Textures | Interview with Stef Broks

If the reputation of Dutch group Textures as one of the most challenging and innovative bands out there had already been cemented with their amazing album from 2006 “Drawing Circles”, their new and upcoming “Silhouettes” work should finally earn them a place in the same spotlight as other musical luminaries like Meshuggah and Mastodon. Drummer Stef Broks exposed the contradictions behind the creation of their latest labyranthine release.

There’s a rare breed of bands out there whose ultimat
e objective in creating music is to push its boundaries and challenge any preconceived notions about how it should sound like. Dutch sextet Textures is one such artists, having a very particular and independent visualization of how their complex sonority should be presented.
Textures have a very DIY attitude regarding the conceptualization and creation of their works as the band have recorded and produced their records all by
themselves and have also done their covers and artwork. Do you value this independency from producers, labels, etc as being an important factor for Textures functionality? You have to be in full control in order to get the ball rolling?

“Well, we want to be in full control of all the artistic aspects about our product, not specifically all the aspects, haha. That means we control the artwork, production, websites, merch designs and music of course. By working this way we want to give the fans a 100% Textures product. I think after three albums we did a good job creating our own style in art. Although the new record is slightly different: a bit darker, we think.
We’re lucky Listenable Records gives us the opportunity to do it our own way. We hope to continue this way in the future. I think for us, as artists, the new product Silhouettes is the highest we can reach. You know: it’s all about aesthetics, and we tried to deliver it in the highest degree.”

Considering that Textures is made up of six musicians and most of them have been playing together for a very long time, to what extent do you think this closeness between you transcends into the writing? Do you approach the writing of new songs as a collaborative effort?

”The whole idea of Textures is built around the sum of our artistic perspectives and skills. I think if any link would be missing the whole thing falls apart. Everybody has its share in the album. To make it a bit more concrete: it is built on three levels. The idea behind the product: the topics and atmosphere on the album.
The musical ideas in the songs: every member has his share in building up the songs.
The musical ideas on every personal instrument: everybody puts his own skills and feeling into his instrument.
So everything is a product of everybody. I think that is the quality of Textures, that you really can hear everybody’s input. And that is also the reason that the albums sound so various. It goes from thrash to ambient and from rock to mathmetal. Not in fragments, but as one entity.”

However, the strong camaraderie among Textures had suffered an unexpected blow last year when founding member Dennis Aarts left Textures without a bassist.
Was Dennis Aarts decision to leave the band partly due that additional focus and time the band was demanding given the success of "Drawing Circles" and consequent growth in responsibilities?

“Sort of yes. This band demands a lot from us. We don’t earn that much money with the band and that means that you have to get a job besides that. I think for Dennis it all became a bit too hard to combine this personal and band life together. We respect his decision though, as we lived the same kind of live.”

Meanwhile, the band has found a suitable replacement in Remko Tielemans, formerly of Isle of Man and currently of 37 Stabwoundz. What was it that made you decide that he was the right man for the job?

“He is a cool guy that can play very well and has a professional attitude. We got some mails from guys who claimed to have skills like Steve Digiorgio or Sean Mallone, but hey! We don’t need and want to have the next Victor Wooten or something. With respect of course for their skills and musical interpretation. Social and professional skills are way more important for Textures. That creates band spirit. Remko is also a professional video-director which made it even more interesting to get him in the band haha.”

As mentioned earlier, Textures second album "Drawing Circles" was critically acclaimed worldwide and ever since it came in 2006, the profile of Textures has increased exponentially and has toured with high-profiled acts like Arch Enemy, Gojira and The Ocean. Do you think the success of "Drawing Circles" affected or pressured in someway the band's approach for the recordings of "Silhouettes"?

“Not at all! We know who we are, what we want and what we are capable of. “Silhouettes” is a direct representation of this band at this moment. We didn’t feel any pressure expressing our feelings in music ‘cause the only way we can make music is 100% sincere. The albums we created are exactly the way we want it. If somebody doesn’t t like it, no problem! We are Textures and this is how we sound, just deal with it.”

So, in what ways does "Silhouettes" differs from its predecessor "Drawing Circles"?

“The songs, definitely! The album is way more straightforward. Not simpler but more coherent. That also counts for the songs themselves. Although the album has a sort of overall subject there is no direct connection between the songs musically. On “Drawing Circles” we created this overall wave of tension through all the songs and the album itself. This time we focussed on each song apart. Cool thing is that it brought us closer to ourselves.”

Which track off the new album do you feel it defines the most Textures of 2008?
Advance theme "Old Days Born Anew" for example has all the ingredients Textures are renowned for, complex rhythms, aggressive riffs, vocal melodies and symphonic layers.

”Aii, that’s hard to say. I think every band member will name a different song haha. Old Days Born Anew has indeed all the ingredients people expect, but then redefined. Personally I would say “To Erase A Lifetime”, the last song on the album is even more representative. This song gives a good insight of we’re capable of at this particular moment, including new ingredients. It builds up, a bit like Tool does: in a strange time-signature, slow with a lot of tension. Then it burst into a heavy polygroove. At the end comes the heaviest part we ever created I guess. It‘s a huge controlled chaos manifesto.”

Is there a lyrical concept running through "Silhouettes"?

”The album title “Silhouettes” represents the unknown side of ourselves: the way we never looked at ourselves. Dark sides and contradictive sides.
On former albums “Drawing Circles” and “Polars” we wrote about contradictions, light/dark, nurture/nature, present/past etc but always with a touch of gaining strength and maintaining progression in life. This album is also about contradictions, but with a more melancholic and dark approach. It’s cool that by creating music this way the music comes closer to our personal beings. If you look at the artwork and listen to the tracks you will see what I mean.”

Considering that "Silhouettes" is Textures third full-length album, a condition that is often regarded as the most difficult for bands that wish to cement their position in the music scene, what kind of expectations do you have for the new album? Are sales figures something that concerns the band at all?

”I think the amount of people showing up at shows is a way better indication for us. Sales are not very interesting for bands anymore since most people download the shit out of themselves. But still no worries for us!! The promotion machine is a lot better this time. So we didn’t do all the touring for nothing haha. Look at all these great shows coming up. We even are preparing for a worldwide tour, along Australia and USA. Man, if you’ve told us that at the release of “Polars” we would have laughed our asses off.”

So what are the plans for Textures for the immediate future?

“For the first half of 2008 we’ll do a lot of festivals and some club shows. We start off with a small English tour and a show with Death Angel for pre-hyping the new album. After that we will join Arch Enemy on a part of their tour. Thanks for inviting us by the way! When the album is released on April 21st, we’ll do a bunch of release shows. In summer there are some big festivals like Summer Breeze (GER), Brutal Assault (CZ), Metal Camp (SL) and Appelpop (HOL). In between we’re going to play a lot of club shows. Check updates at myspace.com/textures.”

"Silhouettes" will be issued on May 5th via Listenable Records.
More info at: www.texturesband.com