TesseracT hit Manchester Friday, 5th February. We sat down with drummer Jay Postones ahead of the show to discuss frisbees as well as getting a glimpse into the relentless debauchery they get up to on their tour bus
The last time I saw you guys was also in Manchester, playing with Protest The Hero, what are your memories of that show and playing Manchester in general?
Ah Manchester. So many memories - like the time Jake from Periphery fell off a stool trying to hang their backdrop and dislocated his finger; playing frisbee in the parking area with the Protest the Hero guys; that time we woke up to find an absolute nightmare of a human parked in our space... a story for drunker times. Manchester shows are always great.
You've stated that Polaris "is very much influenced by the touring we have somehow survived over the last five years", so in what ways did that tour and others, such as supporting Devin Townsend help shape you both as musicians when approaching this latest project and as people?
You learn a lot about yourself when you're on the road, it's certainly not the life for everyone and even for some of us in Tess' it can be very tough at times. It means being away from our families for extended periods and putting everything else on hold. It's the life we chose however and something we've worked very hard to achieve and sustain.
You have to view every tour you choose to do as a worthwhile investment because at the start (five years ago), there is no money coming in. In fact, all of the little bits of money you do make go straight back out but the only way to grow in this industry is to keep your head screwed firmly on and enjoy and learn from the touring experience.
The first tour we did in North America with Devin was the biggest eye opener for us all. It was America so it was huge in every way imaginable and we had no idea how to do it, so naturally we threw ourselves into it. Touring throws so many curveballs your way - like when you have to drive through snow piled up higher than most houses; changing blown-out tyres due to America's abundance of pot holes; working out how and where to actually park in New York city; how to deal with the bullying tactics of the US border police; realising that curtains on a BandWagon are not sound proof... I realise that none of this has much or anything to do with the live shows but it's all part of the touring life and living in the the closest of quarters with your band and crew - something you have to be able to do and respect if you want to be a touring musician.
Tell us something surprising about life on the road with Tesseract? I bet you love a good game of Kerplunk...
Acle sleeps literally all day. James works literally all day. Dan plays old Mega Drive / Master System emulators literally all day. Amos reads literally all day. I'm a mixture of all of the above however I'll swap out the mega drive games for Borderlands or my DS. Oh and we love watching Limmy Show, Louie CK and Mystery Science Theatre 3000 on the bus when we've finished the show.
Additionally, you've also stated that there was no concern within the band about the new record being accepted by people or not, you just wanted to write what you wanted to write. So how did that sense of freedom help inspire the record? As a musician myself I love that kind of limitlessness where everything goes.
It's never been anything we've considered. Acle is the main writer and while, like all musicians, he has his influences, all of the demos he sends to us are very obviously 'Acle' and they become very obviously 'Tesseract'. I've never for a second thought 'we need a song to sound this way' to get onto radio or appeal to a different demographic. My feelings are that if the goal you set yourself within your art is to appeal to the most number of people, you're not being true and you're setting yourself up to fall. Whether it be by the art itself having a limited shelf life or because of your own happiness.
Do what you enjoy the most. That's the formula I live by and that extends completely to the music I play and write.
Obviously one big thing with this record was Dan returning to the fold. So, with that in mind, how did the sessions for Polaris differ to One?
We had way less time with Polaris but Dan is the man - he got stuck into the demos really early so we had decent time to absorb them and make any changes.
How did you find touring with Skyharbour with Dan having recently left the band for yourselves?
We've been friends with Keshav and the guys for a very long time now. In fact Keshav has met us every time we've played a show in India - just to help us out! He's the nicest guy you'll meet. We've always wanted to take Skyharbour out and the last US tour was the perfect time for that to happen. Obviously Dan and Eric had a daily drunken fist fights over who is the better vocalist - that kept us entertained.
Perhaps it's just me, but I get a few Muse vibes from your atmospheres in Polaris, were they an influence on the record at all and if so, in what way?
You know what, maybe. Me, Acle and Dan saw them perform at Download festival last year and they really were a stunning band to watch. I've not personally heard much of their newer material and I don't write the ambient parts so I can't comment on their direct influence - but as a band, they're pretty flawless.
Thanks for your time guys, do you have any parting words ahead of the Manchester show?
Yes - can I have my frisbee back please?
Words & Interview: Phil Weller