Tomas Haake of Meshuggah discusses new material, artistic kinship, and 25 years of ‘Destroy Erase Improve’

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Mosh Talks on October 7, 2020

After three decades, Meshuggah still remain as committed to precision and innovation as ever.

Ahead of the band’s featured performance for the KNOTFEST Streaming Concert Series, Tomas Haake of Meshuggah sat in for a discussion on Mosh Talks.

Addressing the obvious, Haake discussed how the ongoing pandemic has changed the forecast of just about everything, new Meshuggah material included. Though Haake did acknowledge that he and his bandmates were in a much better position than most, he explained that the inability to work at their usual pace is what will contribute to an extended amount of time before anything new arrives.

Though he did confirm that most of the material for the new record is written and there is a target date of late 2021, the uncertainty of touring and the world at large means that the band certainly has bullets in the chamber, but deciding when to pull the trigger is a tough call.

Aside from the societal chaos, Haake detailed the stringent standards that the band holds themselves to in terms of crafting new music. After 30 years, it’s tough to produce something new that retains the same integrity of the band’s sound, but it’s a benchmark that the band continuously strives for.

Considering both what they want to hear and what the fans want to hear, Haake confides that their process in terms of making new Meshuggah music is a balance of artistic integrity and remaining within the framework that has been established within the last three decades. The band wants to continue to evolve and avoid repeating themselves but they want to make sure they are remaining true to the sound synonymous with their name.

The meticulous nature of Meshuggah’s calculated brand of heavy permeates in all aspects of their presentation. Haake would transition into discussing the how lighting for the bands stage show is crucial to overall experience and how that lightning is something that has to be in synch with the music.

Even the setlist is something that the band scrutinizes. Haake detailed how assembling the right collection of songs has to pair well with the overall pace of the show and how tempo plays a crucial part of the live performance. It’s these sorts of details that really do reiterate the band’s methodical approach that makes them so damned precise and powerful.

As for whether Meshuggah will ever explore the live-streaming platform, Haake was hesitant. With the live translation of Meshuggah being such a spectacle, there is a sense that a live-streamed performance might not convey the intended effect of a traditional show. Haake was quick to explain that while it isn’t for them, time will be the deciding factor as to whether the band ever does go digital. Recalling that it has been more than a year since the band has played live, there is a sense that if the pandemic shudders stages much longer, the live stream really does become the only via route to get back onstage again.

In discussing the entirety of Meshuggah, the conversation did trek back to important milestones, particularly the 25th anniversary of the band’s seminal release, Destroy Erase Improve. During that era of the band, Haake confided that while Meshuggah was assessing their rank and ascending, they didn’t feel any kind of kinship with other artists because they didn’t seem to identify with what other people were doing at that particular time.

Haake would go on to detail that the notion of kinship, at this stage in their career, is inline with other artists that have developed their own signature. Citing artists like Mastodon and Tool, the drummer seemed to prioritize originality and innovation over artists that would seem to align with Meshuggah stylistically.

The conversation underscored the uncompromising disposition that has made Meshuggah truly an original.

Watch the complete interview with Tomas Haake of Meshuggah on Mosh Talks below. Be sure to stream their 2019 headlining performance at SUMMER BREEZE Open Air Festival broadcasting on KNOTFEST.com on October 9th.


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