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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Amnos Williams Tesseract - Interview
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Amos Williams Tesseract

UK progressive rockers Tesseract are returning to Australia for a headlining tour in support of their newest album "Polaris" which continues the band's evolution with a stronger melodic sound than ever before. With the return of original vocalist Daniel Tompkins, the band are set to take things to the next level so we had a chat to bassist Amos Williams to discuss the new songs, the upcoming tour and more.



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Andrew: How's things with the band at the moment?

Amos: Things are mental, it's a bit crazy at the moment. I've had 4 interviews already in the last few hours and I got 4 more plus I have 10 tomorrow so that gives you an example of how manic things are but it's wonderful. I'm sure every musician wants to be in a position where there are people to promote their music, so it's pretty exciting!

Andrew: Yeah definitely! Obviously you got the new album coming out "Polaris". How is the general feeling within the band about the new songs? Are you guys completely happy with how they have turned out?

Amos: Yeah more so than ever. We spent the last couple of albums always being a bit concerned about what we're putting out in terms of how it's being received. The first album we were trying to fit in to, although a new genre, it was still something that had rigid expectations. And then with "Altered State", even though we had been touring a few years and established ourselves, we were still coming up against the fact that we had a new singer. So we got the existing prejudice of fans that are never going to accept anything new from you but fortunately that went down very well and now we are back with Dan (Tompkins, vocals) but we're also in a situation where we feel personally that we've established ourselves and are able to fully perform in a way that we're going to be happy to play each night with the same songs over and over and really get to enjoy what we're doing. Because we're able to portray Tesseract in the fashion that we well and truly believe in which is one that is deeply melodic and fairly experimental shall we say in terms of being able to try and portray a story about just a song.

Andrew: We had a preview of the album a few days ago and there's a sense of more melody on this album than previous albums that you have done. Was that the intention that you wanted to do on these songs?

Amos: Yeah we've always been very keen on music that has dense and rich harmonic structure and we feel when we're performing it, we're going to enjoy these songs a lot more than we do some of the heavier ones. I mean obviously we still enjoy what we do but we feel somewhat more fulfilled than some of the older songs. So it's going to be quite cool to see how we develop this in the future because I feel that there is a lot more room for development, there's more space to fill on this approach.

Andrew: You mentioned Daniel returning to the band, how was it working with him again and were things different from when you previously worked with him on the first album or were things naturally the same?

Amos: It's been really easy to transition back with having Dan back in the band. We spent a lot of time touring in very uncomfortable situations like in the back of a van around North America for 8 weeks is not fun. So those sort of things give you a bond, a bit like family so we've always remained friends so it was easy to have Dan walk back in and just get back on stage and perform like nothing had changed. With the first album we kinda felt like we didn't know what we were doing where this one after 5 years of working as a band together and also Dan going off and working with other projects, we don't very much hone their craft so we feel a little more in control on this one than we have before so it was quite fun.

Andrew: What's the biggest thing you have learned in those last 5 years?

Amos: What we enjoy playing and accepting that everything you release, you are going to have to live with for the rest of your life. It's like getting a tattoo on your face basically, you got to really love what you are putting out otherwise it's just going to be terrible. Imagine having to play the same song a thousand times, if you don't like that song in the first place it's going to get really hard after the first ten times let alone after a thousand times. So we've learnt to really put out things that we're happy with.

Andrew: Has there been anything in the past that you were not completely happy with or anything that you might want to change in any of the older songs?

Amos: Yeah certaintly! The way we edited some of the earlier tracks to make them fit into the single format for a wider release, it's a shame that we had to do that. I understand why people need radio releases and edit it so it's not 9 minutes long otherwise they're just not gonna play you on radio. It was a necessary thing shall we say but it was a shame that we had to cut some songs up to do that. And interestingly, the sound of the material by having some heavier vocals and scream vocals was something that we felt we had to do rather than we wanted to do so it's nice to develop in such a way that we're free to do that when the song needs it rather than do it because we're expected to do it.

Andrew: The other big thing, at least for Aussie fans is that you guys are coming over in October for a headlining tour so what can we expect on this tour?

Amos: Well we will definitely be playing some new songs but when you go to see a band, you don't really want to hear all the new stuff that you don't have so much emotional and intellectual investment in yet. You really want to go and hear some of the old stuff that you really enjoy and love so we're going to do a good mix of songs from the first album, second album and then we pepper that with a few from the new album just to make sure that we can give you the best set that we can. Because obviously Australia is a long way for most of the band to get to so we're not going to be there every 6 months, we try to give you the best that we can so it keeps you ticking over until the next time we come down.

Andrew: Yeah we are looking forward to it! I know you guys have been to Australia before so how has your experiences been in previous tours?

Amos: The first time we were supports for Periphery which was great fun and it really gave us the appetite to get down and share our music with the Australian fans more because you guys are very passionate and very positive and energetic and that's kinda how we feel Tesseract is. It's music that we put a lot of passion into and rather than being depressing and melancholic, we feel it's actually quite uplifting music. We fit in with the Australian music scene quite well, it's a very energetic scene and one that accepts progressive music as well. You got some good bands down there and it's not just share our music with our fans but definitely appreciate it for the music.

Andrew: Yeah definitely, I know a lot of fans here love that progressive kind of stuff and definitely a lot of that melodic kind of stuff as well. I know you have played Soundwave Festival so what kind of shows do you prefer to play? Do you prefer the club shows where it's more intimate or do you like the big festivals with thousands of people?

Amos: To be fair you could play like a show in the UK where we played to 40,000 people and that was awesome but that's awesome for a bucket list thing. 'I want to do this thing', it's quite a personal thing which is fairly ironic. You are there on stage with 40,000 other people and yet it affects you on an individual level which is strange but I guess that's more the egotistical side of my musical character coming out. I really enjoy shows where I can really see the impact that the song is having and has had on the people that we are performing to 'cause you kinda then start to share something and you're creating something. It sounds a bit spiritual and everything but the fact is, you go to a show and it's the audience as well as the band that makes the show a success. You walk away from a show where everybody is singing like in a church in unison, and you walk away from that show and it will be one that you will remember for a very long time. So those shows are fantastic where everybody is basically being a part of the band, it's great fun and it's wonderful to be able to share that experience with people.

Andrew: Yeah I can imagine when you get that kind of feedback from people, the energy that comes off that you feel and makes the show and your performance even better.

Amos: Yeah it can be awkward sometimes where you are a bit over the top in your reaction and that's the price of becoming professional I think, where you kinda fake your own personal performance to match the crowd giving back. We always try to put as much energy whilst maintaining a level of professionalism, making sure you guys are getting your money's worth so that you don't walk away saying, 'That band was terrible, why are they worth what people are saying about them?' We always want to make sure that you walk away thinking, 'I've never experienced anything like it, that was fantastic.'

Andrew: Cool well we are looking forward to the tour when it comes in October and the new album sounds great as well so we are looking forward to hearing the new songs in a live setting. Thanks for your time today and we will see you in October!

Amos: Excellent man, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.


Wednesday, October 14: The Zoo, Brisbane 18+
Thursday, October 15: The Factory Theatre, Sydney - Lic AA
Friday, October 16: Max Watts, Melbourne - 18+
Saturday, October 17: Fowlers, Adelaide - Lic AA
Sunday, October 18: Amplifier Bar, Perth - 18+

Tickets and info at Destroy All Lines.

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on August 24th 2015
Main photo by Tom Barnes