Progressive rock group Torque Padroni meets DeKalb

By Tony Martin

Just wait until you see what happens when Torque Padroni comes to town.

A five-piece progressive rock group from the Aurora/Batavia area, it has been a real pleasure to see Torque Padroni break into the DeKalb music scene. While “unassuming” would be a good word to describe five dudes from the suburbs who could have walked out of Spicoli’s van five minutes ago, watching them play is truly an enjoyable experience.

Torque Padroni is essentially a party on stage, and you can get used to seeing their faces around DeKalb’s local haunts. Be on the lookout, and if you want to witness firsthand one of DeKalb’s newest favorite acts, stop by the House Cafe, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, on Feb. 24.

The Northern Star sat down with sophomore biology major Robb “Big Sleeves” Van Herik and discussed their plans for the future.

Northern Star: Introduce us to the members of Torque Padroni. What do each of you guys play?

RVH: I’m Robb Van Herik and I play guitar, Brian Richter plays bass, Nick Peckat is on the piano/synth, Dylan Dresch is our drummer and Scott Maney sings.

NS: How did the members of Torque Padroni meet?

RVH: Nick, Dylan, Bryan and I have been friends since we attended high school together in Batavia. We were all in various bands throughout high school. Around 2001, while Bryan was playing with Autumn in Analog, we started an improvisational jam band, The Cosmic Crobots, with a revolving line up that included me, Nick and Dylan. The Crobots had multiple drummers, horn players and guitarists and went through a few different evolutions after high school before settling into what is now Torque Padroni. Torque Padroni became a band in 2009 and enlisted Scott to do vocals after he helped us cover “Sober” by Tool.

NS: How would you describe your sound, and who would you say you are most influenced by as a group?

RVH: Our sound would best be described as progressive fusion. We incorporate aspects of rock, metal, jazz, Latin and electronica. Some bands who influence us include: Primus, Tool, King Crimson, Flies are Spies from Hell, Man Man, Spackle and the “acid jazz”-era Miles Davis.

NS: How do you feel the DeKalb music scene has embraced you guys, and how do you feel it differs from your hometown scene?

RVH: We are newcomers to the DeKalb scene but so far it has treated us well. DeKalb has the unique ability to draw big name acts as well as local and Chicago-based bands so there’s a lot of opportunity to play with awesome bands and see shows. We recently played a couple shows with some local bands- Brothers Rage, Gonzo Violence and State Champs- which helped us get some more exposure locally. As far as how the scene differs from our hometown, there are a lot less places to play in Batavia. A band can either play in one of the few bars in town, or at the art space, Water Street Studios. Some really good bands have come out of Batavia but the actual venues in town attract mostly cover bands and open mic types, so we’re excited to play more shows in DeKalb and closer to the city.

NS: What does Torque Padroni have in terms of recorded content, and what are the groups plans, both immediate and long-term?

RVH: We released our first EP, Epic Breakdown a few months ago. It was recorded at Gremlen Studios in Aurora. As for goals, I’d like us to amass more gear, play the House Cafe on Feb. 24, and more shows in general, and record an album.

Come make Torque Padroni feel even more welcome at their show at the House, its sure to be a good time.