push their creativity, contributing to a new generation of talent in a world that has essentially been turned upside down.

Virtually overnight, the spaces in which many forms of fashion and art primarily existed were effectively made illegal, indiscriminately forcing artists to adjust their plans and adapt to a new reality. For example GMBH, Craig Green, Maison Margiela and Raf Simmons are taking the anarchy and chaos that the world is experiencing and creating apparel out of it that is speaking to Generation Z’s style concerns.

The need for the creative arts hasn’t disappeared though, even if these industries have shifted in a new direction. In 2020, professionals have been put to the test and forced to show if, given the circumstances, will they sink or swim?

I recently reviewed a musically minded 20-year-old young man who challenges expectations of what the future of music and fashion will look like. Like his audience, he obsesses over style and authenticity. This creative flourishes in the face of a post-pandemic nightlife. His big-thinking approach comes down to a unique gift that he was born with, and learned to use to his advantage.

Born “Connor Burns” in Palo Alto, California, Connor Bvrns is a “20-year-old record producer and DJ who creates original electronic dance music with a sonic perspective unlike any other”.

At a very young age, Connor was diagnosed with a condition known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). This meant that his reception of sound was challenging, making him different from his peers. Connor grew up paying close attention to his environment, the people around him, and the nuances of sound to compensate for his condition.

In spite of being different, he was confident throughout childhood. When he started his journey in music, Connor found his CAPD to be an asset that set him apart from other artists. He could distinguish between certain frequencies of sound that most people could not identify or hear. In addition to being perfect pitch, he found he had the ability to “see” music as well as hear. This unique talent, called synesthesia, allows Connor to see and hear in color, aiding him in identifying pitch with great precision. Studying sound, people, music, and art became the inspiration behind his creativity.

Inspired by the intense reaction he experienced at EDM shows, Connor was intrigued by electronic dance music and the ability that artists, such as Skrillex, have to influence people through music. This ignited Connor’s desire to create original, emotional works born from a personal perspective and soundscape. More to the point, his style has grabbed the attention of modernist menswear designers.

Connor Bvrns signed to Astralwerks in 2019, releasing his first single, “Anthem” in January 2020, followed by his second single “Innocence” in May 2020.

On this note, I had the privilege to speak with Connor about how fashion and music influence one another, the importance of personal style in the digital age and how he is using his platform and influence during these trying times to create a social impact for the betterment of the world!

Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about your personal style, the importance of style to you, and how it relates to your brand as a DJ/Producer? 

Connor Bvrns: My style is a direct reflection of who I am. I try to be authentic with everything I do and so allowing myself to be expressive through what I wear is very fulfilling. Over time, as my interest in fashion has grown, my style has gone from pretty typical to more fashion-forward and obscure. I’ve noticed a strong connection between my development as an artist and the development of my personal style. 

Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, how do fashion and music influence one another? Please give examples.

Connor Bvrns: Despite being two different forms of art, both fashion and music have provided an outlet for me to express myself. Both fashion and music are major cultural forces and in recent they have become more intertwined, which I don’t see stopping anytime soon. It’s not about just being an artist anymore, you have to be as much as you can be. I try to incorporate that edge into everything I do. 

Joseph DeAcetis: Who is your favorite designer or brand? why? 

Connor Bvrns: Raf Simons. He creates elegance through simplicity. His concepts for his pieces are simple, yet very thought out with tons of emotion put into it. I can feel the energy that he puts into his clothing just by looking at a piece.

Joseph DeAcetis: How has your workflow changed during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Connor Bvrns: My workflow has drastically changed. Prior to quarantine, I had to start and stop records in the time I had before and after meetings and commitments, but now I’ve been able to have time to really dig into all of my synths and instruments to learn new techniques that I previously hadn’t had. 

Joseph DeAcetis: How are you using your platform and influence during this time to create a social impact?

Connor Bvrns: With my platform, I’m always trying to project optimism and hope to people through my music, especially during this time. That’s always been my intent and most importantly now when people are looking for something to believe in.

Joseph DeAcetis: What brand or brands do you feel your music best aligns with?

Connor Bvrns: Craig Green, GMBH, Maison Margiela, and Raf Simons. They understand what waters to test, and where the boundaries are so that they’re able to break them. All of these brands have their own unique way of being them. I think fans of these types of brands embrace the forward thinking culture that these designers have created and that is the type of audience that I aim to connect with through my music.

Joseph DeAcetis: Who is your style icon? 

Connor Bvrns: It’s hard for me to choose just one style icon – I can be influenced by someone walking down the street one day and have a completely different inspiration the next. I choose outfits based on what I feel represents whatever emotion I’m feeling that day. Instead of comparing what I’m wearing to just a single person, there are tons of people that I look up to stylistically, and that can be anyone from Travis Scott to Raf Simons to random kids on instagram. To me “iconic fashion” can stem from anywhere. 

Joseph DeAcetis: Tell Forbes about your singles “Anthem” and “Innocence” and the process of making those records. 

Connor Bvrns: I was in the studio with Bonn just “vibing” out when we came up with the concept for “Anthem”. After we had the initial idea, I spent some time on my own with the production to make sure it matched the strength of his vocals. With “Innocence”, my friends Jake, Andrew, and I were talking about making a song together. They sent over an initial idea that was just a rough version of guitar and vocals. Like with Anthem, I spent time fleshing out the production around their demo. We then went back in and recut the guitar and vocals to take it to another level. It’s always such a rewarding experience being able to work with people I’ve known and respected for a while.  

Joseph DeAcetis: How would you describe your musical style?

Connor Bvrns: I don’t enjoy trying to explain my style in general. I like to leave what I create up to interpretation and people can form their own opinion of who Connor Bvrns is. 

Joseph DeAcetis: In 2018 you toured with Jauz, playing 24 different shows in 19 different cities across the US and Canada. How was that experience for you?

Connor Bvrns: It was a great experience and really opened my eyes up to what “life on the road” is like. Sam [Jauz] – along with everyone else on the tour – was very welcoming to me and made me feel super comfortable despite it being my first-ever tour. I had a great time and learned a lot along the way. One of the funniest memories (that’s appropriate to share) was when I accidentally hit the trigger for the confetti while Sam was taking pics with fans which aren’t only messy but also super loud which almost gave him a heart attack. His tour manager gave the stare of death, but that was definitely the last time that happened.

Joseph DeAcetis: What is your go-to song at the moment and why is it special to you?

Connor Bvrns: “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar and SZA – for some reason, that song makes me reflect on everything that has happened in my life.

Joseph DeAcetis: What acts would you love to work with and why?

Connor Bvrns: I’d love to work with A$AP Rocky. I feel like he always delivers a strong message through his music, even if it’s a more party-oriented record. Whenever I hear his verses I can tell they come from a genuine place. I’d also love to work with The Weeknd – everything about him is fire. Also Daft Punk – they are two of the greatest two producers ever and to work with them would be life changing.

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