UK progressive metal band TESSERACT spins an intricate and sonic musical web. Altered State, the band’s sophomore effort, consists of four musically-themed movements. TesseracT is often associated with the so-called djent movement due to its chugging polyrhythms and onomatopoetic-like qualities similar to MESHUGGAH, LEPROUS and GOJIRA. TesseracT might not be familiar to North American fans as of yet, but they’ll get their chance to prove themselves on its upcoming North American tour supporting KATATONIA. Through e-mail, new vocalist Ashe O’Hara answered some questions about the new album and what he hopes the band can achieve.
BraveWords: TesseracT is often associated with the so-called djent movement. Is this just a moniker that people seem like they have to label your music or is it warranted?
Ashe O’Hara: “I think if you want to find the right audience, it’s important to know what you are and what you sound like. As for djent, it’s merely a word that people have coined in order to communicate a certain style, which is fine by me. But I think that we are slowly becoming more progressive and exploring new grounds, which we’re all very excited about.”
BraveWords: TesseracT has some ’70s prog influences and modern-day progressive influences. Who did you listen to while growing up?
Ashe O’Hara: “I’m a huge fan of EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, PINK FLOYD and QUEEN (last one isn’t so prog but ’70s!). I am also loving of the more modern bands — ANBERLIN, DEAD LETTER CIRCUS, KARNIVOOL and INME.”
BraveWords: Since you joined the band, the harsh vocals that appear on the first release have been replaced with your more melodic and cleaner vocals. Do you feel like you’re fitting in now?
Ashe O’Hara: “It wasn’t a conscious choice. It was a case of seeing what I could bring to the songs, being that ‘Nocturne’ was the first new song I recorded on. There were many audition tracks and they seemed to favor mine, which was amazing! The guys are great and they have a wonderful sense of humor, and they are all very down to earth people.”
BraveWords: Your voice sounds great on the album. What do you try to bring with each song?
Ashe O’Hara: “Thanks very much! I guess it depends on the theme of the song/record. My main effort is to inspire others to write about things that they have can do so with a certain levity, and honesty, and sincerity, and not to try to do something that they can’t be something that they are not. I’m a huge fan of storytelling and I think that is a brilliant way of grabbing the listeners’ attention in a special way.”
BraveWords: The name of the band is a geometry term, I believe. What was it about the word that you thought would make a cool band name? Actually, the name does fit your sound.
Ashe O’Hara: “That’s something I asked Acle (Kahney) when I joined, and it’s as simple as — he was watching this film called Hypercube, and there was this thing in it called the tesseract, and he thought that was a cool name for a band.”
BraveWords: What gave you the idea to create the album in four movements with each song segueing seamlessly into the next?
Ashe O’Hara: “The blending of the songs was more of a natural result of Acle’s composition. The four movements each represent different types of change (change is the main theme of the album); ‘Of Matter’ approaches the subject on a smaller, everyday superficial perception of change. ‘Of Mind’ approaches it on a grander scale, on a more macroscopic scale, i.e. The fate of the universe. ‘Of Reality’ approaches it from the viewpoint of belief systems and the change of an idea and ‘Of Energy’ is about the change on a physical form, i.e. transference of energy, and how everything inevitably burns away — embers.”
BraveWords: You’re a fairly new band and still aren’t that familiar to North American fans, but is the band ready to show a bigger audience what it’s made of?
Ashe O’Hara: “Absolutely, we recently had a phenomenal headline tour ending up in O2 Academy, London, which was overwhelming. We all love touring. It’s an amazing thing to do, and I don’t tend to feel it being grueling or intensive, it just feels like we’re doing what we want to do now. We look very much forward to going Stateside.”
BraveWords: The band seems to know its direction and seems very focused. What’s your future plans for the band and what do you hope to achieve?
Ashe O’Hara: “I think right now we are focusing on pushing the new album, which the response for has been just amazing. I couldn’t wish for a better reception. I think there’s still a level of redemption the band feels they need to accomplish, and I know I want to, but I think the guys want to show people just how productive this band can be without having to worry about vocalists leaving. And we will be working on the next album whenever we have time to and hopefully we will be announcing a new album within the next two years! That’s what I hope for at least.”