First off is the name of the band pronounced To-rizon? I think I have been saying it wrong!
That’s okay a lot of people do. Its Torizon – like Horizon with a T.
What’s been happening for Torizon?
It’s been busy behind the scenes. Last year we released our single ‘Find My Way Out’ and since then we have a whole body of work. A whole bunch of songs that we wanted to release. We were meant to be going to L.A. and touring Japan but Corona… I had planned the Japan tour around my birthday but that’s fine, I’ll have another one next year. It was supposed to be a big year for us, but I think it worked in our favour because we could knuckle down and make ourselves more self-sufficient. Half of the band lost their jobs, like a lot of people, so we were able to put our heads together and write music but at the same time set up our own private rehearsal/recording studio. Between all of us we do have a few studios but this one was dedicated just for us. It’s treated to our sound and we keep modifying it to suit us as we get better and for different kinds of sounds we want to get out. We also all learnt a lot about cinematography because Sarah actually has a degree in that and has worked on Pirates of the Caribbean, Narnia and stuff like that. She’s a badass. She showed us how to do all that kind of stuff so we could help her make ourselves as self-sufficient because we didn’t have the same budget anymore. I did some courses around social media and we all have formal education in music theory. We just went a whole new level of music theory and wrote a whole bunch of music. We can make our own merch as much as possible. Obviously we out-source t-shirts and the like. We make the majority of our novelty items; we do our own video editing and all that stuff, graphic design and recordings. So that gave us the time and the ability to write new music. Burning Away happened, I had it pretty much straight away as soon as 2020 happened. You knew it was going to be a bad year. There was just something about climate change, obviously it’s been in the fore front a lot more, but something changed when I turned 30 and I felt that nobody waws doing anything. I found myself living in fear, not fear-fear but sub-conscious fear, for a couple of years. Like what’s going to happen, nobody is taking care of this. The people that should be taking care of this, that have the power too, are not. It was an odd existential way to live. I was like ok I need to write a song about this because it needs to come out of my system. So it started with the bushfire crisis, which is obviously the metaphor, but at the same time literally. It turned more into a metaphor when Corona virus hit and it just felt like all the creative people, like yourself and everyone else, were just cast aside and it made me really angry.
It blows my mind how artists have been treated throughout this. If anything The Arts probably turn over more money for Australia than anything else.
Exactly. The Arts generated all that funding for the bushfire crisis and then on the back of that to just be like nope.
Yeah, I was like come on man. So that is where it took it onto a metaphor of; Its desolation, you don’t care about anything and then climate change as well. It’s an angry song, it’s a mix of everything I was feeling in a very existential time. It was like well here you go everybody I hope you like it!
Yeah, so that is what we have been doing. Just working very hard, writing a lot of music. We do have an EP coming out later this year too, but we wanted to get this song out because it is so angry and so perfectly timed.
I just watched the clip for the song. You guys did that yourselves then?
Yeah. What did you think of the song?
I really liked it. I listen to Find My Way out a bit too. You’ll like this – I’ve been wracking my brain trying to work out who it sounds like and it sounds like the Last Martyr, that’s what it reminds me of.
Oh excuse me! I love Mon, she’s a phenomenal vocalist. That is so good to hear, thank you. She is such a lovely person too.
She is amazing and she is so positive. I am loving that there are so many more woman in the scene who are being really vocal and playing a really big part in it. That is what excites me.
I’ve definitely seen a shift in that. I say this but then we are so used to micro things happening all the time in the scene that you just think its normal, I personally haven’t had anything that is very bad happen, I know people that have had worse for sure. But there have been times where there is that power thing and I’m like just because I am a female. If that’s the mentality it kind of puts you in a place as a female where you freeze. I can’t describe it any other way other than a power move, I’m holding power over you. But I can see a big shift in that, especially like you said with all the women being so vocal. Being taken seriously, especially being a lead singer too. I get the female fronted bands thing; I get it but..
I hate that term. That grinds my gears. The whole “female fronted” thing. It’s a band.
Exactly. I get it, I wish I was a dude, trust me! No hormones!!! Imagine that haha.
It’s way more acceptable now. I have found nothing but support by so many people on so many different levels. I think that is because of all the women before me, I got to ride on their coat tails basically. It’s been a very positive shift and I am really happy for that.
