We were fan of bands like Deftones, Will Haven, but also Morning Again, Shai Hulud, Converge, Cave In, Hopesfall. We listen to a wide range of different music but we share some musical interest. Some are quite obvious like the ones you've mentioned. In these you can notice: Pelican, Russian Circles, Isis, Year of no light, and others.
Terraformer is a three-piece post-metal band from Belgium that makes punishingly heavy instrumental music. The band just released their third album Mineral on Dunk! records. If you like bands like Pelican, Year of No Light, or ISIS, you should give Terraformer a listen. I was able to catch up with the band by email and ask them a few questions.
(((O))) Three piece?! Bull shit. There must be at least seven people in this band. How the heck do you get such a layered sound with only a three piece? You must explain. Was it recording trickery? Who plays bass?!
Thanks, we take that as a huge compliment! Actually, we have a bass player: he’s been with us since the beginning but he kind of took a year off. When he left, we had to find some tricks to keep playing our songs so we started using our looper as a sampler. With that in mind, we began building songs with more layers and harmonies. On the record, there are a lot of guitar tracks and others textures played from the sampler. On stage, we use some sequences and play them through a dedicated guitar amp that helps us giving that extra musicians feel.
(((O))) Can you talk about your influences, both from younger days and now. I hear a lot of Year of No Light and Pelican on your most recent record. Any thoughts?
We grew up with the 90’s/early 00’s metal/hardcore scene, and played in our first hardcore bands around 2000. We were fan of bands like Deftones, Will Haven, but also Morning Again, Shai Hulud, Converge, Cave In, Hopesfall. We listen to a wide range of different music but we share some musical interest. Some are quite obvious like the ones you’ve mentioned. In these you can notice: Pelican, Russian Circles, Isis, Year of no light, and others.
(((O))) I watched one of your live videos on youtube. I love how you use a light in the middle of the band as the sole source of illumination while you play. Have you always done that?
Almost – maybe not from the beginning but we started using lights quite early. At first it was only the small ambient lights and then we expanded our setup. Now we have a couple more of different states and the lights are playing along with the sequences. We also have fog machine that we overuse to make sure the air is still breathable! We tried to match the ambience with the mood of the songs.
(((O))) Is it possible to get a bit of background on the band? How long have you guys been playing together? What were you all doing before? I guess Mineral is your third album and the first EP came out in 2010? Was it the same lineup then?
We were in High school together and started our first band together, almost 20 years ago, and it was terrible! Then we had different bands each on our side and we regrouped in 2009 to start Terraformer. The line was always the same except the year around Creatures where we played as a two piece.
We recorded our first EP in 2010, released our first LP on 2012, then we released Creatures and the Euryale project (with Kokomo) in 2014. Mineral is our third LP.
(((O))) I’m wondering if you can take me through a bit about the origin of Mineral. Why the name? Do you feel like you achieved what you hoped to on the record.
After The Sea Shaper and Creatures, it made sense to us to use Mineral as the main theme for the record. The name and what it’s around fits quite well with the sound we were targeting. Like quite massive and heavy but still you can find some beauty in it. We started making this record in the aftermath of Creatures. Like in the continuity but also in reaction of what we did and what we went through. We’re really happy with the result. Mineral maybe the first time where we’ll not be able to point too many mistakes or regrets in…but it’s still fresh – we’ll see in a couple of years!
(((O))) I feel like the album, while very heavy, somehow feels quite positive. The drive is energetic in an uplifting way to me even though it’s still filled with monster riffs. Is that something you set out to do?
We never really thought about it in that way but now that you mention it, maybe Mineral is a little brighter than Creatures, which was quite dark in a way. And as we said earlier, we might have done things in reaction to our previous effort. The first song we made was Epoch and it starts on a catchy feel. Not sure it was a deliberate course of action or the result of how we felt at that time.
(((O))) Could you take me through your writing process?
It is a mix between parts we make during practices and things we make at home. We record a lot of demos, which is really helpfull to set the different guitars/layers. We try as much as possible to record everything we make even with a cellphone: it’s useful help to document the music especially if we don’t make the songs in a continuous row, which can happen. Sometimes we let pieces of songs sleep for weeks or months before working again on them.
(((O))) Once again, the sound you guys create is really full, much fuller than most three pieces. What’s the secret?
Thanks! Actually, there is no secret: it’s mostly the extra guitar layers that give this impression. On the record, it’s quite easy. We try to make the best decisions on what it’s doable and wise when it comes to reproduce the songs on stage.
(((O))) Are there any upcoming tours I can bring to people’s attention?
Yes, we’ll be on tour in April with our friends from Watered to celebrate the release of our split. We’ll play in Germany, Netherland and Belgium; details below.
Then we’ll play at the Dunk!fest:
1/04 : Strasbourg (F), Diamant d’Or // + [IntoTheTide]
2/04 : Hannover, Glocksee // + Binoculers + RADARE
3/04 : Berlin, Schokoladen
4/04 : Göttingen, Juzi
5/04 : Münster, Baracke
6/04 : Hengelo (NL), Innocent
7/04: Karlsruhe, P8 // + NYOS
8/04 : Liege (B), Insert Name Festival // + Mars Red Sky + more
9/04 : Wiesbaden, Sabot // + Syberia