Music / Features
Artist on Artist:
A chat between Sing Leaf and Jordan Borg
Words by James Lynch
Interview by David Como and Jordan Borg
Thursday 15th October, 2020

Following the release of Sing Leaf’s new album Not Earth last month, we dropped in on a conversation between David Como (the Canadian mastermind behind Sing Leaf’s blend of rustic indie-folk and surrealist experimental-pop) and Australian visual artist Jordan Borg.
We expected the chat to cover the creation of Sing Leaf’s intriguing new record, or the collaborative animated clips that Jordan crafted around the album’s release, but instead the two ended up chatting about everything from hashtags, to goon and energy drinks, to WWE.

Dig into a few choice excepts from their chat below, or watch the conversation in full here.

JB: Is it true that Canada has a lot of maple syrup. Is it a big thing?

SL: [moves camera to look out window]. That tree I just showed you, that’s a maple tree. The guy who used to own the house here, he tapped them, so I could potentially make maple syrup from the tree. But it’s a weird, very big process, where you have to pull out all the stuff and then you have to boil it for days and all this. But that’s a thing that people outside of Canada think about Canada. Do you have maple syrup in Australia?

JB: We have it, but they’ll have some maple syrup that says 100% from Canada - that’s why I was thinking about the Canada thing. I didn’t know if it was exclusively Canadian.

SL: We have a maple leaf on the flag, it’s a maple tree.

JB: That looks like a beautiful tree.

SL: Yeah it’s a nice big old tree. I’m afraid to do it because you have to put a plug in it, and tap it, and then you pour the stuff out and collect it in buckets, and it just pours all this sap out that you boil down into syrup. But I’m afraid I’m going to kill the tree. I think if you overtap it you’re gonna kill the tree, and then you’re just not gonna have trees in the back. There’s people doing it professionally down the road, you can just buy it [laughs].

JB: It’s only like $2.50 or something.

SL: There we go - that’s all I wanted to talk about [laughs]. I don’t know, how about you?

JB: Oh I have a few questions… I was gonna say… how’d you come up with the name? Sing Leaf?

SL: Can’t tell you. Nobody knows. My wife doesn’t know.

JB: It is pretty ominous.

SL: It’s funny though because now with the internet - hashtags and things - if Sing Leaf is a hashtag it actually means Single As Fuck. So I’ve had people think I’m referencing that, like oh he’s single as fuck, but the name is from way before that was a way of speaking to each other like a hashtag.

JB: That’s so funny. I actually saw the hashtag and it had heaps of posts and was like ‘woah he’s got a few on there’.

SL: Having a glass of wine alone on a Saturday night - hashtag Sing Leaf. At the label they’re like it’s brutal trying to make any sort of post about the music or anything, because there’s just piles of…

JB: …of single people.

SL: When you get home and you wanna draw, are you somewhat ritualistic about it? Do you have a way that you go about it? Do you have a specific place you like to be? A specific thing you like to do? Do you set up your space to get into the mindset of drawing, like is there any sort of order to the way you get into a session?

JB: Everything I’ve ever done - art-wise or animation-wise - has always been based off music, so when I do any type of art, I have to be listening to music. If I’m not listening to music I can’t get in the zone. And it has to be loud, I’m blocking everything else out… because it just inspires me so much. Even more than watching a cartoon or a movie, which is rare for me these days because I just don’t have time to watch a movie or a cartoon anymore. Recently, funny enough, I’ll listen to Howard Stern or something. I don’t know much about Howard Stern but the people he has on his shows I find hilarious sometimes, so I just sit there listening, and I could listen to people talking and talking and just, ya know [mimes scribbling]… heaps of art, pump it out. That’s kind of my ritual.

SL: It occupies a part of your brain - when your monkey mind is bouncing round, you can take part of it and occupy it with a voice or music, and then your drawing bit is free to not be distracted, maybe?

