With so much great new talent each year at The Culture Collide Music Festival in Echo Park, one can easily expect to come away with a few new gems to add to their weekly playlist. For me, it was Cloud Nothings, Delta Riggs, and this band: Torches, a trio from Pasadena comprised of Azad Cheikosman (guitars, vocals), Eric Fabbro (drums, vocals) and Adrian Acosta (bass, vocals). They arrived at one of the more unique stages at Culture Collide – The United Methodist Church – with some significant momentum from a recent residency at The Echo and an enthusiastic support from KROQ. For some, the UMC is an ideal setting, with high ceilings that perfectly echo the music. For me, it was finally a good reason to go to church.

I met up with Azad back stage after the show:

MIP: Cowboy Junkies and Band of Horses have both recorded albums in churches. How does a church add or subtract from your performance?

Azad: Playing in a church can mean having a large, saturated sound due to the high ceilings, natural reverb in the room…but also I’d imagine one’s sound can become messy, lost, too much collision of sound. There’s a lot of places for sound to travel to. Everything reverberates a bit and I think we’re into that. Our sound thrives on wet, drawn-out sonics. At least now it does… Needless to say, I liked the experience!

MIP: Does it feel taboo to perform rock n roll in a church?

Azad: I don’t think so. It’s nice to be able to perform the songs outside of a conventional venue, club.

MIP: Can religion and rock and roll co-exist?

Azad: Maybe? Religion is not really something we gravitate towards, but we respect others’ views if that’s how they choose to live their life. I think it’s probably good that it exists…I find it important to be able to ask questions, have something to discuss and express ideas.

MIP: In your song, “Endlessly Repeating,” you sing of losing faith. What’s the story behind these lyrics?

Azad: Often times we get sucked into a routine, some good, some bad… some constructive, others negative and pointless. Losing faith in anything really is something we all go through as humans. It’s quite easy to fixate on something and put all of your energy towards it, only to see little result. So when I said that line it weighed in on a lot of things, it wasn’t necessarily in regards to music.

MIP: Sigur Ros recorded in an empty swimming pool. Nine in Nails recorded in the Sharon Tate house. Could you see yourselves recording in an unusual location? Where would it take place? How would it impact your creativity?

Azad: Oh yes! I dig the empty swimming pool idea. What about recording in an airplane hangar? Not too sure about battling the concrete floor. Has anyone done that yet?

MIP: What does the immediate future hold for Torches?

Azad: Writing songs, world domination…I think we’re going to put out a new EP in the months ahead. We’ll probably get into the swing of the next album, when it all makes sense.

About The Author


David William Reeve is a photographer in Southern California. He is always seeking bands with compelling stage presence and unique stories to share in pictures. If your band has something interesting to say, contact David at davidwilliamreeve@yahoo.com.

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