Here is a short interview with Steve Brooks, lead singer of Torche and Floor. Torche’s new album, Meanderthal, is a thick, loud and hook-heavy rock album. One of the best releases so far this year. Steve talks to Parade of Flesh about his old band, Floor, Torche’s album artwork and his love for Kemado Records.
Parade of Flesh: I hear rumors that Andy of Robotic Empire is a fantastic merch guy. Why didn’t he go out with you guys on The Sword tour?
Steve Brooks: Because we stress him out too much. hehe
POF: How did Torche form after Floor? How often do you play Floor songs?
SB: Torche formed about a week after Floor disbanded. We play Floor songs more often then i'd like to. It's a different band, ya know. Even though I love the old stuff, I also love the new jams and prefer to play 'em.
POF: Why all the line-up changes for Floor?
SB: We were a band on and off for 12 years. Some members moved on to bigger and better things.
POF: How often does the Torche side-project, Shitstorm, play?
SB: As often as they can, I guess? I haven't been to a shitstorm show in years.
POF: Do all the bands members of Torche have a background in the studio? You all seem to have a knack for manipulating sounds and using white noise to your advantage.
SB: Jon is the studio magician. I'm clueless about studio stuff, other than recording music on 4 track or boombox.
POF: You have said in previous interviews that you don't consider Torche a metal band. How should the masses describe Torche to those unaware? (Especially with endless comparisons to Melvins)
SB: I never considered the Melvins a metal band. I always thought Bauhaus and Swans were some of the heaviest bands ever. Were they metal? Nope.
POF: All of Torche’s releases contain stunning artwork and elaborate packaging. Who decides the concept and direction of each release?
SB: We do. Rick and I did the concept for the first LP. John Baizley and I did the concept for the In Return EP. Juan Montoya (of Torche) and Aaron Turner (of ISIS/hydra-head) did the concept for Meanderthal.
POF: Meanderthal seems to be your most ‘colorful’ and accessible release in regards to the artwork. Besides the obvious caricatures of the band members, what was the overall concept of the figures on the clouds or mountains and the unique foldout? Was everything artist/guitarist Juan Montoya and Aaron Turner of Hydra Head ideas?
SB: Pretty much. Juan has been drawing caricatures of us and friends for years. I thought it would've been awesome to have him make us into monsters for the cover art. Juan and Aaron did the rest. It's pretty brilliant to my eyes.
POF: Why doesn’t the cd insert fit? I don’t want to ruin it putting it back in.
SB: Because the cd cases suck. I hate it too. Hopefully, it'll be fixed when the cd gets repressed.
POF: Meanderthal has more ‘hooks’ than In Return or the S/T. What prompted the ‘slight’ shift to a more melodic sound on the new album?
SB: I don't know? [It] just happened.
POF: What happened to your Mohawk? Actually what happened to the whole ‘aggro-metal’ look in your bio?
SB: The frohawk lasted about a week. Just for shits and giggles. I prefer the preppy me.
POF: The song “Mentor” appears on a Kemado records compilation, but Torche has only released material on Robotic Empire, Rock Action and now Hydra Head, so why nothing on Kemado yet?
SB: Yet? Fuck that label. They only gave us 4 copies of that cd comp.
POF: If you could handpick two active bands to open for you on a full tour in the near future, whom would you choose?
SB: That's a difficult question because I’m so used to opening for other bands. Monotonix would be my first choice because they're amazing. So many other bands I'd like to tour with as well
TORCHE will be on tour till the end of 2008.
"Healer" off of Meanderthal:
"Assassins" (Floor) and "Charge of the Brown Recluse"