Interview: Matthew Torres
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I remember sitting in my room as a teenager, sad, feeling majorly bleh. I turned on my 3 CD stereo hoping to find solice in Radiohead, it didn't hit the spot. I tried my Coldplay mix cd (mostly Rush of Blood to the Head and some Parachutes), still not hitting the spot. Finally i tried my Korn mix CD and it was still not hitting the right moody, distraught, angsty emotional space I was in. I remember sitting on my bed and thinking..."oh, I have to write it. I have to write the music that I need to hear. And I think other people might need it someday as well." I started writing pretty regularly from that moment forward.
If not music, then I'd being more deeply involved with cooking, comedy, or drawing. Those other three have been with me throughout the years as well. I nourish those parts of me by learning semi-complex recipes at times, and sharing my drawings/comedy on tiktok!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I work full time as a psychotherapist. Being a therapist requires focus/being present with my patients and also requires that I continue learning so that I'm providing the best care I can. It's an honor hearing so many vulnerable stories each day and being able to be a guide towards healing and clarity. I think I seek healing and clarity with the music I write - that the parts of me that struggle to speak get to have their voices shine/resonate through song.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Right now I'm in Oakland California. Been here for about 4 and a half years. I grew up in Modesto California. I think growing up in a big small town like Modesto (population of over 200k but mostly rural small town vibes) deeply impacted my sound. While I had a great group of friends I often felt between worlds - not Puerto Rican enough, not Jewish enough, not straight/queer enough (wasn't much space to just be bi). I made my way to the Bay Area (where my parents met and where we would frequently visit throughout my childhood) and have been deeply impacted by the diverse music scene here. There’s also a strong entrepreneurial spirit in Oakland - so many people starting their own businesses, art projects, collaborative spaces. I’ve been collaborating on all of my projects and it certainly has helped my songs reach new levels.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Right now I’m in a rock n roll mood! I’d love to open for Dead Soft, Mannequin Pussy, and Pile. It’d be a night of such excellent moody and thrashing rock!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I’ve thought about this a few times throughout my life. Honestly, I’d likely just give myself a big, long hug. Then, I’d say…no, I’d ask younger me to play me some music he’s excited about or tell me about things he is trying to figure out. I think I really needed someone like me to hear me and help me figure things out. So I’d listen to help younger me feel a stronger connection to his voice and identity.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Kissing Palms (Stick Around) - this song was written back in 2009 when I was going through an emotionally abusive relationship. I wrote the song with my friend Lindsey whom was also processing a strained relationship to an ex. The song has changed form over the years but gosh, when I play this song live, the room always gets quiet. I even feel a stillness show up inside of me. Processing how we hold onto things that are destroying us even when we know they are destroying us.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I like to write to the middle space of things. Normalizing the imperfect edges of us. Speaking to the quiet violence in our everyday interactions or giving voice to conflicted parts of one’s self. Mostly I want to get across that you are not alone in these weird mixed up spaces. I know that my music won’t please everyone, but I know to some people it’ll be as critical and healing as other bands have been for me. So I hope my songs find the people who need to hear ‘em.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I have a horror screenplay I’m writing with my friend (ghost story in the SF/Bay Area 👻). So prepared to be scared by that. I am actively working to book live music gigs and will share those as they come in on my Insta. Otherwise, come hangout with me on tiktok or Instagram (that’s where I digitally hangout the most)!