An Interview with The Torn Tuxedos


Torn Tuxedos
Torn Tuxedos perform at Sugar Land Baptist’s Crawfish Boil in spring 2012.
Photo by M.E. Pistorius

The Torn Tuxedos are passionate about their music. They enjoy making music and work hard so that their listeners will appreciate and enjoy it, too. In this interview with the singer Sean Hardin and guitarist Trevor Martin, both juniors, we discussed their new EP Tearing at the Seams (which was recently released in January 2013), their creative process and their plans for the future. They also discuss how they came up with the name “The Torn Tuxedos,” the sound of their music, and how they balance being in a band along with other school activities.

How long has the band been together?
Sean Hardin: About a year and a half—we recorded [our EP] at December of 2011 and released it on New Year’s 2012. The band’s been together for about a year and a half, and it’s been fun. It’s a really good way to spend our time together. We love making music, and we hope the people that listen to it enjoy it, too.

How do you describe your music?
SH: It’s kind of like Alternative rock—punk, pop… a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of variety to what we play.
Trevor Martin: It’s kind of punk rock, a little more rock. Imagine a mix of All Time Low and Guns n’ Roses.

Where did the name the Torn Tuxedos come from?
SH: [laughs] So when we decided we wanted to make a band, our drummer who goes to Travis High School—his name is Jared—he was like ‘okay, just for this occasion, I’ve come up with a whole bunch of band names. And we’re just going to go down the list, and whichever one we like the most, we’ll stick with it.’ So we had like six band names and we weren’t all together—we weren’t at the same place at the time—so he texted us the list, and all of us coincidentally chose Torn Tuxedos. So it was like ‘okay I guess we’re going to stick with it.’ It’s cool. It’s different… It’s something catchy.

Who are the members of the band?
TM: You’ve got me and I play the guitar. We got Sean. He sings and plays guitar and piano. Our bass player Nat Kinsey goes to Clements High School. He plays the bass—
SH: He plays the ukulele also.
TM: He plays the ukulele. That’s the most important part and then Jared…plays the drums and the other percussion instruments.

How does the creative process work?
SH: Songwriting is a lot about experiences and things that you go through in everyday life. When you have no other way to channel your emotion, the best thing to do is to write about what’s happening. So basically we sit down, and we come up with some lyrics. And maybe somebody will write a certain part of the song, and they’ll be like ‘hey, can you finish this song?’ So they’ll send it through to me, or I’ll send my lyrics that I have to Trevor, and he’ll write some more… We bounce ideas off of each other and get the lyrics down… We usually have a melody of what we want the main—the vocal part—to sound like, so then we just craft the sound individually around that. It starts with Trevor coming up with the chord progression that matches whatever we have. Then Nat adds something with a bass line. Then on top of that, we add the whole rhythmic feel with the drum section.
TM: It’s kind of like you have a bassist, and then you just add on to it.

Can you talk about your new EP “Tearing at the Seams”?
SH: It was a lot of fun to make. We recorded it during the summer, and it was a really cool process to spend a week in the studio. We knocked out a seven song EP in a week, which is crazy.
TM: A lot of the days not everyone was there.
SH: Yeah we were in and out… it was just a compilation of the songs we had written at the time, and it has a lot of personal meaning to all of us. The first song on the EP is called Darling Dream, and the whole basis of that song is to not be afraid to live your dreams. Don’t be afraid to do whatever you want to do. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do it, because if you have the drive and the determination—if you work for it—then you can easily achieve what you want. And so that’s kind of like the meaning of the whole album is to us. If you tear yourself apart at the seams,  if you let other people tear you apart and bring you down, then you’re never going to get anywhere in life.
TM: A lot of the things involved in the EP—more than musically—is that a lot of emotion is put into the writing of the music. It’s not just like, ‘oh hey, here’s some chords.’ I want to make something that will make people like it. I wanted to make sure it was something that sounded good that people would relate to and to mix well with the lyrics.
SH: Basically we put a lot of work into the album, and we really hope people enjoy our work and come out and see us live if we ever play…

How do you balance other activities along with the music and the band?
TM: We don’t sleep. A lot of the times when it comes to theater, we’re both usually doing it together and sometimes it’s not. But we help each other out with it.  And not even just us but the rest of the band—they have their own things.
SH: Nat’s in orchestra in Clements, and Jared plays tennis. There’s a lot of busy schedules, but we make time for the things we care about.
TM: Sometimes it even comes down to where you just have to pick what fits right at that time.
SH: You got to decide what’s more important, and a lot of times we made sacrifices.
TM: And sometimes it’s for the band. Sometimes it’s not even for the band. Sometimes we just have to make those sacrifices.
SH: But we do our best to make time for our music because it means a lot to all of us.

Do you have any plans for the future?
SH:  Yeah. I would like to make a career out of it. And if opportunity presents itself, then we’ll definitely take it. There’s a lot of business stuff in the music world. A lot of people see music, and they hear stuff, and they think it’s really cool and it’s really awesome to be famous. But it’s a lot of work to get up there. We’re putting in the effort, and we hope that people will like what we have. That’ll help us get where we want to be.