I have found that the majority of the males in the scene, especially Melbourne and Adelaide because that is where I am the most, won’t put up with that shit either anymore. I love that they are becoming so vocal around the treatment of, not only females, but of everyone in the scene. At the end of the day any form of shitty behaviour is not okay in our community.
It’s the same in Brisbane. I’m from Victoria and moved from Geelong to Brisbane 7 years ago. I loved living in Victoria, but I definitely found, and this is from my own unique perspective of being a musician coming to a new place where I didn’t know anyone, there was so much positivity up here and so protective. I have had very minimal poor experiences like that.
I am the same. I came up for Dead of Winter in 2019 and hardly knew a soul apart from some band members, a few Facebook friends I had made and the girl I stayed with. I had the best time, made new friends and never once felt unsafe or worried. A lot of the band members would check up on me if they walked past which was so nice. I love that about the community, personally I have never been anywhere that I haven’t felt safe and I go to a lot of gigs by myself.
100% and I definitely feel that. We have had security guards who have been so good at keeping an eye on things and will do things like walk you to your car. I think that the shift has been big and personally I find myself very lucky that I haven’t had a lot of those awful experiences. Know a lot of that is coming to light, less and less of it seems to be happening or is tolerated.
So now that you can’t get to LA to record what is the plan?
Robb Torres is our producer, and he is based in LA. He has been our producer for awhile now, pretty much since the inception of Torizon. We write songs and send it to him; we catch up with him monthly and he guides us from a production perspective. Producers know what they are doing, and it is very valuable to listen to them. He is also so sweet; he is just a genuinely wonderful human being who just wants to get the best out of your music but preserve the uniqueness. He pushes you but never makes you feel like you are not enough. He is a wonderful teacher. That is why I say he is our mentor because his influences have made us level up a lot. As the songs come out you will notice that they are getting better and better. The EP that is coming is very progressive influenced. It’s been really awesome to go and explore all those things. Rob works with us remotely, so we are basically going to release it that way now. We were meant to stay with him and record, it was going to be amazing. But the music is still going to come out, we can still write. Also if anyone wants to check Rob about his band is called Robbery Inc. and I really rate them.
Let’s take a back step to ‘Find My Way Out’ because I saw that you said it was about gaslighting and emotional abuse.
I’m pretty open about it on my socials, I have a history of complex PTSD that comes from childhood trauma for a long period of time. Everything- sexual assault, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse so your getting a laundry list. That’s what I went through as a child, pretty much until I was 16 and I moved out. It just wasn’t a safe place for a child. When you grow up in that environment it becomes a part of your belief system that you are not good enough, you are not worthy of love and for me the big one was sexual assault because I viewed my body as bait so I would hide myself a lot. My responses used to be freeze, just freeze. That’s not very healthy, you need to change that. So consequently, obviously when I moved out when I was 17 until like 21/22, you have those tumultuous relationships because you feel that you don’t deserve any better.
Yeah like you don’t deserve anything else.
Logically your brain just goes oh that familiar so that is what it was mostly written about. Particularly for people that, I’ll preface it with this: anybody who psychologically abuses or is narcissistic, it all comes from a place of deep insecurity but that doesn’t justify it. That is what it was written about and one of the references I made in the second verse was when I was groped by a band member, not this band. It was some time ago. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 18 and I’m 32 this year. It happened in my early 20’s.
I can totally relate to that. I was in an abusive relationship for a long time and it affects everything that you do in life down the track, the choices you make and your reactions. I also ended up with a narcissistic asshole when I first moved to Adelaide and I now have serious trust issues. My PTSD was triggered after working so hard over the years to overcome that.
I’ve been in a place like that before. I’ve been in therapy for a while now, it just doesn’t go away. You don’t just wake up and your are fixed. It’s having an understanding of your patterns. Like for me I found that all these shitty things happened, but I am so resilient because of it. That is what I wanted to highlight in that song. I know it sucks but find your way out, you are so worth it. The resilience and the compassion, like the good part of coming out of having been through and having Complex PTSD or PTSD is the compassion you have for people. The understanding from a psychological and physiological aspect, you can see their intention isn’t bad. And the kindness to yourself. They are the virtues that I think came out for me that I have held onto. It has been amazing. I am very proud to go from having Complex PTSD to having a history of Complex PTSD. I used exposure therapy which is pretty intense but really worth it. The particular one I used was Narrative Exposure Therapy and that was for a while, it really reset my brain completely. You know what is amazing, your brain is like you can just update software. You can update your iPhone; you can update your brain. It is the most empowering thing.
