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Interviews : “It’s the first time for us ever in Australia” – An Interview with Diego Tejeida (Haken)

By on June 25, 2017

Haken – Diego Tejeida

Many bands have an ambition to make a living from pursuing their art, and this a good and worthy goal. It’s an extremely difficult place to get to in this era, an era of poor record sales, free streaming and downloading and so on and so forth, and the temptation for heavy and progressive bands to create more accessible music for obvious radio airplay and potential commercial success must be quite strong. But for keysman Diego Tejeida and his band, UK prog masters Haken, it is a temptation they flatly refuse to give in to.

“We definitely are uncompromising in the way we do things. Our main motivation has never been money. Our motivations have never been to have a monster truck and two apartments in Las Vegas!” He laughs, “if we’d wanted to do that, we would have gone a different route. We would have done dance music, or something more commercial.

“The main motivation for us is to make music that inspires us. We are consciously trying to avoid coming up with a formula for writing music. A lot of bands do that, and that’s okay, that’s how they get their sound, but for us, if we fell into a system of doing stuff it would be like we were doing  mass production music.”

He feels that they have now attained an ideal situation for themselves whereby they make music for themselves in a very uncompromising way, but people are taking notice of it en-masse anyway. “We have been very very lucky that people are responding to it,” he goes on, “we have managed to build a very loyal following.”

So much so that, a decade and four albums into their career as a band, they are coming to tour Australia for the very first time. In fact, for the majority of the band members it will be their first time Down Under in any capacity.

“It’s the first time for us ever in Australia, even as tourists,” he reveals, “I think (guitarist) Richard has been there once maybe, but for most of us it will be the first time, so it’s very very exciting for us.

“On the other side of that, it will be the very first time we have spent 30 hours on a plane. There is literally no place further away than Australia.”

He is expecting Aussie rock crowds to assist them to this end. “The only thing I’m expecting is for them to keep us awake and help us forget about the jetlag,” he laughs again.

Since it is their first time here, and while it is still a part of the world tour in support of their last album, 2016’s epic Affinity, Tejeida feels that the band are obligated to give Aussie fans a good cross section of their entire back catalogue.

“It’s going to still be a part of ‘Affinitour’, so there is going to be a lot of emphasis on that record,” he states, “but since it’s our first time in Australia I think it’s only fair that we try to shove in as much as we can from all our records for you guys.”

In somewhat of an ironic turn, after having never been here before in their career and their lives, several members of Haken are turning around and heading straight back to Australia and New Zealand just over a month later as part of drumming powerhouse and former Dream Theater skinsman Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress project. It is an extravaganza of prog that promises to be something very special indeed.

“It’s a once in a lifetime thing,” Tejeida says, “I think it’s going to be very special for everyone, definitely for us, for the audience and I think it’s going to very special for Mike too. It’s just a great honour for us.”

He admits that, in the year since Affinity’s release, the band has been working so hard touring the album and working with Mike that they haven’t had a great deal of time to work on a follow-up to the album that essentially broke them on a worldwide basis.

“At the moment, it’s just been very very busy, it’s like having two wives!” He chuckles, “some of the guys do have wives and children, so it’s been extremely busy. The Haken stuff and the Shattered Fortress stuff, they need a lot of practise and a lot of attention given to it. So at the moment we’re focusing on that, on the tours and keeping all that going.”

However, Haken fans need not worry, as it won’t be too long before they get back into writing mode and really begin work on the next Haken opus. “We’re going to get together by the end of this year and we’re going to start working on the new album,” he says, “at the moment the possibilities are infinite, we haven’t got a set direction for it yet, but that’s always the case. The same thing happened with Affinity and the same thing happened with (previous release) The Mountain.

“Individually, we are all piling up ideas, so I’m sure something good will come of it.”

HAKEN AUSTRALIA 2017

THU SEP 28 – The Zoo, Brisbane
FRI SEP 29 – 170 Russell, Melbourne
SAT SEP 30 – The Factory Theatre, Sydney
SUN OCT 1 – Capitol, Perth

Tickets on sale now!

Tickets on sale now from wildthingpresents.com & www.davidroywilliams.com.au.

SHATTERED FORTRESS AUSTRALIA 2017

Thursday 16th November – Auckland – The Studio
Saturday 18th November – Brisbane – The Tivoli
Monday 20th November – Perth – Astor Theatre
Wednesday 22nd November – Adelaide – The Gov
Friday 24th November – Sydney – Metro Theatre
Saturday 25th November – Melbourne – The Croxton

Head to http://metropolistouring.com/mikeportnoy for more details.

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.