Published Mar 09, 2015Miami's Torche have recently released their fourth studio album, and Relapse debut, Restarter. The 10-track release continues the band's tradition of incorporating pop melodies and catchy hooks into their spacey doom/stoner rock sound. As bassist Jonathan Nuñez tells Exclaim!, Restarter captures the heavier side of Torche, particularly in comparison to 2012's Harmonicraft.
"I think Harmonicraft was an upbeat, semi-flashy rock record. And we'll still continue to play those songs, but for this record, it took after the two songs that we self-released on the 7-inch called Harmonslaught," Nuñez says. "Those songs kind of paved the way for these tracks. We were going for a slightly stripped-down arrangement, letting the instruments breathe, letting the raw power of the rhythm section [and] the guitars, come through and just showcase where we're at sonically and where our sound has been for the last couple of years.
"Especially since we did that 7-inch, I feel that playing those songs live really shaped where we were headed with these songs because playing those was a way more massive, air-pushing-type scenario. Some of the songs on Harmonicraft touched on that, but it's not anywhere near as dense or has the power that the new record has, in my opinion."
However, much like their previous releases, Restarter maintains the pop melodies that balance out the heavy riffs, which is an approach that Torche have honed over the years and is what makes their sound distinct. As Nuñez explains, the writing process is an organic one.
"We just get together and write songs in the moment. We don't try to plan anything out or say, 'You know, on this record we've got to do this or this better or different.' What comes out, comes out. And if we like it, we keep it. If it sucks, we let each other know it sucks, in a very blunt and fast fashion. We have no filters," he says.
"It's definitely what comes naturally. We've always worked on songs until they feel right and complete to us. When it comes down to the vocals, things can take on more of a pop feel regardless of the instrumentation being melodic or heavy. Things just kind of come together without forcing something that didn't feel right."
With their mix of pop and metal styles, and incorporating different elements, Torche's sound has always been difficult to categorize within the parameters of one genre. Nuñez describes the band's sound as simply rock'n'roll.
"Just like all the classic rock'n'roll bands: [Black] Sabbath, Yes, Rush, Led Zeppelin. They went from the softer, slower and heavier to upbeat and happy to darker, moodier and full-on blazing to an acoustic track. It takes a lot of elements to make one band, not just one element. And if it does take one element, then you're going to have a boring, stale collection of songs that probably all sound the same. That's something that, for better or for worse, we can't control.
"Every one of our records, from one track to another, there's an identity; you know it's us, because of the way we play or the way our equipment sounds and whatnot. But it takes different types of songs to make up a record, and naturally, having grown up listening to records that were compiled of different types of songs, we can't help but write like that.... We definitely want to put together a collection of songs that have good continuity, but you're not treading on the same ground over and over. And we're also never trying to sound like someone and we're not trying to do some sort of pre-determined concept record. We kind of just play music and whatever happens, happens."
Nuñez explains that he is extremely happy with how Restarter turned out. "Sonically, it's what I imagined when we were writing the songs and demoing them. So just having the final product sound the way it sounds and look the way it looks, I'm just really, really happy. You know, it's a great feeling when something materializes the way you wanted it to or the way you pictured it."
Stream all of Restarter below, and check out Torche's upcoming tour dates here.