Music Q&A: TesseracT

Bassist Amos Williams from the prog metal five piece chats as they gear up for a UK tour, visiting Manchester Academy 2, 28 Nov

Hero image

What informs your music and songwriting?
We’re lucky. We gather inspiration and influence from our daily lives like sponges – life events that we are currently experiencing, as well as more lofty topics such as metaphysics and philosophy. We just absorb and reflect new information, not only through the lyrics and themes explored, but also through the musical games we like to play with our instrumentation. A very simple example of this can be heard in a single we released ahead of our latest album, to help promote a tour with Megadeth in the US. This track, Smile, is all about uncertainty and instability thematically. We tried to reflect this in the music by removing the harmonic grounding, and produced a somewhat ambiguous, almost chromatic structure in the verses, which we then compounded with constant rhythmic modulation. It was tough to nail down in the live performance environment, but when it’s locked in, it’s a really fun piece to play.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
As a band we have had numerous line-up changes imposed upon us, which has caused us to have massive musical changes as we have had to evolve to new members and their inherent strengths and weaknesses. Since we released our first album we have had three different vocalists – quite a lot for eight years, hey? As an artist, personally, I have felt an ever growing need to have things clearer, cleaner, and more streamlined. Not simpler, nor dumbed down, but more effectual and powerful as a result. This has manifested itself in my playing and the art I have created for the band, to the extent that the recent album was an exploration in minimalism visually.

You’ve toured all over the world over the past few years. What’s been your favourite place to visit and why?
I love Australia, so much so that I wish to move there soon. The culture is vibrant and, here’s the key, highly cosmopolitan and diverse in its art, music, food, and people. The more I travel the world and live in new places, the more I desire such complexity of form. I recently moved back to the UK after four years away; the hegemony disturbed me almost. I’ve struggled to find the details in British society. But, wherever I visit, I find joy in the food and family-based culture there. The places that celebrate this lead to the most fond touring memories. Touring can be hard at our level, and you crave the simple pleasures of a great coffee, wholesome food and a pleasant drink.

What’s the strangest item on your rider?
Six bottles of sparkling water. Myself and the guitarist James are addicted to the stuff, and regularly get through a couple of bottles a day each. Probably unhealthy, but it helps balance out the couple of bottles of wine that appear and disappear each day too.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience as a band.
We have big egos, but no shame, so we haven’t – yet – experienced much embarrassment. The law of the universe now dictates that one of us will now experience mortifying shame as a result of me stating this. Surreal though: every show has an edge of the surreal. You push yourself physically and things get a bit weird, as you replicate the same show in different countries, cultures and time zones. The banality of it all can make things a bit blurry, repetitive and confusing at times. It must be because you enter your bus, block the world out and wake up surrounded by different people, different languages and customs. Do your thing, never really getting to know the people or see the places your visit, pack up, and enter your bus, block the world out, wake up somewhere new. It truly is the best job in the world, but it truly is the best way to not see the whole world, whilst traveling the whole world.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Time by Pink Floyd, or Lover, You Should’ve Come Over by Jeff Buckley. My oh my, those lyrics just hit me so hard. In particular: “And then one day you find ten years have got behind you/No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.” And: “Too young to hold on/And too old to just break free and run.” Simplicity and emotive power in their conviction and recollection of universal experience. Nothing lofty, but pure humanity.

What’s your worst lyric?
Hah! You’re talking to the most self-deprecating member of the most deprecating band. With that information I’m sure you can guess the answer – all of them.

Photo: Steve Brown

If you liked this article, we think you’ll enjoy these:

Interact: Responses to Music Q&A: TesseracT

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.