Jorge Torres: Translating Emotions Into Music
Jorge Torres is the composer and guitarist in Deeply Woven, a 4-piece progressive rock band from New Jersey that combines elements of jazz fusion, math rock, metal, and atmosphere. To Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, Deeply Woven brings music that ranges from cinematic to melancholic. Jorge finds value in not only the creativity and passion he puts into his music, but also the work it takes for independent artists to define themselves as musicians. In this interview, Jorge talks about Deeply Woven’s origin, “Chop Suey!” by System of a Down, exciting new music coming out in 2020, and inspiration from video game samples.
What’s your songwriting process like?
I don’t complicate myself too much with music theory. I will—it’s just not my main priority right now. I rely much more on what I feel sounds captivating when I write.
Other than that, it varies. Sometimes, I sit down at a laptop with my guitar and Ableton, and sometimes I play on a piano. I don’t have a certain way to go about writing, but if I have an idea, I’ll run to the computer and start jotting things down. I don’t have a schedule or anything to write; it’s just whenever I get influenced.
What’s the dynamic of Deeply Woven? How was the band formed?
Deeply Woven started off with Steve (drummer) and myself. I mainly write the music, though I’ve been trying to get the guys to do a writing session with me.
Starting back in late 2015, I first started searching out people to play with. I found Steve, our drummer, and we started off as a metalcore band with a few other local friends. Later, I realized he was a very jazz-oriented drum player; he was adding jazz beats to metal, something that was super new and interesting.
Around this time, I started listening to Periphery and Animals As Leaders. Both of us were deriving inspiration from jazz fusion and prog at the time, and finally, one of us asked the other, “Why are we still doing metal?”
That’s when we moved on from that old band and started Deeply Woven. It was maybe two whole years after that when we were playing a show that we found a bassist. Sean played with a tech death band, actually, and it was pretty technical—it was funny that we were put on the same bill. The bassist came up to us, said he thought our set was awesome, and said he wanted to write on our stuff, even though he lived two hours away. So I sent him some tracks, and he sent back some bass riffs over them, and we were blown away!
Later, I met our guitarist Shawn from the Facebook group CHON Homeys. We didn’t live too far from each other and ended up hanging out often. He eventually learned every track, and it was obvious that he was a good fit for the band. Which brings us to a year later, as we are playing more shows and have released our debut EP.
What’s your favorite song to play off the Deeply Woven EP and why?
Definitely “Holoport”—the third track—because it’s just really bouncy and weird. It reminds me of a video game, actually. How I came up with it: I was looking at Ableton’s video game samples, and a certain sample came up that I really liked. I messed around with that and struck up an entire song within that day. From there, I wrote everything else. Sometimes, a simple riff can kick off a writing session!
I also really love “Ghost.” As the last song, it’s short and wraps up the album, and it contains a little bit of flavor from all of the songs. In that sense, it sums up what the EP was at the time: it’s melancholic, bubbly, fun, but still cohesive.
Favorite show you’ve played so far?
Our most recent ones are almost always the best ones. Relatively recently we played third to last for Arch Echo—they’re ridiculously good and have really been making waves in the prog scene. What really made the show was Arch Echo’s set—their presence and synergy are professional and engaging. They have easily set a precedence for upcoming bands who want to get their music to the next level.
What is the meaning behind the name “Deeply Woven”?
There’s kind of a double meaning. There was this progressive fusion metal rock band called Exivious, and I really liked their one song “Deeply Woven.” I hit up their guitarist Tymon Kruidenier a year later, when we were already doing music under that name—he listened to it and said it was fantastic. One of my favorite guitarists listened to our music, and that was really special.
Other than that, though I try not to be a very existential guy, I often think about the wild universe we live in and am always astonished. I like the idea of everything in the world being intertwined, and I want the way I write to portray that idea, whether it be a moment in our songs that seem to rhythmically overlay or a melody that sounds otherworldly.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Part of it comes from my perspective of life and my personal experiences. A lot of that is just about how I feel. There are a lot of words that I can’t pinpoint to describe emotions I’m feeling, so I feel as if my job as a musician is to be able to translate that in some way through my compositions with my guitar.
How did you get started in music? How has that evolved over time?
My brother’s wife had an acoustic guitar laying around in the house, and one day, I picked it up and started experimenting. Being self taught, I made the mistake of picking it up upside down. That’s my niche—people know me as the guy who plays upside down. One time, my sister-in-law was playing “Chop Suey!” by System of a Down on her laptop, and it really caught my attention. I started to learn all of their riffs and from there, I went on to discover bands like Animals As Leaders and Periphery and have been heavily inspired by modern prog rock and metal till this day.
What’s the most surprising thing about how your EP has been received so far?
Honestly, it’s just surprising that it’s being listened to. When we released it, we were hoping it would take off somewhere, as we had been working on it for four years. It was really humbling when I realized that this was a product of four years of work.
I’m still constantly surprised by people who support and listen to our music. Once, someone did a review, and it was short but so meaningful—it really resonated with me.
Other than that, it’s just about the learning experience, especially on marketing. I thought I did a good job on marketing, but it turns out I’m not so hot at that. Regardless, I’m really proud of the EP and grateful to those who has listened and supported our work.
New music to look forward to?
Most definitely! I didn’t write all of it, which was a relief. The sound changed as well—the other guys are incorporating their own ideas into the whole process. It’s going to sound different, but still like Deeply Woven.
It’s definitely improved; I love the songs much more than the EP, and that’s saying a lot because I love the EP.
We are shooting for a Spring 2020 release or maybe sometime sooner. Depends if we want to do an album or EP!
Who is the most influential person in your music career?
Aside from artists such as Tosin Abasi and Misha Mansoor, who are not only great musicians but excellent entrepreneurs, I credit my brother who has given me great advice over the course of my music career. Like myself, he is also a musician (Tragic Hero being his hip-hop/R&B stage name) and has had plenty of experience in the music industry. The best thing he taught me was how to be smart as an independent artist while simultaneously understanding how much work it is. To stand out amongst many other independent bands not only takes hard work, but a unique sense of creativity and passion that makes you recognizable for those traits. I still have ways to go, but implementing these traits into habits is always a priority for myself and the band.
Where do you play music? What are those scenes like?
Philly is great to catch a show, from rock to rap and from jazz to metal. It’s all there. We’ve played with a variety of bands, and we definitely have our favorites. If you’re ever in Philly and the stars happen to align, check out Countdown from Ten, Mage Hand, The Mountain Chiefs, Moonstriker, Old Head, Rally Point, and Of The Archive.
If you could open for any band, who would it be?
If I had to choose one band, I would say Plini. I think we would be very well received on a bill with them since a lot of people say they get that vibe from us, which is very flattering. We actually did a cover of Every Piece Matters at the end of our set for a while! Alternatively, I would also love to open for Animals As Leaders, CHON, Periphery, or Native Construct. We’ll see how far we get in the next few years!