Why is writing about difficulties cathartic?

US musician TorresCathartic ways into the unconscious

Music: "Sprinter"

In the Cologne club "Building 9". Soundcheck by Torres before their evening performance. There are technical problems, the band is already an hour behind schedule. Mackenzie Scott finally comes into the anteroom for an interview.

"Hello, check, check the level ... hello, hello Cologne ..."

There she is, at a small table in the bar in "Building 9". 28 years old, shoulder-length blonde hair that she tucks behind her ears, friendly and distant. Mackenzie Scott aka Torres. Why the Spanish stage name?

From Britney Spears to the musical

"It was my grandfather's first name. It was Mexican and Spanish, but it's not me, we're not biologically related. I was adopted."

Adopted and raised in the small town of Macon, Georgia, in a Baptist family. A loving but strict childhood, characterized by visits to trade fairs and many hours in the church youth group. She starts writing poetry and short stories at an early age, learns the piano and flute, and listens to a lot of music.

"My first CD was an Enya CD: I think it was" Only Time ". My mother gave me this CD. It must have been the first song I really loved. I was seven or eight years old. "

And a penchant for performance becomes apparent early on - albeit initially in a small private setting.

"I performed in my bedroom. In front of the mirror, just for myself. I imagined being an actress, making films, anything to do with entertainment. When I was really young, I listened to Britney Spears records , pretended to be her. I was a pop star in my bedroom. "

Music: "Moon & Back"

"Moon & Back" from Torres' debut album, released in 2013. A song from the perspective of her biological mother, who gave her up for adoption at an early age, to her Bible teacher, in whose family Mackenzie Scott grew up. At some point, she received a diary from her birth mother from her adoptive mother, in which she tells of the situation of having to give away her child. This resulted in the piece "Moon & Back". At first, however, Mackenzie Scott only wrote lyrics and at the same time became more and more interested in music. After the Enya CD and the Britney Spears phase, it was mainly music theater.

"Totally enthusiastic about musicals"

"When I was at school I was totally enthusiastic about musicals. I was particularly impressed by" Phantom of the opera ". I heard the music, saw the film and the stage version. For me it was the most beautiful music ever, back then. And at some point it wasn't enough for me just to hear them. So I started to go to auditions to act myself. I had to sing myself and perform in front of people. "

Musicals: formative musical roots that Mackenzie Scott repeatedly cites in her interviews. Based on her current music, outsiders would not suspect that this genre played a major role for the musician.

"It's funny: I think there are influences, but other people don't hear it. On the one hand, my singing voice is quite operatic. And I like the performance aspect of music theater. I take that into my performances too. The sweeping gestures with my body, I like to move and dance a bit. There's a lot of play involved. "

Music: "Greener Stretch"

She starts writing poetry and short stories at an early age (Ashley Connor)

Mackenzie Scott owned an acoustic guitar at a young age, but it wasn't until she was a teenager that she became more involved with the instrument. The electric guitar came later when she began her songwriting studies at Belmont University in Nashville.

"There was kind of a healthy competition with my male colleagues who played electric guitars. So I came up with that too, so I could occupy the same room as them. In the city of Nashville, where there was a competitive music scene. But before that: I started with acoustic guitar in high school. I just wanted to try out songwriting and the guitar should be a vehicle for my songs and my singing. I didn't feel like writing songs on the piano and presenting them with the piano . I wanted to write it on the guitar and sing it on the guitar. "

Her songs, which Torres released on her debut at the end of her university time, still moved clearly in acoustic musical paths. Somewhere between singer / songwriter fingerpicking and distorted indie rock guitars, with the occasional noisy outburst. In addition: a very personal record in which the musician presents her shaken soul life in abysmal and often desperate lyrics.

