My experience with the Dutch has always been positive, and this time was certainly no exception. Progressive groove-metallers Textures are a friendly lot with a great sense of humor and dedication to their art. I got to sit down with Bart Hennephof (guitar), Remko Tielemans (bass) and relatively new vocalist Daniel de Jongh after their blazing set at Damnation Festival to quiz them on playing live, the new album and a cover of a song they did for a museum…
Angel: Welcome to the eternal Damnation of your souls!
Daniel: Haha, thank you very much!
Angel: How does it feel to be playing your second UK festival of the year?
Remko: Feels good, it’s great!
Daniel: Oh yeah, it’s our second one! *look of realization* Well we’ve played in the UK two or three times before. And we’ve got a show with Fear Factory in December.
Angel: Cool! I came to Textures a bit late unfortunately, but a good Dutch friend of mine told me to pick up Dualism, and I did so when in Russia. I was really impressed, upon further research, with the smooth transition you made from the previous album, despite changing keyboardist and vocalist. Was there any issues with transition, Daniel, from your previous band Cilice?
Daniel: Well, not really, because the vocal styles are quite similar, [previous vocalist] Erik and I are quite similar in our techniques, so it wasn’t really a big transition for me. It was actually quite natural to do this. The only difference is that Cilice everything was in 4/4, but in Textures it’s crazy, so that for me was the hardest part.
Textures playing Damnation:
Angel: How did you guys know each other before hooking up in Textures?
Daniel: Well, I knew Uri [keyboards] because he lives in the neighborhood, and I suggested him to the band when Richard stepped out. And I already knew Stef [drums] and Erik actually, and I knew Bart a little bit. So it was quite easy.
Remko: We’re one big family.
Angel: In a previous interview, Jochem [guitars] mentioned about there being a required atmosphere in the band, some connection points between the members. Do you guys have mutual bonding points, either gaming or fighting over the stereo?
Bart: Nah man, I think every band member has his own passion; that can be music or movies or anything. Is anyone a gamer among us?
Daniel: Uhh, maybe me, haha! I like to game a bit.
Remko: But there’s not one mutual thing, aside from the music. The rest is just that, socially we are very much alike. We talk about everything, and we have fun on tour. That’s the most important thing. We relate to each other as people.
Angel: Cool! What are you guys generally doing outside of the studio and tour cycle? Are there jobs too, or is this the main thing you do?
Remko: Well, Daniel’s the only one who has a steady job, but everybody has something outside of Textures as well. We either have our own company or are freelancing. I’m a video producer and do all this stuff with motion design and so on.
Daniel: And I work with mentally challenged kids in a home, so that’s a bit different, haha!
Angel: A bit of jump from being onstage to working with kids!
Daniel: Yeah, but it’s good man. I don’t work with the stronger cases, just the slightly challenged kids, so you don’t really notice that they have these issues. It’s a lot of fun to work with them.
Remko: It’s good to have him, so he can watch Bart!
Daniel: Like “Hey!” *makes a slapping noise* “Stop fucking around, motherfucker!”
Angel: A question about vocals and so on, how do you discover you can do harsh vocals? It’s not something you just discover in the shower one day!
Daniel: Nah, I developed it when I was 25 or 26. I was already singing by the age of 13, and I was already in a band which was kind of big in Holland, so I was singing all the time, but I didn’t really scream. I knew I could do it, because I just did it for fun. But I developed it when I was asked to join Cilice. That was the point where I really learned screaming, all the techniques. It wasn’t there at first, it was already there, because I had the harsh vocals, I just learned to expand my vocals. I was in that band for 4 or 5 years, so I had a lot of time to work on it!
Angel: Listening to Dualism, it’s amazing how well each song is a separate entity and yet they flow together well. How is it you have such diversity across songs and albums without succumbing to Multiple Personality Disorder.
Remko: Haha, good question!
Daniel: Yeah, Bart, that’s yours!
Bart: Well, what we do a lot is work a lot with motifs; you have a melody or a rhythm or a theme for a song. So every song is recognizable, but we have the same kind of tricks to create cool rhythms. There’s always some kind of motif going on, and that’s how you recognize the songs. And it’s connection, so you connect the rhythm to another song for example.
Angel: That’s really cool! I also found the lyrics particularly fascinating, the idea of contrast and so on. Are there any literary or film or musical things that inspire you to create the contrast either in the music or the lyrics?
Daniel: I don’t think it’s really movies. Most of the time we grab ideas from nature actually, and then combine that with the human mind.
Bart: Different theories and thought processes.
Daniel: So it wasn’t just me who wrote the lyrics, it was Stef, Bart, Uri, and Jochem sometimes as well.
Bart: It makes the lyrics very diverse, so in the end we all look over them to finish it up. Everyone brings in ideas.
Angel: Alright, difficult question for you guys, but for my personal benefit: If you could name an album which inspired you to start as a musician or a vocalist or a lyricist or a frontman… Which would it be and why?
Remko: For me, it’s Appetite For Destruction from Guns N’ Roses.
Daniel: I think I’m on that too! We’re early Guns N’ Roses fans. OLD Guns’ N’ Roses, haha!
