Having formed ten years ago, Dutch progressive death metallers Textures are hugely respected by the musical mainstream in their home country and are making waves the world over from India to Mexico. With their forthcoming fourth album "Dualism" due out soon, we caught up with drummer Stef Broks for an exotic chat about Arnhem Land and naked women in beach houses.
Hey man, please start out by telling us your name, what you play in Textures and a bit about the band?
I am Stef Broks, drummer of the band and one of the founding members since back in 2001. In September we will release a new album called "Dualism". For all music lovers and people who like modern metal bands like the Dillinger Escape Plan, Devin Townsend, Gojira, Periphery, Meshuggah, Tesseract and especially your own down under band Karnivool, we could be your band as well. But hey, we have already 3 albums out, so maybe you know us already.
What inspires you most in the creation of your music?
Other people, movies, books, music. Everything happening on this planet. Man, that’s a lot. It’s hard to pinpoint the ingredients.
Textures have undergone some pretty major line up changes, particularly going from your old front man Eric Kalsbeek to Daniël de Jongh. How has this impacted the band?
What cannot kill us makes us stronger. That’s the vibe remaining after Eric and Richard left. We’re still good friends with the dudes by the way, but we strongly had the feeling to continue. Especially since the new guys are in the band. And, besides that, we have a new, big ass label and booker. It feels like a new beginning. Textures 2.0 if you will.
Your fourth album “Dualism” comes out in September. What was the writing and recording process like for this release?
A long one. It took us three years to craft to the songs into their final shape. Actually, when Eric and Richard left in the beginning of 2010 we were almost halfway through writing the album. It was a really bumpy ride on our way to the final product. But I can assure you that since summer last year, when we got the new members, it’s just been on the up and up. Textures is on a roll again!
Textures’ guitarist Jochem Jacobs produced the record. What made the band choose to have such a hands-on approach in the creation of the album?
Well we are hands on with almost everything. We like to be in control of everything, and besides that we have all expertise amongst the band to create exactly the album we want. With a producer outside of the band there would always be some form of miscommunication. Now with Jochem producing the stuff it’s working really smoothly. All the ideas of every band member are respected and it feels like climbing a ladder to perfection creating the album like we did. At least for ourselves.
What can fans expect from your new material? How have responses to new songs been so far?
Textures is six bands in one. That’s what somebody wrote on our Facebook a few seconds ago, responding to our new mp3. That’s a good description, keeping in mind that we have six band members and everybody really listens to any kind of music. So in this way our six personalities are united in the sound of Textures. This unity is our sound. Even these new guys fitted in perfectly. Textures has evolved to a band who delivers modern, progressive music in any way. As we progress as human beings, so does our music. To give it a name – we leave that to the journalists.
Can you tell us a bit about the album art for “Dualism”?
A cool aspect is that Eric, our former singer, designed it. He still wanted to contribute something to the band so he asked us for something to do. Of course no vocals, but since he is an artwork specialist we decided to let him focus on the artwork. The cover is made by him, the rest of the booklet is done by our bass player Remko. Thanks to those dudes for creating the modern layout.
Obviously Europe is a total hotbed for metal. What’s the scene like in your home country of the Netherlands?
Holland is a paradise for musicians. Musicians are well treated. Venues are great and the backstage and food and stuff is great. But since we have a right winged coalition in political Holland it has gotten tougher. Fees are cut down and ticket prices are going up. These new politicians think that music is a “typical lefties hobby”. What the fuck? That definitely makes it harder to earn a living out of music. But besides that we have nothing to complain about. We can play anywhere, there are a lot of magazines and a shitload of fans and good festivals. Really every genre can flourish here since Dutch people are open-minded to a lot of things.
In May Jochem won a Duiveltje Award for best Dutch guitar player. How does it feel that your band is getting that sort of recognition in the relative mainstream?
It feels great of course. Funny thing is that Textures is seen as a sort of mainstream band here in Holland. We get a lot of awards and prizes and in our personal work we have all these commercial musicians as colleagues. The respect that Textures gets out of that corner is amazing. I think Holland is definitely the best country for us when it comes to that aspect.
You guys have been to India a few times now, which I don’t think many metal bands can say they’ve done. How did you find the response from crowds over there?
Dude, it’s nothing less than amazing over there. The whole scene is new to them and we found ourselves is a sort of situation like the hippies had in the 60’s or the punkers had in the 70’s. This massive crowd of young kids – there’s 1.1 billion people in India – is the first bunch of kids who are recalcitrant against the established order. When metal music came to India there was a perfect combination. The weirdest thing is that they listen to progressive stuff a lot. At the first gig we got a crowd of 6000 people singing along to the lyrics. Well, if you know Textures you know that thing is a tough job at some points haha. Since our gigs in Bangalore and the year after in Delhi, India has become one of our main markets. Bizarre, but true!
Your debut tour to Mexico is steadily approaching. What are you expecting from those shows?
We really don’t know. We’ve had lot of responses from Mexican Facebookers, but when it comes to a show we don’t know what to expect. We don’t have any clue how the metal is over there. Of course we hope for massive amounts of naked women in a beach house!
Does Textures have any plans to tour Australia in the future?
Definitely! We had a meeting with our bookers about plans to go to Australia. Since our second album "Drawing Circles" we saw a peak in merch sales coming from Australia. So we know there’s a big bunch of fans. Until now it always was too expensive to go there. Now with a big label and good bookers we finally can work something out. It’s really weird that playing in this band makes my biggest dreams come true. Even outside a musical perspective – going down under was one of them. I made plans to do a train trip through your country to see the Outback, Arnhem Land and some of the cities. I never made the final decision, but now with Textures these plans are becoming more real than ever. Thumbs up!
Cheers man, any last thoughts or comments?
I would like to try to learn your beautiful Australian accent. It’s really lovely, but a bit hard for a non-native English speaker. So, maybe I have to try to learn some typical Australian slang words.
Thanks a lot for your time dude!