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Interview with Stef Broks of Textures

  • Interview by: Subhramani Sathyanarayan
  • Date: November 13, 2009

Stef BrocksEveryone’s looking forward to the Textures plus Amon Amarth gig that’s coming up in Bangalore. Abijit caught up with Stef Broks, the drummer of Textures a few weeks prior to the gig, and this is what he had to say.

HB: Now that things are confirmed, Textures becomes one of the first few international metal acts to play in India. How does it feel? Did you ever expect to play in India?

SB: Is it true that we are one of the first international metal bands in India? Wow, I thought the scene already moved a bit further over there But hey, that’s a positive surprise. Time to kick some ass haha! And if I ever expected to play in India? Noooo way haha. Europe yes, America maybe, but I never thought about India when we started the band. For me personally and for the whole band it’s a fantastic opportunity to expand our fan base and to explore the world. We’re very excited about the cultural differences between India and Europe, so.. Bring it on !
HB: I have a hypothetical question for you. Say a metal fan walks into a music store and sees your album alongside countless other new metal releases. If you had to give them ONE reason to buy your record instead of any of the others, what would it be?
SB: Damn, now you ask me to brag about my band. Damn haha. What I can say without any shame is that Textures offers the listener a broad perspective of modern metal songs, straight into your face. Not superficial, not just one sound, but music with a lot of twists and hooks you don’t expect. Textures is where math, aggression, beauty and soul comes together!

HB: Have you spoken to any other European bands who toured/plan to tour in India?
SB: No not really, but we’ve seen the video documentary of the American band Intronaut. It was quite fascinating to see western people moving in India. They seemed to be surprised by everything on the street and at the show. It was also cool to see that they really tried to absorb the country with all its new aspects. You know, it must be so easy to complain about everything in a new country like India. But I think that you must not judge instantly about such a different culture. You have to see it, live it and then try to understand it. We’re going to do our best.

HB: Did you feel any internal pressure while working on ‘Silhouettes’ to try and make as huge an impact with as you made with your debut?
SB: Not at all. The only thing we can do is to make the best music as we can, just for ourselves. And if, in the end, it feels like that we can say with an honest heart that we fulfilled our jobs as musicians. That the audience loves it as well is just an extra. I think this way of working works out really well to us. Also for this moment where we are working on the fourth album. If we have to consider about peoples opinion about it, we would have gone mad already. Every single person has a different frame of reference where he puts our music into. So every single person will absorb our music different.

HB: Considering that Textures’ line up being  six musicians and most of them  been playing together from the beginning, 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?
SB: Well actually we all have our personal different musical taste (most of it is not metal at all), but the thing that unites us is the respect that we have for each others musical taste and musical capabilities on our instruments. Besides that we are dedicated to understand each others musical ideas. That’s the way we get close to each other and craft our music to one piece. So most of the people in the band write stuff and we put it all together on an internet server. We listen to it and craft it piece by piece like a sculpture. Everybody is involved in the sculpting process and it stops only when we leave the studio after finishing the complete album.

HB: The ‘Silhouettes’ album seems to have taken on a more melodic direction, especially in the greater use of clean vocals. Was this a conscious thing or just something that naturally occurred during the writing and recording of the album?
SB: It definitely was and is a natural progression. We chose Eric as a new vocalist on the second album ‘Drawing Circles’. We heard his vocal skills on a record of his former band Brainshake (Take a look on Youtube and search for Brainshake – Give It Up. Although the guitars are out of tune, Eric’s vocals are awesome. And check out the end of that song! Don’t tell Eric that I told you, hahaha). Eric was acquainted with all our favorite acts like Peter Gabriel, Jeff Buckley, Faith No More and Dillinger Escape Plan. What struck us most was his soulful voice and his ability to lift a song to a ultra level.

While writing ‘Drawing Circles’ he had to get used to our way of songwriting and our rhythmical approach. With ‘Silhouettes’ he got more into the music and at sometimes he even changed the song into his direction instead of the way that he just puts his vocals on the song which is already there. On the new record, Eric will explore his soulful voice even more that on the former albums. It feels fantastic to work with musicians that understand each other on such levels: emotionally but also theoretically. There is no greater feeling for a musician than to give space for somebody else to exploit his soul in a song.

HB: Recently Signed with Nuclear Blast Records, how does it feel ?
SB: Great, but the party has not yet begun. The Nuclear Blast cooperation is getting started for real when our new album will be released, somewhere around September/October next year. But damn, it feels great to be on the same label as all these bands like In Flames, Meshuggah, Death and Dimmu Borgir.
For Textures as a company, this is going to be a big step forward because now our record will not only be available in Europe but from Amsterdam to Honolulu haha.

HB: Have you heard of any Indian bands at all?
SB: Yes although I forgot the names of the bands dammit. There is a real tsunami of Indian mail going on here in Textures’ home base. It’s really cool to read these tons of positive reactions to our gig in Bangalore. Seems like it’s never going to stop. Man, this job is so lovely when you have fans like in India. Not to kiss your ass but the response we get to this gig is definitely crazier than anything we experienced before.

HB: What do you have to say to the fans in India?
SB: Indian people, you’re really one of a kind !!! I hope we can behold the great beauty of your country.
See you in Bangalore and don’t spoil your energy these days. Save it until December 5th. We will do the same !!

Cheers!!

-Abhijit