Editor’s Note: It was such a glorious night seeing an amazing band in TesseracT leave their audience awestruck at the Skyway Theater in Minneapolis with special guests Plini and Astronoid. It literally felt like another dimension with the ominous ambiance and the lights, which instead of playing the same old generic rock songs in between sets, they left their audience in anticipation for roughly 20 minutes and showed why they deserved to headline. Dan certainly has one of the best voices in metal which is a mix of Geoff Tate(formerly of Queensryche) and Maynard James Keenan of Tool(and A Perfect Circle), and after discussing “Sonder” and other topics with him, you can tell that he’s a thinking man’s musician. In the meantime, fans can find TesseracT at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Here is Madness To Creation here with Dan Tompkins of TesseracT at the Skyway Theater, random question, what is your favorite color?
Dan: My favorite color is blue and I actually named our first child after the ocean, it just explains a lot why I love the color blue. I’ve been in TesseracT for a long time, started in 2007 as the main guitarist, songwriter, and producer, and one vocalist, and that is my job.
Madness To Creation: You guys have recently released “Sonder” with rousing success, the dictionary defintion of “Sonder” is the realization of each passerby is living life as vivid and as complex as your own, do you see that in your daily observations and in day to day life?
Dan: I do see it, and that is the beauty of being a touring musician where the music takes you to every corner of the world with many cultures, backgrounds, and traditions, and with that, there is a great deal of perspective, you can have a very voyeuristic view on life as you travel from city to city every day, most of it is spent looking out of the window for sure. Personally, there are many times where I walked through a crowd, in which I have taken one of my lyrics where it goes, “are you alone, locked inside/that prison in your head?/You walk through the crowd/lost in the sound/invisible to every passing eye”, and that kind of song is the whole idea is that you can feel very alone and isolated, but you’re a part of the whole universe and part of a very big story, and it can make you feel quite empowered when you think about how tiny we are in the grand scheme of things, in terms of talking about space and cosmology, and the next galaxy. We need to realize that we are incredible beings in terms of how we exist.
Madness To Creation: Do you plan on making a music video for “Luminary”, and can you elaborate on those lyrics further?
Dan: I would like to, and in an ideal world, I would like to have a video for every song, because that’s the way I like to operate, but we have a business behind the band, it’s not always up to us. *laughs* With that particular song, I remember in 2006 and 2008, this was when I was traveling in Japan, not knowing anything, I remember walking through Shibuya, which is the iconic crossing, I remember being there in the middle of the night amidst the hustle and bustle, I remember walking in this huge crowd of people, and just watching this amazing culture and realizing that I’m in a completely faraway land what felt like the middle of nowhere, I remember not being able to communicate with people, yet I’m here. Then, I was thinking “what about these people”, “I wonder where he’s going, I wonder what she’s doing”, and that was the first time that I ever actually felt “Sonder”, I had no idea I would become a coined word that I would use as a concept.
Madness To Creation: So based on what we’ve been talking about, do you subscribe to the teachings of Stephen F. Hawking and Neil DeGrasse Tyson?
Dan: I enjoy a little cosmology, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a cool character, he’s very approachable, he’s the one celebrity cosmologist, if that is his title, I can’t remember, but he’s definitely bridging the gap between the public and science, but I wouldn’t say that I’m well versed in it. But going back to that, the man who coined the word “Sonder” is John Koenig and he is the author of “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”, “sonder” is actually not an official word, it’s narrowed down to a word that describes inevitable emotions. Sometimes a person can feel a certain way but cannot articulate it.
Madness To Creation: In essence, is that the message that you try to bring to your fans with this album?
Dan: For sure, with “Sonder”, if there is anything that I would like the fans to take away from the album, is for people to reflect upon their own lives, especially in today’s age, I don’t want to go down this street too heavily, but the digital age and the turn of the millennium, I feel like the way that we communicate has changed drastically from when I was young, and now my kids are grown up in times of social media, I guess its where I want people to take a look at their own life, and strive for a more selfless life.
Madness To Creation: What are some things that you do that you consider to be selfless in your journey?
Dan: Here’s one, when I’ve done my bulk of interviews for this album, a lot of people just want to do it by email or by phone, I want to connect with you face to face via Skype or in person and talk, when I’ve done the interviews, I want them to be more personable and to learn about who you are as well. I want to get to know my fans as well, human connection is so important to me.
Madness To Creation: In creation of “Sonder”, what are some memories that you have made in creating this album, and how do you train yourself as a vocalist?
Dan: I’ve had some issues on this tour, believe it or not, I had laryngitis and I thought that I was going to be out for awhile. I missed one show and went straight back on it again, the reason for that was that I got to see a specialist, and this same specialist was hired by Justin Timberlake, she basically kept him healthy on tour, and I had a number of sessions with her, and she showed me some wonderful things to keep myself conditioned, and that’s the nature of what we do, we push boundaries and we push our own abilities to the maximum, when I sing, I’m not just using my voice, I’m using the whole spectrum. It takes a lot of care and a lot of looking after it in order to get to that point. A lot of vocalists out there don’t really get the most out of their voice, because they don’t really care for it.
Madness To Creation: Is that the main advice that you would give to aspiring vocalists?
Dan: Yes, treat your voice as an instrument and as part of your body. If you abuse your body in any way, you will affect your voice.
Madness To Creation: Do you believe in living a healthy lifestyle going off of that?
