Step inside the dark, introspective and naturalistic songwriting of Adam Torres.
Earlier this year, you released I Came To Sing the Song EP. How does this collection of songs build on your last release, Pearls to Swine?
Well, these songs were written around the same time as most of the songs that ended up on Pearls but have a more introspective focus on the writing process. There's a character in each of the songs that are writers in some kind of way. It made sense to put these songs together on a release and these songs were also recorded in the same recording session as Pearls, too. So, really, I Came to Sing the Song (EP) is technically & instrumentally an extension of Pearl but with a few themes removed and varied.
You've been touring extensively after the EP release. Do you use traveling and gigging as an opportunity to write new songs or refine older material? How does touring impact your mood, mindset, and creative motivation?
From my experience this last year, the touring grind has taught me to make time to write new material -- late nights after shows, the days in between tours, or while in the van or on the plane if we are flying somewhere. The reality of playing in new place (e.g. Australia and New Zealand recently) is a good opportunity to try out new songs because there aren't any expectations really from the audience. In general, I find touring to be extreme -- extremely gratifying or extremely anxiety-inducing. Some nights are amazing and the audience and venue work in coordination and then some nights are kind of hopeless.
Speaking of touring, you've enlisted Thor Harris, known for his involvement with Swans, a much more aggressive and heavy sound than your material. How did that connection happen and how does Thor use his talents and musical prowess on your tunes?
About two years ago, Thor was wanting to try something new musically in his life; I think he wanted to play softer 'pretty' music. So, we met at a show he was playing underneath a highway bridge in East Austin and we started hanging out and playing together. Thor is one of my favorite drummers in the world and he uses texture in idiosyncratic and interesting ways to add depth to the songs on our records.
You recently made a stop at Green Man Festival in Wales. How does your music translate at huge festivals like Green Man? Is something lost, or perhaps gained from performing on large festival stages to a field of people instead of a smaller club?
It's interesting to play larger venues or events because while the sound of the music we make is expansive and the vocals have a maximal sonic quality to them, our project has existed mostly in smaller or medium sized venues wherever we play (so far). I think the songs can breathe in bigger spaces, so the music gains an environment that it is more at home but really the difference is not big enough to say that either is better than the other.
Your style of folk music has a dark edge. Are you inspired or find motivation in the gloomier side of life?
These days, everyone must see the world from a conflict perspective in that people and nature are at odds with each other an bad things happen without reason. There is no justice in what is happening right now -- a white supremacist con-man is destroying our political economy from the inside out, our natural world is in revolt and the effects of climate change are devastating millions of people around the world. Fundamentally, and especially now in the post-truth Trump era, I do not view the universe as friendly. I hope the music and songs that I write can connect to that feeling and work through those emotions as some sort of way to heal.
Folk music tends to have deep roots in a sense of home. Where is home for you and how has that place on the Earth shaped your songwriting?
Home for me as become less and less defined the more and more I am traveling and touring solo or with my band. Home for me, for now, is playing shows and connecting and communicating with the people I meet while touring. It is nice to recharge when not on the road and for that purpose I live in the Austin area where my musical family and community live -- people that I love and trust and feel an affinity in our shared experience.
Nature and its value and importance is expressed in many of your songs. What parts of the outdoors are most sacred to you?
I've lived near rivers throughout my life so I've always felt humbled by their presence, as well as mountains. The news of the day and our day-to-day problems somehow don't seem to matter when in the presence of nature. The idea that the infinite is reflected in nature is awe-inspiring to me and affects me on a deep level, in a way that conventional religion has never been able to do. I grew up Catholic but struggled with a lot of the ideology associated with Christianity as I became older, witnessing injustices in my personal life or in the world events like the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, among many other large-scale conflicts. I trust nature more than human ideology because I feel like there is more to learn from nature than from dogma of any kind.