Mackenzie Scott, the Georgia-bred artist who records and performs as Torres, set a high bar for herself on her new third effort, the synth-bubbly “Three Futures.” Raised in a strict Baptist household, the Tori Amos-inspired singer, 26, wanted to explore sensual pleasures – visual, olfactory and otherwise — in skeletal tracks such as “Greener Stretch,” “To Be Given a Body” and “Tongue Slap Your Brains Out,” which sounds painful (but isn’t, in her arcane lexicon). “It’s a great thing!” she says. “I’m a foodie, so it’s like, ‘This food is too good!’”
You wanted to explore the carnal side of life with this album?
That’s one way of putting it. I became obsessed with pleasure, with joy. And a lot of that is sexual in nature, of course, but a lot of it is not at all, it’s just sensual. I get an obscene joy from cooking and eating food, and from smelling it, and smelling combinations of aromas, even different types of wood and trees, just really taking time to use your senses. And walking is something that I discovered, walking just to walk, and returning to a state of childlike wonder in just about everything that I do.
Is it a better way to live?
The senses are here to be indulged. Call it hedonism, call it whatever you will. But I don’t mean excess to the point of disgusting gluttony or laziness — I actually mean the opposite. You hear that in religious texts all the time, that the body is a temple and you should treat it as such. But nobody wants to talk about the orgies that happened in the temple, or the wine that went with the feast. What about the complete indulgence, and the ecstasy?
How did you get past the guilt associated with your fundamentalist childhood?
On one hand, nobody ever fully recovers from deeply ingrained shame. You’ll probably always have that little voice in the back of your mind. But honestly, I’ve worked over time to quiet that voice, to override that shame button when I’m enjoying myself. And whatever pleasure I’m experiencing at any given time? I just try to do more of it.
So “Three Futures” is the equivalent of Meg Ryan’s sandwich-eating scene in “When Harry Met Sally”?
Absolutely. I love that synchronicity of the senses, when something like food and something that’s inherently sexual in nature converge, and you get somebody faking an orgasm when they’re eating a good sandwich. That’s exactly how life should be enjoyed; you should push every sense to its limits, although I’m not sure that senses really have limits. I’m constantly trying to find the edges, but I haven’t gotten there yet.