Living on the edge!

Interview with Textures: “Every song we had to break a code”

Today (February 5th, 2016) is the release of the brand new Textures album ‘Phenotype’ (review over here). It’s 5 years after their last release of ‘Dualism’ in 2011. Anton talked with drummer Stef Broks about the recording process, inspiration, their popularity in India and much more.

Hi Stef. How are you doing?
Yeah busy. We have a press evening tonight with lots of interviews and you’re the last one. So let’s start! Haha…

Your new album ´Phenotype´ will be released on February 5th. What can the fans expect?
A small hour with, and now I have to describe my own sound and that’s basically what you have to do, long pieces of multi layered music. We don’t deserve snacks that you eat and it’s gone. You really have to listen to it and it goes from A to Z in a positive way. We call our sound ‘eclectic’, a collection of all kinds of different styles. We play a little bit of thrash, death, metalcore and more, but Textures doesn’t want to be pushed in a certain box.

Wikipedia says ‘Textures is metalcore band’. That’s something I don’t understand.
We heard them all. Some call us a progressive death metal band and others call us a mathcore band. Actually we don’t give any shit about it. It’s not our intention to sound ‘like something’ and we don’t care how other people call our music style. We just try to create our own sound with the knowledge of the instruments that we all have. We don’t have a format or template, but we just play and we see where it brings us. It was never our intention play easy music, but to play difficult music after a long journey of searching and struggling with six guys. Otherwise a song doesn’t have body and weight in it and you can’t bring a message to the fans. And I think that’s what you definitely will hear on our new album. Multi layered music that’s not created in one day. We took all the learning’s from our previous albums and improved it to this new album ‘Phenotype’.

And the new guys in the band? What was their role?
They had an important role in the writing process. We all wrote for this album and that’s quit heavy, because you have to respect each others ideas and listen to the stuff another has written. This was also Daniel (vocalist) his first album he wrote for and also the other guys contributed a lot to this new album. So this album is a 100% album written and made by all of us and I think that’s quit unique.

Do you write the songs together our separated?
Well, we create new ideas separated from each other. It’s like the Beatles work back in the days. Every member created his own piece of music and afterwards they came together in the studio to discus it and create a song out of it. When you work like this you have different elements in one song and you can create really heavy climaxes in a song. And that’s also what characterizes a Textures song. The switches between different parts and pieces of music written by different people. Sometimes we put one turning point or climax in a song and sometimes it are ten. And those surprises is what we really like in our music, just to do something people really don’t expect. Like our guitar player Joey always says: “Every song we have to break a code”. And sometimes this mission or challenge takes a very long time! Haha…

You also announced that the next album ‘Genotype’ will be released in 2017. Why did you choose to release those to albums separated from each other?
Well, first of all we would like to release a double album, but our record company Nuclear Blast didn’t agree with that. They just wanted one album, because that’s easier to promote and stuff like that. For this new album ‘Genotype’ we wrote a song with a duration of half an hour and Nuclear Blast asked us to extend this song so it would become a full length album. When we started writing for this album we said to each other: “we don’t want just another album like Dualism (2011), but we want to do something really special”. And that’s where the first idea of a double album came from.

How long took the writing process of the albums ‘Phenotype’ and ‘Genotype’?
Well, actually we are still writing and working on the album ‘Genotype’. So, I hope we are able to release it in 2017, because we are a quit precise and accurate. So there is a change that it will take a little bit longer to release this album. So the writing process of ‘Phenotype’ took about three years in total, but efficiently we worked a year and a half on it. We also used some parts that were written in 2008. We collected a lot of music through the years, which we use in our new music.

Was it difficult to work with three new guys in the band?
No, actually it wasn’t difficult, because a member of Textures is free in what he is doing. As a founding member of the band I really believe in the fact that people have to do what they want to do. Only then you get the best songs, including surprises and new elements in the music. Just be who you wanna be and spit it out! Search for those boundaries and pass it. Textures is looking for those new elements to make new music. Only then we are satisfied.

And what’s the most bizarre thing we can hear on this new album?
Well, I think the piano at the end of the album is something we never did before. It started it with a small piece of classical music and we combined it in our last song of the album called ‘Timeless’. That’s something I really like and it proofs that everything is allowed in Textures.

