Trying To Find A Balance; An interview with Floco Torres

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Photo by Brandon Everett Thompson

Twenty-one projects deep into his career as a solo recording artist, Floco Torres has envisioned and revisioned his creative expression countless times and with this adaptive style he has gained a steady following for his hip-hop-meets-alternative rock style.  

A New Jersey native, but current resident of Akron, Ohio, balance is key for Floco Torres, striking a blend of deeply emotive lyrics with groove-inducing beats. In 2011 Floco released his first full-length release, Floco’s Modern Life, which was recorded with a full band and funded entirely through Kickstarter. Though met with this early success and an impressive fan following, Floco kept touring a yearly 50-70 shows while creating new material with intensity.

Citing influences such as Kid Cudi, Tame Impala, and St. Vincent, Floco continues to redefine hip-hop with his own personal style. A proficient in smooth flows of stirring and grounded lyrics, Floco appeals to classic rap fans, but bridges genre through the soul rock touches that provide the floor for Floco’s quick-lipped quips to dance upon.

With again, Floco Torres wanted to make a record about the process of renewal, about “the obsession of wanting to be better– for wanting the opportunity to top what you did last time.” again is an EP that explores this never ending quest of artistic and self improvement, combining past successes and failures to move forward into a new future. Floco Torres dares not only to adapt to change, but also engage and challenge the personal influences of such growth.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Torres to discuss his Northern, Ohio digs, the new EP and his influences. This is what he told us.

You are from New Jersey, but currently living in Akron. Have you crossed paths with the Earthquaker Devices peeps or been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Yeah, EQD is dope! I haven’t had a chance to check out the shop yet but I’ve crossed paths/worked with some of the team over there. Their whole approach is super right from design to just the energy around the people. Haven’t hit the Rock n Roll hall yet. I was in Macon, Georgia, when the Georgia Music Hall of Fame got taken away so I’m hesitant.

You’ve got 21 projects under your belt as a solo recording artist. Those are Bob Pollard-esque numbers. To what do you attribute being so prolific?

I think it’s just the love of creating and the process maybe. I approach projects like roles or writing books so I always just try and reinvent myself, a character I’m speaking through or a story I think it’s time to tell. A lot of artists/bands I’m a fan of have way more work so I feel like I haven’t done anything.

What are the major changes you’ve made in your creative direction over the years?

Trusting myself and my journey. Things have played out for the better in so many ways that I couldn’t imagine back then so I try to be open and trust the process. I’m open to any sound, any idea, any bend of a word. Just gonna keep seeing where I can take it, you know?

What are your predominant world views or values and how do they leach in to the way in which you express yourself through music?

Balance is a big thing with me. I think we’re getting a little better in ways but so much just isn’t balanced. I try to make sure I’m doing at least 89 percent of what I speak about. Nobody is perfect and I try not to let the world overwhelm me. I think that Black Lives Matter and if you don’t get that I can’t help you. More importantly I try my best to STFU and listen more so I can be of better help when I’m in the room. So if any of that makes any sense, I basically just try and live and love as much as possible so I have something to write about.

Your sound is sure to appeal to fans of classic rap, but you also cite Tame Impala and St. Vincent as influences. Do you believe it is important to be a student of many types of music?

I think so because the message that comes along with it, sometimes you’ll find we all want the same things in certain situations. And from an energy standpoint, it’s just fun to explore and soak up new vibes. St Vincent basically reinvents herself every album and I think that’s dope.

When did you begin writing the EP and what were you hoping to accomplish or communicate with it?

Probably last summer up until two months ago. I’m usually always writing notes and ideas. This has been the longest stretch I haven’t written a verse. I just wanted to make a good project you could play front to back and feel good about where you are in life. Fuck the Wilsons next door. You worked hard and your house isn’t huge but it’s bigger with the last one. Celebrate your growth and your story. Obviously I want it to sell cause this is still my job but I want people to feel good about who, what and where they are. If I can help with this, then that’s tight.

What are your proudest moments on the record?

Successfully getting friends on songs and watching them show the fuck out. I’m also happy with the work and that I think we just keep getting better cause we care. That’s all you can ask for.

Will you be touring in support of the EP?

Yes. Just working on who wants to see me where and how we can do that. Working on getting overseas too.

What are your most realistic future milestones you’ve set for yourself? What are your loftiest goals?

If comparisons help, I see myself having a career like Curren$y, or Cudi, St Vincent, Tyler The Creator, etc. Just continue building this thing up our way and spread into more writing and helping our friends that are dope and that have drive. Making a living creating music is the goal so taking steps, staying consistent and the fans keeps us there. The most realistic thing I can think of is not let these folks tell me I gotta stop creating cause they’re insecure.

My loftiest goals are just shit like playing sold out shows in Europe and making a million just to say I did it. Still haven’t bought my mom a house and my sister has college coming up so I’ve got more work to do.

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