AMR Exclusive Interview with Torche’s Steve Brooks
Things have been pretty quiet on the Torche front for awhile. Last year they released the solid EP Songs for Singles, and after a tour with Kylesa they added a second guitarist to boost their number from three back to the original four. I touched base via email with guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks to find out how the recording of their next LP is going, what new guitarist Andrew Elstner brings to the band, and how the band survives in a music world defined by piracy.
Matt: To start off, can you give me an update on the writing and recording of your next album?
Steve: We’re currently writing and working on pre-production demos for the next release this summer.
Matt: Back in January we got a little bit of information about the addition of Andrew Elstner and the writing of the follow up. How are things going, and is it shaping up to be any different from Torche’s previous work?
Steve: It’s too soon to tell how different the next record will sound from our previous releases, but there’s definitely a different feel to what we’ve written so far. Having Andrew a part of the band has been inspiring. We’re changing, but it’s another step forward.
Matt: You guys spent an extensive period of time as a three piece before adding Andrew. When Juan left the band, did you guys always have the goal of adding a second guitarist in the back of your mind, or was continuing as a three piece the agreed upon course of action?
Steve: To be honest, we weren’t going to add another member unless we were certain he was going to work personally, professionally and creatively. I asked Andrew immediately after Juan’s departure in early 2009, but the timing wasn’t right. Also, the other members of the band needed to get to know him as well. As far as i’m concerned, Andrew was the only guy for the job. It took a couple years, but it was worth the wait.
Matt: How has Andrew contributed to the writing process of the new album? Has this been different from the way Torche songs were written before he joined the band?
Steve: The first week we practiced together, we wrote new songs. Didn’t even attempt to play old ones. We had to get a feel for working with Andrew and what he could add to the band. Andrew and I have also been writing separate from the other members, which is something I haven’t done with Torche. It’s a good productive time for us now.
Matt: You guys are about to embark on a US tour with Big Business and Helms Alee. Do you guys plan on playing any new material on that tour?
Steve: If the songs are done, we will. I can’t wait to play new tunes.
Matt: What kind of role do you think the Internet has played in your rise as a band? Has piracy helped or hurt the band in the long run? How do you feel about people pirating Torche records?
Steve: The whole industry has changed. There’s good and bad to the whole pirating thing. As a music fan, I do what I can to support the bands I like. I’ll never be rich from making music, but I can only hope that there will be enough supporters to keep us working.
Matt: Out of curiosity, do the members of Torche have jobs outside of the band, or does the band bring in enough money for Torche to be the primary occupation of you and the other guys?
Steve: It’s a lot of penny pinching for all of us. Outside of Torche.. Jon has his own studio and records bands, Rick and Andrew have part time jobs. I’m unemployed at the moment, but finding opportunities to make a buck from time to time. It’s hard to keep a job when you’re in a touring band. Plus, 3 of the members of Torche live in different cities, so getting together requires traveling that most jobs wouldn’t let happen. Thank goodness we’ve got a killer tour coming up.
Matt: Pretty much every member of Torche has roots and interests in music outside of the Torche sound, from straight up rock to grindcore. How do these other musical interests influence the Torche sound?
Steve: That’s an interesting question I don’t know how to answer. hehe