TesseracT are a British progressive metal band formed in 2007. They are currently signed to Century Media Records. They are credited as one of the bands to pioneer the ‘djent’ movement in progressive metal. As of 2013, Tesseract have released two studio albums, One and Altered State.
New singer Ashe O’Hara (previously with the band ‘Voices From The Fuselage’ ) joined the TesseracT team in the latter part of 2012.
Continuing on our holy battle against the heretics and irreligious purveyors of musical perversity, our Grand Inquisitor here at METAL AS RELIGION had the opportunity to chat with the band at the HRH Prog Festival 2013 – at the Magna Centre, Rotherham.
So, Ashe, tell us about working on the new album – how has it been?
It was absolutely amazing, I’ve been a big fan of Tesseract for a few years now so when I received the message from Acle it was a little, um, surreal at first. But yes, I have really mixed in well and, like, it has all come together well.
Everyone is going to remember your voice here today (at the HRH Prog Festival.) People who have never seen the band before were remarking on your performance … And you even obtained an applause for your sound check!
Oh, thank you. Yes It was amazing. It has been a good ego boost.
So TesseracT produces , engineers and mixes all their own sounds?
Yes. Well, Acle does. Having a guitarist who produces, mixes and engineers is like having your own production house … Mos does all the other assembly work (though) all the sort of nitty-gritty kind of stuff… all the things that Acle does not like to do [laughs].
What is the down-side? I can imagine what the good side is, but what is the down-side of producing and mixing your own sounds?
Down side, um, I think we would – if we had more money and more time- go into the studio and, you know, record correctly. Especially if we had, you know, more time. But with a band like us – doing kinda works like this – you know we can fly our ideas back and forth, changing things, you know,. We’ve got the kit to create stuff at home and a little pad thing so that we can program / play ideas / music then send it back to Acle to decide on. He is ‘the brains behind’ it all. He’ll write it all, come up with 90% of it, or even more, send it to us, we put off input for a while, [laugh] it will go back and forth- and then got a song finished … five years later. [All laugh]
So he is like the conductor of an orchestra? He directs the good ship Tesseract?
Yes, he is “The vision” if you will.
Does he steer the ship in the live show as well?
Um, not really, he hides in a corner. But he runs the computer that is running the show.
I noticed that – I could not see him on stage – he was hiding in the wing!
Yes. He is so modest …
I noticed that your live show is absolutely impeccable …
Yes, I mean we play live to a metronome … and we can program it depending on the circumstances we are given. If we are told that we have a set of 50 minutes we will make the show last exactly 50 minutes , which is kind of cool. But, yeah, in terms of steering and live performance … we just rock out! There is not much steering really! [laughter]
It is not too difficult – it’s just, great music … so great to play live.
You have hinted that the new album is going to be more melodic. Is that right? Do you still believe that?
Yeah.We ‘d say that the main difference is, of course, the voice. But we think that the music has matured a lot as well. I mean, the other stuff has been going on for years. But the writing of Acle has matured – and the new material is very different …
Do you think that the new material will test you more on stage?
Yeah, it feels like it will. For us, it feels much slower. Like, when we’re playing Concealing Fate – that seemed really quick – but the new stuff is, um, kinda slower. We have to – just – not go as hyper … because when you have the adrenalin rushing through you … and everything else … when you are playing live – everything seems to slow down so that you’re playing easily – So something that you normally fight with in a situation of rehearsal … perhaps [We] were really pushing to do the piece – when you play it live you’re just saying “Oh, this is really easy …”
We also think that the second album is more of a complete album, while the first was a mixture of songs and different ideas …. Probably from 2004 until 2010 …
… And then basically the best bits that worked together made up that album whereas everything on this album’s pretty much written during the last two years.
So it sounds more like a complete album. Yes – It ‘s all new instead of old and new.
Where is your biggest fan-base territory wise?
Well, to be honest, it’s kind of, really well distributed. It is more or less ‘everywhere’. We do not really go anywhere, where, when we play, like, it is in an empty room. That’s incredible, but I think it’s the internet for you …
… We were able to go to Russia and India, and all these wonderful places …
… And everyone knows who we are. But we have been lucky with the tours we have put on so, like, before we even got off the first album – we were touring America with Devin Townsend and, like, it was just crazy. Who gets to actually do that? So we were very lucky. But we have definitely had some setbacks too…
Do these set-backs give you the strength to keep going?
I think so, because we are all, like, quite laid back guys, and we don’t really dwell on this kind of stuff, like it happens. We were fortunate to work with some incredible singers, we work with an amazing singer …
… We just roll with it, you just do what you can …
… Enjoy the ride, that’s what it is.
Just enjoy what you’re doing. The second that the fun is over – you might as well stop doing it.
Do you think there is enough fun in your type of music?
Yes, absolutely. We have been accepted into this “world of prog” – and it is a kind of honor. Really it is. There are a lot of bands in our genre – that we have grown up with – which … you know … are very much more metal … and perhaps – [their style] would not work here. (at the HRH Prog Festival) Basically Acle is a great big hippie …
Who would you love to share a stage with?
To be honest, Dream Theater, Tool, Opeth, Deftones …
Do you make any acoustic stuff?
Yeah, we’ve dabbled. There’s some ideas in our camp of sort of going and doing little V.I.P. things where we do the acoustic stuff before a show …
That is a good idea.
To try it out … we could, like, I guess in future, try to integrate something into the set .
But I think we have got to be accepted as pretentious idiots before we can do that.
I think we need to be doing at least hour and a half, or two hour sets …Before we can try to have ‘acoustic interludes.’
Then you could do something like Uli Jon Roth does – “An evening with TesseracT” That kind-of-thing?
Yes, maybe, yes.
Ashe – Where did you learn to sing, what is your musical background?
Um, nothing special. I mean, I’ve been singing all my life and I have had private lessons, I have had lessons in groups, singing groups, and in choirs …
… And, you know, for the most part, I have been trained in classic style, as I grew up learning classical music. But it was not until around say the last 8 years – that I’ve done more and more contemporary, like, heavier music. But I guess I want to say that I love the incorporation, I love the conjunction of heavy music and, I mean, I know that I have a voice that is not particularly heavy, but, um, it seems to be an emerging type of style. So it really is okay.
TesseracT were talking to: © Neil Mach April 2013