With a newly-released album under their belts and a hefty European tour ahead of them, TesseracT are continuing a busy streak. Since the release of their seminal debut in 2007, TesseracT have been at the forefront of a tidal shift in how music is made and consumed, flying the flag for their contemporaries in progressive metal and djent – and 2016 seems no different. We spoke to drummer Jay Postones about the upcoming tour, favourite tunes, home-made snare drums and more.
What are your favourite contemporary and upcoming acts?
I hate to be ‘that guy’ but there’s nothing new really floating my boat at the moment. There’s doubtless loads of amazing stuff out there to be heard, but I’ve not heard it – I’m waiting for someone to play me something which makes me ‘feel’. The last thing I was turned on to was Puscifer’s Money Shot which is a wonderful record. I immediately loved it. Before that it was Dr. Dre’s latest… and there’s my 2015 wrapped up!
How has it been touring with The Contortionist?
Great. They’re a very solid act, totally in each others musical pockets and create a very unique vibe on stage. They’re really nice guys too – super chilled, which is exactly what you want when sharing a tour bus!
Polaris has seen some stellar reviews since its release. Do you feel like you are besting yourselves with each new album?
I feel like we’re just writing honest music. We learn more and more with each tour and each release and that feeds into the next project or album. We’re progressive people by nature so naturally we want to make the next thing bigger and better in every way possible. I’ve seen us each grow as players, performers, writers and producers and I know the next Tesseract project is going to be out of this world – I hope the world agrees.
You’ve maintained the same kind of sound as your first album, but have managed to keep it interesting whilst polishing it along the way, which I really respect. What’s your writing process like and has it changed or developed in any way?
It’s evolved really. In the early days we’d jam a lot more in my rehearsal studios down in Reading. We spent two years practicing ‘Concealing Fate’, ‘April’, ‘Nascent’, and ‘Sunrise’ so that we felt confident enough to play a live show. That meant that we already knew those tracks in precise detail before going into the studio to record. With Altered State and Polaris we had a lot less time to write and record so the whole process became condensed to a point that we felt was acceptable without compromising our musical integrity.
Our demo process, where Acle [Kahney, lead guitarist and founder] will write ideas and email them around to us, has stayed the same although we now work a lot closer with our live sound engineer, Aidan O’Brien. He’s an incredibly talented engineer, producer, and sound designer, and wrote a lot of the ambient and synth sections for Polaris.
Have you got any favourite tunes from the previous two albums that you think you will always come back to?
Sure. I love playing the songs which make up ‘Of Matter’ from Altered State and I’ll always have a soft spot for ‘Concealing Fate’. I love songs which flow seamlessly into one another. I’d love to do a whole album like that.
You have a clear influence from one of my favourite bands: Meshuggah. Can you comment further on this? And have you got a favourite tune of theirs?
I think most heavy bands these days are influenced by Meshuggah. Devin Townsend says it best in his song ‘Planet of the Apes’: “While we all have lots of bands who influence still, we all rip off Meshuggah!” He’s spot on. Our early demos sounded a lot heavier and had a clear Meshuggah influence. In fact a few of the demo names were ‘Mesh Rip 1 (2 and 3)’. Mesh rip 1 turned into the song ‘Hollow’ and the others haven’t ever surfaced. I don’t suppose they will now but who knows.
My favourite Mesh’ album has to be Nothing. I learned an awful lot listening to Tomas Haake’s playing on that record.
This is your first time playing The Brudenell Social Club. It’s a big favourite around the Leeds area! Are you familiar with Leeds at all?
We’ve only been to Leeds a handful of times. In fact the very first tour we ever did, we played upstairs in a small pub somewhere in Leeds. All I can remember is they had these awful-looking brown pickled eggs behind the bar which had obviously been there since the stone age, and James ate one.
Have any of you guys been involved in any other projects along the way? If so, how has it been dividing yourselves between them?
All of us have various musical and non-musical projects on the go as well as Tesseract. Dan writes for a couple of other projects (White Moth, Black Butterfly, and Zeta) and I play in a three-piece instrumental prog band called Heights. Early in 2015 myself and Acle recorded a few of tracks with Martin Grech (amazing singer songwriter) so we do keep busy between tours and albums. Its’s never been an issue though. We all plan our other projects around Tesseract.
What other things do you guys get up to other than music?
We’re all quite different people outside of the band. We do share a love of a very specific type of music (what we write), belgian beers, Limmy’s Show, Game of Thrones, and Louis CK. I think that is literally all of our shared interests!
When I’m not touring or writing, I build snare drums (www.facebook.com/planetearthdrums). I’m a massive movie fan and it’s not too rare to find me stuck into some life-absorbing PS4 game from time to time. Does eating curry count as a hobby?