Where does the inspiration of the lyrics for this album come from?
Well, actually that’s Uri his part, because he wrote almost all the lyrics for this album. Uri talks a lot with his brother, who is biologist, about biology and Uri came up with the phenotype/genotype subject. Actually genotype is the basic form of a living creature and phenotype is the developed form that’s created during live through experiences. This refers to our music, because the first idea was that ‘Genotype’ was one long song which we can refer to the basic form. The songs from ‘Phenotype’ are a derivative of this long song. So in that case it’s actually quit weird that the more evolved songs on ‘Phenotype’ are released earlier than the basic part. Another part of the lyrics is coming from the television documentary ‘Cosmos’. For us that’s one of the biggest enrichment’s we have ever experienced. It’s about the universe, the earth and everything that’s alive in a profound manner. And one of the hot topics in this documentary is the fact that you always have to ask questions and put question-marks at everything you are doing. That’s for example what Uri tries to explain in the song ‘Illuminate the Trail’. It’s about letting science and experiences enrich yourself and build on with it. Just learn!

How different are the two albums ‘Phenotype’ and ‘Genotype’ from each other?
You will not recognize that the songs on ‘Phenotype’ are inspired by ‘Genotype’. Maybe some small parts, but for the biggest part it are two completely different albums. ‘Genotype’ is much more an album with long parts of music, almost classical music or film music. It’s really an album for the advanced listener, so it’s completely different then any other album we have released before.

To promoted the new album ‘Phenotype’ you planned a few gigs through Europe. Is there more to be announced?
Yeah, there’s coming more. This is the first leg of a what’s gonna be a long range of shows. Because we gonna add the shows to promote the next album ‘Genotype’ after the shows we do to promote ‘Phenotype’. We start with shows in Europe and then the festival season is coming. There are some festivals already confirmed, including the Spanish festival ‘BeProg! MyFriend 2016’ where we will co-headline with Opeth. How fucking cool is that! Because we are signed at Nuclear Blast, we end up higher on the line-up then before. So we also try to play at ‘Lowlands 2016’, but actually you didn’t heard that from me! Haha… And there are also some conversations with ‘Graspop’, so I hope we also are able to play at this awesome festival.

And what about gigs in Asia? Because you are very popular over there.
Yes, actually in India we are very popular, but the monsoon season is there always for a certain period. So you always go to India in October, November and December, because then it’s dry and not to hot. So those months are the best to organize festivals in India. So we will go to India again, because the last 5 times we’ve been there, we were headlining everywhere. Thousands of people, so very crazy.

How did you actually became so popular in India?
You really wanna know that? Haha… That’s a very crazy story. In 2009 our former vocalist Eric saw by coincidence a festival flyer on internet with Textures, Hatesphere and a lot of other bands. He said “Dudes, do we really play on a festival in India?”. So we contacted our booking agent and he really didn’t know where that came from, because in India there were no festivals, they have no ‘festival culture’. So this flyer was fake and someone made it just for fun and placed it on the internet. But there came such a lot of positive feedback and comments about this flyer, that people really wanted Textures to come to India. So one of this metal fans came up with the idea to organize a festival in India and asked Textures to play. Actually this girl of 19 organized the first underground festival in India and we played there as headliner together with ‘Amon Amarth’ and some Indian bands. A festival with about 10.000 people who were singing our lyrics! Just crazy! Also when we came in India it looked like we were The Beatles. Everywhere in the city you saw those billboards with “Textures playing…”. A year after this gig we played also in Nepal and we were invited by the cousin of the previous King of Nepal. This cousin is a guy from 35 with two children living now in Switzerland, but he is a huge metal fan. And he wanted to organize a metal festival in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. So we played over there on a square with thousands of people and in the evening we were invited by the previous King and his family for diner. How awesome is that!

But why do you think that people in India like the music of Textures so much?
Well, actually they don’t have a real pop music culture, but there are a lot of metal fans. And because the classical Indian music is very difficult and progressive including polyrhythmic parts in it. So that has a great similarity with our music and proves the fact that Indian people like our music more then for instant German metal fans. They like more straight ahead thrash metal music and all the way down in India they like progressive and modern metal.

This year Textures is celebrating his 15th anniversary. What’s your most memorable moment till so far?
I think that’s the first show in India I told you about. Not only because of the gig, but also because of the culture sight seeing we did after a long time of touring. We always take some time to visit some highlights in the country where we are at that moment after a long period of touring. So we already went twice to the Himalaya and lots of other beautiful destinations. Those things are really peaks in my career, because that’s a kind of bonus level you get for all this hard working.

One last question. Which advice would you give to starting young bands?
I’m actually very closely involved with the Metal Factory and two bands I really like are Facelifter and Extremities. They work really hard and that’s one of the main things to become successful. Also stay together and go on with each other. There will come some ups and downs, but just stay together and work your ass of. Only then you will grow to a higher level. And the longer a band exists, the more you will be appreciated by metal fans. Because metal fans are the most loyal fans in the world and I think we really can be proud of that.

That’s a nice last sentence to end this interview Stef. Thanks for your time and good luck with all the promotional stuff and gigs that are coming up!

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