Being neurodivergent is challenging, especially if you don't know that you are. Experiencing the world differently than the majority of people makes for constant struggle; your own reality clashes with what others want you to feel, say or be, and you just stand there, never knowing what you did wrong or how you could possibly be more 'normal'. You're feeling alien, depressed, angry. Until one day someone tells you that your factory settings are indeed very much not the same as everyone else's.
"'Violent Tendencies' encapsulates the experience of growing up with undiagnosed ADHD," says Benjamin Torrens about his new song, the first he puts out under the moniker Torrence. The English songwriter got his diagnosis two years ago and considers it a relief. "The song is the story of a boy who goes to sleep after a Friday night fight, and wakes up to the bird song he knows and loves. The push and pull of growing up feeling repeatedly misunderstood and unable to articulate emotions. It is jarring, it is unashamedly rough and unresolved."
Benjamin grew up in the small seaside town of Bournemouth. His musical journey began by using his drum kit to escape the effects of undiagnosed ADHD as a child. Since then Ben has experimented with his music; often visiting a memorable location to record the sounds to later incorporate them into his productions, discovering new and unfamiliar instrumentation, and pushing his voice to its limits to express the depth of an emotion. He has had considerable success under his birth name, but now is the time for a new project.
"I wanted to start my new chapter with this song because it really sets precedent on what I want my future releases to say. It's quite a 'split opinion' song I would say, but I've never been one to play it safe," Ben says. He wants to lets his negative experiences of depression and injuries shape a raw and unfiltered sound that is both confronting and calming - choosing a rather untypical form for it. 'Violent Tendencies' consists of hardly more than a piano and his voice. "In terms of the drums I feel like it's easier to express anger and raw emotion with overdrive, one can hide behind a wall of noise. I really wanted to challenge both myself and the listener to feel bare in the experience. I knew that this minimalistic approach would be exposing, but I think that's what makes it authentic."
The song comes with a minimalistic and yet intense video. "Working with Kenny and Ollie on the video was a genuine treat, and a humbling moment for me, having never shot a video of mine featuring myself in it. I felt really listened to in terms of direction and design. I wanted to capture the rawness and minimal nature of the song within the visuals. This is why I wanted to spend so long in the sea and why there are so many long and consistent shots, to make the performance realistically uncomfortable. I'm from the coast, and although it feels like home to me, the ocean is also a powerful and unpredictable thing. Much like the meaning behind the song. Feeling at peace with yourself, but also unpredictable. Thankfully Kenny brought a HUGE and extra fluffy Body suit towel robe thing that kept me warm in between takes. The challenging part wasn't the cold, but the tides and his expensive camera NOT getting wet."