"My taste is always evolving, also when it comes to the sonic aspects, and I try to do something different for each album. The first album was very dramatic, but also very sincere. It was about love and broken hearts, the first love ... it was a little naive, but also exhausted. I think I was just like that, in college. "

Music: "Honey"

Writing as self-realization

"I always try to get to know myself a little better. It's a great self-realization when you observe others, and especially yourself. And writing, not just songwriting, is about exploring yourself: being yourself Behavior, his reactions to certain situations. And to make sense of it in a concise, poetic way. "

And that is what the musician does. First of all, on the first album, very direct, very personal. A kind of catharsis that she is dealing with more and more professionally. Your songs always have personal elements, but develop over time in such a way that they are not just an expression of concrete, self-experienced situations and feelings.

"What I've learned is that if you want to make a living from starting a career in music, you always have to write. You have to write 100 stories or poems or songs to have two or three that would make an album You have to be an athlete. Or a dog. It's tiring, you have to write when you eat, when you go for a walk, you have to write in your head when you drive, when you sleep and dream and wake up and yours Drink coffee. You have to be tireless. And you won't get there if you only write when you are inspired. "

Anger and power chords

In 2015 Torres released her second album "Sprinter", an often furious release from suffering and constraints: the adoption, her childhood and adolescence in a Baptist family in Georgia, rigor and conservative physical hostility in the southern United States. Musically this means: power chords, a very present drum kit and expressive singing; plus small tonal finesse, such as filters and subtle keyboards in the background. A very successful record with great dynamism; In addition to the angry songs and passages, spherical dream pop soundscapes are created. Rob Ellis, known as the musician of PJ Harvey's band, produced the music. Portishead musician Adrian Utley was also there on guitar and Moog synthesizer, in whose studio in Bristol some of the songs were recorded and refined.

Music: "New Skin"

"If you never know the darkness, then you're the one who fears the most": "If you've never got to know the darkness, your fear is greatest," sings the then 23-year-old Mackenzie Scott alias Torres in "New Skin "from their second album" Sprinter ". The album gets good reviews, the musician tours the USA, among other things as the opening act for the band Garbage, and has appearances in Europe. Actually, she could continue on the musical path she has chosen. But: She wants to change again. The third album, "Three Futures" is much more electronic and danceable.

Dance and Krautrock

"This is the album I always wanted to do. It's more sophisticated, the guitar parts are often played by different synthesizer pedals. So that they no longer sound like guitar. It's a dance album on the one hand, and a krautrock album on the other as far as the rhythms are concerned. And it's my first record that only has synth basses instead of the bass guitar, I really like that. So a lot has changed in terms of sound, but in terms of my songwriting and lyrics, that’s just me. Not much has changed. It's always a reflection on me when I write. I think the new album is a bit more grown-up. "

Music: "Tongue slap your brains out"

"I imagined building a house. Erecting the walls and hanging them with melodies, like curtains. But first you need the foundation walls and a roof. I haven't always written like that, and maybe I don't always do it like that again. But it's like this: if you change the order in which you write a song, the result is completely different. It makes me safer to feel this rhythm, this pulse. "

And the rhythm is the focus of "Three Futures" - at least it formed the basic structure, because Torres developed most of the songs from the beats of a small drum computer.

"I used to always start with fingerpicking on the guitar, from which I developed the songs. But at some point that felt more like: filling in gaps. I mean, it's fun to play power chords on the guitar, but It's not particularly imaginative now. I didn't want that anymore, I wanted this structure that I could weave into and come out of. The guitar and voice should be more intertwined. "

Music: "Bad Baby Pie"

The picture of a house with its foundation walls, roof and various rooms was not just a musical aid to Mackenzie Scott; In terms of content, she also wanted to depict different mental spaces: states of consciousness of fear, despair and jealousy, but also of power and strength. And: The album should be a celebration of the body. Because shame and female abstinence or restraint were drummed into her for years. In the meantime she has more or less freed herself from it and presents herself sensual - and lesbian in the video for the song "Skim".

Music: "Skim"

"I always know when something doesn't sound the way I want it to, how it is right. And I'll work on it until it's the way I hear it for me. I don't want to complicate things. But I do never something easier just for the sake of simplicity. "

Music: "Cowboy Guilt"