TERAMAZE saw great success and recognition after the release of 2015 album ‘Her Halo’, a concept album rich in storytelling. Now in 2021, 6 years later, TERAMAZE are set to deliver a little piece of music art, if you allow me to those words, because “Sorella Minore” is the 2nd instalment of the “Her Halo” saga and it continues the tumultuous story of 2 sisters, and I think nobody that liked the first chapter will feel disappointed with the great songs on this big follow up.
Hi Dean, you are having a new album on the road on May 11th ‘Sorella Minore’, kind of the second chapter of your previous album Her Halo?
Yes, the story of ’Sorella Minore’ takes place shortly after the events of the story told on ‘Her Halo’.
Well, Her Halo was very much acclaimed but after listening to the 4 songs on “Sorella Minore” the expectation cannot be better
Having an “acclaimed” album does leave the allure of pressure and expectation, but the quality control and attention to detail in the writing process is not really affected by our past. We just want to keep writing the best music possible. Entire sections and full songs get scrapped or deleted all the time. This happens regardless of possibly damaging the ego of the band member who wrote it. We’re all brutal on each other and I don’t think we’d have it any other way.
Hard work it seems. There are 6 years between one album and the other, when did you decide to resume that story?
It was in about 2018 when I was writing our seventh studio album ‘Are We Soldiers’. A couple of riffs came to me that had a “Haloish” vibe. Instead of doing one full concept album of multiple tracks I wanted to make the listener feel like they were hearing multiple scenes from a short film.
How long have you worked in these 4 songs and how was the composition process?
‘Sorella Minore’ took 3 years on and off, whereas ’Take Your Shot’ took 24 hours. The composition process varies due to complications in the arrangement. Most of the time we just write music till it sounds right or it gets deleted.
As in Her Halo, you start the album with a very long song over 25 minutes. It’s not the usual delivery, even for a progressive band
We don’t follow rules. I guess we wanted to cut to the chase of what the album was about. It’s kinda 1 big track then 3 bonus tracks… That being said we do not consider any of the other songs “B-sides”.
Sorella Minore is in fact an outstanding song with so many elements on it and at the same time so much feeling, it is not easy to keep the attention of the listener for so long, where is the trick?
Having different singers helped to create different feelings, emotions and textures. We also drift between distorted guitars to half distorted to clean to nylon acoustic as well as changing guitar things twice in the song.
Dean Wells serves us a great menu of guitars, you can find a great variety of styles throughout the album, how all that comes together?
The great think about Teramaze is that we don’t need to follow rules or follow strict parameters of the genre we’re tied to. You’ll find elements of rock, heavy metal, classical and even opera on this album.
Absolutely true. Moreover, Dean, you are not a bad singer, even you can get some melodic voice very suitable for the ballads, not a usual combination either for a good guitarist
I’ve never thought of myself as a “guitarist’s guitarist”. I have always used guitar as a means to write songs. That was my ultimate goal. Part of becoming a song writer meant learning how to sing and put lyrics together. As for singing the ballads they are always challenging if they lyrically have emotional subject matter and you want to deliver it justice in the recording booth.
By the way, in the first song you also have the support of some other Australian singers as well, how was it?
Jen, Silvio and Nathan (a former member of Teramaze) all did amazing jobs. They took a little idea I had for different characters and put their own unique flavours into the performance. The first time we listened to the whole song as a band we were blown away as all the singers has far surpassed what any of us had imagined.
I think one of the best qualities of Teramaze is that you make easy what is difficult, I mean you sound progressive but at the same time the songs are easy to listen and enjoy, no obsession with going for something technically weird compositions or whatever…
Chris and I are both capable of playing fiddly technical bits, and they do sometimes come up in the music… but we’re not a thrash, tech death or neo classical rock band driven by fancy guitar techniques. We want our music to be listened to and be “listenable” to any listener.
However, is my perception or you play what you wanna play in every moment without much thinking about how it sounds?
Sometimes my hands can take over a bit, but mostly I write using my ears and the melodies I hear in my head.
What are the lyrics about and how much important they were when composing the album, what did come first?
The lyrics tell the story of the little sister character who is taken prisoner by an evil man and his impressionable son. The lyrics helped create the story line which gave us as a band a guideline to the dynamics and intensity or the various sections of the song.
The cover is kind of enigmatic, what’s the meaning behind?
We don’t like to be too explanatory with our artwork or lyrics as I think there needs to be some room for interpretation by the onlookers and listeners. There’s a story and journey behind the curtain. I guess there’s secrecy and more than to every story that what we 1st see.
In Australia seems the government is controlling the pandemic quite well, better than other parts of the world. Are you playing gigs there?
Not yet. We are just enjoying writing as much music is possible. Everyone band has been waiting to play fo over a year. Venues are booked out with heaps of band right now, we just don’t see the point in taking the focus off our next album with working on live shows… at least not right now.
Any chance to see you in Europe in the future?
Yes. We loved playing Prog Power 2019 and would love to play even more shows in Europe one day!
You are a band with many years in this business, what can we expect from Teramaze in the future? More albums to come?
We’ve got many demos on the go that we’re polishing and getting album ready. If all goes to plan, we’ll have a full length album out later this year.