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Torche Guitarist Andrew Elstner Talks Southern Metal Scene, Touring + More at Orion

Torche
Gary Copeland

Since 2004, Torche have been taking the underground hard rock scene by storm. With three albums under their belt, the band has no interest in slowing down. Torche were hand-picked by Metallica to play Orion Music + More in Atlantic City, N.J. and couldn’t be more excited. Guitarist and newest Torche bandmember Andrew Elstner spent the afternoon getting ready for his set on the Damage Inc. stage.

Fortunately, Loudwire grabbed a few minutes of his time.

Since Torche’s inception, you’ve been a major part of the underground metal scene. With your continued success and being invited to things like Orion, do you feel a backlash from that community?

Not necessarily. It depends. There are always going to be people who are bummed, but we have always done the same thing. Maybe we do it on a different level, but I think people would be p—ed if we compromised the sound for that success. If we changed something we did in the past just to get on a bigger festival, I would be p—ed. But we’ve been doing the exact same things, so it’s been awesome. It’s been on our own terms. If anyone is p—ed, they can f— off.

How did you find out you got picked for Orion?

I got an email from our agent. We were totally stoked. And you know, it worked out really well because we had just finished a tour last night in Boston with Corrosion of Conformity, Gaza and Black Cobra and it was a blast. We were out for a few weeks, so the timing was perfect. Our tour ended yesterday and now here we are at Orion.

What’s next after Orion?

We’re going home. Going home to sleep for a little bit, sleep in our own beds, shower in our own showers, eat regular food. Then we have a trip centered around Total Fest in Montana at the end of July and then we’ll do some more dates in August. We’ll head overseas in September, and then October and November we’re out with Converge.

When you say home, where is that?

Two of us are in Atlanta and the other two guys live in Miami.

What’s the metal scene like down South?

Man, in Atlanta I think it’s f—ing amazing. It’s a really cool scene and it’s cool to me because I moved there a little more than a year ago. Atlanta is more of a good time, there are more bands doing stuff and the caliber of musicians are way better. Miami is a little smaller, but equally as dedicated. There’s a sense that there aren’t as many bands, but it’s more tightly knit. I’ve been having an awesome time in Atlanta at least.

I’ve been talking with a lot of guys at Orion about the state of metal. Most agree that it’s healthy.

I think so, man. Here we are at Orion, you know? There has always been something cool happening, but it seems like big bands are embracing the changes that have happened with the internet. And you know, FM radio isn’t as supportive as it used to be, although I don’t know if it ever was for metal. From what I can tell, though, it’s way cooler to be in a metal band now than it has been for awhile.

‘Harmonicraft’ came out just a few months ago. How has the reception been?

It’s been awesome. 9 times out of 10, the reviews are really positive. I mean, you can’t please everyone. Some reviewers will give us grief for not changing enough and the next guy will give us grief for changing too much. But you know what? It’s all good. It’s all been positive and I can’t complain.

You’re at Orion today. You’re going to go home, take a break, and then hit the road again. Are you already thinking about the next record?

We have one show on July 6 in Miami. We’re going to hang around for a few days and do some writing. I think we’ll do a tour 7″ [album] for the Converge tour. The plan is to release a record in the next year, instead of waiting 3 or 4 years like we did between ‘Meanderthal’ and ‘Harmonicraft.’

What sort of influence has Metallica had on you and your guitar playing?

I was sheltered growing up as far as listening to metal goes. I had two older sisters who listened to the radio, and they have good taste in music, but I didn’t have a cool older brother or cool friends growing up in Missouri. The first time I heard Metallica was when I saw the video for ‘One.’ It was definitely like a jaw-drop sort of moment. I mean, I grew up listening to Black Sabbath and Aerosmith, but this was way more aggressive and intense. It had affected me, man. Everyone of us in the band grew up learning those Metallica riffs. I’ve taught guitar for years and there hasn’t been a single student who doesn’t know how to play ‘Enter Sandman.’ You know, you learn that riff and ‘Smoke on the Water,’ and you’re a guitar player.

Watch a live performance of Torche’s ‘Kicking’

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