There’s a new subgenre within metal on the rise, simply called “djent”. It’s a term used for bands who are inspired by Meshuggah and combine this all kinds of progressive wizardry. One of the rising starts within the djent movement are UK-based TesseracT. They made quite a splash with One, their thoroughly solid debut album. On behalf of the band singer Dan Tompkins (D) and bass player Amos Williams (A) were more than willing to answer my questions about their new album, songwriting and their adventures with Periphery and Monuments and a very memorable gig in India..
Thank for doing this interview with Home Nucleonics. Your new album, entitled One, is quite an impressive and mature affair. Are you happy the way it turned out?
D: Thanks! We’re incredibly happy with the way it’s turned out. It’s the result of a huge amount of hard work and dedication.
There’s quite a buzz surrounding the band, especially in the UK. Does this give any form of pressure when you’re performing live or when you’re working on new material?
D: Not really no. We’re all very comfortable on stage and just enjoy what we do. If the crowd are up for it then we’ll return the energy, if the crowd just want to watch and listen that’s also very cool. We let the new material do what it wants, tends to have a mind of its own!
Let’s move on the your new album, One. The bulk of the album revolves around the several Concealing Fate compositions. What’s the common link connecting these parts?
D: To us it’s a journey we like to treat as one giant song. Lyrically all the songs have different stories but the common link revolves around time, fate and life.
What I really like about One is that you guys find the middle ground between technical prowess and memorable compositions. How important is it for the band to find a sort of balance between those two elements?
A: For us as musicians the music has to do 3 things: affect the body, the mind and the heart. First and foremost it must move you physically. Whether it be just nodding your head or full on jumping up and down, so that covers the body. Secondly, it should be intriguing, not overtly complicated but perhaps subtle in its structure yet different to the accepted norm, so that covers the mind. But we focus strongly on the harmonic structure too, this helps to balance out the struggle between body and mind. So, thirdly we will try to play subtly with the chords so they have a maximum emotional impact at just the right moments. It’s a delicate balance and perhaps we don’t always get it right, but its something we try to focus on.
How did the recording process go for One? What did you learn from them as a musician and a person?
A: As a musician we all learnt to really step up our game and realise that we have to work at our instruments to move forward and not just rely upon our natural talents. The most exciting parts of the album are moments that pushed us as musicians to expand our skill-sets. I think also that we have all learnt to be patient and to let it take as long as it will take. Music of this depth needs time to grow. It’s almost an organic being and kind of needs time to evolve over a long period to get the best out of it.
TesseracT is obviously inspired by Meshuggah and Textures, to a lesser extent. What other bands are TesseracT influenced by?
D: Acle (guitars.ed) is a huge Meshuggah fan, we all love Textures. I personally find the whole ethereal soundscapes Textures music a highlight. We all have such a wide variety of music influences, I’m a big Deftones and Tool fan as much as I love Imogen Heap and Bjork.
You did a tour with Periphery and Monuments, dubbed The League Of Extraordinary Djentlemen Tour and you performed in India as well. How do you look back on both events?
D: Sharing a tour with Periphery was such a cool thing to do. We love those guys and we’re all good friends. The same goes for Monuments we’d definitely love to do more with these guys in the future. India was an eye opener to say the least and certainly a career highlight to play to 10,000 screaming faces.
There’s quite a buzz going on centring around the word “djent”. What does it mean?
D: It’s a term that originated from music forums a few years back to describe the palm muted chuggy sound created with a seven string typically heard in Meshuggah’s guitar work.
Progressive rock and metal seem to be alive and kicking again in the UK with bands like Oceansize (RIP), Amplifier and your own band producing high quality albums. What’s your take on the situation?
D: It’s very much alive and kicking and we’re glad to be a part of it all…
A: Although sadly the economics of today are making things difficult, an example of this is Oceansizes recent decision to split up for now, such a shame as they were a great band, maybe 10 years too early on the scene however, a bit like Sikth too, I always felt they were a bit ahead of the times.
D: But there is a positive buzz around the scene and us at the minute, which is pretty damn cool. It probably won’t last and Limp Bizkit will definitely make a come back pretty soon!
The music industry is quite in turmoil nowadays. Some bands stick to the traditional ways, while other bands seize this opportunity to gain control of their own destiny and release their material independently. Amplifier and The Dillinger Escape Plan are clear examples. Is this an issue for your own band and what your own thoughts on this?
D: It seems that with the internet you can achieve almost anything these days…we’ve managed to tour extensively around Europe / Russia / India not to mention America and that’s all before releasing an album. I think if you have the following and fans than releasing independently is great. Record labels are racking their brains to think of ways to take advantage of the situation, thinking of new ways to push their artists and capitalise on the internet boom.
Time to the final question. When can we expect Tesseract on a stage on the continent and what’s next in the near future for you guys?
D: We off on tour to North America and Canada with Protest The Hero next week for 2 months and we want to revisit Europe for a decent period this year…watch this space.
Written by Raymond Westland