Acle Kahney – Guitars
Ashe O’Hara – Vocals
Jay Postones – Drums
James Monteith– Guitar
Amos Williams – Bass
@ O2 Islington Academy
Interview by Anna Dumpe
Just moments before TesseracT take to the stage at the O2 Islington Academy in London, we met up with the guitarist James Monteith to talk about their new album Altered State, which was released on May 27th, 2013, via Century Media Records.
Good to see you James! How’s it going?
Thanks, all good!
For those who don’t know – how would you describe TesseracT sound?
It’s kind of atmospheric, melodic and heavy at the same time.
TessaracT have got a new singer Ashe O’Hara. Tell us a little about how you found him and how did he end up joining TesseracT?
Ashe has been a member since September, 2012. We partly found him because he was recommended to Acle, the other guitar player in TesseracT, by a local promoter in Milton Keynes. He also independently sent in an audition for us and did really well, so we had to have him.
TesseracT have got a new album coming out on the 27th of May and it’s called Altered State. Tell us a little about the story behind the record and how is it different from the previous record One?
Altered State concept is about change. It’s all about how things are constantly evolving and changing, whether it’s happening in one person’s life or the whole universe. It’s an entity that still remains constant, if that makes any sense. We also used a lot of science analogies to come up with the concept, because we’re all absolute geeks of that kind of stuff.
The album is also a metaphor of how we feel about the band, because we’ve changed a lot during the past 2 years, as we’ve been through a few singers and our music has evolved and matured, even though we are still the same.
Tell us a little about the writing process of Altered State. How long did you work on writing and recording it and what was the main inspiration to create this album?
Trying to avoid the ‘2nd album syndrome’, Altered State was done differently than our first album, as we had a very small amount of time and very little budget.
To record our first album One, we got to work in a proper studio, track a lot of drums, and do it almost the old-school way, but this time around we had to come up with something that’s high-standard in a very short period of time.
We solely produced the album in Acle’s home studio and the recorded demos evolved into the actual tracks, so this time the songs came about in more of an organic way.
It all pretty much just happened in Acle’s shed and majority of work, like producing, mixing and mastering is actually done by Acle himself as well.
Today’s the last day of your UK tour promoting Altered State. How did the tour go and what has been the highlight of it so far?
I think every show has been a highlight, because all of them have been truly amazing. It’s funny, because we sort of lost momentum with our various singer changes, and this time last year we really didn’t know what the hell was going on with the band.
So it’s just brilliant to go on the road now and have people turn up at our shows, sing along to our songs and really enjoy it. I think the audiences at all the shows have been the best par of this tour and we’re most definitely looking forward to tonight’s show.
You’ve been on this tour with two other bands – Enochian Theory and Algorithm. What’s your personal opinion on those two bands and why did you choose them to be the opening acts?
I really love both of those bands. It was great to be in the position to pick which bands we would go on tour with.
Enochian Theory are very melodic and progressive in a really nice way and I think they are the perfect pick to start the night. Their music is really deep and interesting.
And personally, I’m in love with The Algorithm, as I’m very much into loads of electronic and break core music. And Remi, the main produced of The Algorithm, is the first guy ever who has successfully managed to mould together two completely different things by taking electro and proper metal rhythms, and being able to synchronize that with guitars and drums, has turned it into absolute bonkers music.
Also The Algorithm musicians – the drummer Mike Malyan and the guitarist Max Michel are both ridiculously good performers, so the audience is in for a treat.
Your website states that you’ve been working on a music video for “Singularity”, when can we expect the video to come out and can you tell a little about the storyline behind it?
We’re hoping to release the video for “Singularity” right before Altered State comes out. I’m not entirely sure of what’s the whole storyline behind it, as the band is not going to be a part of the video, but basically it’s about a girl who gets impregnated by an alien, whilst floating in water. I suppose it’s going to be about some sort of graphic alien invasion, as a metaphor for some kind of weird shit. I honestly don’t know..! (Laughs)
But it’s definitely going to be visually stunning, as the guys who are working on it are professionals who have previously worked on special effects for different feature films (Sky Fall and Prometheus).
What’s the plan for TesseracT now when the UK tour is over? What have you got any tours or festival appearances planned for the summer?
This summer is looking to be rather quiet for us. Although we are headlining UK Tech Metal Fest on the 14th of July and we’re really looking forward to that, as the other headliners are Veil Of Maya and Scar Symmetry. It’s basically going to be pretty much everybody representing the tech/prog scene.
Also we’re doing a US tour in September, but it has not been announced yet and we should be doing a European tour sometime in autumn. But I can’t give away too much about that, as nothing has been officially announced.
When it comes to your personal music taste, what bands do you tend to listen to and are there any new bands that you’ve discovered lately and would like to suggest to our Metal Rules readers?
Well, the last thing I want to listen to when I’m trying to relax is metal, just because every day for us is all about metal. I love to listen to artists like The Cinematic Orchestra, Bonobo and lots of other chilled out jazz and hip-hop stuff. Also, aside from metal, I love to listen to more heavy drum&bass and early dubstep. Technical Itch is one of my all time producers.
What about your band members? Do you all tend to have similar taste in music?
We all tend to like electronic music to an extent. Amos (bass guitar) is into a lot of crazy jazz stuff, which is way too complicated for me to understand. (Laughs)
Acle is a massive 1970s rocker and he really loves all the stuff, like Pink Floyd, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, which I love as well.
Overall, we like pretty much anything.
When the party is on and we’re drinking beer, we like to stick on some Guns n’Roses for some more fun. (Laughs)
Last, but not least… If you could go on tour with three different bands of your choice (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
Oh my, that’s a tough one. One of them would probably be Pink Floyd, as they’re one of the biggest influences of ours. Lots of TesseracT melodies are specifically inspired by David Gilmour’s playing.
Then I would have to say Meshuggah and Deftones, but I’m really not sure how that would all work out together. (Laughs)
Sounds good to us!
That’s going to be it…thanks for your time and good luck with tonight’s show!
Nice one! Thank you!