Mackenzie Scott is an up-and-coming, indie singer-songstress who performs under the pseudonym Torres. Her self-titled debut album, which was released earlier this year, received rave reviews across the board for her raw lyrics, vibrant voice and brilliant portrayal of an array of somber emotions.
Torres is currently on tour with fellow songstress Lady Lamb The Beekeeper to promote her music. She will be traveling through major cities across the U.S., including Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and an Austin date as well.
Red River Noise caught up with Torres to discuss her musical influences, her self-titled debut album and her current tour.
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Can you tell me a little about your musical history? When did you begin playing music and when did you realize that this is something you actually would like to pursue?
Torres: I’ve always liked music—piano and blues music. I picked up the guitar in high school. It was also around the same time that I started writing songs. It was a cathartic kind of thing for a while—for a few years. Then I decided to do it as a profession, but I didn’t know how to do that. So I decided to go to school for it while I figured out how to do it. That’s what led me to Belmont where I went to college. I used that time to get better and also get a degree. Now I’m here.
When did you officially begin performing as Torres?
Torres: As Torres, I didn’t start performing until the record came out in January. I was playing under my own name for the past four or five years. It was the same stuff, but I was playing under my own name and decided to start using a pseudonym right after I recorded the album. I sort of didn’t play any shows until I put the record out.
Every musician does it differently, do you think that you can tell me a little bit about your songwriting process?
Torres: I don’t really have a process per se. I would say the best stuff comes when I’m not really trying. I’ll get a lot of ideas while I’m driving or in the shower or in the middle of talking to somebody. If I try to sit down and write something, it will generally not be very good. I guess it’s a process.
Do you think you have certain influences to your style and sound?
Torres: Yes, I have inspirations all across the board. Some of my favorites, some of musical idols include Johnny Cash, Brandi Carlile, Ryan Adams, Stevie Nicks and Joan Jett. Those are just some of my musical inspirations. I tear inspirations from all over the place, not just musicians.
I’ve listened to your self-titled debut album, Torres, and it sounds phenomenal. Can you tell me a little bit about how the recording process. What devices did you use to record with? Did you work with any engineers?
Torres: I recorded the album in July of last summer—almost a year ago. It was a five day process. I basically went in over the course of five days and brought friends and musicians from Nashville that are in other bands—a whole slue of people to come with their talent. It was a really laid back process. We recorded in this old Southern mansion in Franklin, TN. Super creepy vibes, creepy wooden floors, lots of space—we set up our stuff their. We had a tape deck in there that we were borrow for the process. We sort of just recorded things as they came out. We didn’t do a lot of rehearsing before we hit record. We sort of just worked out arrangements and put them to tape. What you hear is kind of the way that everything came out the first or fifth time. It was really fun. It was a really laid back exciting process. I had a fantastic engineer and producer, his name is Ryan Mcfadden. He engineered and mixed and had a lot of creative direction there. He was a major part of the brains behind the way that the record sounds.
Most of your tracks carry a lot of raw emotion and seem to pull from personal experiences. Can you tell me a little bit about where your ideas for your debut album were drawn from?
Torres: That’s what the album essentially is. It’s just my life as best as I can put into song. I sort of tend to write about things that I don’t necessarily like to talk about or have conversation about. The songs are kind of that—my sort of relief. My personal life is all over this record.
What can you tell me about your tour—I know you’re performing with Lady Lamb The Beekeeper and kicking off in Dallas and Austin, then traveling up to some major cities in the west.
Torres: We’re really excited. This is the longest tour that I’ve done to date. The longest one prior to this was about a week and a half. This is the biggest thing I’ve attempted so far. I’m a total Lady Lamb fan and I’m excited to share the stage with her.
From your experience, what do you believe are some advantages and disadvantages on being a female musician?
Torres: For me personally, I’ve just been myself and I’m confident. I think that’s kind of a non-issue. For me, I don’t think about that at all.
You are just starting out your tour and have your debut album under your belt, what are your plans for the rest of the year? Where are you headed?
Torres: I can say that I will probably be on tour for the rest of the year, but I do not know where yet. I’m sort of waiting to hear about that—so, indefinite plans to tour. And, I’m moving to New York in August, which is a big personal plan of mine. Hopefully I’ll be headed to Europe at some point in the fall and touring with more musicians that I’m a fan of. I’m really excited to play in Austin, it’s my favorite place in Texas.
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Listen to the self-titled debut from Torres below. See Torres in Austin at Mohawk on June 12.