Textures Return To India
The Dutch prog metal band will play Pune and Kolkata before they go back to working on their fifth album
In a hilarious video posted in March this year, Dutch prog metÂallers Textures are by the docks talking about guitar auditions and how they should include all six guiÂtarists in the band. That’s when a flying UFO lands and presents to them, in total Terminator style, their new guitarÂist Joe Tal. The video, which goes on to inÂtroduce Tal and also say goodbye to guitarÂist Jochem Jacobs (who is probably “right now cooking a perfect Indian dinner,” jokes drummer Stef Broks), who left in January to concentrate on being a producer.
With an announcement like that, it’s no surprise that Jacobs is still very much part of the Textures album-making process, only now on board as a producer, like on their 2011 album Dualism, and very likely as a co-producer on the upcoming fifth album.
The band spent the year adjusting to the lineup change and is now building up tour dates, while also scheduling sessions to write and record a new album. India was right on top of their map, according to guiÂtarist Bart Hennephof. The band first played India in December 2009, at the day-long Deccan Rock Festival in Bengaluru. They quickly came back in 2010 at IIT-Delhi’s Rendezvous festival.
“It was really crazy the first time we went there. When we came back, we had so many friend requests on Facebook. Like, maybe 75 per cent of friends I have now on FaceÂbook are from India,” says Hennephof. TexÂtures will return to India for the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune and Kolkata this year. While there’s a gap of two months beÂtween the gigs, the band is plotting a roadÂtrip around the country after each gig.
RS: It’s your third time in India, but it’s a different lineup once again. It’s also a festival this time ”” so how are you guys gearing up?
Bart Hennephof: We’re looking forward very much to these shows. We’re also writÂing, I must say, a lot of the time. We’re writÂing at home, sometimes at rehearsal space and next to that we keep on playing the old songs. We’re staying in shape. We’re already pretty ready to finalize the show.
You guys are playing Pune first in October and then Kolkata in December. What does your itinerary look like?
Some of us will stay longer after Pune; just enjoy the country for a few days.
Surely you’ve hit all the tourist spots before? I heard you like nature parks a lot.
We’re just looking around. We’ll probaÂbly go to some beach and be lazy (laughs). Just enjoy the peace over there and neat landscapes. Personally, I’m not a fan of big cities. It’s very cool to see, but not to stay for a whole week, I think. So yeah, maybe some beach or some roadtrip, but we haven’t planned anything yet.
You guys are known for your video podcasts. Are you planning a tour diary in India this time around?
I’m pretty sure we will make another podÂcast. It’s always a big adventure when we go there (to India) and I’m sure there will be enough video footage from the two shows for the podcast.
Are you planning different setlists for Pune and Kolkata?
Might be (laughs). We already put some extra songs in the setlist that we haven’t played that much in the past few years. It’s going to be a special set and a pretty long one as well. We just want to make it big, with some old songs, different parts and medleys from old songs.
2013 has been a bit of a slow year for TexÂtures so far. What have you guys been up to?
Beginning of the year was for the search of the new guitar player, and after that a few months of working with the new guitar player (Joe Tal) and getting oiled up for the show. We got some shows and festivals with the new guitar player, which were great. We’re pretty ready now, but we lost some time in that process but I don’t think it’s a bad thing because we got to know the new guitar player. The stronger that is the better the new album will be.
How did fans react to Jochem (Jacobs, guiÂtarist) leaving? I remember seeing the video that announced Joe was joining, which was pretty funny, but surely people were a bit disappointed to see Jochem leave?
Yeah, of course, you always see that kind of reaction. It was very cool to see a lot of fans, they thought it was a pity to see JoÂchem leave, but they have some kind of trust in us. Whoever we find would be fit for the job. No one was thinking, “Oh shit, this will never be solved.” They have good hopes for us. They helped us find Joe pretty soon, acÂtually. If we didn’t find Joe this quickly, we would still be looking. We’re very lucky we found him.
Jochem still produces for you. Is he on board for the next album?
