Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tesseract Brings Progressive Metal To The Forefront

Labeling music has always been a tricky thing to do. There have been some many new genres created that the choices can be as mind blowing as the infinite number of boxes on the cereal aisle in the grocery store. A new band has definitely stood out from the pack of wannabes and is making a name for themselves. Tesseract, hailing from the UK, is winning over fans and critics alike and for all the right reasons.

Formed in 2007 by brainchild and guitarist Acle Kahney, the band started to put together a sound that was very uncommon at the time. Aided by Jay Postones on drums, James Monteith on guitar and Amos Williams on bass, the band was slowly finding their sound. The addition of Dan Tompkins on vocals was the icing on the cake. His diverse range was a perfect fit to the multi layered sound being created. The band are at the forefront of a new era of progressive metal that is blowing away everyone who is experiencing it.

The band just recently released their full length debut CD entitled One to high praise from music critics worldwide as well as fans. They hit the road in support of the CD along with Maylene and The Sons of Disaster and Protest the Hero. I was fortunate to catch up with drummer Jay Postones and guitarist James Monteith before a recent show in North Carolina.

Music is my drug of choice: Well guys, you have been out on the road for a month or so now promoting the new CD, how has that been going for you? Any shows stand out?

Tesseract: The tour has been going really well. We’ve had a few fails along the way so far. We have a rubbish van that breaks down a lot and we actually had to miss one show because of it. The Orlando, Florida show was really good. It was sold out and the stage was really tight and the sound was great. There was also a lot of energy in the room that night and that’s great because you feed off of the energy of the crowd. The Dallas, Texas show was especially awesome. It was one of the bigger venues with a capacity of over 1000. As far as bad shows, Las Vegas was probably the worst gig we’ve ever done in our lives. The problem with Vegas is that it’s only good for two things: losing money and partying and we didn’t get to do the latter. Unfortunately, we did lose money. The venues screw you over and you only get half of your fee and then they take more merch money and a cut of your CD sales; which is actually illegal if you don’t own the copywrite to it……so screw Vegas!

How different is it to tour here in the States as opposed to the UK?

It’s about the same except for the distances. In the UK, it takes one day to go from one end to the other whereas here, it takes a day to sometimes go through just one state. Also, the food is a big difference. Our intestines are clogged from all the greasy, fried foods. I don’t think we can eat another McDonald’s again. The first place we stopped in New Jersey had hamburgers that were like $350 and they were massive. You can never truly eat a burger of that size, that was crazy!

The CD has been out for a couple of months now and the reaction has been very positive. How satisfying is that to you as an artist?

We’ve been very pleased and also relieved quite a bit. It’s a nerve racking experience creating something that you are very proud of, but you have no idea what people are going to think of it. One real worry was that people criticized us about having a lot of the material being available on the internet beforehand, but we haven’t heard much more about it. Overall, we couldn’t be happier with the reaction from the press and especially from the fans.

What do you guys do for fun while out on the road? Who is the practical jokester?

We’re fairly calm, but if I (Dan) see an opportunity for danger, I generally jump on it. We released a DVD with our new album and on hat, there is a clip of me dancing along the edge of the Grand Canyon like a little monkey and we also did that on an iceberg on this tour. Overall, we’re pretty layed back and boring people. There is the occasional, spontaneous meat slap! We were touring Russia and the standard food over there is meat, cheese and bread. We found this big slab of dirty, sweaty meat in the leftovers from our gig. We were on a train ride and Acle was asleep in the top bunk. James gets the slab of meat and slaps it right on Acle’s face. He didn’t wake up immediately, it was couple of seconds, but it gave the meat time to mold to his face. It was so funny! There’s also food fights, but we’re all responsible for those.

I have to ask you about the name of the band and its origin. Anyone dare to explain it?

Well, we could lie to you and say that there is this really deep meaning behind the name, but unfortunately there isn’t. When Acle first formed the band in 2003, he was writing all these cool riffs and he watched a film called Hypercube and heard the word tesseract and thought it was a cool name. It’s as simple as that, but it’s actually a very fitting name for us. Our music is quite complex and if you read into the whole fourth dimension thing, it is kind of mathematical and scientific.

You guys really do have a unique sound. Who would you cite as your influences?

Well, everything from Steely Dan, Pink Floyd and Meshuggah to electronica, Slayer and early Metallica. In between shows, we tend not to listen to a great deal of metal. The last thing you want to do when you get in the van after a show is crank even more metal.

I saw that you guys are up for Best New Band at the 2011 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. How awesome is that?

It was totally out of the blue for us. We received an email telling us that we had been nominated. Metal Hammer has been really kind to us over the last few years. It was really amazing to be even nominated. We hope all of our fans will go over to www. goldengods.metalhammer.co.uk and vote for us.

Can you tell us what we can expect from you guys in the near future?

We are already working on album number two. We have a few songs that are almost finished and Dan is writing the vocals to them. We have another tour that we are going to be doing here in the states later in the year too. Other than that, we will be travelling and busy on the road.

Well guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to us and we can’t wait to see you perform on this amazing bill with Protest the Hero. Keep knocking them dead out there and stealing the show each night.

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