Mackenzie Scott’s been waiting for this moment. Two years after Scott, who performs as Torres, released her first, eponymous album, the 24-year-old rocker is ready to unleash her next creation, the smart, rollicking Sprinter.
Here, Scott explains how the album came to be, what she learned by recording it in England with the producer Rob Ellis and how fashion affects her life on stage.
When you started writing these songs, did you set out to make an album?
When I started writing, I definitely knew that it was going to be the next record. Everything was more focused this time around than the last time I recorded. It was intended to be an album from the beginning.
Do you wake up and just say, OK, I’m going to work on a song today? Is there a process?
It’s actually a bit of both. There’s a lot of sporadic note-taking that happens when I’m on the road or generally more busy. I’ll come up with ideas when I’m on the train or in the shower and I’ll jot those down. For this album, I had a few notebooks just filled with ideas that I had scribbled down over the last few years and once I intentionally began the writing process, it was more of a 9 to 5 kind of deal. I would get up every morning and start my day the same way: make breakfast, drink coffee, have some quiet time to myself, and then I would start writing. That was when I took all of the notebooks that I kept from the last couple of years and started piecing my ideas together.
Why did you end up recording in England?
Rob Ellis, who produced the record with me, lives in Dorset where we recorded. There were talks of me bringing him out to New York to record or potentially even meeting somewhere else entirely, but ultimately, the most economical decision surprisingly ended up being the one where I went to Europe.
Did you find that being in that part of England played a part on your music?
I like to think that I would have made a record with the same foundation at any studio. I demoed all the songs beforehand and they were all ready and written, but I think that the nuances would have been different. What the space really allowed me to do was to make the record that I came to make. It ended up allowing me the headspace to live in the world that I wanted to create for that recording process without having the external distractions of friends, my apartment, my daily schedule. I didn’t have to be burdened.
How are you feeling about taking these songs out on the road?
That’s all I’ve been waiting for. The live show is definitely my favorite part of all this; not only do I get to share the songs with people for the first time, but I also love what happens after some time on the road whenever songs begin to evolve.
You dress up for your live show. What role does fashion play in your performance?
One thing I love about fashion, specifically in terms of performing, is that it allows me to put myself into character. I come from a musical theater background, and one thing I loved about the costumes was that it felt like a disguise—it allowed me to transcend myself. That’s what fashion does for me, and there’s a lot of freedom in that.
Are there designers you’re partial to for performing?
This time around there will be some Alexander Wang and Vince. I also just got a Phillip Lim longer leather shirt that I really love. I enjoy performing in black, that’s kind of my go to. I’m like Johnny Cash but a few hundred years into the future, that’s what I imagine my stage look to be.
Main photograph by Shawn Brackbill