I found the most empowering thing for me was learning to love myself for who I am. It has given me a new found freedom. I tell people all the time that until you learn to love yourself for who you are you can’t move forward.
Yeah, you have to bring yourself to a whole level. Especially with trauma, parts of yourself are fragmented and your body has learnt to disconnect from it for a certain reason, in different levels obviously. It’s to bring you back together, to be integrated as a whole person has been phenomenal. It has improved my self-esteem to a ridiculous degree. When I was growing up it was all a particular body type, everybody went through that right, they are still going through it. For the longest time I had this really massive almost body dysmorphia. My mum did a number on me with that, so thanks. Then you have the media reinforce that. But when I went through my exposure therapy it made me go OMG look at how much my body has done for me to protect me. Now I’m like ‘Your not fat, it’s okay.’
I’m the same. I have some bad scars and stretch marks and for years I covered them up. I have a scar from when I was younger and had my appendix out, but I also had peritonitis and the tubes they had to use to drain the poison left a terrible indent in the scar. So my entire life I never wore a bikini to the beach until 3 years ago when I changed my mindset. Fuck I have had 5 kids and that horrible scar probably saved my life. It’s all about changing your perception of things.
That inner critic.
That inner critic is worse than anything anybody else dishes out to you I think.
Absolutely. I think particularly people that have been through traumatic early childhood stuff your inner critic is super strong. Your self-love is puny, and the inner critic constantly beats the self-love talk out of you. That’s what really helped me with my therapy, all the negative talk was actually my parents and I had just internalised it. So it has got me to a point where I can trust people, I feel like I value myself, I can set boundaries, and everything has excelled. The trajectory has been really amazing since I got therapy which made me go yes I am worth it and its okay. Even working with Robb, I used to listen to his band when I was 19 so to be able to do that, 16 year old me is cartwheeling.
32 year old me is like “Hey what’s up dude!’
I would probably say it is the thing that got me into music. The thing that I related too; music was my therapy before I understood therapy, or I knew therapy was an option. It’s definitely why I am here and its definitely why I want to keep making music for people. If somebody feels a bit icky it’s there, if I can do that for one person then that would be amazing because that’s what happened for me.
I said the same to someone the other day. I don’t know where I would be without music. I know I wouldn’t be here that is guaranteed. Like you said earlier, when Covid hit and the music industry was snubbed with help, I don’t think some people realise how big an impact music has on people, especially around mental health.
I was definitely suicidal when I was 16 years old, how can you not be when you have experienced such extreme early trauma like I did? I literally heard a couple of songs on MTV, that is what got me through I would always watch MTV. SO I saw a couple of different songs and was like ‘Oh there it is, I am seeing in them what I am feeling in myself, ok so I am not by myself’. I was always a choir kid; I knew I could sing but I didn’t have any confidence in myself. Then I started writing my own stuff, not great but it was something to get out what I was feeling.
It’s a good form of therapy.
100% and I still do it. Even when we were filming Find My Way Out I really just got to a point where Sara said to me write the name of the people that were hurting you as a child on some paper and burn it. It was so therapeutic and even though I had overcome that in therapy I was like hey I can do that in my music video too.
I’ve done a lot of that over the years. It’s a good release. That sort of trauma effects every part of your life whether you realise it or not.
Absolutely. The trauma gets to a point where it makes up a part of you at a cellular level. With my therapy I was finally able to allow my body to process things and I was becoming aware of all this chronic pain that I had but my body couldn’t register it because it was always in that fight or flight mode. I went from doing weights twice a day to not being able to get through a work day. There was nothing physically wrong with and I ended up having surgery. That is how I found out about the sexual assault trauma from when I was a child. When I had that information that was tangible it allowed my brain to resurface that memory. I went through pain management to be able to literally retrain my entire body because I would just be in constant pain everywhere. Even rolling over was hard. I went from a fit person to someone who couldn’t do anything, it was awful. The pain is real and is definitely there, but it is very psychosomatic at the same time. It’s that whole being thing again. My GP was amazing, she organised a whole health care team for me who specialised in trauma. After a few years of that I am back in the gym again and I am at a typical level of pain now.
Let’s talk about the band’s name.
