PODCAST: EPISODE 28 – Daniel Tomkins (TesseracT) Talks Debut Solo Album “Castles”

Ghost Cult recently chatted with TesseracT and Skyharbor singer Daniel Tomkins. Daniel released his debut solo album, Castles, on May 31st via the Kscope label. In candid chat he discusses exploring his Electronica and Pop music influences, the long process of working on solo music, the concept of Castles, choosing collaborators such as producer Dmitry Stepanov, Acle Kahney (TesseracT), Randy Slaugh (Periphery, Architects, Devin Townsend), and Paul Ortiz (Zeta, Chimpspanner), his very tenuous relationship with social media, and the loose plan for when to expect new TesseracT music. Continue reading

Daniel Tompkins – Castles

Well-known singer, Daniel Tompkins kicked down doors as the vocalist for progressive music scene bands like TesseracT and Skyharbor. He has a legion of fans and has managed to reinvent himself on every release in his career. In the background, he has been working on solo material what would eventually become his debut solo album. Finding common ground with Russian producer Dmitry Stepanov, Tompkins is ready to shatter fans expectations for what they have come to expect from him, revealing new levels of artistry only hinted at. Freed from the genre rules or really any expectations, Castles (Kscope) arrives free of conventions or any other weird airs most signers fall prey to when they create a solo album. Continue reading

Ghost Iris – Apple Of Discord

Amongst the packed djent arena, Danish troupe Ghost Iris has always been a strong and reliable act that have never quite managed to step up to the heady heights of the scenes leading lights, such as Monuments. In the face of a fast-moving scene, how can Ghost Iris now adapt? To use a wrestling metaphor, latest album Apple Of Discord (Long Branch Records) is the plucky and ever decent mid-carder suddenly about to make the main event push. Continue reading

Orchid – Miasma

Despite a heavy music scene that is abundant in talent, not many of India’s Metal bands have appeared on the radar outside of their native country. Aside from the likes of Demonic Resurrection especially, Bhayanak Maut and (although more an international band) Skyharbor, India’s Metal scene is still a hidden entity to many on the outside. With a formidable live presence and with an exciting debut full length in Miasma (self-released), if there is any justice, Mathcore mentalists Orchid should be poised to be the scene’s next breakout. Continue reading

Monuments – Phronesis

Back in the early days of the djent scene, British metallers Monuments were seen as one of the early originators of the style and rose alongside the likes of Textures and TesseracT (plus, of course to some influential degree Meshuggah and SikTh), yet seemed slower than most to ride the tide of momentum, with a full-length debut release coming significantly later than other bands from that cadre. Continue reading

September 7th 2018 New Music Releases

 

 

 

Check out all of today’s new releases in the music world! Continue reading

Skyharbor- Sunshine Dust

As a part of the early djent movement of bedroom projects that also birthed the likes of TesseracT, the multinational Skyharbor, despite gaining a decent critical reception, almost feel like the forgotten sons in comparison to many of their peers. Two excellent albums in Blinding White Noise and Guiding Lights (both Basick) saw a particularly innovative approach within that sphere, with increasing progressive influences throughout, yet didn’t see them quite reach the heights of the likes of the aforementioned TesseracT or Monuments. Continue reading

The Contortionist, Silent Planet, Skyharbor, Strawberry Girls Tour Dates

The Contortionist have added more tour dates for 2018, as they continue to tour in support of their incredible new LP, Clairvoyant. Continue reading

White Moth Black Butterfly – Atone

With such a rich and diverse musical landscape at our fingertips, it is often the nonlinear artists that truly stand out. The ones that, far from sticking to rigid formulae, offer and showcase encompassing palettes; often shared with audiences and showing they aren’t limited to one style or sound. Truly a worldwide venture, White Moth Black Butterfly is one such entity that offers an alternate creative outlet to a contingent across all four corners of the globe. Consisting of Dan Tompkins of TesseracT, Keshav Dhar of India’s Skyharbor; plus Randy Slaugh and Jordan Turner; WMBB was born from a love for less rock-based but still progressive and experimental music, but always felt somewhat sidelined if not creatively immersive. On the evidence of new album Atone (Kscope) and their joining with Kscope, it now feels like this is an entirely serious entity. Continue reading

