I recently spoke to Mackenzie (just the loveliest human, by the way) over the phone about the only things that really matter in this world, aka her music, as well as In-N-Out, Julianne Moore and Kurt Cobain. Feel free to internet-eavesdrop on all of that below, follow Torres on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news, AND snag a copy of Sprinter while you’re at it, which is out now on Partisan Records. See Torres tonight at Rock & Roll Hotel. HERE WE GO:
Photo by Shawn Brackbill
You’re on the West Coast right now, yeah?
Well, I was. I’m driving through Montana right now heading to Minneapolis.
(So SEMI-BORDERLINE West Coast.) How was the KEXP session?
It was so cool. The whole band was so stoked on it.
Oh, I’m sure!
Yeah, it was really exciting.
Well I also saw via Instagram that you were not such a fan of In-N-Out when you were in California…
Explain this to me, because I am SUCH a big fan, like to the point that it’s a problem.
I just didn’t think it was as good as all of the hype, unfortunately, and I was prepared to LOVE it. I don’t know why, I just think I would rather eat Burger King. Sue me. [Laughs]
So what did you even order?!
I had a hamburger and fries. I mean, it was good. It was really good.
I mean, I do get what you’re saying. When you think it’s going to be this magical, spiritual experience and then it isn’t, then it IS kind of a big let-down.
Yeah, and it just wasn’t that for me. I really did go in prepared to love it, though. I liked it, it was good. You know?
You know, I actually think that I wrecked this “secret” traveling hack where you could get a free shuttle to a parking garage from LAX that was right next to an In-N-Out, because I recently went to LA for the first time and I wrote up this story about how convenient it was to do that and then get an Uber to LA from there after I’d eaten. The story wasn’t brand new, but I just wrote about it a few weeks ago, and now the parking garage has really cracked down on who they’re picking up because they got wise to the fact that people were exploiting it.
Yeah, I feel pretty bad about it. I really hope it was all coincidental and not ACTUALLY my doing. But anyway, you are also living in Brooklyn now, yeah?
Yeah, I moved to Brooklyn two years ago now.
Cool. I’ve only been here four years (so not that much longer than you), but you’re liking it so far? I mean, to stay put for two years you must, I guess.
Yeah, I do like it. Brooklyn wasn’t the place that I set out to live when I moved to New York; I always wanted to live in Manhattan, but I love Bushwick, and the more I’m there, the more it feels like home to me. I really do like it.
I was the same way; I really thought I wanted to live in Manhattan, and I had a lot more friends living there at the time that I arrived in the city, so it seemed even more appealing, but now I can’t even imagine not living in Brooklyn. And the people that WERE living there have actually (for the most part) all moved over here. But two years ago (I guess around the time you arrived) it REALLY started to explode over here in Bushwick, and it’s just snowballed ever since. That’s also happened to Nashville, though…I’m sure that that was maybe even happening when you were still living there, yeah?
What do you miss most about living in Nashville, if anything?
I guess I just miss hanging out in people’s houses and having big friend group hangs in houses. That doesn’t really happen so much in Brooklyn. I mean, I’m okay with it, because I’m very introverted and I don’t need a lot of big group hang-time, I guess (I’m a one-on-one person anyway), but if anything, I’d say that I miss that.
Yeah, I definitely agree with you. It definitely doesn’t happen here as much as I would like it to, but if I did have to choose sides between introverted and extroverted interactions, I’d pick the former over the latter. Now, shifting gears back to the music, here, when you Google “Torres”, Fernando (the footballer) is the first thing that comes up. I’m a big soccer fan, and he’s one of my more favorite players, so that’s a good thing! But just in terms of a moniker, was there any specific reason that you decided to work under the name Torres as opposed to your real name?
I just wanted separation. I wanted personal separation from what I was doing professionally, and I wanted what I’m creating to have its own name; I didn’t want people to be thinking about me as Mackenzie Scott as they were listening to the music, because I think that ruins it a bit. I like that veil of mystique. But as far as the Fernando Torres thing goes, I did not know about him until after. [Laughs]
Yeah, I guess you would learn the hard way.
I didn’t think to do a quick Google search of Torres. I think (if anything) I just Googled to make sure there wasn’t another band or artist called Torres, but I didn’t even think about somebody else in the world going by the name Torres.
