Exclusive Song Premiere: ‘Staring,’ Torches


According to Torches’ interests on Facebook, the band is into “chips & salsa, chamomile tea, and sex.” It’s a great shorthand for their music, which combines California rock and passion while soothing the senses. The California duo—Azad Cheikosman and Eric Fabbro—makes music that bridges the gap between indie-rock and darker pop, with thoughtful lyrics and gorgeous harmonies.

We’re excited to premiere the band’s track “Staring,” which blends rock, emotion, and guitar rhythms together seamlessly. “Staring” will be featured on their new album, which was produced and engineered by Dave Newton (Henry Clay People, The Soft Pack) and mastered by Jeff Lipton (Arcade Fire, Wilco, Andrew Bird). The band’s sophomore record will be a follow-up to its debut 2012 LP Heads Full of Rust and 2013 EP If the People Stare.

In addition to their upcoming album release, the band will be opening for Moving Units at The Roxy on March 28. Torches have also shared the stage with Atlas Genius, Wild Nothing, Andrew WK, Sea Wolf, Maps, Atlases, and more.

We spoke briefly with Azad Cheikosman about sex, playing with Moving Units, and coming into their own skin.

ILANA KAPLAN: So how did you come up with “Staring?”

AZAD CHEIKOSMAN: Well, we had been working on it for maybe a few months. It wasn’t really gelling for us. When we got into the studio, we started to find these grooves on the guitar and the bass. It started to take on another life, which was really exciting.

KAPLAN: Was that song about someone in particular? It kind of seemed like it was, but that could just be me.

CHEIKOSMAN: I don’t know that it was about anyone in particular, but it’s about not caring about other people’s perceptions of you. It’s about going your own way.

KAPLAN: Cool. How did you and Eric form the band?

CHEIKOSMAN: Eric and I—the drummer—grew up together in Pasadena. We bonded through things like skateboarding and eventually started playing music together. We would play ’60s and Nirvana covers and garage. We eventually got bored of that and starting culminating our own songs.

KAPLAN: So you guys are playing with Moving Units this month at The Roxy? How does it feel to be playing with them?

CHEIKOSMAN: It’s awesome. Eric and I have listened to them for years. They were the buzz band in the early ’00s, so it’s pretty rad to be playing with them.

KAPLAN: So, I heard a demo of “Staring,” and I was wondering how the song evolved since the demo? There was a beautiful voice of a girl harmonizing on it.

CHEIKOSMAN: We’ve done different demos of it. There’s a rough GarageBand demo, too. It ended up getting a ton of hits, but that was the one that was just me. We did used to have a girl that sang in the band. We’ve moved forward from that, and it’s a different sound now. The song has taken on a new life.

KAPLAN: What kind of genres do you think you fit into?

CHEIKOSMAN: That’s a tough one. We’re really big on music that has bad beats for a lack of better terms, harmony-centric music, maybe some dreaminess here and there. We’re influenced by things like Radiohead and The Pixies.

KAPLAN: Nice, I can hear that. So, I think on your Facebook page you say you that you make “boning music.” Is that true?

CHEIKOSMAN: If people want to bone to our music, then I won’t protest that. I’m going to say that is the end goal, to make music that people like to bone to. No, we want to connect with people on a larger level. If that involves boning, then that’s great.

KAPLAN: Glad to hear it. You guys have a sophomore album coming out this year. How does this record differ than your first?

CHEIKOSMAN: I think the first record is a little bit more rock-based. It’s more straightforward. This album is maybe more dance-oriented. You can hear some differences in the music. It’s more sonically textured. We like it a lot more. I think we’re starting to feel more comfortable in our own skin.