Torres’ endless longing for life

Photo (c) Shervin Lainez

Mackenzie Scott releases her fifth album “Thirstier” under the name Torres. A new chapter in her own book of life. ‘With this title, I want to express my hunger and thirst for life. I always want more, to do something with a unique life. Growing for myself, for others, together with my audience. You can see the album as an endless longing for life.’

Mackenzie seems very happy when she talks about her life, her passions and of course her new album. ‘This is the album I wanted to make: an uplifting record that gives the listener new energy. Who brings you back to life after all the misery. The right album for this time.’ She refers to her audience as well as herself. ‘It was uplifting for me too. With writing, producing and promoting I was able to create my own world. A world that I felt I could make seem bigger than the small world I actually lived in. And I hope that I can also spread that enlarged world when I play the album on tour, in large halls. That’s what I had in mind when producing it. That exuberant connection with my audience.’

Photo (c) Shervin Lainez

“Thirstier” is already the fifth album by the blond American singer, at the age of barely thirty years young. She looks thoughtful, letting the number five descend slowly. ‘That does sound like a lot… But I don’t feel like I could have gotten more out of my twenties without my music.’ The five albums can be heard as five different chapters in Torres’ life story. ‘Yes, you can see it that way. I really tried to make each album different. You get a different feeling with every record.’ A feeling determined by Mackenzie’s stage of life. ‘Per album you get a good idea of ​​who I was then and what was going around in life. My first album (“Torres”, 2013) was released when I was barely twenty-two, and that’s how it sounds.’

She laughs: ‘Just, quite naive… In “Sprinter” (2015) you can hear my anger, intense anger about my past. A period in which I wanted to discover who I was. You can clearly hear that in the songs, in terms of lyrics and emotion.’ The illustrious label 4AD picked up her story and released its third chapter: “Three Futures” (2017). ‘A record with a cold industrial sound. Actually, that was also the perfect reflection of my mind, at the time. I promoted “Three Futures” as an album of the body, but I was actually very much in my head. I was a spectator, more than I really participated in life.’ A difficult time in which 4AD did chose not to continue with her either. Fortunately, Merge picked her up and, more importantly, she found love, her great love. ‘”Silver Tongue” (2020) is indeed a love album. I fell in love. And I became a weepy, soft, soft person, haha.’ She almost apologizes: ‘But I still have my raw side, you know.’

And then there’s “Thirstier”, her latest chapter, where her story takes a new turn. ‘”Thirstier” has become very energetic, with danceable rock music. The songs are very direct. You get to the core quickly, you don’t have to wait long for the hook.’ A consequence of her inner writing process. ‘I wrote the songs faster and I think they will come in faster. Less from my head, but more ‘out of my guts’.’ And with a message: ‘Yes, I want to give you energy. Our world became smaller and smaller due to the pandemic. With the album, I want to make my life, and everyone’s life, bigger again.’ Yet it certainly did not become a Corona album. ‘I knew immediately after “Silver Tongue” that the successor had to sound great. That people can feel like real human beings again, that they can take control of their own lives. I wanted to contribute to that.’ And with a political sneer. ‘That certainly also has to do with a president whose name I do not want to mention.’

Photo (c) Shervin Lainez

The cheerful singer talks fluently and enthusiastically. But she also includes periods of silence, to think deeply and formulate her sentences well. Especially when she speaks candidly about the things that have moulded and shaped her. The same goes for her adoption. ‘I wrote a few songs about that, some quite explicit. It is a fact, a part of my person, that has had quite a lot of influence, and still has.’ She widens it. ‘Writing helps me to articulate and understand my feelings. To oversee the phase of life I have ended up in, almost therapeutically.’ Like the time she wrote “Sprinter”. ‘I then expressed my anger, frustration and confusion about my conservative church upbringing. Through that album, I got to know myself better. But once described, I don’t want to repeat the theme too much. New phases are always emerging, with different, new themes.’

She moved from the conservative Georgia countryside via Nashville to cosmopolitan New York. Her face immediately brightens: ‘I get to know so much new music here. I’m still closing my gap in music history: Hole, Sonic Youth, the 90s rock. And of course a lot of concerts: DIY, noise bands, cool drone music. I really like experimenting with electronics, as Kraftwerk already did.’ A city that also brings her to another passion: acting. ‘I was inspired by the off-Broadway shows in New York, which are live performances with both song and dance.’ But she chose not to. ‘I felt I had to bring my own story, my own music to the stage.’ The same reason why she did not become a writer after her minor in English literature. ‘I like to be influenced by novels and poems in my lyrics. I, therefore, believe that texts should also flow, flow, ripple, even without the music, just like poetry. But that’s my personal opinion. There are plenty of great bands that don’t. I could and would like to be a writer, but I love performing so much. That just belongs to me.’

Photo (c) Shervin Lainez

Talking about the important influences, the love of and for her friend Jenna Gibson should of course not be missing. Mackenzie is very open about her love for women. ‘Jenna also did the cover for “Silver Tongue”, my love album.’ And together they literally expose themselves in the videos ‘Dressing America’ and ‘Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head’. Mackenzie sighs. ‘Jenna is the last piece of the puzzle. My love for her has added a dimension to my music. And you can really hear that…’

To the love of “Silver Tongue” Torres now adds the energy of “Thirstier”. Mackenzie has clearly entered a positive chapter of her life. And she wants to know and share that. ‘Because I also want to touch people who don’t know my music yet. And that will also work, on the record and later on the stages.’ Her 2015 wish seems to be coming true, where she quoted in an interview: ‘I want to be a rockstar.’ Six years later, she smiles exuberantly. ‘I still want that, haha.’ Torres’ endless longing for life.

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