Well, if you had to accidentally share with a soccer player, I think you picked the right one; he seems very chivalry-minded and seems like a nice person, so you could have done worse in that regard. (At least you didn’t pick Messi or something, you know?) Now, sorry to harp on your Instagram posts here again, but I saw your #TBT where you’re playing the flute as a kid. Now, I played clarinet in middle school largely because my mom didn’t want me to be in chorus or in guitar, so I guess tell me how you sort of got started really being into music…was this an interest that was always there? I just remember hating band practice, and that kind of ruined the idea of becoming a musician for me.
I always loved music. I started playing piano when I was seven, I think, and then flute a couple of years after that, and then guitar eventually. I always liked all of it, but the thing I had the hardest time with was practicing. You know, when you’re playing piano and you have your designated two or three hours a day that you HAVE to practice, stuff like that was the WORST, because I’m so impatient, and I hated being made to do that. BUT, I always loved the music, and it always ended up being worth it for me when I ended up learning something and did something right; I felt accomplished, and there was always that real sense of pride at becoming good at my instrument.
So do you feel that that has influenced the path that has led to where you are now?
Yeah. It sounds a little bit cliche, I guess, but if you develop a work ethic as a young person (and sometimes you’re made to do things that you don’t want to do), it really does carry on into adulthood, I think, in terms of pacing yourself and training in order to accomplish something. Because you can’t just become prolific or good at an instrument overnight; you do have to work really consistently at it, and that is one important characteristic that came to me at a very young age, because my parents gave me the opportunity to not only learn the instruments, but they also really pushed me to spend a lot of time getting better at them.
Absolutely. I think the disconnect for me was that I somehow ended up not learning how to read any of the music…I don’t know how you spend three years in band class and manage to not learn that, of all things, but I could only understand it by ear. That STILL to this day baffles me. (Anyway, needless to say, I am not in a band.) Okay, last Instagram-based question I SWEAR, but I do have to say that your Julianne Moore Insta-game is ON POINT. Very strong. So, what film of hers would you love to soundtrack, and CONVERSELY, what would you HATE to have to soundtrack of her repertoire?
Oh, wow. That is amazing. I would say I’d love to soundtrack The Hours, but it’s already such a perfect score that I would never attempt that.
Right? It’s so good to do work to that soundtrack. You never know, though…you could do something interesting with it.
Yeah, I wouldn’t touch that one. I’m gonna go with Savage Grace.
Okay! And are there any that you WOULDN’T want to soundtrack?
I would probably not like to do Blindness. I actually had a really hard time watching that film; it’s not that I didn’t think it was really good, it was just really violent and hard to watch.
Makes sense. Speaking of things that are hard to watch, have you seen the Cobain documentary that just came out?
Yes, I have.
I got about halfway through and (I don’t know why I decided to start watching it at 10am on a weekday, either) it just put me in such a funk that I had to turn it off. What did you think about it?
We actually watched that on one of our very first nights of tour a few weeks ago when it aired on HBO. We happened to be in our hotel room getting ready for bed when it came on, and so we all watched it as we were falling asleep, and it ended up giving me terrible nightmares. I, too, was in a terrible funk the entire next day. It’s really hard to watch. I’m as obsessed with the Kurt Cobain story as anyone else, but it affects me so heavily. It’s really devastating. And that documentary especially was just really hard to watch.
Yeah, it was really so well done…I mean, I had someone ask me if I just really didn’t like it to have shut it off in the middle, and I told them that no, I actually really thought it was just such a quality film, and THAT (I think) is part of why I reacted so weirdly to it. Even within the first five or six minutes where they play that lullaby version of “All Apologies”, I was just like, “Goddammit! This is making me so sad!”
Yeah. You’re exactly right, it gave me the same feelings. It made me feel very helpless and hopeless. [Laughs]
Well I’m sorry I got us off on a dark tangent, so let’s move onto something less morbid. Sprinter recently just came out, so what are you working on now? Are you just focused on touring and shows, or do you write all of the time?
I’m getting back into the writing. I took a pretty long break between recording this album and beginning tour now, but now that I’m almost done with this first run of dates I’m already thinking in the direction of what I’m going to do next. But yeah, I’m going to be touring and focusing on that for a long while, but I’m also going to be writing again, hopefully simultaneously. I don’t know, we’ll see.