~ Interview mit Dean Wells ~
Gitarrist und Sänger Dean Wells führt TERAMAZE seit mehreren Dekaden durch dick und dünn. Die australischen Prog Metaller verweilen als eine der wenigen Gruppen nie innerhalb einer musikalischen Ecke, sondern bewegen sich – im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes progressiv – kontinuierlich voran.
Nach zwei Alben, ´I Wonder´ und ´Sorella Minore´, innerhalb von nur wenigen Monaten war es an der Zeit, Kontakt nach Australien aufzunehmen und einen kleinen Plausch über die derzeitige Lage zu führen. Hier im englischen Originalwortlaut nachzuvollziehen:
Congratulations on the fantastic ´Sorella Minore´! Has this 40-minute work actually become your lockdown album, since it follows ´I Wonder´ very quickly?
We spent at least 6 months of 2020 in lockdown too. During that insane time the band couldn’t even see each other or rehearse. We just wrote like crazy every day and I wonder came together pretty quickly. ´Sorella Minore´ has been in the works for a few years now, but the looming threat of more lockdowns (which happened), forced me and the guys to stay as focused as possible. We did everything to get ´Sorella´ ready before any more insanity would occur.
How did you spend the last year. How did people feel in Australia?
Most of Australia were pretty gutted. Live music stopped completely and the musician community was a ghost town. It’s worth mentioning as a producer who is required to see artists and record them, I basically had no work. Instead of being bitter, TERAMAZE made the most of a garbage situation and wrote the best music we possibly could.
Have you distracted yourself from everyday life with the music and the concept for the album?
100%, writing this album has been the best “distraction” we could’ve hope for. We’d all be insane if we didn’t have music. None of the band are the kinda guys who have legit hobbies outside. None of us said “Well we can’t jam, I’m going to build a deck and an outdoor pizza oven.”
The concept for the album had been in the works for a while, as you probably know ´Sorella Minore´ is the sequel up to the story from our 2015 album ´Her Halo´. With the state of the world, having a story set in a different time with almost fairytale like elements, it was nice to create some art that could help us and the listeners escape reality, just for a little bit.
The range of the compositions of Prog Metal, with elements of Prog Rock and Melodic Rock, is very nicely tuned nowadays. A conscious decision?
TERAMAZE pride ourselves on just doing the music we love with out boundaries or genre constraints. When people say “prog” they think TOOL or “prog rock” they think RUSH or DREAM THEATER. We have elements of pop and glam and even jazz at times. It’s hard to say what’s “conscious decision” when it comes to how we’d label ourselves. I will say I delete A LOT of music and we write constantly. We only release music that we’re proud of and that reflects the people we are at the time the album was written.
The song ´Sorella Minore´ continues the story of the ´Her Halo´ saga. Is this now finished or can we hope for further sequels?
Never say never. I think the story could be resolved… But there’s always an opening to take the story further, especially with the characters and melodic themes we’ve established across ´Her Halo´ and ´Sorella Minore´.
How did you come up with the idea to invite Silvio Massaro (VANISHING POINT) and Jennifer Borg (DIVINE ASCENSION) as well as your old singer Nathan Peachey?
Well, Nathan and I wrote the ´Her Halo´ album and it did seem right continuing to tell “our” story without him. It became harder to lyrical establish each character and it just became easier to have different characters singing their own lines. Luckily I’m a producer and I meet fantastic musicians all the time. I’d already produced and done various work with Silvio and Jen, and I was pretty sure they’d do a great job. After the first time I got them into the studio to sing their parts, the results we got were more amazing than any of the band had hoped for. We stoked and our fans have had nothing but positive things to say.
What will the future bring, I think you are already writing new material?
We’re hoping to release something around September, maybe October this year!
Which direction will this go in?
It will be more individual songs that don’t have to rigidly fit a theme or story. Our next album will be definitely be heavier than ´I Wonder´ or ´Sorella Minore´. I can hear elements from all our albums across these next nine songs from this album. Me and the guys think it will be our best release yet!
In the last few years you have taken your own path anyway, away from the usual Prog Metal. Can we expect more changes?
We like to surprise our listeners… but you can always really on TERAMAZE for cool guitar lines and pop influenced vocals. We really like dishing out the ear worms! That being said there’s interesting piano parts, dense orchestration and sometimes 4 part Backstreet Boys style vocal harmonies. I don’t want to give to much away but it’s going to be great.
Do you see TERAMAZE as a completely different band now than in the nineties?
TERAMAZE has always been myself and whoever wanted to be part of it at the time. The lineup is totally different and I’ve grown up a lot since the 90s. People forget, when we first got signed we were still basically kids, haha. The sound has most definitely evolved and matured, but I’d like to still think there are elements of 90s TERAMAZE that the fans then fell in love with that are still present in today’s TERAMAZE.
´Tears To Dust´ was a fantastic album in those days, a dark and progressive work. How do you look back today on those days and this album?
´Tears To Dust´ was our second album and it gave me a chance as an artist to try something different than I had on our first album ´Doxology´. I also wanted top and outdo myself and make ´Tears To Dust´ an more complex and all around better album. We’re coming up to our ninth studio album now and I still think about ways we can improve on what we did on our previous albums.
Why did the group fall apart afterwards and later not tie in with this album?
Everyone wanted different things and I ended up becoming a professional songwriter in the pop world. I still consider everyone from the ´Tears To Dust´ era of TERAMAZE to be a mate. As a musician can’t forget all of those magical experiences and early memories that ultimately shape you as a person and as an artist.
How do you keep the spirit of the band together these days? Can you even see each other to practice and study new material?
The weird thing is, the spirit of our current line-up is kept quite high because of two things. First, we behave like four mates hanging s*^t on each other constantly. Secondly, we have a job to do and a mission. As soon as we know what we’re focused on, everyone’s on board… Having that purpose and drive makes it feel meaningful.
It’s very strange, I’ve never been in a band situation where there’s so little conflict and everyone is on the same page. With the exception of Andrew’s Vitamin D deficiency and Chris’s bi-weekly meltdowns about his toddler breaking televisions or drawing on the walls, things are pretty good.
Right now Andrew Cameron (Bass) lives interstate, so it’s just Chris, Nick and me in Melbourne… unfortunately due to BS state of the world we’re in right now, there’s been restrictions on our ability to jam together, but we’re all doing plenty of study of the new material separately.
Do you hope to be able to perform your music live to people again soon?
Absolutely. We haven’t played since „Prog Power“ in October 2019. We miss the buzz from live shows and talking to fans afterwards. I think once album 9 is done, we’ll start playing again for sure.