“Phenotype” – the first album which was released earlier this week (February 5th), 2016 via Nuclear Blast – is a song-based, 60-minute long album. TEXTURES present an eclectic overview of what modern metal offers. Catchy, innovative and progressive songs are what TEXTURES stand for and Overdrive are liking every bit of it!
OD – With the release of ‘Phenotype” in a few days (February 5th) and also the news of the follow up “Genotype” being released next year, did you ever consider releasing a double album and if so, what was the influence behind the concept of releasing the albums separately?
JOE – Our initial idea was indeed releasing a double album but we eventually figured out that if you release a double album you “throw” so much information on the listener (in our genre especially) and we felt that “Phenotype” was pretty much enough material for one album/musical statement. We think it’s a bit more special this way.
OD – ‘Phenotype’ will make this the fifth Textures studio album since the formation of the band back in 2001 and shows a very mature sounding album, from song composition to lyrics. Can you talk a little about the writing process for these albums and how the music was recorded (ie did you record any of it live or was each part recorded separately)?
JOE – The writing process for each album was a bit different: “Polars” (2004) was written predominantly by Jochem Jacobs, “Drawing Circles” (2006) mainly by Bart, Stef and Jochem, “Silhouettes” (2008) mainly by Bart, Stef and Eric Kalsbeek, who wrote the lyrics for the entire album, “Dualism” (2011) mainly Bart and Stef, and “Phenotype” (2016) written by the entire group.
The process itself for most of the albums was very usual, just gathering demo ideas, see if they work together and jam in the rehearsal room.Writing “Phenotype” was different because that was a total group effort.We would gather all the ideas we thought were cool and then divide the work to small teams:
For example: Team 1 would work out an idea from the huge Textures riffs/demos inventory. Team 1 to Team 2: “Team 2, we need a new riff around 01:14, maybe a solo later and a synth pad for the intro?” Team 3 to Team 1: “we got some new vocal lines and some rough lyrics, sending it your way, see what you can do”….
Every album was recorded by Jochem Jacobs. For each recording the band has built a studio to record in. That`s right, each time a new studio. “Dualism” and “Phenotype” were both recorded in the same studio in Amsterdam (which was built by Jochem and his recording company). Each instrument was recorded separately, always. There`s only one track on all of these 5 albums that was recorded 100% live and that`s “Meander”, the drum piece from “Phenotype” also has 10 drummers at once playing live.
OD – From the release of ‘Dualism’ in 2011 to ‘Phenotype’, this has been the longest period of time between albums. There was a change in the bands line-up, with the inclusion of you and Uri. Can you shed some light on the process of how you came about meeting each of the guys becoming part of the band.
JOE – I started my band ILLUCINOMA in 2010 and luckily we immediately managed to get our own rehearsal room in a small warehouse complex somewhere in the west of the Netherlands. Around that time, Textures had also moved into the same complex and had their rehearsal room right next to ours. So, we knew each other`s faces. Two years later, we had parted ways with our 2nd guitar player, so I mailed some people asking if they knew a guitar player who would like to try out for our band. One of the people I’ve mailed was Bart Hennephof. His reply was something like: “Hi Joe, that`s a bummer dude, I’ll let you know if anyone comes to mind…..mmm….btw, can I call you?” He called me and said “Jochem Jacobs has left the band, would you be interested playing in Textures?”
I met with Bart and Stef Broks for a 3 hours jam and a quick “get to know each other”. Later I had a meeting with all the guys where we got to know each other and asked each other questions. That`s it basically.
OD – Regarding the concept behind “Phenotype” and “Genotype”, can you discuss the approach of lyrics and the premise behind the overall album?
JOE – Science, evolution, social matters and the evolution of the human mind have always been a source of inspiration and wonder for us. We have watched a lot Cosmos: A space-time Odyssey, while writing lyrics to “Phenotype”. The concept behind both albums in general is that the environment, climate and the society you grew up in are embedded in your DNA and therefore will always have an effect on you and your choices in life. “Phenotype” and “Genotype” are terms in biology, specifically related to DNA/Genetic codes.
