[INTERVIEW] James Monteith of TesseracT

Just weeks before TesseracT release their newest album, ‘Sonder’, guitarist James Monteith had a chat with us about their upcoming album, touring and coming to Australia.
TesseracT, a band that sit outside the bounds of any genre specificity, pioneers of the ever-evolving metal scene and unstoppable force of off-kilter riffs, soaring melodies and disorientating atmospherics release their fourth studio album, ‘Sonder’ on April 20th 2018 through Kscope.

TesseracT are releasing a new album, ‘Sonder’, next month on the 20th of April, could you tell us about the creation of the album and the work that went into it?
I guess work kind of started on the record a year and a half ago, that’s when all of the early demos were kicking around, funny enough we were on the Gojira tour back in the States in 2016 and there were a couple of demos that we were playing around with on the bus and I guess that’s how the first couple of tracks began to take shape. Then across last year a number of ideas had materialized but a lot of the work went from September last year onwards, so the last third of 2017 is where it all took form. Then it was a real rush to get it finished for the deadline in early January.

You’ve released your first new single ‘Luminary’, how has the reaction been to new TesseracT so far?
Yeah it’s been good, it’s kind of a short punchy song and we thought it was a good way to introduce a sort of freshened up sound, lots of people have given us some really good feedback, but the one criticism we have had is that it’s too short, I guess prog bands aren’t allowed to do three minute songs. *laughs* Hopefully those people will be happy with the next one, because the next one is almost double the length and coming out soon (King).

Are you going to be playing some new songs on your Northern American tour?
Yes we are. We’re definitely going to be playing about three or so from the new album, not loads at the moment but the key singles will be played.

What were the creative and musical influences behind the creating and recording of your new album?
I guess there was a number, quite a lot of it just came from ideas that Alec (Alec Kahney, guitarist) created while sitting in his room with absolutely nothing to do, which is where a lot of it comes from. He kind of shuts himself off a bit and comes up with lots of more ideas, and it has been our most collaborative record to date, which is quite nice, since we’ve all brought out little bit of influences. This had helped shape it and some of the recent touring we’ve done has also been an inspiration, as we’ve been on this album cycle with bands like Gojira, Megadeth and Meshuggah, and they’re all incredibly heavy bands, so I think that might have brought our love of the riff back a little bit. Another key change was Aiden O’Brien as our front of house engineer, as he acted as kind of a co-songwriter and his involvement was a lot greater. He brought out some extra musicality, which is something we haven’t quite done before, and he’s also a sound designer, so he brought in a more cinematic sound to the record.

How do you go about choosing the songs you play on tour?
I think we generally start off with a set that we’re enjoying, that feels like it flows and that’s comfortable to play. Quite often we try to make songs that are either in the same key or a close key so it can run smoothly in the set,  I think basically our main focus is to make sure everything runs nicely, and that’s there’s no strange and abrupt breaks. I guess we also play songs which we think come over quite well live. Sometimes we pull songs off tour if we don’t think the crowd is feeling it or if we suck playing it – which does happen – so I guess it’s a balance of things. There’s this one track from our first album called ‘Eden’ that we really tried to make work, for example, and we tried to play it live a few times but it never really worked so we haven’t played it ever since. There’s a song in ‘Altered State’ that’s also too hard and we can’t play it properly because we’re not as good live as we are in the record in some cases, but I’m not going to tell you which song that is. *laughs*

Are there any plans to bring your new album ‘Sonder’ to Australia anytime soon?
Yes, in the latter half of the year. We’re not sure who is going to be coming with us but we will definitely be coming to Australia this year.

Do you have any parting words for your Aussie fans?
Thank you very much for supporting us through the last few records, Australia is amazing to us and we’ve always had a great time; and we can’t wait to see you later in the year.

TesseracT have now announced an Australian tour, taking place in September. Dates and venues are below.

TESSERACT – with Special Guests Circles

Tuesday, September 11: Capitol, Perth
Thursday, September 13: The Gov, Adelaide
Friday, September 14: Melbourne 170 Russell, Melbourne
Saturday, September 15: The Metro, Sydney
Sunday, September 16: The Triffid, Brisbane

Interview by Robbie Tannous