For international bands, touring Australia in the last quarter of the year has its benefits. They’ve played festivals and toured in the northern hemisphere all summer so by the time they come Down Under, visiting musos are pumped and ready to rock with us – UK progressive metal masters Tesseract are no exception to this fact.
“We did some festivals in the early part of the summer,” says rhythm guitarist James ‘Metal’ Monteith. “Download UK, Download Spain, and August has been downtime. We’ll be back into it probably the day before we leave for Australia!
It’s coming up quick. Off the back of their latest album Sonder, Monteith is excited to see Aussie audiences reactions when they hear tracks from the fourth studio album live for the first time this month. “Before our European tour we had an American tour, and we’ve been really pleased to the response to Sonder so far. Definitely one of our more immediate records.
“Previously when we’ve had a new record come out it’s taken people a while to get into it, whereas people seem to get into this quite quickly [It’ll] be interesting to see whether Australian audiences respond in the same way.”
When Tesseract started in progressive metal back in 2002, the genre remained relatively underground while emo and punk-rock led the mainstream. In the last couple of years particular in Australia, prog metal has experienced a burst of energy, ideas and creativity, something Monteith has noticed too. “It is quite interesting,” he muses. “The band [Tesseract] started off as a solo project but the other players didn’t get involved until 2006 – back then it was still a new scene, it was very hard to get gigs.
“It seemed at the turn of the decade it really started to kick off – our debut came out at in 2011 and I think Karnivool, their debut came out and they were a very big part of popularising the sound as well.
“Since then it’s really taken off and there are loads of amazing and interesting bands all over the world – Good Tiger who are multinational, Skyharbour in India – then of course you’ve got the Aussie scene, Dead Letter Circus, Caligula’s Horse, Circles, who we’re taking out on tour with us, loads of great bands on your side of the planet and yeah, it’s great to see it really picking up momentum and people getting into it.”
Though only four albums into their career, there are already many bands in the genre who cite Tesseract as major influences, a fact Monteith was unaware of but pleased to hear all the same. “That’s amazing to hear,” he says humbly, momentarily forgetting the question asked of him. At this point in their career with their popularity still growing with every new album and every tour, it is a strange thing for Monteith to hear that bands like Orsome Welles and Karnivool claim Tesseract were one of the reasons for them getting into music, particularly when Tesseract are still in their relatively infancy, it having only been seven years since the release of their debut album, One, and, as Monteith says, the band still have a lot more to bring to the game. “I suppose there was that time at the turn of the decade where that post-industrial sound was a fresh thing, that’s probably what caught a lot of people’s ears because it was a new-ish thing.
“We’ve tried to evolve our sound, make each record different and explore different things, and I think that’s how we’ve managed to continue to grow with new audiences. If you compare Sonder to One, the sound is an evolution.”
When & Where: 170 Russell, Melbourne – September 14.
Written by Anna Rose
Photo by Steve Brown