-- In Motion gets shredded --
February 21, 2019 I was invited to the Crossover Music Pub in Ghent for a press meeting and listening party for Tom “Tee” Tas’ brand new solo project In Motion. I first met Tom last summer in Lokeren where I interviewed him as part of 23 Acez (you can read that article http://belgianmetalshredder.be/interviews/102), and since then we remained in frequent contact. That day in Lokeren he already told me about his In Motion project and now it was finally time to talk about it. We discussed the 12-year conception of In Motion, Tom’s sense of structure and catchiness, and he wrapped up the interview with a beautiful inspirational speech.
BMS: Good to see you again, Tom!Tom: Likewise, Stijn! I hope you enjoyed the integral ‘In Motion’ listening session I arranged for this night.
BMS: Yeah, I sure did. When we first talked about In Motion you promised me a heavier, more thrash and death metal -oriented sound compared to your earlier solo project Entering Polaris. And I must say that you succeeded (you can read my reviews of Entering Polaris http://belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/88 and In Motion http://belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/129)! Great job, but tell me how this first In Motion album came into form.Tom: In Motion is a project that had its origins in the very first band I ever played in (about 12 years ago), which was called Thriving Force. My fellow band members and I had high ambitions for Thriving Force; we wanted to recruit a vocalist and a bassist, sign to a record label, record albums, go on tours... You know, the usual things every band wants to do eventually. We seriously underestimated how much work, money and planning it all takes though, and so the band eventually split up and we all went our separate ways as musicians. We did remain friends, however, and I’m happy to say that my former band colleagues are all here tonight.
Tom: I was already a dedicated songwriter back then and we had a lot of riffs and other material written for a possible debut album. I knew that one day I would be able to put the material to good use, and so In Motion was born. Fun fact: this record, ‘Thriving Force’ was named after the band where it all started :-)
BMS: So this was an album 12 years in the making! Great! Once again you’ve worked with many guest vocalists in this In Motion album.Tom: I felt the material needed the right, talented voices to bring it all to life. Something my limited vocal cords are incapable of. What really inspired me to look for guest vocalists is Arjen Lucassen’s work, best known for his multi-vocalist project Ayreon. I once read an interview he did for Aardschok (Dutch rock and metal magazine), wherein he said that all he needed to do to get so many famous metal vocalists on board was… just ask them. And that’s exactly how I managed to get my vocalists! I looked around both in my own network and beyond to check who would be interested in working with me and that’s how I ended up working with singers like Bjorn Strid (Soilwork), Thomas Vikstrom (Therion), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody & Angra), Georg Neuhauser (Serenity), Arno Menses (Sieges Even & Subsignal), Matthieu Romarin (Uneven Structure), David Davidson (Revocation), and lots of others. Overall, In Motion’s actual production took about 3 years, including recording, editing, mixing, mastering and all the rest.
BMS: Very impressive, and the result speaks for itself. While Entering Polaris was already an ambitious and very enjoyable project to listen to, you managed to outdo yourself with In Motion. The record feels even more varied in terms of songs, varying between death, thrash and progressive Metal and adding in stuff like violin, saxophone and acoustic guitars. But I do feel that your typical characteristics as a guitarist have remained. Specifically your lengthy, soaring progressive guitar work; something I already noticed in your 23 Acez, Thorium and Entering Polaris material.Tom: Thanks! Well, I have a plethora of rock and metal tastes and influences: 70’s progressive rock, classic heavy metal, thrash, death, power, progressive, symphonic Metal, and so on. What I love about the bands and projects I’ve got going at the moment is that each band emphasizes a different rock or metal subgenre. In Thorium we play classic heavy and power metal, in 23 Acez it’s heavy modern rock, in Quantum Fantay it’s psychedelic space rock, and so on. But the two qualities I always want to have in the material are musicality and catchiness. I’m not the kind of songwriter who wants to throw everything at the wall in the hopes something will stick, nor am I looking for cheap gimmicks: I want the music to be engaging through the lyrics, the riffs, the melodies, the songwriting, and every other aspect.
BMS: Looking back on your Entering Polaris project, I noticed that the track “Godspeed” ended up getting a version on Thorium’s debut album. Is there any chance that we may see one of In Motion’s tracks appearing on the playlist of one of your main bands?Tom: That’s a bit more unlikely I think... Fact is that the “Godspeed” track was stylistically suitable to become a Thorium track; being a catchy, energetic heavy metal tune. In Motion’s material is a bit more extreme. But in the meantime I’m already working on new material so who knows; maybe one of those new tunes may end up having different incarnations!
BMS: Ah, new Tom Tee stuff, I’m already looking forward to it!Tom: Thanks! First off, I’m working on a fully acoustic project along with my colleague guitarist from the Thriving Force days. We’re aiming for a dark, melancholic and immensely atmospheric style inspired by the acoustic material of Opeth, Nevermore and similar bands in that style. In addition to the guitars, we’ll also be adding piano, violins and cellos into the mix. Currently we’ve got about a full hour of material written for this new project, called ‘Projected Horizons.’ In addition, I’m also working on the next two Entering Polaris albums at the same time! One album will feature six-string guitars and the other seven-string exclusively. And I’ve got at least two songs that will go over the fifteen minute mark… More on those records later!
BMS: I admit that tracks that long rarely manage to keep me consistently engaged but you’ve already made such entertaining solo material so I’m curious whether you’ll be able to achieve this as well.Tom: Challenge accepted! :-)
BMS: Good! Now Tom, over those many years you managed to create a nice repertoire for yourself, playing in various beloved bands and writing a lot of well-received material. So I wonder, do you have any advice you can give to young, aspiring musicians?Tom: First off, it’s important to remain critical to yourself as a musician and a songwriter. Be willing to work hard and go the hours, and to keep practicing and improving your performance and songwriting skills. It’s a never-ending process – which is a good thing, since it means you can keep on growing. Also, don’t underestimate the amount of work, communication, management and planning it takes… It’s much more than just writing songs, recording and performing: you need to seek out the right people to work with, be active on social media and promote your act as much as you can. You need to look for venues and bookers who’re willing to put you on stage, a record label that wants to invest time and money into your project, etc. All that stuff takes a lot of back-and-forth in communication, but it’s all worth the effort so that you can enter the studio or the stage fully prepared and ready to give it your all in front of your growing fan base!
BMS: That was one great motivational speech! Thanks for being such an enjoyable shred, Tom!
Tom: My pleasure, Stijn! See you again soon!