Tantric Talk

Undeterred by Sunday night’s snow, Tantric rolled into D.C. to open for the band 3 Doors Down on its winter tour, which consists of nine dates along the East Coast and in the South. The guys are promoting their new album As We Go which is scheduled to hit stores on Feb. 24. After their self-titled debut in 2001, they showed promise of making it in the competitive alternative rock world, with three hit singles off the album, including “Breakdown,” which made it to No. 1 on the alternative rock charts.

The band was formed out of Days of Ashes, which broke up in 1998 after former vocalist Travis Meeks left the band. The three remaining members – guitarist Todd Whitener, bassist Jesse Vest and drummer Matt Taui – reformed the band with Hugo Ferreira at vocals, changing their name from Carbon-14 to Tantric when they signed with Maverick Records in ’99.

The Hatchet was able to catch up with Ferreira and West just before they came in town to rock out DAR Constitution Hall.

Hatchet: How’s the tour been going so far?

Jesse West: The tour is going great. This is our third time out with 3 Doors Down, and they are good friends of ours. We are all good ‘ole Southern hillbillies and we get along really well. All the shows have been pretty much selling out. We couldn’t ask for anything more.

H: Have you guys been able to learn anything from 3 Doors Down, since you guys are such good friends?

Hugo Ferreira: 3 Doors Down are total professionals on the road. We have been able to learn a lot from them. Some bands go out on the road and are just crazy and wild. They just are always screwing up or doing tons of drugs. By the end of the tour they start sucking and they are all beat up and stuff. From that aspect we learned to stay focused on playing music and having fun.

H: This tour you guys are on right now is a smaller-venue tour. Does that affect how you guys play?

JW: It’s definitely a different game plan for each size venue. When 3 Doors takes a day off, we will go play our own gig in a much smaller place. It can be kind of tough because you have to make that transition from day to day. One night you’re in a 10,000-seat arena and the next you’re in a 1,000-seat club. You have to act accordingly, but they both have their benefits.

H: The new album is coming out Feb. 24. Are there any similarities or differences to the last?

HF: It’s definitely a lot like the last record, but this one has a little more balls to it, as far as heaviness. But we didn’t try to go away from all things we are known for, like our harmonics and acoustics.

H: Are we going to see a large stadium tour this summer for Tantric?

HF: We probably will, but nothing has been confirmed. We are concentrated on finishing this tour, and then we are going back out on tour with Shinedown for a month playing small clubs. Then we will probably go hit the big boys when the summer rolls around.

H: If there is one thing that you could tell the fans about your music, or something you want to express in your music, what would it be?

HF: The general feeling in the band is that you can be in a rock band, but you don’t have to be a stereotypical rock band or rock star. Our band is really into karma and just being positive. We believe just don’t be dick, don’t be like one of those cocky rock stars who is too good to talk to people or too good to sign autographs. You know, because if we weren’t doing this we would probably be flipping burgers at McDonalds or something. We have been blessed, and we don’t take that for granted. It makes me sick when rock stars act like rock assholes. Fortunately in this band, and on this whole tour, there is no one like that.

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