||INTERVIEW WITH JAMES MONTEITH OF TESSERACT
2013 sees the prog powerhouse that is TesseracT release their highly anticipated second album 'Altered State'. Here at MetalTalk, we loved it, giving it a coveted 5 out of 5 beers in our review.
Click here for the review...
But that's not all folks as the seven-stringed supremo that is James Monteith took some time out of his busy schedule (somewhere between a beer and enjoying the bank holiday weather) to answer a few questions about the new album:
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MetalTalk: 2012 was a rough year for TesseracT. From splitting with Elliot Coleman to pulling out of festivals and having tours cancelled, did you ever wonder if you'd make it to this point?
James Monteith: Yeah, things were at quite a low point last summer. However amazing things kept happening that spurred us on - getting a Golden Gods nomination, and winning the 'new blood' Progaward, reminded us that we've got a good thing going! Finding Ashe really helped rebuild our confidence and motivation.
MT: When Elliot was in the band, a definite split formed in theTesseracT fan base between those who loved Elliot and those who wanted Dan Tompkins back. Has there been any such reaction to Ashe?
JM: Not at all. With Elliot, his voice was very jazzy and had a totally different character to Dan's, so when he performed the old stuff, it sounded very different, some people couldn't handle it. Ashe,has a very unique voice too, but he performs the old stuff very much like Dan did, but also his work on the new album is exceptional, so I think people have found it easier to move on. Elliott didn't have that luxury unfortunately.
MT: Ashe is a phenomenal singer, how do you keep finding such good singers for TesseracT?
JM: I guess we're very picky. Ashe was one of 2/3 vocalists we thought would work with the band, and was our firm favourite. We knew that we needed to have the right voice otherwise it wouldn't be worth putting out another record.
MT: 'Altered State' is a very different album to 'One', was there a deliberate thought to move away from the 'djent' tag during the writing process?
JM: No, it's just a natural evolution from where we were before, the first album was like a 'best of' of the first part of Tesseract's career, so 2003 to 2010, the second album was written over the last two years and it's much more about where we are now.
MT: Can you briefly explain the concept behind 'Altered State'?
JM: The concept behind 'Altered State' is simple: It is about change. The different types of change, and the human desire to fight change, when really, ultimately there is nothing that can be done sometimes, you just have to accept some things. We look at this from both the small 'microscopic' level of every day, human life, but also the huge 'macroscopic' level of universal time. Some of the inspiration behind the themes on this album is born from the struggle the band has had as we've been through the kind of changes that would kill off most bands.
MT: How was it to get back out on a headline tour after so long writing the album?
JM: It was great, it was really flattering that so many people came out to see us play, way more than we ever imagined, and it was really great that the new material was so well received, it was good a indication that we are heading in the right direction. We also had out own light show for the first time, so it felt like we were putting on a proper production.
MT: What can we expect for your headlining slot at this year's UK Tech Fest?
JM: A light show! And lots more new material, Ashe is really finding his feet now, and each gig just gets better and better, I'm really looking forward to tech Fest, it's going to be a great show.
MT: If you had to pick a single TesseracT song to try and introduce someone to the band, which track would you pick and why?
JM: 'Nocturne', it's a conscience taste of what we do, it's one of ourmore straight up songs, a good introduction.
MT: Metallica or Megadeth?
MT: Cats or dogs?
MT: The house is on fire, all of the family members/pets are safe outside, you've got time to run back in to save one last thing (health and safety be damned) what do you bring out?
JM: My Ibanez LAC Guitar of course! It's one of a kind, built for me, to my spec, totally irreplaceable.
MT: What are you listening to at the minute?
JM: Radio 6 music, Steve la Mac [sic] - but if you want a record, it's the Algorithm, 'Polymorphic code'.
MT: With most of the band working in the music industry outside ofTesseracT, do you have any top tips of bands to look out for over the next year or so?
JM: The Algorithm, doing something new and inventive ,as exciting as it is bonkers, Now, Voyager, these guys are a crazy mix of hardcore and technical metal with a unique Belgian eccentricity, another one, Black Dogs, dirty northern bastards, look them up yourself!
MT: Finally, tell us why the music buying public should throw down their hard earned money on 'Altered State'. Will it improve their lives? Will it bring them closer to God?
JM: Both of those things.
'Altered State' is available now through Century Media records. You can see TesseracT headlining this year's UK Tech Metal Fest in July.