Laying it all out on the table
Some of the best songs spring from the ashes of broken relationships.
Just ask Alanis Morrisette, Adele — or, for that matter, Red Deer’s Jason Torwalt.
Torwalt, the lead singer of local progressive rock band Law of Lucid, poured his feelings about his divorce into song lyrics and the results can be heard on his band’s first EP, Residue, which is being launched on Saturday at The Vat. (The musical lineup also includes the bands Oldbury, The Well Witchers and Zoo Lion.)
The 33-year-old laughs when it’s suggested he’s following Morrisette’s lead of exorcising personal demons through music. “Yeah, you go through the same old s--- to find the answers right in front of you,” said Torwalt, who aimed to create honest music by “just laying it all out on the table.”
The singer maintains he didn’t have any particular concepts in mind when he penned the melodies and lyrics to the EP’s six tracks some three years ago: “I just wanted to write from the heart.”
The tumultuous, sometimes haunting tunes generated from the introspective writing sessions helped him to figure things out in his own life — and he hopes they will help listeners deal with their painful experiences, too.
“You can’t run away to fix your problems. You have to go deeper or nothing’s going to change,” said Torwalt.
While Law of Lucid — also made up of guitarist Jabin Binnendyk, keyboardist Nicholas Howells, drummer Danial ‘Ani Mal’ Devost, and bassist Mike Veenstra — performs some relationship-based songs on the EP, they’re not your standard three-minute pop tunes.
Torwalt said the group’s prog-rock music has been compared to Queen, David Bowie or Pink Floyd. This means some of the experimental songs are six to eight minutes long.
“I’m a purist,” said Torwalt, who couldn’t bear to create “chopped up and edited” short versions for radio play. He, therefore, hopes rock radio’s current preoccupation with classic music from the late 1960s and ’70s — which encompasses such epic tracks as Queen’s six-minute-suite, Bohemian Rhapsody — will help some of his longer tunes make it to air.
“If they play (Led Zeppelin’s) Kashmir, which is an eight-minute song, I don’t see why not.”
The EP’s title track recounts the aftermath of Torwalt’s divorce and “learning how to be free.”
Maybe We Can Really Live Again is one of the quieter, “more heartfelt” songs on the EP. “It’s about the loss of love,” said Torwalt, and the need to leave a relationship wishing each other well. “Whether we get back together again someday, with a new awareness, or whether we go on to live our own separate lives, we have to live again.”
Another Day, Another Age is a heavier rock song that came to Torwalt one day while he was driving. He recalled he was working at a job he didn’t like at the time. “I realized, it’s all my choice. I was choosing to be there. Maybe it was time for a change, to make the most of these short moments we have.”
The former Red Deer College music student quit the job and put his faith entirely in music. Now Torwalt helps make ends meet by teaching guitar students. “All of us are deeply into music,” said the singer of other group members, who are mostly either teaching or working in the recording industry to supplement their band incomes.
The pieces of Law of Lucid fell into place last January, when the band’s membership was firmed up. The group has since played at venues across the province, including Albert’s Own Independent Music Festival last month.
Early on, Torwalt said he pulled out a catalogue of songs he’d written over the past few years “to see if the guys were capable of doing it. ... The (songs) were all just sitting there, waiting for the right people.”
The resulting collaboration turned out to be “incredible.” Torwalt said, “You could see it in everybody’s eyes that we had something special here.”
And he believes listeners will hear it, too.
Tickets to the 9 p.m. show are $10 from The Vat or 53rd Street Music, or $15 at the door.