Latest release: One (Century Media)
Reading-based djent lads TesseracT are about to hit Australian shores for a blitzkreig tour with good buddies Periphery. Carving out a name of their own with the “Concealing Fate” EP and the recent, subsequent album One, Loud caught up with bass player Amos Williams a few days after their appearance at Sonisphere to discuss the origins of the djent movement, their relationship with Periphery and where their music may go in the future…
Q: Hi Amos, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. You’re about to head down to Australia for a short tour. How are you looking forward to it?
A: It’s gonna be a bit of a whirlwind tour, but it’s gonna be fun, man. Looking forward to seeing… well we’re not going to see much are we? Some stages, backstage rooms… but it’s gonna be great fun.
Q: You’re touring here with your good friends Periphery. I believe you have already done a fair bit of touring together this year.
A: We did a tour of the UK with them, yeah. That was a couple of weeks in January or February. We’ve known them for ages so it’s great fun to be on the road with them. Both TesseracT and Periphery were both at the beginning of this whole new technical metal, progressive metal boom. So it’s really great to see both bands making an impact on the international stage and being able to tour the world.
Q: Your origin story is quite similar to that of Periphery’s. Being such good friends and sharing that sort of history must make playing and touring together pretty easy.
A: Yeah, we did a festival together this weekend: Sonisphere Festival in the UK, which was great. All the guys in Periphery are really nice. We’re able to just get on with it. It’s just real chilled out. We’re all musicians, we’re all there to have fun and do what is possibly the best job in the world. For a musician, this is the best job in the world, to be able to tour and play music. It’s just a great party when we go on tour together.
Q: TesseracT, Periphery, Monuments and a couple of other bands pretty much started this whole djent ball rolling. What is it like to be the progenitors of a movement that way that you are?
A: It’s taken a long time for the scene to get out there, to become a part of metal’s lexicon I’d say. None of us have been chasing stardom, which is what a lot of bands do these days. You know we started doing this because this is what we love. We love playing this style of music, and we started it when it wasn’t very popular, you know. We were sort of at the tail end of nu-metal, about six or seven years ago, and it was one of those things. It was just really cool to meet like-minded people, and then gradually momentum has built up over the years. It’s been quite interested to see the change from people not being interested at all, to people wanting interviews, or TV themes or, you know, signing a few of the bands here and there and getting their records released. It’s been really cool to see that happen.
Q: You’ve taken the best part of the last ten years to get to this stage, and now you’ve virtually sold out a tour here in Australia weeks before you arrive. Does it validate what you do, to see people suddenly really diving in to this?
A: It doesn’t really have an effect on anything. It just makes life a bit easier for us. It means that we are seen as a legitimate interest for major agents who are booking tours. It’s so nice that we can now get out there and show our music to many, many people and that will resolve into us getting invited back. Because I’m hoping we’re gonna put on great shows for you guys so that it warrants all the buzz that the industry’s been getting about us that is now getting put on to the public. That’s basically it.
Q: So what is the TesseracT live show like? When I interviewed Periphery last week, they were saying that their show has really been able to develop over the last twelve months because they’ve played so much.
A: We’ve already played a lot. We were really lucky in that before we released that debut album, we’d actually been on tour in India, Russia, throughout Europe, even in North America as well. That was like six months before we released the album. So we kind of hit the ground running in that we’ve been able to show everybody right from the beginning that we’re a well-trained machine. It’s all giving 110% as the cliche is, at every show, as our music develops. We did a DVD with this album, even though we’d only just released this album, to show that the songs on the album had become something a little different live. So we’re constantly evolving the same way those guys are. I think that’s a bit indicative of the style of music, actually. None of us are ever happy to just sit on our heels. We’re constantly wanting to make things better and evolve.
Q: Some bands seem to get stuck in a groove forever. It must be liberating to be part of a band that is able to constantly evolve like that, where you’re more or less expected to progress rather than remain the same?
A: Yeah, that’s a blessing and a curse though, isn’t it? Whilst we can definitely just do what the hell we want, which is beautiful… you know that’s… to have that kind of freedom is wonderful in music. But there is a worry that people will expect you to constantly do something different. Doing what we want may be that we do something similar in the future. On the second album, which we’re kind of writing at the moment, and we’re gonna continue writing it for the next year… well, year and a bit, depending on how the touring schedule develops… you can definitely say that yes, the second album will not be the same as the first. It will still be TesseracT. It will still have that sound and that element to it that is that X factor that is us, that gives us that buzz that we have. But at the same time the music won’t be so focused upon the metal side of things. I think we’re kind of growing into the same sort of realm of bands like Tool and Mastodon, where they’ve kind of changed to a more melodic style instead of a more growling death metal style.
Q: So do you look back at the album and think about how you can change things for the next one? You say you’ve pretty much got a plan as to where the next album will be going?
A: Well it’s not so much that it’s planned. We’ve got like twenty demos set up for the next album so we kind of already know what it sounds like. It’s not really premeditated though, it’s more of a case of, that’s what we were feeling when we wrote that song. Who knows? Maybe we’ll revert back on ourselves toward the end of the writing process and make it really, really heavy. It will basically end up being whatever the vibe is of the band after all the touring and everything that we’re doing. In about twelve or fifteen months’ time I can see that’s when we’ll start finalising the album.
Q: So what are we going to see from you guys when you’re here?
A: Well we’re definitely just going to be playing songs from the album we’ve just released. Because it would be unfair to start playing new songs. And the thing is, we all still enjoy these tracks. While a lot of them, as with a lot of bands, when you release your debut album, these songs can be anything up to five or six years old. The next album is a lot newer, a lot fresher. So whilst we are very, very familiar with a lot of the songs, we do still really love playing them. We will definitely be playing a section of the album called “Concealing Fate”, because that’s a popular one for us. We really enjoy that. And also more of the upbeat, uptempo tracks that we’ll be playing. It’s not going to be much of the black stuff. We do that when we do a headlining show, when we can take you through everything. But as we’re out there with Periphery, they’ve got a long set and we’ve got to cram in as much of the high energy and impact as we can in the forty minutes that we do.
Q: You’ve only got three shows back to back this time, so hopefully you’ll get to come back again sometime soon.
A: That would be fantastic man. Because we’re only visiting the south east. I’ve got connections down there. My dad lived down there, built a house there, and I’d love to be able to go back there and spend some time there and see the place. But I’d also love to see more of the country too. So hopefully we’ll get a chance to come down and do a proper tour. I can see that happening. That would be great fun.