April 2008 - TEKHTON
It seems, that some of the newer sludge bands just try to imitate EyeHateGod or they focus their attention only on a fat sound, but nothing more. The result is a mass of faceless bands without a memorable sound, and meanwhile I'm really bored to death by this soulless stagnation. But TEKHTON didn't dash my hope, and their debut album 'Summon The Core' was really something particular in 2007. Developed from the ashes of Dutch Doom Metal band LAHAR, this band offers a sharp sound profile and is awake of their sonic power. They've arranged a progressive sound, which is connected with any of the current trends. I mingle with vocalist Bert-RenÃ© for the second time, because we've also done an interview in 2005, when this band was named LAHAR. But they times they are a changin, and it was time to find out the latest news.
Hey, Bert-RenÃ©, it's been a few years ago since we did our first interview. At that time your band was named LAHAR and not TEKHTON. I think, it was a good idea to change the name, due to the very different sound of TEKHTON. What was the reason and where do you think is the main difference between both bands?
There were three other bands called Lahar at the time. Two of them were / are making a good name for themselves and we didn't want any confusion. At the time I wasn't too content with the name "Lahar", in the process of finding a new name it became clear that it wasn't such a bad name after all. Anyway, we got the name Tekhton, at first I wanted it to be just Khton but the ohter bandmembers didn't like it. Then we decided to add Te- and got Tekhton.
Lahar recorded one demo and some songs, then Ralph joined the band. We recorded an album and changed our name. So Tekhton is just a continuation of Lahar but if you have the demo as well, you'll hear the difference with ' Summon the core' . Ralph added a lot more depth to our sound. It will become even clearer on our next album because most of the songs on ' summon the core' were written without Ralph.
What happened to Circle Six Records? Is your own label still active or have you buried it together with the old moniker?
It's not really a label, I kept the www.circlesix.com domain and there will be some sort of blog on it with things that interest me. But first I have to finish the Tekthon website.
Where did you meet the new guitarist Ralph?
In a local metalbar 'De Ster' in Groningen. When we first met I thought he was an annoying bastard and we didn't keep in touch. But we met again at doom-metal.com when it was still cool (so you can imagine how long ago that was). At first I didn't know it was Ralph but I got to know him a bit, then we met and we got along great. He's a very creative guy and fits in with the band real well.
In 2006 you've entered the studio to record your first full-length 'Summon the Core'. Why did you never record an album under the old name LAHAR?
We did record the album under the name Lahar, we released it under the name Tekhton. We wanted to avoid confusion, the US-Lahar just got a great review in a major metal magazine here in the Netherlands and we didn't want anybody to think we were them.
Among the tracks of the album, one can also find also an older song, entitled 'Apocalypse Machine', that has been taken from the LAHAR demo 'Demo Mmiu'. Why did you only chose to re-record this special track?
We also re-recorded 'It is death' and 'Terrors in the whale' which are on the DSR edition of the demo. ' Apocalypse machine' deserved to be on the album we thought and the other two songs were not really on the demo and we didn't really like the recordings so we recorded them again as well. 'From Weakness' was also on the demo and we want to record it sometime because we think it's a great song. We don't know yet what we're going to do with it because it doesn't really fit our new material.
'Words from flesh' was a typical startup song. It was one of the first songs we wrote together, you can hear it has three parts, we were still looking for a way to write and to get to know each other. After that we wrote 'Days of Doom' and after that 'From weakness' and 'There be giants'. At the same time we were rehearsing 'Warsaw' from Joy Division, we want to record that one someday as well. If you hear it you'll never know it's a Joy Division song unless you know the lyrics.
For my taste 'Summon the Core' is an outstanding album, especially because it's so hard to categorize. You have integrated sludge and doom elements, but the final result has not much in common with both styles. What is your personal view about your sound?
Thanks for the compliment. Our Myspace page says we play 'Post-Sludge', that was meant ironic/sarcastic because of everybody using the 'post-' monicker. But everybody thought we were serious about it and it got picked up by some websites and reviewers. According to them it fits the music so we just leave it be. We don't really worry about which style we play or get catagorized in, we just play what we like. We just want the sound to be raw and pure, no triggers and shit like that.
What do you think, if some describes your sound with the term 'progressive'?
We take it as a compliment.
It seems as if one of your main inspirations is the daily and slow movement of the crust of the earth, and the tasteful photos of the cover-artwork just fit perfectly to your skull-crushing sound as well as the name TEKHTON. Can you agree with me or what was the idea behind the album-title and the package of the album?
