As a fan, I was delighted at the opportunity to delve into the behind the scenes world of TesseracT. Considered a pioneer of the djent movement, Tesseract transcends the masses of current progressive metal. I felt every bar of their 2018 album, Sonder. Amos Williams sat down amidst the launching of their cinematic live experience, Portals, to answer a few questions.
Brutal Planet Magazine: What can we say, other than 2020 has been a year to remember? In order to fill the live music void due to a global pandemic; many people have taken up other creative outlets or learned new skills; what has TesseracT delved into?
TesseracT: TesseracT has been very lucky, we had planned to have a relatively quiet 2020, with only a few tours, and a couple of summer festivals. The plan was to write, write, write! But, something did not feel too right about that, and we didn’t wish to equate a new album with 2020. But, we also NEEDED to do something, so we decided to start off the year with a few “live in the lockdown” events. As with everything TesseracT we strive to push what we can achieve with such limitations, and I think given the success of that show, we must have done something right. And then, when it became apparent that the pandemic was going to last a long time, well into 2021, we decided to do what we couldn’t do: that is, to make an ultimate show. We wish we had pushed for this earlier in the year, although the show is close to what we wanted, it may have been more fully realized had we not been under international travel restrictions, etc.
I make it a point to ask every artist this next question because it is such a unique experience. What is your first memory that’s tied to music? Or what was the first time you realized music was something meant for your path?
There hasn’t been a time in my life that I have not been a performer. I was performing with orchestras, ensembles, and bands from about the age of five or six. Not simply school performances, but international touring. It’s one of those things that really, those are not just my earlier musical memories, but my earliest memories. Growing up in London, meant that I had a wealth of culture to explore, and become a part of.
You refer to your upcoming stream performance as a cinematic live experience; can we expect more of these in a post-covid world? Will there be more chances like this, or bringing your global fanbase together?
I think in general people are somewhat reticent to embrace this new medium. Certainly, there may be a lot of opportunities for artists to become something more than they could by putting a lot of time and energy into one show, rather than spreading themselves thinly our over a three week, or three month tour. I want to stress, nobody thinks this will replace live music. But, this is an addition to what a band can do. We certainly could explore these ideas more. I would much rather do something like this than creative a five minute promo for our next album. It’s not the sort of thing we could do every month, and nor should it be, but maybe we could develop these characters a little more and explore the stories we started in this show.
What can TesseracT fans look forward to in the coming year? Is there a follow up to Sonder on the books?
Yes, certainly. TesseracT needs some down time, without a doubt. We have been hammering the touring cycle for years now, releasing a new album every two years or so. And that doesn’t work well for us creatively. We will be writing and exploring what we are and will have new music by the end of 2021. We also have ArcTanGent festival in the UK, if that happens, and a tour supporting Trivium throughout Europe during Nov/December next year. SO, we have a lot on!
Looking back on your collective work, is there a line or instrumental part you would love to change now?
Oh yeah, I often think about the track as a whole, and want to support everyone, which can sometimes lead me to not develop a line. But, then every now and then when we take these tracks live something will push me to follow a hint of a line in my head, and I will go for it, on stage or during soundcheck, and it’s like it unlocks the song, pushes it forward…at least for me! “Beneath My Skin” is an example of this. On the album, I just let it sit. On stage I play the anchor notes of the guitar line, and hold the pedal in the bass down as well, and to me it really opens the section up.
Inspiration can come from some strange places at times. Who/What has been one of the oddest sources of inspiration for your album material?
I would hope that fans of our music are similar to us in the respect that they keep an open mind, inspiration comes from all and anywhere. In terms of themes, and vibes, I had the book series The Expanse in mind when looking at the artwork for Sonder. Musically, I guess Jeff Buckley and Pink Floyd may come as a surprise to many people. But, our product is merely that, a melding of all our influences into a result that happens to be TesseracT in form. We certainly don’t aim to be heavy or technical, and it certainly doesn’t need to come from that place.
What piece of (life) advice would you give to your fans?
Try to understand why you are doing something. I know so many musicians who are chasing money. To which I would say to them that they are perhaps in the wrong business. Not because you cannot make money, but because that will always determine what you are creating. You will not be making music to push yourself creatively, but chasing what will be most successful. And frankly, you will never be happy unless you make a bunch of money. Your reasoning must be clear to yourself.
Thanks again to Amos and the rest of the TesseracT members for allowing BPM readers a glimpse behind the curtain. You can check out our full review of their unique streaming performance, Portals here: