Silver Torches frontman Erik Walters jumped onto opbmusic’s radar last year with his work on Heatherfield, a beautiful pop record that featured the very catchy song “Woman In Rust.” We weren’t he only ones who took notice, either. NPR Music’s Stephen Thompson complained that the only thing wrong with Walters’ songs were that they were too short.
Walters recently sat down with opbmusic DJ Matthew Casebeer before a recent show in Portland, OR and chatted about Heatherfield, the new Silver Torches record, and his new project Soft Sleep, whose debut album is due out later this year. Listen to the full interview above and read excerpts below.
On the evolution behind Silver Torches’ album Heatherfield:
When I was first setting out to make the record I wanted it to be an acoustic record with strings. It wasn’t going to be a rock record at all. So I got a hold of my friend Emily Westman who plays in this band Sisters in Seattle. They’re a great band. I asked her ‘Hey, do you want to play piano and maybe arrange string parts?’ because she’s a great arranger. She came in and did piano and my drummer Sean [Lane] came in and played drums. We did it all in a day and half— two days. Like really, really fast. I had all of the songs. They were all written, and I had them in my head. I knew what I wanted them to be. And then we went in and did the basics and then I was like ‘Man, this is going to be something different.’ So, I ditched the whole orchestral, acoustic idea and was like ‘This is going to be a rock record.’
On the sprawling nature of the recording sessions after the new direction became apparent:
It was all spread out over several months because I’m poor and didn’t have enough money to book two weeks in a studio. So it was piecemealed together. The whole record was— I didn’t know what it was going to be. We just kept doing stuff and I kept listening to things because a couple of times we had two or three months between sessions and I had time to sit with it… And that was really fun. I did some stuff at home. So yeah, the record took eight months to make even though we only had maybe six days in the studio total.
On his new project Soft Sleep:
It’s myself, Tony Ruland, and Andy Park. Tony was in this great band called The Lonely Forest and these were all his songs that he had collected from years of cassette demos and things and he wanted to make a record. The initial concept of Soft Sleep was that it would be this revolving door where Tony would bring in different musicians and it would be just his songs with a different singer or a different drummer…. We did a session and we did two songs. We cut a seven inch and we all were like ‘This is really cool. We really like this, so we’re just going to make this the band.’ It’s just the three of us.