Stanhope Musician Discusses his Journey in Music, Hard Work, and Faith in Christ

By Alexander Rivero, Staff Writer 

 

Musician David Torok was born and raised in Brockport, NY, a town in the western end of Upstate New York, about twenty minutes outside of Rochester, and an hour out of Buffalo. After getting married and moving out with his new bride, he is living in Stanhope, which he describes in sighs and whispers as calm, scenic, and very lively. 

 

The same cannot be said, however, of his own journey through music, which has been at times euphoric, at times turbulent, and at other times downright personally hurtful. The experiences, he says, with the help of his faith in Jesus Christ, have converged into something good for Torok, a confidence in the present and hope for the future.

 

Raised on a steady diet of Metallica, Slayer, and Bad Religion, Torok first picked up an electric guitar at the age of 13. He says that what got him motivated to do so was seeing online videos of kids his age singing songs from some of his favorite classic rock bands, such as ACDC and Aerosmith. His attitude was one of “if they can do it, so can I,” and when his father bought him the guitar he had wanted, he dove into practice sessions with gusto, hungry for proficiency, eager to be great. 

“There were moments where it was so hard that I put the guitar away for a bit,” he says, “but I quickly picked it back up, especially as I started picking up on other 90s rock bands like the Offspring, Pennywise, and Rancid.” 

 

One specific Offspring song—“All I Want”, off the band’s fourth studio album Ixnay on the Hombre—hit home for Torok, and he felt he had to master it. Taking an in-depth look at that song, and learning to play it, was for him a springboard into new artistic territory. 

 

“I went from there,” he recalls. “From 90s punk, I explored heavy metal, which led me to Slayer, which to this day is my all-time favorite band.”

 

It was not only Slayer’s sound, but the complexity in the composition of their lyrics that hooked Torok and seemed to push him to a higher personal aesthetic from then on. 

 

“They were a big inspiration to me,” says Torok, “because they found a way to incorporate such raw talent into their songwriting without it coming across as showy. It wasn’t just showmanship. The talent was there to express the song to its full extent. It is an existential struggle that every artist of a certain caliber must face. The question of how much talent can we incorporate into our art without alienating people or being pretentious.”

 

What followed for Torok was another exploratory plunge, this time into the world of heavy metal. Dirt poor and, once again, eager to master the field, he played his guitar riffs out of an amplifier his father had given him and a cheap microphone, recording it all on his computer and posting it on heavy metal message boards. The reactions shocked him. He knew he had a long way to go, but the online heavy metal community made sure he knew that he should never touch the genre again. 

 

“They told me to pack it up, that I was horrible,” Torok recalls. “That I was a colossal failure. And, yeah, that discouraged me for a while. Listening back home to all those demos, I regret most of the music I made. It simply wasn’t up to par. I was just trying to make the most extreme and violent music I could make.” 

 

Ever the explorer of genre, from heavy metal Torok went to—yes—the ukulele to take off the steam of defeat, to refresh his skill set by throwing in something new and spunky. The idea seemed to work, because within a short time he had once again picked up his acoustic guitar for another go.

 

What he found in his second go-around on the acoustic guitar was not necessarily a new world, but a new take on an old one. He experimented with heavier sounds, trying to transfer the weight of heavy metal onto the acoustic. 

 

“This is what I was trying to achieve in my music,” says Torok, referring to the attempt at fusing heavy with airy and light. “And it was only by exploring these other genres that I was able to arrive at a concrete place of what I wanted to accomplish musically, which is music that expresses the wild and carefree nature of my personality, but also the love of Christ without having to necessarily mention Jesus’s name.”

 

This brings us to the present: David Torok is a man of God. And when it comes to his musical proficiency, the work he puts in, he assures us, holds a minority portion of the credit. 

 

“I don’t believe that I developed all of my musical talent on my own,” he says. “As we all must do as aspiring musicians, I put the work in, but the Lord brought on the rest. HE has blessed me and I am forever grateful for that. Practice and dedication are absolutely essential to the process, but I would also tell aspiring musicians to put Jesus Christ first.”

 

David Torok’s music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. He is also available on Facebook and Instagram @dT_musicman93. 


Photo: David Torok and his acoustic guitar.

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