“I want something with a feeling,” begs Torches frontman Azad Cheikosman in their single “I Want Something.” The moody indie-pop song evokes that desperate, passionate entreaty of youth dissolving into reality.
In this detached modern world, invoking that missed feeling is both a mantra and memorial. Torches self-described “wet lush” ‘90s-influenced “power trio” music reminiscent of Pavement, Television, and My Bloody Valentine serves as a great reminder of a time when music wasn’t overly produced to the point of homogeny.
Their debut album Heads Full of Rust, lauded by critics and music industry folk alike, was written in bassist Bridgette Moody’s “mom’s old garage,” a space full of rusty old odds and ends because inhabited by an older man who had been there since the 1950s. It gives the album a “rustic, faraway feel,” said Moody. “That willing cabin fever.”
Cheikosman and Moody have been playing music with drummer Eric Fabbro for years. Saying that they “didn’t want to play sports” growing up, eventually the trio, separately and together, graduated from grunge-loving skater kids and a David Bowie-loving theatre aficionado to a cover band that played songs from bands like Modest Mouse, the Pixies, Nirvana, and their mutually-favorite band, Radiohead.
Although Torches is all their own, their influences and experience playing ‘90s covers shines through in their music, their personal style, and their DIY mentality.
And they admit to being “total suckers” for the ‘90s sound, Fabbro even comparing themselves to three-piece trios of that generation like Nirvana and Yo La Tengo who “created some pretty cool sounds.”
Moody thoughtfully noted that maybe their attraction to that era is because when you are in your early 20s “you start realizing that you’re not a kid anymore so it makes you think about what you were.” Fabbro agreed saying that maybe they love that sound and this generation of 20-somethings is looking up to artists of the time because they’re “trying to emulate that same scene.”
“We’re trying to relive that because it’s something we looked up to but kind of missed.”
Missed out on, although Cheikosman did admit to having Radiohead posters on his wall and Fabbro listed one of his happiest, “victory” moments as when the band got to see infamous ‘90s band Radiohead in Chula Vista after getting there twelve hours early and waiting in the sun.
Their future, filled with more long, drawn out, but amazing times together on tour (with Fabbro as the “stubborn bus driver”) and onstage, is full of possibility with a new EP on the horizon after the success of their debut album and their last two tours. Torches said Live Nation approached them, they might play Europe next year, and that after they released Heads Full of Rust, labels approached them asking them why they released it themselves. Cheikosman said it’s a Catch-22 because basically the labels never would have known of Torches’ talent if they hadn’t released their album.
Label or no label, the path to success is brightly-lit for Torches who said another one of their best times was watching music together on the hot, but sonically heavenly fields of Indio at Coachella.
For the Southern California-based trio, playing the biggest festival on their home turf would be a dream.
Fabbro hasn’t even purchased his Coachella ticket, trying to manifest a future Torches performance.
“Coachella is a dream. I’m kind of just riding on them inviting us.”