I wrote lyrics for a song called 'Tectonic mass' I liked the double meaning of mass as in 'a body of coherent matter' and 'the celebration of the Eucharist'. In the song I summon the core of the earth to rise in a messianic rite. The concept of the album comes from that song. Even though the song doesn't exist anymore.
The pictures on the album are not of waves crashing on the rocks but of rocks getting pushed by the core of the earth and crushing the waves. Someone said that the pictures in the booklet are very calm and don't reflect the music, there's nothing threatening in the pictures. I don't agree, if you don't think the sea is threatening, you've never seen it. In a new song 'Tooth and nail' I write about the sea: 'It's a cradle and a grave, we're fed by the sea and killed by the waves' .
The lyrics of 'Terrors in the Whale' are based on Melville, who wrote 'Moby Dick'. What is your favourite film version of this great book and are there any other authors you really like? What do you think about Jack London?
I only saw the film with Patrick Stewart as AHAB and that's a long time ago so I don't really have a favourite film version. Films and cartoons tend to focus on AHAB's story. Melvilles 'Moby Dick' is so much more than that. It's a picture of the times it was written in, there is so much there, I love it. All the descriptions of the ships and what's going on on board etc. It's just a great great book. To my shame I must admit I don't know Jack London, but his Wiki page looked interresting.
You've also worked together with Roman van der Meulen, who was responsible for the mixing and mastering of 'Demo Mmiu'. I suppose, that he really knows how you have to sound, no matter if you're on stage or in the studio. How important is his work for TEKHTON?
It was very important, he also mastered 'Summon the core' and it worked out much better than we had hoped for.
'Summon the Core' is released by the new German label The Church Within Records. How did you get together with Oliver and are there any plans for further albums on his record label?
I don't really remember how I met Oli. I guess also on the doom-metal.com site. Then we met on Doom Shall Rise and some other shows. I asked him if he would help us with the distribution of the album, because we wanted to release it ourselves. After some failures with labels we were fed up with that. But he told me he started his own label and wanted to release the album. We gave him some rough recordings, he liked it and released the album. We're proud to be on his label, he's got a great roster of bands, it's great to be part of that.
Maybe I'm just not well informed, but my impression is that you did't play a lot of shows after the release of the full-length? Have I missed something or can you share my impression?
You didn't miss anything. We wanted to tour a bit after the release, but that fell through for various reasons. One of the reasons being that I moved to another house which needed a lot of work. And some more bad planning on my part. Hopefully you can see us on some more stages in the (near) future.
What are you doing, when you don't torture the microphone with your sinister and brutal vocals? Do you have kids and what are your other interests in life?
I also use my vocals in a choir, we sing dutch folksongs ('smartlappen' or 'weeping songs'). My other interrests are comics, vinyl and books in general. I read a lot authors I like are: E.A. POE (the absolute master), Sir A. C. Doyle, Terry Pratchett, Boudewijn Buch (a dutch guy who wrote a lot about distant islands, like Norfolk Island, which I visited), A. C. Clarke and Asimov were great SF writers, a great new SF writer is Peter F. Hamilton. Some comic (graphic novell) artists I like are: Moebius/Jodorowsky/Bess (Incal, Son of the gun, bouncer), Hermann (Jeremiah, Bernard Prince), Marvano/Haldeman (Forever war) and of course Uderzo (Asterix). I also like to travel a bit with my girlfriend and work on my house, I just installed a new toilet and I'm isolating the roof right now.
Do you feel any deeper connection to your homeland or do you give a shit about the place, where you live? Is there any place on this planet where you really would like to live?
I feel a connection to the place I was born. Not to the Netherlands, but to Fryslan, a part of the Netherlands. We speak our own language and we are sometimes considered being rednecks. The most beautiful breed of horses is the Frisian Horse. But I don't want to be a romantic / nationalist about my background. As I said, I've travelled a bit and when it comes down to it, people are the same everywhere. Everybody has his own problems and generally people just want to live their lives without too much of them. I'd like to live in Ireland, Sweden, Australia or New Zealand, but I think when you live there it's the same shit. I like the place I live right now so I don't think I will ever move, but you never know.
That's all for now, Bert-RenÃ©! Thanks for your time and interest! Is there anything you would like to add at least?
Thank you for the interview. It's good be on your site again.