The Definite Incarnation – Jay Postones Of TesseracT (Part 2)

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If there is one thing that djent bands are very adept at it is their ability to lose vocalists, so much so it seems to be a rite of passage amongst bands of this ilk, from Monuments and Periphery to The Contortionist. TesseracT it is well documented are no slouches in this department, seeming to change as much as the WWE attitude era Hardcore Championship. Still in the touring cycle for previous album Altered State(Century Media) and on the eve of the summer festivals, came the news that Ashe O’Hara had left the fold, and the welcome surprise that talismanic vocalist Dan Tompkins (at the time also singing for Skyharbor and his own project White Moth Black Butterfly) had assumed his old role.

At the time it seemed completely out of the blue for Tompkins to return, but as Jay Postones explains, he was always the right man for the job, it was circumstances that played their part: “We always kept in contact with Dan and he just couldn’t do it back in the day, when we were touring it was a bit much for him really. But now we are in a much better position, more stable financially and we are able to do it as a proper band. He’s always been able to ride to the music very easily, he’s always been a part of TesseracT, really it’s just the right time.”

In that time, as Postones states, they were always in contact, and during his absence Tompkins had kept very busy with other bands and projects and has been a frequent part of the scene so the idea of rust wasn’t an issue. With so much time passed however you’d expect a settling in period of sorts. As it turns out, this wasn’t the case: “There was no need for integration at all. The hardest thing was getting all the legal stuff right because he had been screwed over before with record labels, management etc, but in artistic terms of what we were trying to create; our vision and his vision align so it was spot on as it’s always been…It was very simple, he came back in and started writing and it was seamless. It’s just great to be working with him again.”

Talking with Postones it is abundantly clear that the band are extremely happy to welcome their old singer and brother back in, in part due to the memories of those early and older tours that they were so fond of. His return brought back that sense of nostalgia as well as the lease of life to move forward: “One of the cool things was that we had a lot of material and demos written from about 2011/12 when he was with us before that we were able to revisit; there were some riffs that we started for Polaris (Kscope). It was really nice to start at that point because a lot of them were written on tour, Dan would be singing along in the van when we were driving past things like crazy, massive lakes in Canada and places like that, and it was nice to be able to start and think back to then.”

Looking back at début album One (Century Media) and Tompkins’ other projects he has done it is clear that he is quite simply a phenomenal talent, but as Postones explains about the singer’s learning curve, frighteningly he is just getting better: “Everything he has done has improved his abilities, he can sing higher that he could before which is just insane because he could reach some stupid notes when he joined is. Everything he has done has helped him develop his voice to a stage he can effortlessly do stuff on Polaris without over shooting himself, and the reason I say that is because if you play an absolute blinder on recording, you have to do it live as well, especially for a vocalist, so what he has put down, every night he’d be fine.”

The impact of Tompkins’ return has not only seen his performance on the microphone skyrocket, but has also made an impression and effect on the rest of the band, rejuvenating them all to a whole new level: “I think the level we had come to expect, I think the bar was raised when Dan came back to us. He was able to absolutely fly with the material. Seeing him nail it every night made us up our game and it was inspiring to see.”

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There is the old adage about people or things fitting together perfectly like a glove, and of course it is always cliché for bands to say this about any member when they are together and then that changes when they depart. With Tompkins’ back in the band however, the obvious connection amongst the entire unit and the bond they have shared even when apart suggests that this is the definite incarnation.

“We are all a similar age and we get on really well on tour. You’ve got to be a band of brothers when you’re in a band, not just a touring business which it is for some bands. You can spot the bands that aren’t going to make it more than a few years because there’s arguing, bitterness and egos. The thing with this band for me is that there is none of that. If you need space you get space, we all know each other really well now and can support each other when having a bad time.”

Even the issue of distance between the members (mostly all scattered around the UK with bassist Amos Williams now residing in Shanghai) does not prove too much of a burden for TesseracT, with them all making sure the communication is still going, and the unity they have as a group: “There’s a lot of conversation, the amount of emails between us is ridiculous, like about 100 or so a day. But other than the time difference in Shanghai it’s the same as it’s always been. As well as the emails there’s the usual stupidity between us all, we are a band of mates which is great, and I hope it stays that way.”

 

 

WORDS BY CHRIS TIPPELL