Detroit duo Torus Eyes showcases technical prowess and creative possible on debut LP | Local Music | Detroit

Detroit duo Torus Eyes showcases technical prowess and creative possible on debut LP | Local Music | Detroit

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Gwendolyn Dot and Rho Solomon of Detroit electronic duo Torus Eyes.

Detroit electronic duo Torus Eyes exists as a partnership between two individuals who can often function like two sides of the same mind in separate bodies. By making creative decisions rooted in a thorough respect for collaboration, including the sharing of the rule-singer role, members Gwendolyn Dot and Rho Solomon are able to create bodies of work that are crisp, cohesive, and challenging. The group’s debut LP, When I Die, out Tuesday, builds on the foundation of its 2019 EP PYTHIA, but also expands far beyond it. “It’s very hardcore who we are,” says Solomon. “It’s really us putting ourselves out there too much in a sense.” Dot follows: “Many of these themes were not touched on in our EP, so this project is really like ‘quantity 1.’ This time, we’ve really been ourselves already more, and we’ve allowed ourselves more space to let it come by.”

When I Die is a feat of technical prowess and creative possible. On the record, the two write, perform, sing, record, engineer, mix, and master all of their own material, resulting in a project that stands as a testament to Torus Eyes’ steadfast commitment to DIY and creative autonomy. “We now know that we can fully create and produce a record ourselves, every aspect of it,” says Solomon. “The project was a huge effort that established ourselves, for ourselves.”

After touring for PYTHIA, the group began to think deeply about the direction for its debut complete-length. They purchased industry-standard equipment, immersed themselves in how to use it, and set out to record a project that could be played live just as it sounds in the recording.

“We had all the pieces to create the music without a computer, and we were using these electronic instruments in a more fluid way as we were jamming, so it gives the music a very human feeling already by the use of analog electronics,” says Solomon.

When asked about their inspirations for the project, the duo’s answers were intertwined and however subtly definite. For example, in talking about the track “invocation,” which in some ways is a reliable representation of the project’s general themes, Dot explains, “the track is really an invocation, like I’m casting a spell to some goddess deity. It’s definitely an exploration about what it method to die, dying without physically being dead, and death leading to rebirth.” Solomon adds, “already though it’s called When I Die, I feel like it’s truly our coming out album as our debut LP.”

Having read a lot of the same texts in addition as doing their own personal explorations, the two proportion a curiosity for philosophical thought, spiritual evolution, and the complexity of the human experience. “We ponder these thorough questions, like ‘what were you before you were born?’, and they’re sometimes intimidating at first. But after spending time considering it, already without finding a substantial answer, there is a beauty in that question,” Solomon says.

The duo’s interpersonal relationship has also been a major influence on the music that they make together. Over years of working together, the two have learned a lot about themselves and one another, and their shared passion for their craft serves as a bond that can stand the stresses of creative challenges and compromise. “We work both individually and together,” says Dot. “We bring ideas to each other, we ask each other for help when we are stuck, we flesh out the skeletons of the songs together. We push each other, and once we get a foundation laid down, we get to the part I really love, which is diving into the orchestration and composition of the song as a whole.”

“She’s great at that,” Solomon interjects, and then continues: “The complete course of action is very collaborative, we are a soundboard and a mirror for each other’s creations.”

As a part of the album rollout, Torus Eyes self-produced a video for one of the standout tracks on the record, “Enamel.” The video is a spaced out, lofi trip by the world of Torus Eyes, with the texture of the drums and synth fitting nicely with the vintage aesthetic of the visuals themselves. The song itself was originally slated for a follow-up EP to PYTHIA, and was produced by Solomon at a time where his work outside of music was getting in the way of doing what he loved to do.

“It was really challenging, I was freaking out, I was like ‘I need to play music,’ and I wrote that song out of pure resolve that this is what my person likes to do,” he says. The lyrics in the verses read, “everything, all at once, regularly, all the time,” pondering on an obsessive desire to experience the entirety of the world in a single moment. Dot adds, “We set out to record it on VHS, filming various scenes around Detroit and some seemingly inconsistent symbolism. As I was trying to organize the shoot, I kept returning to themes of vanity, the female gaze, and our deliberate choice to have me filming Rho in addition as shots of me holding the camera.”

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