Torche is a kickass rock band. These guys riff, shred, and open portals of feedback into annihilating dimensions of brutality. But they do so while maintaining a welcoming, accessible tone that's drawn legions of fans and won over critics, all around the world.
Their new album, Restarter, is dropping on Relapse. And it promises a post-apocalyptic vision of the future in which machines kill people.
"Some of the album is about the demise of humankind," says bass player Jonathan Nuñez, "and computers taking over everything."
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Recorded during a 13-day stretch last year, Restarter will be released in digital, wax, and cassette formats on February 24, but the vinyl should provide the fullest sonic and visual experience. "It sounds so fucking good," Nuñez enthuses. "And the art is crazy."
The band's members -- who also include guitarists Steve Brooks and Andrew Elstner, and drummer Rick Smith -- live in San Francisco, Atlanta, and Miami, where Nuñez and Smith grew up on the hardcore, grind, and punk rock scenes.
However, as Nuñez can attest, many other styles of music have shaped Torche.
"Growing up in the car I'd be listening to 2 Live Crew, all that old booty bass and Miami bass," Nuñez recalls. "And ever since I was a little kid, my mom's brothers always threw tons of parties where they played salsa, merengue, and all that freestyle shit. That stuff is the best. I don't have any musicians in my family, but everybody has a passion for music and dancing, so I took to playing instruments easily because of my family's enthusiasm."
When he was in elementary school, he glommed on to the Led Zeppelin that his dad played on the car stereo. And later, his mom took him to the Jimi Hendrix laser show at the Miami Planetarium.
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Soon, Nuñez had his own six string to learn on, but it was a fateful journey to a friend's house that lured him into a fiendish love affair with distortion.
"I heard this electric guitar he plugged into a little amp, and I was like, 'Holy shit, this is insane.'"
Today, his visceral affinity for gritty low end remains strong. And it can be heard in every second of every Torche song.
"I was always drawn to the power of the bass guitar and its relationship to rhythm," he says.
And when Nuñez and the band aren't on the road, he helps others bring their ideas to life at his and buddy Ryan Haft's Pinecrust Studio, where they record and mix local bands like Wrong, who he and Torche will take on their next tour.
He is also responsible for capturing the concussive power of Mehkago N.T., a hardcore crew whose name means I shit on you in Spanish.
Nuñez is Cuban-American, and his family hails from Islas Canarias, Spain, where he loves to play. "It's almost like a total mindfuck," he explains. "It's Europe, but I can understand what everybody is saying."
With relentless drive, total determination, and a non-stop grind, Torche will surely soon take TV airwaves by storm too. "It would be fun to play on SNL," Nuñez says. "Growing up, I always got superexcited to see bands I liked on there."
But until then, support Miami metal by buying Torche's glow-in-the-dark hoodie, sunglasses, reversible t-shirt, trucker hat, and music. (You can even pre-order all that merch.) And most importantly, go see this crew's live show while it's still relatively cheap.
"We're just looking forward to getting the new record out and hitting the road," says Nuñez. "It feels great to hear all that feedback."
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Torche. With Municipal Waste, plus Night Birds, Nunhex, and Wrong. Wednesday, January 21. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $17 plus fees via ticketfly.com. All ages. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
Torche's Restarter Record-Release Show. With Wrong and D.O.C. Wednesday, March 4. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m. and cover costs $10. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.