JB: Definitely. I’ve never done psychology so I wouldn’t fully know…

SL: Nor me [laughs].

JB: I’ve never thought of it that way because I’ve always thought, I just love music. But that’s really interesting, I’ve never thought of it like that. This is a bit of an interesting one - if you could make a Sing Leaf cocktail, what would it be?

SL: Like an alcoholic cocktail? Oh man… a Sing Leaf cocktail would have maybe… I think it would be maybe like a mint julep sort of thing - a little whisky, a little sweetness. Some sort of leaf crushed within it, for the vapours. What’s the Jordon Borg cocktail?

JB: I’m pretty cheap so I think… do youse have goon there?

SL: Goon?

JB: Do you know what goon is?

SL: No.

JB: We call it goon because it comes in a goon sack, it’s like boxed wine. What mine would be would be half goon, half red bull…

SL: You drink red bull and wine?!

JB: It’s delicious.

SL: Like white wine? That’s wild.

JB: The Fruity Lexia kinda ones. You guys got Mother there? The Mother energy drink?

SL: No.

JB: Youse don’t have that? I’m sure you’d have something like that.

SL: We’ve got Redbull.

JB: You got Monster?

SL: Yep.

JB: You know how they’ve got the different flavours. The tropical ones go so well, you feel like you’re in the Bahamas. I’ve never been to the Bahamas, but I’d imagine it.

SL: Goon and Mother?

JB: Yeah I mostly go with Mother, but any kind of that is delicious.

SL: When I was younger, when I first started going to bars when I was around 19, we would wear suit jackets and we’d have a goon, is that what I’d say? We’d have a bag of wine on the inside of the suit jacket, so you’d order a drink and drink it, and then just fill up your glass with wine.

JB: What?! That is so good.

SL: So you’d just buy one drink and just have the wine in your suit.

JB: I wear suits all the time and I never knew about that hack. That is so good, and you never got caught?

SL: Nah, I don’t think I ever was caught doing that.

JB: Wow I’ve gotta try that.

SL: It was in my youth in Guelph, Ontario, at the Jimmy Jazz Bar.

JB: The Jimmy Jazz Bar? That sounds cool. So that’d be my cocktail, not that great but I love it. It’s delicious. Gotta give it a go. I’ll tell you, one time I was having a couple and I started sweating.

SL: Okay?

JB: So I think it’s a bit deadly.

SL: That’s the caffeine.

JB: Yeah [laughs]. I think it was recycling through my body. It was a bit weird. My next question, what made you choose animation for these videos?

SL: It wouldn’t be my first instinct which is why it made sense to me, that it wouldn’t be what I first think of. It was almost like, would this work? Let’s see if it works, and I think it does work really well.

JB: Definitely. Were you worried? Were you like shit, what if it doesn’t work?

SL: [laughs]. No - it’s kinda like, it’s a process of letting go of control. Years ago I wanted to have every aspect coming from me, whereas now it’s more exciting for me to let things grow on their own or give things to somebody to build on or change, and see what results from that. It’s more interesting to me.

JB: I was kind of the same. I’ve kinda only worked in punk or rock music. The gigs I go to, it’s only really punk, alternative or rock. So when I was first shown your music to work for you, I was thinking, I don’t know if this would work, but I was excited to give it a go because it was experimental for me. It was a time where I could literally forget everything I’ve learnt or done, because I’ve only ever learnt from myself, I never had a teacher or all that. But from my own learning, everything was fast, it had to punch you in the face. And I was thinking, this is got to be completely new, I don’t want to punch anyone in the face. This is nice music and I’ve got to adapt to that. It was going to be a new challenge, but it worked out really well in the end.

SL: I’m enjoying seeing you. We’ve talked on the phone but we’ve never seen face to face.

JB: Well that’s the thing - when you eventually come down on tour, or I’d love to come to Canada. I’ve never been overseas ever, in my life.

SL: You should come.

