Silver Torches frontman Erik Walters has been busy since we last chatted three years ago. That was shortly after the release of the 2016 Silver Torches album, “Heatherfield.” Since then, the Seattle-based musician has played with two side projects (Soft Sleep and Young In The City), released a different Silver Torches record, and recorded and toured extensively as the guitar player for the newly re-formed Pedro The Lion. Last Friday, Walters capped off this prolific stretch with a brand new Silver Torches album called “Bermuda Dunes,” a beautiful collection of songs based around some of the songwriter’s most meaningful life moments.
“Bermuda Dunes” is available for purchase now at bandcamp. Walters joined us to chat about the new album and his busy last few years.
On joining up with Pedro The Lion:
I put out [the Silver Torches album] “Let It Be A Dream” in October 2017, and then right after that I joined up with Dave [Bazan] and Sean [Lane] for David Bazan shows. After those shows, Dave was so stoked about the way the band was sounding and the chemistry that was happening that he decided he wanted to have the three-piece be Pedro and it progressed from there. All of that was right around the same time, so I put Silver Torches on hold because the Pedro stuff took over. Which was awesome - it was such a great experience playing all those shows and making the record [Pedro The Lion’s 2019 album “Phoenix”]. It made me put my own work on the backburner, so now I’m just dipping my toes back the water with this record and figuring out how to navigate putting out music in 2020.
On creating a bright sound for the new Silver Torches record “Bermuda Dunes”:
I was really into Jeff Lynne-era and “Wildflowers” Tom Petty, and I really wanted to make something that felt very direct and up front in the speakers. That was something that Andy [Park], the producer, and I talked about, and I think he did a great job capturing that in the songs. We did 8 songs in a day when we tracked basics, so we made the outline of the record really fast. But it took almost a year to finish because I was on the road so much, and Andy only had a day or two at a time. If you added up all the days, it was only 6 or 7 days total. It was a lot of gut reactions. I had written the songs, but we didn’t really have arrangements. Most of it was from that one day, and then we went in and did overdubs.
On the songwriting process for “Bermuda Dunes”:
It was interesting writing this record. I approached it from the perspective of “I just want to write a good song.” I wanted to write songs that were – in my mind – the best songs I could possibly write. I went down to LA to do some co-writes, which I’ve been doing in the past couple of years, and I ended up writing the bulk of the record there. Three of the songs on the new record are co-writes and the rest I wrote by myself where I was staying, which is why the record is called Bermuda Dunes. I always want a record to feel cohesive, but compared to the last record, which was very personal and in my own head, this one is way more just me telling a story from a distance. They’re not about me. I’m not really singing about anybody in particular. Anytime I write, I’m writing about something or somebody whether or know I’m doing it consciously. The feelings are all real, but they’re not personal songs.