I wanted something that wasn’t to wordy or had something with 5 words. Something catchy that was original. Every piece of music that I have worked on personally myself is always a combination of empowerment – this is cliché, but I will always write about what I am feeling because I think that is the most important thing. I like authenticity in that way of expressing myself. I thought my values lie in mental health awareness, being a survivor and all that sort of stuff. It was very important to me that the name represented what saved me. When I found music there was always that light at the end of the tunnel so I could hold on a little bit more. So that was a mix of all of that. I think we made it happen. The space metaphor worked really well; we are all space nerds. I really like that black hole, like the black hole of life and the literal black hole. And then seeing the horizon at the end of it.
When I read that I thought that is a very well thought out band name. I really like that. It’s something that has meaning not just a random name pulled out of thin air.
What about your influences? Who inspires you?
Oh man, okay. There is a bunch. I love everything. There’s a throughline in my taste in music, there is a little bit of darkness in it. It doesn’t matter what genre it is. When I found music it was through Evanescence and Linkin Park, the cliché of my generation. Slipknot, that’s what sort of got me into okay cool these guys are feeling the same things I am feeling. I went through a big phase of Amon Amarth and Gorgoroth, it was weird. Not weird I mean I it’s just very odd for me to see myself as a 17/18 year old and into that. I appreciate the skills and the song writing but it’s just not me. Then I found the pop side of things I really like. Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Alanis Morrisette. Flyleaf was also around at the time I was 18/19 and really getting into music. I was so lucky that I had a lot of these females to look up to.
Absolutely, there were some awesome women around in that era.
Lacuna Coil was a big one. The rest of the band bring their own influences so Sarah is very into TesseracT, Baroness, Haken and you will hear that in the newer stuff that is coming out. Jeremey is very similar to Sarah, but his favourite is Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I really like Aaron’s taste is slightly different from the rest of us. Basically he likes the same, Gojira and all that sort of stuff but he is also very eclectic. He grew up listening to Aerosmith and that was one of his biggest things, also Ghost. They are his kind of influences.
Up until 4 years ago I didn’t really know this whole scene was a thing! All these bands like Lacuna Coil and Gojira and the local bands that we have. I had Spotify on, listened to a few of the suggestions that were Australian bands and here I am!
I love that we have so much talent here in Australia. It’s ridiculous. Like Mon from Reliqa – she works with me and the power in her voice is amazing.
Oh I am a huge Reliqa fan.
I was like you guys have no idea how talented you are. It makes me so happy when you see these younger bands who are so damn talented. Being a musician comes with those massive insecurities about your music and its easy to get caught up in that. Seeing these younger bands and just thinking you have no idea that you are already so ahead.
I remember the first time I heard Reliqa. Browny shared them after Big Sound and I’ve been a fan ever since. After I interviewed Mon I sent her a message telling her how hard I had fan-girled being able to talk to her!! She was like What??? She is on a pedestal for me, she just blows me away with her talent.
When I’m working with her I am always saying to her that I am intimidated by her. She is the sweetest person and so talented.
Okay I’m throwing it over to you. Anything else you want to say.
Hang on while I plug in! This is my time now haha. No I’m kidding.
Take it away, the floor is yours.
Okay our Instagram account has exclusive content on there that I don’t put everywhere else. SO jump onto our insta. https://www.instagram.com/torizonmusic/
Our Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/torizonband/
Music and Merch is on our Bandcamp. Spotify the hell out of our music, chuck us on your playlists. We have some Burning Away limited edition novelty items such as USB Chargeable lighters, ceramic coasters and the Burning Away skull is featured on everything.
We are on YouTube as well and Burning Away is up there.
We are very proud of this song and we really hope you guys like it. There is a whole lot of music coming from us during the rest of the year so thank you for supporting us so far. Being such a young band and being given the opportunities we are, we are really like ‘What I am a girl from Geelong!’ It still freaks me out, but we are all very sincerely appreciative and and as much as we do a lot ourselves, our management team at Hard Drive Agency makes all our visions come to life. Robb and Ian make our music come to life. We definitely couldn’t have done it without these legends in our life.
The whole package
So thank you so much. We are really appreciative of you interviewing me as well.
I’ve actually been waiting since we first “met” on Facebook. I thought I would wait to see if you released anything then I got the email and jumped at the chance.
After talking about her role models I think Mish is well and truly a role model for the younger generation and I am extremely grateful to her for allowing me to share some of her story. Go and hit up Torizon’s socials and like Mish said add their tunes to your playlists.