15 years into their career, and Floridian heavy metal band Torche are still finding ways to level up. Jonathan Nunez tells us about their new album, ‘Admission’.
Hey Jonathan, how’s summer treating you?
Summer has been great so far; there’s a lot going on as we get closer to releasing the record..so there’s a good amount of excitement in the air.
Congratulations on the new album, how long has ‘Admission’ been in the works for?
Thank you, we wrote it rather spread out over the last two to three years between tours and time where we could get everything in the same state. We’re used to being spread out, typically on both coasts here in the US, which we have been used to since after our third record or so. The record was written in about four weeks, consisting of us doing a couple to a few days here and there after heavy touring for our last record. A couple of us started a business, like Rick [Smith] with a print shop called Print Smith 305, and me starting an independent gear company called Nuñez Amps, so between those companies starting and generally taking some time off ourselves, we became more and more excited with the idea of doing another record.
What was your headspace like going into it?
I feel the biggest push was the line-up change that took place in a nine-day gap between a European tour and a month-long US tour. The energy and excitement that quickly took hold of the band really reflected in our live shows, and in how we felt not only playing but in how we wanted to continue doing what we’ve been doing since 2004. There was a drive to capture what we had been feeling while playing. I wanted to accomplish something that not only represented the band’s true live sound, but also something that felt like a full record experience.
Did you start writing this one with any set goals in mind?
I was set to capture the live sound of the band and do each song justice in creating how each song deserved to be represented. To me, if someone were to pick up this record after seeing us live, I want them to say “Hey, this is exactly what I heard”, transporting them to the same headspace and triggering the feeling they had when watching us. It needed to sound and feel real. It could be harsh, and everything needed to be in the right space, while allowing things to move around like they would in a real space. The sound I was getting through the different demos were really speaking to us; we wanted to have the connection and sonic chemistry we projected live on this one, it was a priority.
Did you find yourselves drawn to any new lyrical themes throughout the process?
The lyrics always reflect the vibe and feel of the songs for us. This time around, to me, they’re more honest and revealing while maintaining some of our traditional lyrics where the listener can develop their own perspective.
Were there any unexpected influences for ‘Admission’?
We all pull from our own influences and inspirations, where there can be overlap or none at all between members. For me, this record properly showcases everyone in the band’s personality. Ultimately it acknowledges what we’ve been wanting to do since our last record was released, and what we want to be doing now. Although the record was recorded a year ago, it still represents where we are as a band currently.
How was your time in the studio?
The time in the studio had its moments, different types or an array if you will. To me, there were some challenges, the room we tracked in for starters had its acoustical issue… but we pushed forward, and I did some extra work in the mix process. Mostly it was nonstop full days; we had enough time to get things done if we remained efficient and focused. We put together a couple of songs in the studio, which made tightened the schedule a bit, but we accomplished all the basic tracking. The rest of the tracking was done at my studio, which was being completed at the time. There was a good amount of experimenting with guitar sounds, and passing drums through some of the Nunez pedals which tied in the drums with the guitar/bass sounds in a great way.
The title-track is a real standout moment; how did that one come together?
The title-track materialised from an idea I had which was to compose a track based off a beat on a drum machine app I found appealing, which was not a typical Torche beat, and writing the chords last which is not usually how we write our songs. Leading up to writing this song, we had just completed an Eastern European tour, and most of us had gotten sick, a type of flu that would not stop getting worse. I was in-between moving from FL to CA and was feeling a bit lost without my studio, instruments, or friends really. Due to whatever it is I caught, I was very much in a drained and delirious state in 100-degree weather which makes you feel a bit more bizarre.
With all this going on, I needed to be productive and wanted to have material ready for our upcoming writing sessions. I started to gather essentials. Some cheap second-hand equipment off Craigslist, a local music chain, and a $90 guitar. These limited tools were great; just having the ability to write was what I needed. After demoing certain ideas, I was really out of it and honestly unsatisfied. That’s when the drum app came into play, alongside not proceeding how I’ve been used to putting down ideas for as long as I could remember. Once the drums were playing the lead just started to materialise, mainly due to the stress and not wanting to stop unless I had something I liked after rounding up the batch of “this’ll work” gear.
Not too long after the beat and leads were all done, the rhythm guitar’s notes just fell into place like they’d always been there waiting. Once the song was shown to the guys (I had no idea what to expect, but I liked it) everyone was excited to try it. The first few times we played it the song went on for about 16 to 12 minutes. About a week later Rick and I received one of Steve [Brooks]’ usual late night texts with a vocal demo that immediately solidified this needed to be on the record.
How did you approach curating the album’s running order?
It almost works itself out. My approach is running with what you’d like a live set’s pace to be like, while creating a sonic journey spanning all the emotions and directions the record has rot offer. From the first track to the final moments, a record should be telling a great story that should feel complete as well as full, leaving you wanting to re-experience as soon as the first listen is done.
Does releasing music into 2019’s socio-political climate feel any different from previous years?
I think the artwork for ‘Admission’ can mean a lot of different things to all types of people, and I look forward to getting all sorts of perspectives, but to me one of the things it projects can be seen as a feeling on certain things going on in our country as well as the world we live in today.
Can we expect to see you in the UK anytime soon? What’s next for you guys?
We’re currently working on getting over to the UK as soon as possible, and it’s looking like December might be doable. We’re definitely excited to get back over and play our new record live.
Taken from the August issue of Upset. Torche’s album ‘Admission’ is out now.