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Decoding Traits: All About Textures

The Dutch prog metal act on being off the road for an entire year to finish two concept albums, titled ‘Phenotype’ and ‘Genotype’

Anurag Tagat Jan 25, 2016
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Textures2014  courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records low

Photo: Courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

How does it happen that one of Europe’s top prog metal bands can spend an entire year without playing a show? Turns out, that’s how badly Dutch prog metallers Textures wanted to write and record their upcoming two-part concept albums, Phenotype [due on February 5th via Nuclear Blast Records] and Genotype. Says guitarist Bart Hennephof over the phone from Tilburg, “It made me a bit restless. Like, ”˜I want to play, but this album is turning out awesome’.”

While Phenotype is all done and ready to go out ”“ the band also released the chugfriendly single “New Horizons,” their first new material since 2011 album Dualism, in November ”“ Hennephof says they are nearly finished writing Genotype, which is slated to release in 2017. The band released a second single, the seven-minute “Illuminate the Trail” in January. Textures began plotting a diptych [two-part album] while they were on break in India, following their shows at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in 2013. He explains the concept behind the albums, “The genotype of something, of a person or being in nature, is their origin. The genetic code is embedded inside that being. After years, this person or object gets influenced by outside forces ”“ the environment, how you eat or how you live. It changes your appearance. This appearance is called the phenotype.” Textures apply that to the music, creating and recreating melodies, tempo, rhythm and harmonies differently on Phenotype and Genotype. Hennephof adds, “’Phenotype’ is more of a songbased album, in which all the melodies are really shaped and formed into songs. They are edited a lot. On Genotype, you’ll hear those melodies again, but in a rougher form. The whole album is going to be 40-45 minutes, but it feels like one big song, instead of the nine songs on Phenotype.”

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The new material also marks their first with guitarist Joe Tal, who joined the band in 2013, replacing Jochem Jacobs, although the latter now handles production duties for Textures and is mixing and mastering the albums. Hennephof says Tal bought his virtuoso guitar skills and a bit of his Zappa-worship into the band’s sound, while still understanding what Textures is about. He adds, “A lot of times I was like, ”˜What the fuck is going on here?’ and then it’s not usable, but some ideas, I’d go, ”˜What the fuck is going on here? I want to play over this!’ It inspired me as a player as well and made me write riffs that I wouldn’t have written before. It’s an exchange of inspiration between both of us.” Phenotype is much more uptempo and heavier than Dualism, and might just please fans of their earlier albums such as their 2003 debut Polars and the breakthrough 2008 album Silhouettes, which bought Textures to India in 2009. Says Hennephof of the sound of Phenotype, “We searched for that boundary a bit. It should not be over the top shredding all the time, like [power metal band] Dragonforce or something. It’s cool to find that balance between Textures stuff and more experimental proggy stuff.” The experiments extend to drummer Stef Broks, who is jamming with seven other drummers from the Dutch scene on an instrumental prelude. “We recorded it all in one place in Utrecht, mostly with snares and floor toms. The rest had all kinds of experimental drums ”“ like trash cans upside down, metal objects that we were hitting and bass drums for the low end. It’s almost like a movie soundtrack,” says Hennephof of the as-yet-untitled track.

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While a Europe tour has been announced and support acts are being finalized, Textures definitely wants to come back to India to promote Phenotype. They’ve been talking to their contacts, eager to return. Hennephof adds, “Each time we go there, all the festivals are organized better and better. We’re taken care of in such a good way ”“ transport, catering, everything. We’re taken care of almost like kings. We’ll just make it possible, because it’s just so cool over there.”

Watch Textures talk about Phenotype

This article appeared in the January 2016 issue of ROLLING STONE India.

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