Dan: Absolutely, it’s sometimes quite harder when you’re on the road, with time differences and climate changes, and altitude differences when you’re going around the States, and we’re in a BandWagon, which is essentially a glorified caravan, the circulation is pretty poor, and we’re as confined as one gets, it’s hard but we try to get out there and have a really nice meal without eating too much junk, just try to stay healthy out there.
Madness To Creation: If I give you $100 what would you have to eat?
Dan: I would definitely have some sushi.
Madness To Creation: You talked about Japan a little bit ago when we were discussing “Luminary”, what was your favorite thing about the culture?
Dan: There were so many things. I was with a small record label and we toured the north and south part of Japan, the people are amazing, the culture is fantastic, the food is incredible. The thing I remember most is the vending machines, they were on every corner and street in Tokyo, back in 2006, that was revolutionary to me! *laughs*. Kyoto was certainly memorable, the contrast between modern and the traditional, the castle, the cherry blossom trees.
Madness To Creation: Did you see any Geisha girls there, if you did, what was your reaction to them?
Dan: I was a bit taken aback the first time seeing them, they’re very beautiful with their clothes and makeup.
Madness To Creation: Back to the music, let’s say you’re in the studio and you don’t have any motivation to create, what motivates you?
Dan: I’ve got an amazing studio that I built, you see this straw, blowing air through straws, as a vocalist, it’s one of the most revolutionary, the air pressure and resistance relaxes your vocal cords. I don’t really lose the motivation, when you do this for so long, it just comes naturally, there are times where I feel claustrophobic getting out of the car, and that’s where I get the ideas, and sometimes I just drive around to get ideas, to try to find new concepts, coupling that with the visual stimulation, everyone does it differently.
Madness To Creation: Fun question: What is the one stereotype that people have about British people that annoys you?
Dan: Definitely all Americans think that we have the Cockney Twang, the language, how we say governor, what Americans don’t realize is how diverse of a country the United Kingdom is.
Madness To Creation: What can fans expect from a TesseracT tour, and you guys are headlining with Plini and Astronoid, how is that going, and what responsibilities do you feel that a headliner has for an opening band?
Dan: Immediately, we have been there. We’ve been the opening act for many bands, we’ve toured the U.S. ten times now, for me this is my sixth time with the band, we’ve worked via grassroots and we recognize the success, we’ve learned the hard way, with Plini and Astronoid, this is one of the handful of tours that they have done, and they’re great bands to get the experience built and to get their fanbases established, there’s a lot of crossovers, it is hard for an opening band that is packed in a van. In smaller markets where there is no dressing room, we have given them our dressing room because we have BandWagon to change in in order to make them feel comfortable. It’s about respect in order to keep people happy.
Madness To Creation: It’s 2018, and what would you tell 2009 Dan Tompkins?
Dan: Learn how to sing. Even though people liked our album in 2009, it was technically very poor. I probably would’ve trained a lot harder.
Madness To Creation: Anything else you would like to add because I know that you have to get ready for tonight?
Dan: A big thank you to the fans, we are developing an Instagram at www.instagram.com/tesseractband, a big thank you to your listeners and readers, thank you so much!
And there you have it! TesseracT will be touring Europe this summer. Check out tour dates below.
Friday, June 22nd- Hellfest in Clisson, France (w/Judas Priest, Rise Against, Meshuggah, Cainan Dawn, Sons of Apollo, Satyricon, A Perfect Circle, Suffocation, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Therion, Napalm Death, and Converge)
Sunday, June 24th- Graspop Metal Meeting in Dessel, Belgium (w/Ozzy Osbourne, Tyr, Judas Priest, Body Count, Modern Life Is War, Meshuggah, Lacuna Coil, Mantar, Skindred, Ego Kill Talent, Blessthefall, Bullet For My Valentine, and Vandenburg’s Moonkings)
Thursday, June 28th- Download Festival in Madrid, Spain
Friday, July 13th- Gelfe Metal Festival in Gavle, Sweden (w/Wolfheart, Lacuna Coil, Belphegor, and Soulfly)
Tuesday, July 24th- Metal Days Festival in Tolmin, Slovenia (w/pallbearer)
Tuesday, September 11th- Capitol in Perth, Australia
Thursday, September 13th- The Gov in Hindmarsh, Australia
Friday, September 14th- 170 Russel in Melbourne, Australia
Saturday, September 15th- The Metro in Sydney, Australia
Sunday, September 16th- The Triffid in Brisbane, Australia
TesseracT European tour dates with Between The Buried And Me and Plini:
Friday, November 9th- Live Music Hall in Cologne, Germany
Saturday, November 10th- Doornroosje in Nijmegen, Netherlands
Sunday, November 11th- Biebob in Vosselaar, Belgium
Monday, November 12th- Trabendo in Paris, France
Tuesday, November 13th- Colos-Saal in Aschaffenburg, Germany
Wednesday, November 14th- Gruenspan in Hamburg, Germany
Thursday, November 15th- Pumpehuset in Copenhagen, Denmark
Friday, November 16th- Parkteatret in Oslo, Norway
Saturday, November 17th- Kagelbanan in Sodermalm, Sweden
Monday, November 19th- Lido in Berlin, Germany
Tuesday, November 20th- Im Wizemann in Stuttgart, Germany
Wednesday, November 21st- Flex in Wien, Austria
Thursday, November 22nd- Backstage in Munich, Germany
Friday, November 23rd- Aarau, Switzerland
Saturday, November 24th- Campus Industry in Parma, Italy
Sunday, November 25th- Rockhal in Esch-Sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
For tickets and further information on any of the shows and festival dates listed above, click here.
ICYMI: Check out our review of “Sonder” by TesseracT here.