Torche Drummer Rick Smith Talks Going Pro and Pissing Off Teenagers

Categories: Q&A
TorcheHydraHeadRecords.jpg
When word first started to spread about Torche, shortly before their first show at The Fest 3 in Gainesville, many were excited to hear the latest from Steve Brooks, guitarist and vocalist for legendary sludge band Floor.

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.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.



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Churchill's Pub

5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Music

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Will Lopez
Will Lopez

 

Astonishing and ironic to me that this post is on the sameblog as Fernando's nonsensical rant - and deconstructing of same -

Here, (Torche), is a band that is doing it right - Has always done it right -

Think they care about getting New Times coverage?  Think it bothers themif they don't win "Best band of the Year", or make the cover of same?

Think they are worried about attendance at their Churchill's show on July 12th?

Of course not - they are too busy having a career -

They don't need to carry the "Miami flag" or rant about how the"scene" does not support - Miami is in their hearts - That is allthat matters - They play, they write, they record, people like their songs,they buy, and come watch - PERIOD -

At some point Fernando will understand that it is NOT this scene'sresponsibility to make him famous.  That a blog, a music festival, a coverstory in a publication is NOT going to improve his W2 at the end of the year,no matter the scale – nor is it going to create a “scene”

Want to be a Pop/Rock star?  Write and perform songs that connect withpeople, build your fan base, make them believe, and tour - (The last word ofthis statement is vital) -

5 new fans the first time you hit a new city

Come back around 3 months later, those 5 will come back and bring friends -maybe buy a shirt - Maybe give you a place to stay -

Come back around a year later and you are playing in front of 100 folks in thesame town – if you have connected -

Before you know it you have a foundation and a building block to a future as aperforming musician - (See Rachel Goodrich) - Things begin to happen - One ofyour songs gets picked up for a commercial - You get a TV appearance on a localcable access show in Austin, Tx - etc.

You release your own records - it's as easy as a opening a "CD Baby"account - costs 25 bucks to get your record released online - ITunes and therest -

Before you know it some label in NYC hears about you, and goes out of their wayto travel to come see you perform - (They don't ask you to come play a showcaseat a bar in NYC, where there is a 75% they won't show up, no, they come findYOU) -

Just one problem with above game plan -

It takes time - (3-4 years minimum) -

It takes sacrifice - (Everything has to become secondary - including family -secure jobs) -

It takes dedication from band members - (If you don't have a band, but"hired guns" - forget it)

It takes BALLS - (You can do EVERYTHING listed above and for any number ofreasons things may not work out)

Trying to build a career in a rock band is like banging your head into a cementwall - What generally happens is you just end up with a headache -

Unless you are Torche, then you set the amps to 11 and blow the f'ing wall down- with beautiful, "experimental" / "noise" that is moremelodic than anything anyone else in this town has done in years -

Ok, off soapbox - have a blessed day -

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