Tesseract & Uneven Structure interviews NEWS
British progressive metal band Tesseract have embarked on their first headlining tour with new vocalist Elliot Coleman. Supported by Uneven Structure and Chimp Spanner, Tesseract's eagerly anticipated Lowering the Tone tour was one that Britevents' Lucy Middleton could not miss. Before the show, she interviewed Uneven Structure to see how they're finding their first ever tour and caught up with Tesseract to see what's in store for their fans in the future.
Tesseract formed in 2003 and are considered to be one of the original pioneers of the new wave of progessive metal, along with Periphery, Chimp Spanner and Monuments. They have recently been under rapid fire by fans on the internet after announcing that their vocalist Dan Tompkins had left the band and Elliot Coleman had taken his place. Drummer Jay Postones, guitarist James Monteith and new vocalist Elliot Coleman discussed the change, plans for the future and their opinion on the term 'djent' (pronounced jent).
An interview with Tesseract
With many Tesseract fans left feeling frustrated with Dan's departure and Elliot's entrance, how did the crowds respond to Elliot's vocal performances in London and Cardiff?
Jay: The haters have gone back into their shells a bit now they've realised he can actually pull it off, so hopefully that'll just continue and all this crap will stop. The internet is a great place for people to be vocal yet they'd never come up to us after a gig and tell us we'd done badly. We're more excited about going out and trying some new stuff, like we really want to work on some new material so Elliot can put his mark on it. To get someone to try and copy Dan, there's no point because it's never going to work, so Elliot's here and he's doing his own thing and it's cool.
James: The responses from the gigs have been really good, we took a battering online when we announced the changes and yet all the comments since we've started touring this week have been positive with fans becoming pro-Elliot. We found the negative comments really funny, I mean one guy described Elliot as a 'drunk black Diva' and I laughed for about five minutes.
You've been labelled djent but you consider yourselves as progressive metal, what do you think about the djent label in general?
Jay: I don't mind it, all it is is onomatopoeia for palm muted guitar chords, that is just the term that is used to label all the bands that use the technique. But because Acle (Tesseract guitarist) was writing this stuff about a decade ago, he was one of the first around. I guess for that we get a lot of recognition, which is cool.
James: although we don't just do palm muted guitar chords, it is quite nice that a whole scene has been created around it. It's not always great to be pidgeon-holed but the djent label has helped create the scene and moulded the music.
Jay: It's kinda necessary to have a new name for breaking bands, like it couldn't just be post-nu-metal-jazz-bollocks, it's just a name for this current movement.
What's your favourite British venue to play and why?
Jay: Cellar Bar in Bracknell
Lucy: you recently played a secret show under a false alias there, didn't you?
Jay: we did, it was so much fun, it's my local venue and it was good to put on a warm up show to practise our set with Elliot, as it was our first show with him.
James: The Garage in London was a good one, with a 600 capacity it was packed.
Jay: Sonisphere of course! We weren't expecting the reception we got there, coming on stage to a huge crowd chanting Tesseract was just crazy, best show of my life.
Who are your biggest influences?
Elliot: everyone back at home like my bandmates from Sky Eats Airplane, Misha Mansoor from Periphery and all those kinda guys, we just vibe off eachother and jam together a lot.
James: I suppose the roots of our sound obviously come from bands like Meshuggah, but we're also inspired by 70s prog like Pink Floyd and Rush. And the Top Gun theme, we live and breathe by that!
Describe Tesseract in 5 words
Energetic, groovy, atmospheric, geeky and hairy.
What's in store for Tesseract fans over the next 12 months?
Jay: We've got a central European tour after this tour, then we've got literally a day off and then we're off to America, then we've got loads of tours planned for 2012. We're recording an EP and an album too, we're literally working every day, it's all relentless Tesseract so we can get our new stuff out. We already know what's happening with the EP but the album's still in the demo phase at the moment.
An interview with Uneven Structure
Uneven Structure are a six-piece post metal band hailing from Metz-Montpellier-St-Etienne, France and Stockholm, Sweden who have been on the djent scene since 2008. Their debut album, Februus, will be released next month through Basick Records after a 2 and a half year wait. Guitarist Aurlien Pereira and drummer Christian Schreil took the time to answer a few questions about Uneven Structure's music before supporting Tesseract in Birmingham September 10th.
Exploring the relationship between ambient and metal music is obviously important to you, what is it about fusing the two that you enjoy?
Aur: I think it's the contrast between the chaotic part of the grooves and the really chilled-out aspect of ambience, I like how they mix well together, it's interesting.
Christian: It started off as an interest because we all like both ambient music and metal in general, so using both of those together seemed like the next step.
Aur: It was natural for us to mix the two together.
And what are your ambient influences?
Aur: The sight below, SleepResearch_Facility are really abstract one but they're cool. There's lots more but we mostly like drone and impro.
How do you manage to keep the band's live set so tight when your band members are spread between France and Sweden?
Christian: The internet - win all the way! What we do is we practise the sets on our own all the time and we only get together a few days before the shows to get the final details together. The main thing really isn't about the songs, it's about getting the chemistry right in the band, especially right now as we're doing a new set.
Aur: When we start the rehearsals we're ready technically and we just have to fix minor details.
Describe Uneven Structure in 5 words
Experimental, progressive metal plus bacon.
How would you respond to people who described your EP '8' as a Meshuggah carbon copy?
Christian: Our album was already in process when '8' was released, '8' is literally just an EP filled with riffs that didn't fit onto the album. We just wanted to release something to showcase our music. We don't really care about those comments.
Aur: The main is that our album is coming out and that's gonna show our true selves. I don't even know why people would say '8' sounds like Meshuggah.
The shows in London and Cardiff prior to tonight were your first opportunities to play your new material live, how did it go?
Christian: Alright, I guess. It's our first tour so we've been nervous about the shows, particularly London because it's unusual to start a tour with London. It was crowded, almost sold out and it was crazy. We're newbies when it comes to touring and every night we play, we get more comfortable with playing so by the end of the tour our set should be real nice.
Aur: The crowd reaction helps us to feel at home. We didn't know how the crowd would react to our new material but so far it's been good.
And lastly, what has been your favourite thing about visiting Britain so far?
Christian: cheap fast food!
Aur: The accent is good as well, I love the British accents.
Lowering the Tone - a quick recap of the Birmingham show
The gig was phenomenal and it was a pleasure to see Uneven Structure absolutely own the stage, having played the set live just two times prior to the O2 Academy Birmingham show. They played a handful of new songs off their up and coming Februus album, including Frost which gave me such a natural high to hear live and gave me enough of taste to be counting down the days until Februus' release. Chimp Spanner gave a solid performance as always and Tesseract were utterly incredible; the mix of ambient music and low, beefy metal is made to be heard live. I urge any fans of the bands and genre in general to see them play on the Lowering the Tone tour if possible, as it was one of the best gigs I've been to in the past couple of years.
For more information on Tesseract and the Lowering the Tone tour, you can check out the official Tesseract Facebook page.
And for more information on Uneven Structure, you can visit the official Uneven Structure Facebook page. Uneven Structure are set to release their debut album Februus on October 31st 2011 via Basick Records, while Tesseract have announced a 2012 album through Century Media Records.