The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the continent forced the band to cancel most of its tour due to travel restrictions. Speaking with New Times' Olivia McAuley, drummer Rick Smith said that at the beginning of the tour, "people were still making jokes about it, and we assumed that’s how it would be everywhere."
Luckily, before all that, Torche had landed in London to record a session for BBC Radio 1's Maida Vale studio. It's now available to stream online on the BBC website for the next 26 days.
"Having the privilege of doing a BBC session could not have come at a better time," says the band via press release. "The experience at Maida Vale is always fun and inspiring, but with the way things are going in the world at the moment, we are even more grateful for opportunities like these. In the midst of the tour cancellation we faced earlier this month, this session is something very special to come out of a trying time."
Recording at Maida Vale is a big deal, not only because it means being featured on the British national broadcaster's airwaves. Thousands of artists, from David Bowie and Joy Division to Flying Lotus and Aphex Twin, to name just a few, have recorded at the historic studio complex, which was the center of BBC News operations during World War II. When the BBC announced in 2018 that the studios would close by 2023, it sparked an outcry from musicians and industry professionals.
So it must be nice for Torche to participate in such a vaunted tradition, even under such dire circumstances. After recording on March 5, the band traveled to Russia on March 7 and Athens on March 11. By then, the World Health Organization had declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the Trump administration had announced its European travel ban, so the band decided to cut its losses and head home.
Torche says it's lost upward of $15,000 from cancellations. The group posted a previous live session, recorded for KXLU-FM (88.9) in Los Angeles, on Bandcamp to try to recoup some of the funds. The session is available at a pay-what-you-want price. The band's last studio album, 2019's Admission, is also available on Bandcamp.