Yes, if not partially, he will be thinkÂing along with us. He’s still very connectÂed to the music. It’s not like we split because there was a fight or anything. We’re still best friends, but yeah, he couldn’t mix it with his personal life and his job. He still loves music and has passion for it. We can send him ideas and ask him what he thinks about it and brainstorm along. He might produce it, mix it, but he will be along as co-producer.
What is the dynamic between Joe, Daniel and Jochem like, since these are new memÂbers who are interacting with a former guiÂtarist and current producer for Textures?
The new members are fans of the music as well. They know what TexÂtures is about. It’s not like, if I may say so, Dream Theater, where there are virtuoso muÂsicians who are all showing off. I’ve always looked at Textures as an orchestra or something ”“ everyone does his part and toÂgether it sounds like Textures, you know?
Do you think that’s the case with metal bands in Europe specifically?
It’s just how it works for us. Everyone can write really cool parts, but all together we can make it into logical songs. I doubt if one of us can do that all by ourselves. The final reÂsult is always special compared to a demo one of us would write. Everyone is sort of a producer.
Could you tell us more about your album number five, which, of course, is the first one with Joe on guitars?
I think it’s at too early a stage. We go from everywhere ”“ to soft stuff to loud stuff. We don’t want to pin ourselves to any direction yet. We want to surprise ourselves as well. It’s just a matter of how many ideas will be brought to the table. We’ll filter them until we have the ultimate riffs left.
The ultimate riffs?
Yes, every riff in each song has to be ultiÂmate (laughs). No concessions.
Speaking of songs, you’ve never done someÂthing like “Polars,” the 18-minute song, ever again after the first album. Was it because it was a challenge, or that the band doesn’t ever want to take that route?
We are still open for that kind of stuff. EsÂpecially now, we have quite a lot of albums and a good fanbase, so we’re not afraid to do things like that. Yeah, why not? We don’t have any rule or formula.
Why haven’t we done it again? Because there wasn’t an idea like that, but it can be like that in the next album. We just don’t force ourselves towards it or anything.
In between the two Weekender appearances in India, you guys head to Euroblast in GerÂmany in October where Delhi band SkyharÂbor is also playing. What are your thoughts on the current Indian metal scene?
Skyharbor of course is a very cool band. It’s pretty advanced metal, if you ask me, coming out of India. The other bands are the ones I’ve seen at the festival we’ve played in Bangalore (at Deccan Rock Festival in 2009, alongside heavy metal band Amon Amarth). Mostly a bit more death metÂal-oriented, but they’re very good as well. They are really young bands as well. So it’s cool to see young bands play those kinds of festivals already.
The entire Weekender lineup really has a lot of prog metal ”” Meshuggah and TesseracT. What do you make of it?
I’m not even sure which other bands are playing. I think it’s amazing that many progressive metal bands are there. We had the feeling that the first time we came to India, in 2009. Before that, you never saw any metal band going to India, maybe some years before that, but not anywhere near 2000s. It looks like metal is growing over there and really getting known. This kind of big festival, which also includes pretty technical metal is really awesome to see. Over here (Holland), there aren’t that many festivals with heavy, techÂnical bands. It’s pretty cool for India ”“ a counÂtry that’s “new” to metal.
I still remember the fake poster that made you realize you had fans in India. Now with Facebook and social media, it’s much easier to know where your fans are. Do you think Textures has a big India connect?
It was really crazy the first time we went there. When we came back, we had so many friend requests on Facebook. Like, maybe 75 per cent of friends I have now on FaceÂbook are from India (laughs). It’s really, realÂly crazy, but it’s cool, of course.
We’re really looking forward to it. We want a lot of people to turn up for our show and go crazy. It’s a special show.
Great to hear. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I don’t know if you saw the poster, but in Pune, we will get a special guest with us as well.
Who is it?
It’s still a surprise, so you’ll see at the show.
Is that special guest from Holland or from somewhere else?
Just a special guest! (laughs)
Textures perform at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune on October 19th at the Bacardi Arena.
This article appeared in the September 2013 issue of ROLLING STONE India.Â