In 2016, Adam Torres released his second record Pearls To Swine, his return to music after a long absence spent traveling, teaching in Ecuador, finishing graduate school at the University of Texas, and working to improve the water quality of the Rio Grande River.
Pearls To Swine is a stunning record that allows Torres’ voice to take over. His voice sounds ghostly, fragile, and alone. The songs are open. They’re warm and unsettling. The record is a drive through forgotten Southwestern towns, along desert highways that drift into brown waters. Like any great record it takes you to specific places without telling you why.
Who: Adam Torres / Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11
Where: Stage Eighteen, 18 E Center St, Fayetteville
Cost: $10 at the door
Info: All-ages show
Torres is about to release a new four-song record, I Came To Sing The Song on Feb. 24 via Fat Possum Records. He plays at Stage Eighteen on Saturday, Feb. 11 with Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster (Water Liars).
I talked to Adam during a break from touring, and here it goes…
Hi, Adam. Pearls To Swine has been a breakthrough for you, and the songs feel well traveled. How has travel helped with your writing and affected you?
I am privileged to have traveled as much as I have and it has shaped my experiences, which directly influence my writing process. You always carry pieces of places you go with you after you pass through them. Sometimes those pieces are a line, an image, or a title of a song.
You released incredible videos for “Juniper Arms” and “Some Beasts Will Call You By Name.” How did these come to life? Specifically, the dancing in “Juniper Arms” and the imagery in “Some Beasts?”
Oren Porterdfield and Jordan Moser choreographed the “Juniper” video and really brought it to life, as well as Brian Wiebe who directed and produced both videos. Whoever is working on the video usually just sits down together and thinks abstractly about the music and pieces together a narrative that could be evocative.
President Obama recently said that he reads a lot of fiction to deal with stress and for mental exercise. Is there fiction that has helped you with work and that has made its way into your songs?
Yes. Rudolfo Anaya, and Raymond Carver are a few fiction writers that have influenced my songs recently. Fiction writers have a lot to teach about pacing and tone that could benefit songwriters, I think.
Your upcoming EP is about finding a purpose in your work. Can you elaborate on that? Has the current political climate changed your purpose?
Seeking purpose is universal and necessary for people to survive and that’s what I mean by finding purpose in one’s work. We all have a personal constitution of some kind. The current political climate should change everyone’s purpose; we are witnessing America’s first dictator and we must stop him before it’s too late.
What was the last film, piece of art, or interaction that you wrote about in a song?
I wrote about the Mexican proverb “they buried us but didn’t know that we were seeds” in a protest song I wrote a couple days ago. My family is Latino and I’m not going to just sit here and be attacked by ignorant despots.
What have you been listening to lately?
I listen to a lot of 60s and 70s folk and folk rock, but lately I’ve been obsessed with a Russian electronic composer named X.Y.R. His melodies are beautiful and surreal.
What have you been working on lately? Besides the EP, is there another record coming?
I’ve been busy writing music protesting the current administration and reflecting a lot about the state of our nation. I feel like there is nothing else that I should be doing.
You’re playing in Fayetteville soon with Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster. What can we expect at the show?
Justin is one of my all time favorites, so I expect to have one of the better nights of my life listening to him play and sing. I’m going to play some new songs as well as songs from my recent records.
Have you been to Fayetteville before?
I’ve never been to Fayetteville before, but I’ve wanted to for a long time now. I’ve had friends who have lived there tell me about a lot of charming places to see and things to do. I’m excited!