JB: I’d love to see the snow at one point. We have snow here but it’s not the real deal. I mean, I’ve wanted to go to America but I’m just like, should I even test that water? It’s pretty hectic right now.

SL: It’s strange, I’ve always loved travelling through America, but now I don’t know what the border’s going to be like. It used to be you could just drive over with a Canadian passport, it was never too difficult to get across. But now, even prior to this, they were asking all sorts of… with Trump, it tightened up. If you admitted to ever smoking weed, you could be banned from the States for life.

JB: But that’s legal there, isn’t it?

SL: In certain states, and it’s legal in Canada. But when it became legal in Canada, they were like hooking people at the border. They’d be like ‘have you ever used marijuana in your life’ and people would say like ‘yeah’, and they’d be like ‘okay, you’re banned’.

JB: Even if it’s legal there?

SL: In certain places in the States it is legal, but people were just getting like, fooled. The border just became a little more tense to cross. The last time I went down to the states was maybe two years ago, we drove down into New Jersey, me and my wife. Her mother is from Brooklyn so the family is all around New York and New Jersey, so we went and visited her uncle down there. And even living down there, they’re trying to figure out how to get to Canada. There’s a tension to the States now - there’s a tension everywhere but I think it’s very heightened, and very visceral in the States. You can feel it, you could feel it prior to this and I think right now when you speak to them, people are really on edge.

JB: From my point of view… well a lot of people I speak to over here, from our point of view; it looks like a place you just don’t wanna be. People are just like ‘nah screw that, go somewhere nicer’. I think Canada would be really nice actually. Hang on, where’s the WWE from?

SL: You mean like wrestling?

JB: You know, Wrestlemania.

SL: [laughs]

JB: Isn’t WWE run out of Canada?

SL: Nah, that’s an American thing.

JB: Okay I’m wrong [laughs]. I thought it was a Canadian thing.

SL: There’s people wrestling in Canada for sure. When I was a child I was watching that, it used to WWF.

JB: It changed to E when I was watching it.

SL: That’s how you date yourself - did you watch WWF or WWE? That’s the dividing line, how you know you’re old.

JB: I used to be obsessed with it when I was kid.

SL: So was I, I really was. I had an uncle who I don’t think my parents really even liked, but he used to give me the magazines and we’d watch it, and I’d get hyped up with that uncle. Who was your favourite wrestler?

JB: I liked The Undertaker.

SL: Remember the guy who carried the urn, The Undertaker’s handler?

JB: Paul Bearer?

SL: Yeah Paul Bearer.

JB: But he died in it. In WWE, he had a heart attack.

SL: The character did or the man did?

JB: The character - he died onstage.

SL: And then the man died later.

JB: Oh I didn’t know that, that’s sad.

SL: There’s a lot of Canada I haven’t seen - the West Coast, go up to BC. It’s a completely different world out there.

JB: I’m exactly the same with Australia, I haven’t been all over. Its a big, big place. I’ve never been to the desert either. Youse would probably think we’ve got a lot of that, the outback and what not.

SL: That’s the image in my mind. Just snakes and scorpions.

JB: I’ve seen a lot of snakes in my life. Youse don’t have snake?

SL: Oh we’ve got snakes, we don’t have a lot of poisonous snakes.

JB: We’ve got the brown snakes, they’re very deadly. The king brown. I’ve seen them in person, they’re so fast, they’re faster than humans. So if they catch you and they’re intimidated by you, you’re gone. Because literally, their venom works within like 20 minutes.

SL: That’s terrifying.

JB: So you’ve gotta really watch it.

SL: I really can’t wait to get down there to see you and the king brown.

JB: [laughs] Yeah, sorry to just rain on your parade.

SL: They’re faster than you and the venom is instant [laughs]. When are you coming?

Not Earth is out now through Tin Angel Records - head to to purchase the album on vinyl. Keep up to date with Sing Leaf and Jordan Borg by following them below.