Torche Drummer Rick Smith Talks Going Pro and Pissing Off Teenagers
Miami's high school-aged punk scene was particularly excited over Brooks drafting bassist Jonathan Nunez and drummer Rick Smith, both of whom had made names for themselves as major players in a previously nonexistent hardcore-grind-screamo scene by playing in a slew of local bands self-releasing music and distro-ing records at shows.
On the eve of their tour with Big Business, which hits Churchill's Pub on Tuesday, July 12, Crossfade shot Smith some questions to see what was up with South Florida's stoner-pop heroes.
Crossfade: You're quoted on the cover of the last record describing the album as "radio rock bullshit." Can you elaborate?
Rick Smith: I was quoted saying it jokingly in an interview on the Coheed and Cambria tour. It was kind of a stab at the metalheads who think we only wrote two good records (the first two). Hydra Head liked the quote enough to put it on the sticker that came on the album though. I was actually surprised when we received them, it wasn't planned!
Torche has played on some medium-to-large-sized tours, most recently opening for Coheed and Cambria. As a musician/promoter/etc. who also is very active in smaller scenes, what are the upsides and downsides of "going pro."
Going pro sucks. We've done the big tours, and they're never as intimate and never as fun for us to play. When offered the Coheed tour, many people who work with us, as well as friends, all said it'd be amazing exposure and that we'd gain some new young fans. This couldn't be further from the truth. I think we just ended up pissing off all the little kids who wanted to see Circa Survive and Coheed. Around the time we did that tour we were reading stuff online that 16 and 17 year olds were saying like "Watching them was the worst 40 minutes of my life" or "This band sucks, I hope they all commit suicide." Needless to say, we've toured twice since the Coheed trip and still have yet to meet someone who got turned onto us by seeing us on that tour. I'd say the only thing that's good about these kind of tours are the killer sound systems at the venues. I'd rather play a bar or a basement anyday though.
Do you have any goals, expectations or fears for the upcoming tour with Big Business?
Goals: Stayin' alive and rockin' every night. Expectations: To have a fuckin blast! Fears: No time for those!!
What phase of the game are you guys in with regards to new material?
We just finished recording 3 tracks for a split 12" with Part Chimp from the UK and recorded demos for 8 new songs. We have 17 songs for the new record total but didn't have time to record em all before leaving. Were hoping to start tracking the record in september/October.
Torche records always feel so short! It's definitely "wanting more" rather than "not enough," but is this something deliberate in the songwriting and/or a curatorial decision? Or after a period of recording and editing, do you wake up one morning with 30 minutes worth of music and know that's the album?
We all just hate when things are too long. We just go for quality over quantity and once we've cancelled out the flunkies we usually end up with something short and sweet. We wouldn't want it any other way!
Big Business with Torche, and Helms Alee. Tuesday, July 12. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. Call 305-757-1807 or visitchurchillspub.com.
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