Tesseract, the progressive metal band from England, will be playing two gigs in South Africa at the end of April – Cape Town on Friday the 28th of April at Mercury Live and on Saturday the 29th of April at Rumours Rock City in Cresta. We asked around for a true local fan of Tesseract to interview them and came across Craig Borrill, guitarist for local metal band, Raptorbaby. We invited Craig over for some beers and phoned up Tessract’s guitarist, James Monteith to talk about (amongst other things) their up an coming tour to South Africa.
What was the band’s initial response to finding out that they had a following large enough to warrant a visit to South Africa?
Its great news to be coming down! It’s a massive privilege to be able to play all over the world, really. South Africa is a unique one because not many bands get to go there so when we found out that we had an offer, we were over the moon and we can’t wait!
What can the fans expect in terms of the set list for the two shows? Will there be predominantly more songs off of Polaris or can we expect to be treated to your back catalogue as well?
The sets are probably going to be a mixture of tracks across the spectrum from each album. We will be mixing it up a lot and playing songs we enjoy playing live.
Polaris was to date your biggest sounding album with Dan back at the helm. What can the fans expect in terms of any new material? What happens next?
I think it will be an evolution of where we are as a band at the moment, each record is a progression towards the next one and over the three albums we’ve gone more of a Progressive rock inspired route. On the next record it’s more of a mixture of experimenting with different tones and sounds from what we have done with some elements going back to some of the more heavier sounds we’ve done before. Basically we are going to explore what we have been doing even further.
Once the tour is done and dusted and the response was to your liking, do you see South Africa as a future stop for tours?
Oh absolutely! I think if we play some good shows and the crowds like what they hear and want us back, we will definitely come back.
What is your personal favourite highlight of your career with Tesseract?
A question I don’t know as there has been loads of great moments; I think one of the most significant highlights was when we did our first ever tour of the USA in 2010, it was before the first album came out and we got the opportunity to support The Devin Townsend Project across the States and some Canadian dates as well and it was our first big break of the touring circuit where we learnt a lot and the Devin guys really looked after us well, giving us tips and pointers and hooked us up with contacts for manufacturing and that kind of side of the business. That felt like the point where we went from a band just doing it on the weekend and on our own time to being a more professional outfit.
The band saw a shuffle of vocalists which came in and lent their talents on the various albums and EPs. Would the band collaborate with them again in the future?
Yeah maybe, I think one thing we always say is: never say never! We are always trying new things to make music the best we can make it and we have been very lucky to work with fantastic vocalists, we have no plans at the moment but we are on very good terms with Elliot Coleman and Ashe O’hara and even the first vocalist, Julien Perier. If the opportunity comes up, we will definitely jump on it.
Give us one question about South Africa you would like to know before coming down?
What do you recommend to eat? If there is one dish we need to try, can you tell us what it is?
You guys have to try braaivleis, pap and sheba! (Duncan – get on it!)
What are you personally most looking forward to experiencing in South Africa?
I have no idea what to expect so I am really looking forward to the entire experience. From landing I am going to try fit in as much as possible, hopefully seeing the amazing landscape and country side you guys have, trying the food and drink and checking out some of the cities as well. I just want to take it all in and experience it as we are only there for a few days and I want to make the most of my time there. Experiencing different cultures and different people is great fun!
Merch wise, a lot of fans will want their hands on original TesseracT memorabilia. Will you be bringing some down for sale?
Yes we will! I am not entirely sure what we will be bringing down but there will be a range of shirts and possibly CD’s, we don’t know about vinyl’s but they could make an appearance as well. We will basically fit as much as we can into our luggage.
Finally, do you have a message for all the fans coming out to see you guys?
If you’ve listened to TesseracT before, please come to the shows because you have the opportunity to see us live and we hope you will enjoy it. If you are new to TesseracT come and check out our music, we don’t know how often we will come down to South Africa, so this is your one opportunity in the next couple of years.