David Torres made his way to the makeshift stage with his guitar in hand; he sat on a brown wicker chair in front of a microphone where pink spotlights illuminated him. He began playing the guitar and sang to the crowd that had gathered to watch the musical newcomer perform.
He had only played open mic nights and a few other shows before performing July 24 at The Night Owl. Torres says he accepted an offer from the Fullerton nightspot’s owners to play that night, adding he was determined to display his skills as a musician and songwriter by performing his originals, no covers.
“It’s always been more than music, it’s about saying something I need to say and almost each and every pair of eyes I saw believed in what I had to say,” explains Torres, who besides slowly emerging on the Orange County music scene is also an artist who has created and marketed a custom skateboard line.
Torres grew up with two artist parents who always encouraged his creative side. While growing up, he was always drawing, writing and creating. The fascination to create lasted through his high school and college years and still to this day.
In 2011 he graduated from high school and selected an art-oriented university. He became more skilled in the arts and later went on to get a bachelor’s degree in Product and Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Orange County in 2014.
After graduating college, Torres kept himself busy by working at a Coffee Bean in the City of Orange, nurturing his creativity in private. When we wasn’t working, he kept active. He enjoyed riding mountain bikes and he recalls having one of the biggest and heaviest bikes money could buy. One day Torres took his bike to a popular hiking trail, but its brakes failed him and he was thrown into the air. Fortunately, his backpack saved him. His bike was not as lucky.
Mourning the loss of his mountain bike, Torres looked for another way to travel small distances, which led him to go into Active Ride Shop and purchase his first longboard. That day, he taught himself how to ride, and the interest stuck, leading to his custom skateboard line.
“After riding a skateboard it was super cool, but I wanted to make something more with it,” Torres explains. He could not find exactly what he was looking for in shops, so he began making his own decks. “I bought some vinyl, and I got different wood, I put it on there, and I was like,’Wow, that makes it look cool.’ I started experimenting with the grip tape, doing some pinstripes here and there and doing some other shapes. I did some bizarre stuff that people didn’t think of, like car fuel line.”
People began to notice his board and asked where he got it. “That’s all me,” he answered. The interest led to Torres creating Flux two years ago. He went on to seek avenues to create, which led to the self-discovery of skateboards as art. Once he started crafting the boards, he continually spent hours at home, perfecting his skills.
While skateboard art nurtures Torres’ creative side when it comes to skillfully creating things with his hands, he looked for an avenue to speak his mind without fear, which led him back into music. It goes back to 2009 at Villa Park High School, where Torres was having a rough time, looking for an avenue to escape from the way he was feeling. He picked up his brother’s kid-sized guitar and began plucking and running his hands across the strings.
“I just picked it up, and I just played it, and I was like, ‘What? These two notes sound okay.’ So I just kept fooling around with it. And I thought, ‘I’m making something.'”
His parents later got him an electric guitar and after becoming more skilled as a musician, he put himself out there for his first performance at the Art Institute of Orange County, while studying there.
Music is an outlet for Torres, who cites U2, the Beatles and John Mayer as influences.
“The person that I needed to talk to or hear me out isn’t listening to me,” Torres says. “I vent to my guitar–and boom! You get to hear a very personal window into my life.”
He credits a close friend named David with getting him his first show. “One day, I went to a coffee shop and he was there. It was almost as if he was a music fairy whenever needed, and he hooked me up with my first gig.” Torres is not proud of his performance at that Yorba Linda winery, but it did reveal what to expect while on stage and gave him the confidence to press on. Open mic nights at Made Coffee House in Fullerton and a set during the city’s Day of Music festival followed.
Though Torres has yet to record his music, he plans to do so soon and–like at his gigs–he only wants to perform his with original songs.
“When I am drawing or designing skateboards I want to [create], whereas with the guitar I need to say something, and I noticed that vessel I was good at. It’s different between a want and a need.”