Q&A with Randy Torres

Randy Torres

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Mr. Randy Torres back in November of 2010. At the time, he was an A&R Rep. for Tooth & Nail Records, touring with my good friend Deon’s band Anberlin. Randy is currently a music supervisor at Microsoft. After the show, we were introduced and proceeded to spend the next few hours drinking, and discussing all things Seattle (where Mr. Torres currently resides). As well as a friendly exchange of opinions, topics varied from good restaurants in the Seattle area, The Melvins, Nirvana, KARP barbecues, Tooth & Nail Records past roster, and much, much more. I spoke with Randy recently about his time with Project 86, Anberlin, touring, motorcycles and the “Seattle scene”. Here’s what he had to say.

I first met you back in November of 2010 in St. Petersburg, FL while you were on tour with Anberlin. How did you end up hooking up with those guys?

I met the Anberlin guys back in the summer of 2006 or 07 (don’t quite remember), working as an engineer on their record “Cities”. Been friends ever since. Kyle Flynn, their regular keyboard player couldn’t do a tour last minute so they called me to fill in.

You’re currently working at Microsoft as a music supervisor. How does it differ from A&R at Tooth & Nail? Can you explain a little bit about what it is you did at T&N as well as what you’re up to at Microsoft?

For the most part as an A&R, you sign and develop bands. This also includes finding the right producer for the band, setting up photo shoots and video shoots. As well as day to day dealings with the bands managers etc… As a music supervisor I am here to help producers, directors and editors find the right music for certain types of media projects. Taking into account the client’s needs as well as budget. This could be anything from pre-recorded music to custom compositions.

If you look at Tooth & Nail Records roster, you’re currently listed as a member of Project 86 but you’re not, is that correct? Could you tell me why that is and what the circumstances we’re that lead you to leave the band? If that was even the case.

I have not been in Project 86 since the summer of ’08. After 13 years in the band, 9 or so years of touring, 6 records and 2 EP’s I was done. My heart wasn’t into it anymore.

What are some of the reasons you decided to pick up a guitar? That isn’t the only instrument you play correct? If my memory serves me right you played piano at the St. Pete show, as well as on Jimmy Kimmel a few days before?

My dad played the guitar so naturally I had an interest in learning how to play. I started when I was 11 or 12, trying to muster my way through Guns And Roses songs, only to be frustrated by the complicated Slash solos. So I changed to playing simple Nirvana songs and never looked back. Guitar and bass are my primary instruments but I can “fake” my way through piano and keyboards, as well as percussion.

And your fascination with motorcycles?

Who doesn’t have a fascination with motorcycles?! I have a special place in my heart for vintage Japanese and British bikes. I currently own a 78 Yamaha SR500 and a 67 Honda CB160

What are some of your thoughts on what happened in Seattle in the 90‘s? As far as I know there had always been amazing music coming out of the region with bands like The Sonics, U-Men, Malfunkshun, Green River, Skin Yard, Screaming Trees, 7 Year Bitch, and many, many others. Do you really think that Nirvana’s Nevermind was to blame, or had it been building all along and that record was, “the nail in the coffin”?

I grew up in Southern California so my experience in Seattle music was of the more popular alt. rock acts. Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam. I was around 12 at the time so I was just getting a real opinion when it came to music. I naturally gravitated towards these bands because like I said earlier, learning how to play guitar was much easier to play these artists songs than the more complicated butt rock solos from the likes of Guns And Roses and Motley Crue. After my musical palate matured I discovered lesser known Seattle acts. But my foundation lies in 90’s grunge rock. Sorry to use the term grunge.

Any plans on checking out the Nirvana exhibit (opening April 16th) at the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle?

Absolutely! EMP is owned by Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder). He has an incredible collection of all things Rock and Sci-Fi. It’s impressive what he has. So with that said I am sure he has some kick ass Nirvana memorabilia.

In doing research for this interview I stumbled upon your very own Wikipedia page. Do you have that feeling of “finally, I’ve made it”?

Made it!? I hope not. There is a lot at least personally I feel I need to accomplish before I remotely slow down.

What is The Celebrated Heroes?

“Celebrated Heroes” is the name of my publishing company, blog, fake band with my wife and all things that have to do with my music. I just thought it sounded cool.. Hopefully one day I can make it a real band. But for now it’s just a name.

At this point I’d like to say thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I’m honored to know you. Is there anything else you’d like to add in regards to music, motorcycles, or perhaps a shining moment in your life as a musician?

Honored to be considered for an interview in the first place. This was fun!

Brad Tilbe About Brad Tilbe

I am 35 years old. I was born and raised in Central New York. I currently reside in Seattle, WA.