Remko: Yeah, that was the first heavier kind of band that I listened to. I started out with stuff like Michael Jackson, and then I heard Guns N’ Roses on TV or something and went “whoa, I have to check that out”. That’s what brought me into metal.
Bart: For me it was Rage Against The Machine I think.
Daniel: Rage Against The Machine for me was later! Yeah, I’ll go with Appetite For Destruction, that was one of the first rock albums I ever heard, and I was blown away by it.
Angel: Unless you’ve done something in the live environment which I haven’t come across yet, I don’t think you’ve covered any songs before.
Remko: Well, urm, there’s a recording of Pantera somewhere. “A New Level” or something.
Bart: “I’m Broken” maybe?
Angel: Was that with Erik then?
Remko: Nah, no vocals.
Angel: If you could pick a song to “Texturesify”, what would you do?
Remko: Well, we did do a cover, by the way, but only live. John Cage’s “4’33”.
*all start laughing*
Remko: Yeah, we actually did that as a performance once this year.
Angel: I thought you were joking with me, didn’t realize you were being serious!
Remko: Nah man, it’s absolutely true. It’s for an art project that we worked on together with a film crew and a director, and it’s been filmed a couple of months ago in front of an audience in an open-air theater, and that was really weird.
Remko: Aside from that, musically, I dunno, maybe something from Tool? I think that’s sort of in the same…
Angel: “Progressive” idea?
Bart: In the days where we didn’t have songs, we did covers of At The Gates, Slaughter Of The Soul songs, for a couple of weeks, then we wrote our own song.
Remko: Probably we’d do something that isn’t really metal, y’know? Like…a soft song that we could turn into…
Bart: Karnivool maybe?
Angel: Or Stef mentioned he’s into Queen and Radiohead, so maybe a Radiohead track?
Daniel: Yeah, that’d be cool one of these days!
Angel: You’ve played some pretty diverse places, such as in Nepal?!
Daniel: Yep, we just played Nepal two weeks ago!
Angel: How did you land gigs in Nepal and India and Russia and all that kind of stuff? Well done to you guys for it!
Bart: Well, we got an offer for India…
Remko: India is that weird story that we mention sometimes. There was this Indian guy who made a flyer for a fake show with us as headliners, and people were saying “Wow, is Textures coming to India?!”. And we got wind of that, that people were looking forward to us on a show that wasn’t taking place. We got into contact with some bookers over there and we came there, the first show we played for 5 or 6 thousand people.
Angel: That’s amazing.
Remko: And we came back again, so I think that’s the reason why Nepal happened. And Russia, I have no idea.
Angel: Coming to the image of the band, you guys don’t really strike me as the “sex, drugs, rock n’ roll” kind of band, do you think that’s still a part of metal culture? Or is it dying out as a whole tradition? The whole Mötley Crüe/Steel Panther thing…
Daniel: I was there two days ago, it was amazing! Urm, not really anymore.
Remko: It depends on what kind of music you make, what kind of people you have in the band, probably.
Bart: You do hear stories of bands who still do it, every show or every night…
Remko: I mean, we drink a beer or some whiskey. But for us it’s about the music, and having fun together.
Angel: In the Netherlands, is there still some prejudice against metal? Either being a metalhead or playing in a band.
Daniel: Nope, I don’t think so.
Remko: Nah, but we played in Sicily. There was this festival that almost got cancelled because the local church there thought they were all devil-worshippers coming to the island, haha! But it’s not like that in Holland.
Daniel: And the true reason, which we heard from the organization was, there was one band from Holland and they said they were all gay. And we were the only band from Holland at that festival.
Angel: That is priceless, absolutely amazing. On a more serious note, in light of the recent news related to Nergal’s trial in Poland, Metal Recusants asked on their Facebook page about launching a protest of solidarity. Would you guys be supporting this? And what is your take on other recent political news related to rock or metal bands?
Remko: Yeah, sure, we’d support it.
Bart: Well, that case is insane.
Remko: Yeah, it’s crazy. I mean you see a lot of that kind of stuff recently, like the Pussy Riot case in Russia. But in general, music is just a way to express yourself. Maybe ripping up a Bible is not the smartest thing to do, but hey. Let’s not talk about religion man. *laughs*.
Angel: OK, onto happier notes, do you have a bucket list for what you want to do with Textures in the future?
Daniel: Well, we were just talking about that actually, we got an offer to maybe play in Australia, which we’d really want to do. We don’t know yet if that’ll happen, but we’ll see.
Angel: That’d be cool! Alright, thanks for your time you guys, any last words?
Remko: Bart’s gay.
Bart: Hahaha, I’ll get you tonight. In your sleep.
Remko: Well, I don’t want to do this all cheesily, y’know, “stay metal”, I hate that kind of stuff.
Daniel, in a gruff voice: Thankyouallsomuchforeverything.
Bart: Well, for anyone in the UK, come to our show with Fear Factory in London.
Daniel: Yeah, 18th December, in the Koko club!
Remko: We will blast your heads out.
Daniël de Jongh – Vocals
Bart Hennephof – Guitar
Jochem Jacobs – Guitar
Stef Broks – Drums
Remko Tielemans – Bass
Uri Dijk – Synths