TEXTURES: Staying Inventive


In 2004, Dutch metallers Textures released one of the most appreciated modern metal albums – their debut Polars. Meanwhile the band released three more full-lengths. As this year marks the 10th anniversary of Polars, the band recently embarked on a short European tour playing the album in its entirety with addition of the songs taken from their other albums.

Prog Sphere talked with singer Daniel de Jongh and guitarist Bart Hennephof about the running tour, the Polars album, songwriting, new music, among other topics.

You have just kicked off a European tour in support to the tenth anniversary of your debut album Polars. What is the reception from the audiences like so far?

Daniel: We’ve played one show so far. The show in Madrid was really well received and there wasn’t a moment that the audience stood still. As we’re on our way to our next show in Cologne I don’t really know how the rest of the tour will go, but I can only guess this will be another amazing experience.

The setlist for the tour is, of course, comprised of the full Polars album. Are you throwing in any other tracks? What is the concept of the performances?

Daniel: At the time that this interview will be published, we’ll probably be halfway our tour. So I can slightly reveal of which our set consists of. Of course we’ll play the complete set of Polars integral and besides that we’ll play another compilation of songs from the other 3 albums. Plus as a bonus we’re trying out one or two songs, which will be on our upcoming album.

Textures - Polars tour poster

According to the official tour poster, there are eight concerts confirmed on this run. Will you be adding any new dates?

Daniel: We won’t be adding any other new dates. The reason behind this is because we wanted to do an exclusive tour for the 10th Anniversary of Polars, but we didn’t want to lose our focus too much on writing our upcoming album. We still have a deadline that we’ll hit the studio early next year, so we can satisfy our fans early fall with a new disc. So although this is a big deal, we don’t want it to cause any more distortion in the process of writing.

Can you recall any memories from the recording sessions for Polars? What was the creative process of the album like?

Bart: It was a hell of a project, we transformed our rehearsal place into a studio for a few weeks, and recorded everything ourselves. This album was completely written without the help of computers; the songs were all written in the rehearsal room. So it was a very intuitive process, and the songs reflect that also. After recording the main instruments for a few weeks, we completed the record in the following years; adding extra layers with guitars, synths and vocals as much as we could! [Laughs] The mix of that album took a hell of a lot time also.

Have your approach changed when it comes to writing over the course of time? What are the biggest discoveries you managed to make in your 10-year long career?

Bart: Yes, we tend to write a lot of stuff at home now, a lot of ideas are created over there, recorded as a pre-production demo, so we hear everything well what has to be played. This way we can add a lot of details in the demos, and we have a god view of how we want to record the album. Still we force ourselves to take all songs to the rehearsal room, and finalise them there; playing together and experiencing the feel and groove of the song. Only over there you find out if an idea works live or not, you HAVE to play it to find out if it’s really useable.

Speaking of songwriting, what are you guys up to these days? It’s been more than three years since the release of your fourth, excellent studio album Dualism.

Bart: Yes, we’re in the middle of writing the new album, it’s going great! Since Dualism, our former guitar player Jochem left the band, so searching a new guy and getting into writing again took some time, now we’re back in shape and writing full-speed. This album is already sounding amazing, and still new parts and songs are added; Joe [Tal], the new guitarist is amazing and it’s really refreshing to work with him. We will hit the studio early 2015, and we presume the album will also be out in that year.

Do you have any kind of preferences in terms of gear you use?

Bart: We have always experimented a lot in the studio with different types of gear; a lot of different guitars, effects, amps, synths and stuff. It’s always inspiring to mess around with gear, and can bring you new sounds, new ideas take shape out of that.

Do you think that the development of technology decreased the quality of music in some way?

Bart: Yes, I do think there are too many (young) bands out there that write with the help of computers; It’s easy to program some drums and record guitars at home, and make it sound good just like that, but this way the story of a song easily gets neglected, it’s something I miss in a lot of bands. Never underestimate the power of just jamming together, only THAT brings the real magic in a lot of cases.

How do you see progressive scene today? Are there any modern progressive rock and metal bands that you listen to and that you think deserve more attention?

Daniel: Well, it’s been expanding like crazy. Only not under the term “progressive music”, but we could count “Djent” as progressive metal. A couple of bands which are winged under this term are of course Periphery, TesseracT, Volumes, Monuments and way more like these bands. But there are also a lot of new bands that fall more under the Progressive wing in my opinion like Animals as Leaders, The Contortionist and our Dutch buddies Exivious. Unfortunately the term “Djent” has caused a wave of bands that practically play the same stuff. Just like what happened in the New Metal era. In the end the bands that stand out and those who are special will survive.

What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in terms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it? Any words of wisdom you’ve picked up as time’s gone on.

Bart: Never underestimate the power of jamming!

Daniel: I think staying inventive is one thing, which is always a big plus, and sticking to your roots could cause passivity. That doesn’t mean you should always change your game plan, but trying to create some fresh ideas could help making your songs even better. As the business-side: try to keep the things you own as much as possible. Whatever you give out of hands, which you can’t control, means you’ve lost it forever in a lot of cases. And work as hard as you can if you really want to make something our of your band.

With Prog Sphere we tend to release a Progstravaganza compilation series, highlighting the artists coming from progressive related genres from all around the world. Do you think such a thing is good enough to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

If it means that the really good bands will be highlighted, than it would be a very good idea. And that Prog Sphere should be very critical about picking the bands.

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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