Posted by: Staff | 01.28.2010

Torpeedoh-ed Into Mash Ups

TYLER STARR ’10

My love of mash ups has brought me to a new place in the music world. While writing my top ten mash up artist article, I stumbled upon several new remixers and fell into the world of remixing. I became interested in the creation of mash ups, and I decided to email remixer Torpeedoh to ask him how exactly mash ups were made, and what programs he used. Fortunately, Torpeedoh was very responsive and answered my questions thoroughly. I decided to press my luck and ask him if he would like to do an interview for my school’s paper. Once again, he was very responsive and agreed to the interview. I learned from the interview that the man behind Torpeedoh is sixteen year old Zach Torpy from West Des Moines Iowa.  This interview was one of the most enlightening experience I ever had and has changed my view on the music world.

Can you give me a brief history of who Zach Torpy is, just for some background information on “Torpeedoh.”

Well my name is Zach Torpy. I live in West Des Moines, Iowa. I’m 16 years young and attend Valley High School. Yes, Shawn Johnson goes to school with me. No, we aren’t buddies. I like to hang out with friends, watch football, play Ultimate Frisbee, pwn some nubs at Halo, and just have a good time.

What’s your favorite hobby?

Hm, probably making music with friends. I love making mash ups, but my friends and I have begun to make some “folk improv” music, using guitars and tables and vases and whatnot to make music. It usually involves us just jamming and making up crazy lyrics as we go.

Do you follow sports? If so, who is your favorite sports team?

For sure, I follow sports. Favorite sport is football. Favorite NCAA team is the Iowa Hawkeyes . As for the NFL, I’m a huge fan of the Denver Broncos. I don’t get into any other sports as much, but I do watch European soccer. Go Barcelona.

Do you have a day job?

Well I’m a full-time student, but I work part-time at HyVee, a grocery chain in the Midwest.

What or who inspired you to start making mash ups?

Well, the first true mash up album I heard was E-603’s Something For Everyone. I was in love. I played that album like 4,000 times. It’s still one of the best mash up albums ever made. After that, I branched out more into the mash up scene and found Girl Talk. When I first heard Feed The Animals I was like, “wow this sucks,” but it grew on me and is now my favorite album of the past decade. So after a lot of listening, I decided that I wanted to make some mash ups of my own.

Is there a story behind the name “Torpeedoh?”

Well, my last name is Torpy. And “Torpedo” was taken by some punk-ska-rockers. So I added some extra letters. I think it looks cooler this way.

How long did your album Buckwild take?

Five months.

When did you start making mash ups?

The end of the summer of ’08.

Who is your favorite musician?

Hmmmm… I have a lot… But I’d have to say Radiohead.

Who is your favorite mash up artist?

Girl Talk or E-603.

How do you start the process of making a mash up/remix?

I make mash ups by album, in that I don’t just make “tracks”. I make an entire album, start-to-finish, and then divide it into tracks. I let everything flow from one sample to another. I usually have three main parts: the “backbeat” (drum loops, claps, snaps, etc.), the instrumental, and the vocals. But that is the bare-bones of it. I probably have up to six layers at a time on my new album.

What is your favorite part of being a mash up artist?

Making people say, “Oh my GOD, that was intense!” without having to play any real instruments or have any musical talent whatsoever. 🙂

What is your take on the copyright  vs. copy-left battle? Do you think it should be illegal to sample other artists’ work?

We as a culture have always built on the past. It’s not like I’m making huge bank off of a ten-second Coldplay sample.

When is your next album coming out?

January 1st, 2010. It’ll be on my website for free download (http://www.torpeedoh.com). It will also be available through the music website Waffles.fm. And from there it is gonna spread to all corners of the Internet. The album’s name is Party People.

Since you need to sample so many songs, how large is your iTunes library?

Let me check… 90.4 gigs. 577 artists, 937 albums, 10930 tracks. I listen to everything, pretty much.

Do you plan on going on tour anytime soon? Do you think you can make a stop in Boston?

Oh man, a tour would make me so happy. I’m still relatively new to this whole “music business”, and I have absolutely no professional affiliation to help me organize a tour or anything at this point. I am talking to a few local places to play some shows, but that is about it right now. I promise that if I ever “make it big” playing other people’s music, I will come to Boston and party with the students of Beaver.

As you can tell from the interview, Zach Torpy is just a regular guy with a hobby of making mash ups. This really inspired me to try my hand at remixing, and I have actually decided to try to make a mash up album for my senior project. We’ll see if I can become a decent mash up artist or if I should just stick to being a listener and fan of mash ups. You can download his first album Buckwild and new album Party People at: www.torpeedoh.com

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Responses

  1. You should do something on DJ Stroke. he’s a mashup artist from Boston and pretty good


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