huge thanks to Carlos Ramirez and the entire SMN staff!
Torche - Steve Brooks, Vocals/Guitars
My first reaction to Meanderthal is that’s its much hookier than the EP and debut album material. Was this a conscious move when you went into writing mode for the album?
In a way, yeah, I think so. Thank you for the compliment. Hooks are good.
Were you afraid of the possibility of a backlash from some of your fans for the melodic feel of some of the songs?
We don’t think about a backlash while we’re writing. If all the members of the band are feeling the song, then we’re going to play it. I mean, we’re the ones that have to hear it every night. If someone else isn’t diggin’ it, so what? There’s always going to be a backlash from people if you write the same type of material over again or if you write something a little different. The more we do, the more we¹ll either be loved or hated. There’s a million other bands people can listen to other than us and if you like what you hear, support it.
I think a song like “Grenades” should be all over rock radio. Would you be acceptant to something like that and the stuff it would open the band up to?
I’m not too accepting of it. Do we really want to hear ourselves on the radio? I think each of us would be a little weirded out by it. But, if people want it on the radio, it’s up to them. I’m sure it’ll help us financially in some ways. Metallica and Kiss never got played on the radio until there was a demand for it. Bands like Nickelback had some major financial push from their labels to put them on the radio. I mean, that shit is so awful. I stick to the classic rock stations that don’t play anything post 1980. We’re about 30 years too late.
You and Juan (Montoya) have really interesting guitar tones on this recording. On one hand, it’s as sludgy as St. Vitus or The Melvins but there is a brighter sheen underneath some of the parts or sections. How much do you tweak your settings from song to song?
We used a Fender Telecaster for a twangier guitar tone on some songs. It’s not “sludgy” at all, but we’ve always loved the way it sounds. Why not? I think it gives us room to do more.
There are some tasty twin-guitar melodies on “Across the Shields” that reminded me of Thin Lizzy! Where you influenced by any of the classic guitar tams from years back?
You’ve played gigs with all sorts of bands from many different genres. Which crowds have been the most resistant? Do you think the metal kids get you?
The Mogwai audience was definitely the most resistant. They took us too seriously. Seeing Mogwai every night was great, but having to play to their fans wasn’t fun. I think it’s the same for metal kids. We’re stuck somewhere in the middle somewhere. We’re still trying to figure where we’d fit in.
What do you have more fun playing, the slower, Cavity-like material or the more straight-forward rock stuff?
The slower stuff bores the hell out of all of us. We want energy and madness!
I know you are an old-school metal kid, what would the 14 year old Steve Brooks think of Torche?
I would’ve probably liked some of the brutal heavy stuff, but hated the singer.
What’s been on your stereo lately? Anything that would throw Torche fans for a loop?
Probably not. I listen to my old stuff, but what’s new is Parts & Labor and Monotonix albums. Damn good bands!
By Carlos Ramirez