Torche's Steve Brooks Talks Metal Multitasking, the Floor Reunion, and Miami's 305 Fest

See 305 Fest's full lineup and set times -- plus Crossfade's interviews with Speedfreak Presents, Merchandise, Noothgrush, and Dropdead.

Steve Brooks has a South Florida sludge pedigree unlike any other.

As the chief songwriter for legendary late '90s and early 2000s doom-drone trio Floor, the guitarist and vocalist has definitely secured himself a spot in the Heavy Hall of Fame.

And while that band is experiencing a mighty second wind of activity and public interest (complete with an out-of-control comprehensive boxset and appearances at festivals like All Tomorrow's Parties), Brooks' primary, present-day songwriting outlet remains the increasingly poppy Torche.

This weekend, Brooks will be performing with both acts at 305 Fest. So Crossfade shot him some questions about his metal multitasking.

Crossfade: One could draw a relatively tidy progression from the unbridled sludge of early Floor, through the increasing pop tendencies of late Floor and early Torche, and up into the present day bubblegum-sludge of Torche's last few releases. But in the wake of bubbling cult interest, Floor seems to be experiencing a revival. Is this a new age for the band or are these performances/tours victory laps? Can we expect new material?

Steve Brooks: Floor is back. But due to Torche taking up most of my time, I consider it a side project at the moment. If I have the time to focus on new Floor material, it will happen. In the meantime, we play shows from time to time for fun.

I enjoyed the Songs For Singles EP. But I felt like it received a little less of a push than Meanderthal or Harmonicraft. Am I totally off-base or is there an explanation for this?

I thought it got a good push. But I tend to think people don't take EPs as serious as full lengths, so it doesn't get treated with the same attention. Hydra Head pushed the hell out of SFS, but you can't spend a fortune you don't have on shoving a product down listener's throats.

A few months ago we talked to Rick Smith about your frustrations on the Coheed and Cambria tour. In 2012, rock bands walk a thin tightrope trying to stay relevant in an increasingly electronic market. When tours like that last one turn out to be a bust in terms of expanding your audience, what do you do next? How does a non-indie rock band in an indie-rock market stay relevant?

I consider that tour a lesson: Know the audience you're playing for before you decide to jump on board. You can play in front of

thousands a night, but don't expect to win even one percent of that audience. We got along great with Coheed, but their audience was not connecting.

As far as being relevant, we write what we enjoy rather than what we think is the current trend in music. If you go back to the early recordings of Floor, I was still doing things similar to how I do them now. There are millions of bands and everything in the traditional-rock sense has been done. So with the Internet making the search for music easy, people are more cynical than ever. I just want to play, be creative with my friends, and live off what I enjoy the most. Music has been a huge part of me since I could remember, so this is what I'll be doing as long as i'm inspired to do so.

Tell us about All Tomorrow's Parties. Was that the biggest audience you've played to? How was the sound? Any good stories?

ATP was cool. It was great to be included in such a killer lineup w/Mogwai, Chavez, Codeine, Mudhoney, Harvey Milk, etc.. From what I was told, we sounded great. The biggest audience Floor has played to was probably either Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin or ATP? Both were big festivals, but I don't know the specifics.

The Floor boxset was incredibly comprehensive. Was there any material on there you were embarassed to release but had to bite the bullett in the name of the discography?

Yeah, there were songs I didn't dig so much. But fuck it: put it all out there. I was young and dug it when I wrote and recorded it, so it can't be that bad.

Why does Torche have an E in the name?

It looks cooler with an E.

305 Fest with Torche, Dropdead, Bastard Noise, Iron Lung, Dropdead, Noothgrush, Jacuzzi Boys, Floor, and others, presented by Speedfreak. Friday, July 6, to Sunday, July 8. Churchill's Pub, 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami. Doors open at 4 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Three day passes cost $60 via speedfreak.bigcartel.com. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.

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