Interviews: Tegmentum

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Progressive Metal band Tegmentum from the USA. Check out this band and follow them on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Well, I’ll leave it up to listeners to decide whether our band name accomplishes this goal or not, but I picked this name because it fulfilled two tenets I have when deciding on a band name: 1.) Is it easy to say? 2.) Is it easy to remember?

To my mind, TEGMENTUM fulfills these tenets. Along with its uncommon combination of letters, it sounded like a good choice to me!

So, a while ago, I started a death metal band with a couple of people, and one day we were workshopping some ideas for a name. Our drummer picked up a medical dictionary and started thumbing through its contents. They landed on TEGMENTUM, and when I repeated it back to myself a few times, it sounded like something a crowd would chant at a show. Maybe my ego took the wheel there for a second, but all told I liked the sound of it. When that band decided not to use it, I kept it in mind and decided to use it myself when I started this project.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Because I believe it affords us the most amount of room to explore ideas!

My biggest challenge when I was in a strictly death metal band was that I felt constrained by the margins within which I had to create. A lot of ideas I have tend to employ crossover, so it makes it difficult to pin down our sound to any one sub-genre of metal.

We call ourselves Prog Metal because we don’t really know what else to call it! We can hang with Death Metal bands with some of our songs, but we could just as easily rearrange our set and play with some Prog Metal bands.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

We did not actually. This started off a solo project of mine that I’ve built out over time into a band.

When I released the first TEGMENTUM album, “Passage,” it got me in touch with Kenji (who handled bass for our record Evolvement). We worked together for a long while before we were ready to roll into writing Evolvement, we sought out more people to complete our line-up.

Chelsea, whom we came into contact with when we were getting ready to record our album, EVOLVEMENT. She added us on social media, and I saw that she was looking for collaborations around 2019. I reached out about working on Accolades together. We booked studio time, and she came in the day of, crushed it, and we went back and forth for a while after that. We all liked the vibe we had, and so Chelsea put it out there that she wanted to join on a permanent basis. Seemed like an easy choice, as she made such a good impression.

Andrew, we met under similar circumstances. He was looking to do session work for a lot of bands at the time we met in 2019. We hung out at a show where he told me about his goal to help local bands achieve pro drums for their records. It was clear that he had a big heart, and I enjoyed talking with him about it. Sometime later, TEG had a change in a line-up that created a need for live drums, so I hit him up about taking on a gig. A similar story kind of unfolded: he accepted, we booked studio time, he came in the day of, crushed it, and after we went back and forth for a while. We liked the vibe we had, so Andrew offered to come on as our official drummer!

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Me: Anomalous

Chelsea: Alcest

Andrew: Meshuggah

Kenji: It’s either Cryptopsy or Bloodshot Dawn, can’t remember which haha 

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

That’s hard to say. I wouldn’t ever say that my own emotional struggles are the reason I write music. Though music is a great outlet to process emotions, it is not what gets me onto the computer to complete a project. Starting a song is always the hardest part for me. When I do start, however, I think it’s just the wish to do a good job that keeps me going. I’m never happier than when I’m jamming pre-pros of tracks, feeling that accomplishment of workshopping ideas into something robust and badass. There’s nothing but potential at that point, and I love how I feel at that moment. Like, “Yea, I really did a good job here.” I write to chase that feeling.

6. Where was your last gig?

It was my favorite venue ever, actually! We played the upstairs loft at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, CA.

7. Where would you like to act?

Honestly, I’d love to play the main stage of the DNA Lounge. I just have a special attachment to that place, and it’d be a cool feeling to play a sick bill with some good bands there.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Devin Townsend, hands down. He seems like such an emotionally grounded guy. He seems very self-aware, and to have a chance for a 1:1 where I can just listen and reflect on what he has to share would be so cool, let alone work on music together. It’s a lofty dream, and probably won’t ever happen haha but it’s a good dream nevertheless.

9. Whom not?

Can I say my high school bully? Haha, I have a feeling that’d be a bad collaboration.

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

Yes, and recently at the time of this writing. We played a venue where we checked our backend before setting up, but there was a band that played before us who switched our cables around. When we took the stage and checked our sound, the tracks that were meant to go to our in-ear monitors went out to the house speakers. Because we checked everything beforehand, I didn’t know where to start because to my mind it was all sorted beforehand. I had a panic attack on stage, and it was embarrassing to hold the show up like that. We eventually got things working, and we had to cut a song from our set in order to stay on schedule. My top tip is: always make sure you’re prepared, it’s the greatest favor you can do yourself if you’re especially anxious about performing.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

In no particular order, it’d have to be:

1.) Anomalous: My favorite tech death band of all time. They are a big reason why I chase such a chaotic sound. As much as they are classified as Tech Death, they often do so much more with their music by boldly exploring different moods/genres.

2.) Strapping Young Lad: Metal is inherently aggressive, but this band was the first that truly struck me as belligerently angry. Pure unadulterated fury. Their album, "Alien" is still one of my favorite records.

3.) Ion Dissonance: There was something really special about the era of Mathcore bands that was so raw, and Ion Dissonance has always been a standout for me. Their record, "Minus The Herd" is still in rotation. It's too bad they aren't really active anymore, but we at least got one more killer record from them in 2016 called, "Cast the First Stone."

4.) Don Ross: Not technically a band, but I’ve been inspired by acoustic artists for so long. Don Ross is at the top of that pile of favorite acoustic artists. His brand of groove and emotion are things I draw a lot of inspiration from. The final solo I do for “Accolades” has a lot of Don Ross inspiration.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

That’s a good question.

13. What do you think of your fans?

I have the utmost gratitude for everyone who supports what we do, and I have as much respect for anyone who doesn’t. It’s a miracle that anyone supports Metal at all. If I can at least reach one person with our message, I will consider that a job well done.

14. What do you think of our site?

It’s awesome! You all have a great selection of features and reviews… the look is on point, too. Good lookin’ ya’ll.

15. Something to add?

Thanks for giving me a platform to speak my mind! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself.

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