Nashville native Mackenzie Scott has been performing under the moniker Torres for a while, but over the course of the past year or so, she seems to have transformed from acoustic singer songwriter to overdriven blues chanteuse. Torres delivers a starkly direct, visceral style of song writing that comfortably sits along side the likes of Sharon Van Etten and Wye Oak. Her self-titled album was released in the US at the beginning of this year but, thankfully, Europe has caught up and is all set to embrace the record on 11 November. Ahead of the album’s release, we talked to Torres about the upcoming release and what it takes to write some of the most desolately honest music we’ve heard in a very long time.
Where are you and what were you doing just before answering these questions?
I’m in Brooklyn sitting in my apartment, currently. I just ate a rice cake with almond butter and I’m sipping on an Americano.
Tell me about the new album, how did it all come together?
I wrote the songs for this album over the last four years when I was living in Nashville. The recording process was about five days in July 2012.
How does it feel for the album to see a European release and how do you think the reaction to it will compare with the US?
I’m anticipatory in the best way possible. I have more momentum now than I did here in the US before the album’s release. I continue to be amazed that there are people in the UK/Europe who are genuinely excited for the album to be released there.
The album seems to deal with a lot of personal material, like there’s an intense honesty to the music. Was the writing of this album a cathartic process?
Yes. Catharsis and healing are the only reasons I write.
Your earlier recordings are much more based around acoustic roots but for the album you’ve transitioned to a more electric sound. Was this an intentional process?
Absolutely. With this album, I sought to separate myself from the musician I used to be. It isn’t that I’m ashamed of that part of myself. I actually really love playing acoustically. It’s just that I’ve grown and transitioned into something that’s more exciting and much more “myself”, if that makes sense. That’s also part of the reason I chose to begin releasing music under a moniker; it gives me a sense of separation from the quieter, tamer stuff I was playing before.
There’s an intensely stripped back feel to the songs on the album. Is it a more natural process for you to record the music as close as possible to the way it was created?
Definitely. I start with songs, and then I build around them with instrumentation as I see fit. If I don’t perceive a need for anything beyond the bare bones skeleton of the song, I’m not going to add onto it. I don’t like clutter.
How have the songs translated live?
They’ve become more and more intense as I’ve played live shows with a band. The dynamics have become much more emphasized and the sounds have gotten grungy and raw. I’m really enjoying myself. The live show aspect has become a huge release for me.
Apologies for the really obvious question, but what inspired your name?
Torres was my grandfather’s last name. To take it on as my moniker was my attempt at paying homage to someone I love and miss.
What do the next 12 months have in store for Torres?
I plan to tour and write as much as possible, and hopefully I’ll get bit of downtime as well. But I don’t enjoy too much downtime; I like to stay busy. It keeps me from getting buried in my head too much.
TORRES is released on 11 November and Torres is on touring Europe throughout November in support of the album. Dates below.
02 – Amsterdam – Holland – Paradiso
04 – Gent – Belgium – Cafe Video
05 – Hamburg – Germany – Kunst
06 – Berlin – Germany – Lido
08 – Munich – Germany – Hansa 39
09 – Frankfurt – Germany – Zoom
10 – Cologne – Germany – Gbaude 9
13 – London – UK – Borderline
14 – Brighton – UK – Green Door Club
16 – Athens – Greece – Six D.O.G.S
18 – Dublin – Ireland – Sugar Club