Rebuilding fallen dreams

When Matt Borck and his wife returned to British Columbia eight years ago after spending almost a year in England, he asked her an expansive question: Are you okay if I pursue my dream of being a musician?

The answer was yes.

Borck, a singer and guitarist, quickly got to work forming Yuca, a three-piece alternative rock 'n' roll band rounded out by bassist Andy Boldt and drummer Dave Atkinson.

"We've been given gifts and talents, and what we wanted to be able to do is use those gifts and talents," Borck says by phone from his home in Langley after spending a quiet morning with his five-month-old daughter.

In October, Yuca released its second album, Rebuilding the Fallen Empire. It's a 10-song collection of anthemic rock songs that fans of bands like U2 and Muse will enjoy.

"Where Are My Soldiers At?" is the first song the band released from the album, and it's also one of Rebuilding the Fallen Empire's strongest tracks. It's a stadium-ready ode to perseverance and drawing on the strength of one's community.

Borck wrote the song to say thank you to a handful of people in his life who have died recently, including his paternal grandfather.

"My opa was one of the biggest influences in my life," Borck says. "He was a singer, he was a comedian and he always had joy on his face. I was sitting there at his funeral and they were sharing about his life, and it was so similar to mine that it was like they were talking about my life. I really didn't know until he passed away what an impact he had on me, and then I desperately wanted to thank him."

Around the same time his grandfather passed away, Borck also had an uncle and aunt who died.

"There are so many people in our life who support us and are our soldiers," he says. "All I can say is thank you to those people—thank you for loving me and thank you for encouraging me."

Borck and his bandmates grew up in the church. Borck recalls performing covers of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Beatles and U2 songs after a friend asked him to lead worship.

"I wasn't actually playing any worship music at all, but to me, it was stuff that resonated deep down in my spirit and my soul," he says.

Over the years, Borck's beliefs have changed.

"It's difficult for me to summarize my spiritual life with one word that would describe it," he says. "Having the label of 'Christian' is something I don't even associate with, because it's not deep enough of a word to describe the relationship I have with the Creator."

Still, the search for something greater runs throughout Rebuilding the Fallen Empire, and Borck hopes Yuca's music encourages people to follow their dreams—just as he began following his own dream eight years ago.

"Not everyone has the same support I've had," he says, before explaining one interpretation of the album title: "To me, the fallen empire symbolizes people's dreams—their talents, gifts and hopes. If you didn't receive support from the people around you, [Yuca will] support you, we'll help you rebuild your fallen dream."

"We encourage you and we support you," he adds later. "Sometimes that sounds cheesy, because what does it mean for a band to do that? But, it's what we think and how we feel."

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About the author

Special to ChristianWeek

Aaron Epp is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer, Musical Routes columnist, and former Senior Correspondent for ChristianWeek.