OD – The sub-genre label of “progressive metal” or “poly-rhythmic metal” seems to be at the forefront of the overall “Heavy Metal” genre, with many bands pushing the boundaries of sound, tempo etc. Do you find that Metal as a whole, has become somewhat stagnant with the majority clinging to the bands of yesterday, or do you feel that there is an equal amount of attention given to the bands of the future?
JOE – That has to do with if you`re reading Blabbermouth or MetalSucks, for example. The bands of the future will never be as big as yesterday’s bands. So, I guess it’s not equal, the bands of yesterday are the ones getting more exposure and attention. It’s not bad or good, it’s just the way it is, it’s those bands who usually sell out shows/festivals, they make more money and they’re more popular, so it kind of makes sense.
OD – There is a European Tour set to start on February 12th, that will continue for the duration of the month and finishing up at the beginning of March, are there any future plans regarding live dates or festival appearances, that you can disclose?
JOE – Yes, from 18th March until 17th April we are going on the road with Amorphis around Europe. I`m very happy to say that this tour includes a show in the Button Factory in Dublin on March the 20th (click here for details / tickets). There are also a few summer festivals confirmed, just to name a few: Brutal Assault in the Czech Republic and Be Prog My Friend in Barcelona. Check out our Facebook for more dates and the full info about the `Under The Red Cloud` tour with Amorphis.
OD – With so many bands uploading their music online, what are your views on sharing / streaming music and do you think that the band have benefited from this by doing so?
JOE – We wouldn’t put the entire album out on the web for free, it just doesn’t feel right. There is nothing you can do about free streaming or file sharing, we would never go against it. We are very happy that people still want to buy our music, in our genre there are still many fans who insist on buying music out of respect for the artist. If we would be against sharing or streaming it, it would`t make any difference. The income from album sales is minimal in comparison with show fees or merch sell.
OD – Textures is now signed to Nuclear Blast Records, having been with Listenable Records in the past, do you think that it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for bands to get recognised by labels and how important do you find the role of a label in today’s music industry landscape?
JOE – Absolutely, due to the increasing amount of bands (there are soooooo many) the chance of getting picked up by a label is really tiny. More than ever I think. Record labels are still important because they can really push your band out there. A lot of basic promotion can be done by the band itself but it’s because of the record label you can get a cover story on Metal Hammer or Terrorizer, it’s because of the record label you can get a good slot on a huge festival. In a way it`s more of a “seal of approval” for a band.
OD – The video for “Shaping a Grain of Sand” was recently released, can we expect to see any more videos from the album over the next year?
JOE -We will release a few more play-throughs but not another official video clip.
OD – When deciding the visual aspect of an album cover and it’s concept, was it a collective process between all band members, or is there a specific individual that normally handles this?
JOE – Yes and yes, it was a collective process in the way that we all tried to verbalise the concept we had in mind for the artwork and then Remko Tielemans our bass player, would try to bring it into an image. Remko usually handles/designs our graphics AND (very importantly) shot and directed our last two videos, “Reaching Home” and “Shaping a Single Grain Of Sand”.
OD – As mentioned earlier, “Genotype” is set for a 2017 release, can you specify when next year this will happen?
JOE – I would say more towards the end of 2017.
OD -I understand that ‘Genotype’ is one body of music that is 45 minutes in duration, can you shed a little light on what to expect when we finally get to hear it?
JOE – “Genotype” is very different to “Phenotype”. It’s an eclectic, one long single track. Almost experimental at parts. I`ll stop here, I don`t want to give too much away.
OD – Finally, we love hearing about new bands and exciting new music, can you recommend anything that you have been listening to lately and also, your favourite album from 2015?
JOE – Check out Farmers Market from Norway, its ……well its just so many things, jazz, fusion, hard rock, world music, Balkan music….
I don`t really have a favorite but I`d say that I enjoyed `What Should Not Be Unearthed` by Nile, and `Language` by The Contortionist (came out in 2014 but I only discovered it in 2015).
‘PHENOTYPE’ IS OUT NOW VIA NUCLEAR BLAST! ORDER YOUR COPY HERE!
For more information on TEXTURES, click on this link.
Words – Oran O’Beirne
Black & White live shot – Rajat Mitre © 2016
Colour live shot – Miluta Fluras © 2016
Band shots – Stock © TEXTURES / NUCLEAR BLAST © 2016