It’s been a decade since Netherlands’ Textures began their steady ascent in the world of metal. Back then, no one would have anticipated just what an impact the band would make in years to come. Textures began experimenting before the crowd arrived, to essentially sway the the prog-shafted style known in contemporary times as djent. Calum Robson took some time out to track award-winning drummer Stef Broks.
Regardless of whether you’ll acknowledge the silly onomatopoeic inspiration for such a term as ‘djent’, Textures were there at the beginning, and are still here today. Now onto fourth album ‘Dualism’ and joined by two new members in keyboardist Uri Dijk and vocalist Daniel De Jongh, Textures might have had a re-adjustment period, but they’re at their best, or so says sticksman Stef Broks. “Daniel had a hard time when he entered Textures – he had to get aquainted with two hours of new material,” Broks says, when asked how De Jongh has fit in. “That’s a huge task and takes time, [but] Daniel has been in the band now for one year and it goes really well now. We did some huge shows, we travelled a lot and it turns out that Textures is stronger than ever.”
It’s refreshing news from an act that concentrate on remaining true only to their instincts – to carry forward their ruminations with musical freedom. Curiously inspecting the musical canvass that Textures paint their thoughts onto, it’s no wonder new record ‘Dualism’ fails to be narrowly cornered into a particular style or ideology. On ‘Dualism’, the Tilburg-natives certainly throw the listener through a powerful current of instrumental layers. But it’s not a record that emulates previous attempts. “Dualism is more focused on songs,” the drummer affirms. “Every song tells its own story and has its own specific atmosphere. The experimental phase we had at the time of ‘Polars’ and ‘Drawing Circles’ lies behind us now. Those albums were awesome, but we feel on a different level now, focusing on different aspects. In this case, more focus on the songs and building big attention spans.”
On reflection it’s perhaps Soundshock’s earlier use of the term ‘metal’ that does nothing to give full credence to an act that create an accomplished sound. If we were to attempt an autopsy, Textures’ anatomy would unsheath itself and burst in a technicolour of quirky mathcore off-beats, splays of tech-metal riffery, hard nosed nods of groove metal and even catchy pop moments – all with a mega progressive attitude.
When nudged to explain just what extreme forces goad the Dutch experimentalists on their latest effort, it’s conceptual polarities that drive ambition and forge new avenues. But they don’t swing in see-saw conjunction. Returning to a continuing theme throughout their discography, imagery of nature often coincides with man’s relation with it – a relation that Broks says is closer than you would originally think. “We use a lot of metaphors derived from natural aspects. Most of the time man is focused on itself, on human things and things that humans do and think, but everything we are and
what we do – from out of history – is connected to nature. A simple example is the music that we make. It might sound very modern and intellectual, but the underlying energy and emotion comes basically from the way we are crafted by what the weather brings us each day. It’s not a Jekyll and Hyde schizo-relation. Man and nature are bound to each other, not doomed to each other.”
With with the use of their natural imagery to assert these contemplations, they’ve offered the listener plenty to digest. In dissecting themselves and bringing these ideas to the table, they might be giving the listener something to consider. But would they rather be evoking an escapism for the listener to contemplate wildly? Or alternatively, are they crunching these issues together to deliver realisations? “If people want to use our music as a sort of escapism, no problem. In fact, you can see all forms of creating
ideas in our heads as escapism – escapism for the inability to get a straight question to what our purpose is. Are we gettings closer by thinking and creating ideas or are we running away from the inevitable fact of unanswering? I hope people start reflecting or start fantasising on the lyrics and music we make. We want to move people [and] hopefully we move them to do something positive with it of course. If we can reach that, one of the highest artistic goals is done.”
That goal is not a one achieved by robotically fusing styles together or simply sticking to one. Many consciously or unconsciously strive to live within the pretention of a said genre, churning out material with a focus on gaining the respect of peers from a particular ‘scene’, rather than heeding and representing what is surely most important – conveying what lies shackled behind the prison of skin and bone – using music as an extension to let the very fabric of the soul speak. Ultimately, it’s these very specified and filtered genres that have caused an unneccessary level of distress for bands. Textures choose to bathe in a sonic diversity – not purposely combatting so-called genre restrictions but instead side-stepping them, and allowing their themes to breathe naturally. “The sound of Textures give home to so many influences and styles that it is hard to label it down to just one term. Well, most of the time that’s exactly what we do, because it is too hard to describe it. We just call it modern metal. But people who know Textures will know that this term has a very wide open horizon.”