DEAN WELLS (TERAMAZE): “The Excitement Of Fans Is Usually The Best Gauge For Us To Know We’re On The Right Track”

Teramaza band photo

Australian Progressive Metal veterans Teramaze recently released their eleventh album entitled Eli on May 24th. The band’s vocalist/guitarist Dean Wells took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about their latest album, having eleven albums out as a band, his hopes to tour with Dream Theater, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Your band, Teramaze, just released a new album entitled Eli: A Wonderful Fall From Grace on May 24th, what can you tell fans about your latest release?

Wells: Eli’s the third installment of the Her Halo concept album trilogy, but it’s actually the 1st or origin story. It’s has somewhat of a Star Wars-esque vibe, as the story is centred around an underdog protagonist known as Eli, a young man sold off into slavery by his father at a young age. Forced for most of his youth an early adulthood to toil on a ship, Eli eventually finds himself shipwrecked. By some miracle, Eli survives and finds shelter and refuge at the Halo Circus.

He has a meeting with a fortune teller and sort of gives him an evil hex that gives him powers. These powers take over as he becomes the star of the show. This story introduces the characters that create the love triangle that takes place in the Her Halo and Sorella Minore stories. The backstory helps us understand Eli’s rise of fame and stardom, followed by his fall from grace, heartbreak, to being the guy who eventually becomes the clown.

MER: How was the writing and recording process having this being your band’s eleventh album?

Wells: Well, the writing process hasn’t changed too much. It usually starts with a seed, you know that I’ve put on the computer, maybe a beat or the riff. It is sometimes a  short passage of piano or a melody, and then usually it sort of just goes back and forth from there.

Usually, we’ll chat over WhatsApp and use Dropbox or audio messages as a place where we can all throw our ideas into new songs. I have a home studio and I produce everything from there.  I have everything at my disposal from guitars, drums, keyboards, microphones and bass, so multiple layers and ideas can get fleshed out together pretty quickly in Pro Tools. Then we sort of start listening back to it and thinking, “What else does it need?”. Sometimes this could be consolidating instrumentation, or maybe we just start writing vocal melodies and see how that song goes from there. Usually, the music’s first and then the melodies come later.

Nathan often sends me ideas from home and then he’ll come in and we’ll work on the vocals together. We record everything in my home studio and then we mix and master it here as well. So not much has changed. This seems to work for us, mainly due to the fact that everyone in the band lives fairly far away from each other. Our bass player lives in another state. So yeah, we’ve found a system that works great for us and we’ve been able to bring out like six albums in the last six years or something like that.

MER: Eleven albums out is quite the milestone for any band, how is it having eleven albums with your band?

Wells: Well, I don’t know. Every album feels like its own little part of your life. Like, it’s your own little baby of sorts, and you’re trying to watch it grow and make sure it’s as great as it can be, as well as being wary that all of the parts are sort of working. But for me, as the main songwriter, it’s more about the songs individually, not so much about the album. I’m always trying to push us as a band to write  better songs than we did before, and that has always been really a big part of my drive. Just trying to outdo myself constantly. Sometimes in that, we might end up writing some stuff that’s not too good, but then usually, something rises to the top and then that’s what will we end up using.

MER: You recently released a single from the album entitled “Standing Ovation”, what kind of feedback have you received?

Wells: The feedback to “Standing Ovation” actually has been amazing. It actually feels like everyone gets it. Everyone gets that it is sort of a bit older style of writing for us. We’ve sort of moved away from that classic sort of progressive metal, but to go with this storylines and the other albums, we had to sort of dive back into that style and sound. We needed to come up with something just as good, as well as stylistically consistent as Her Halo and I think we have achieved that. The reviews we’ve received from magazines and publications have been extremely complimentary, but the excitement of fans is usually the best gauge for us to know if we’re on the right track. They seem to absolutely love it so it’s been great.

MER: What do you see as plans for you and your band after the album release?

Wells: The plan after this album comes out is to do some shows in Australia, then look at trying to get some shows in Europe, hopefully America too. It’d be great to play some international shows and do some runs with another similar or bigger band. I would love to actually get back in play ProgPower USA, because the last time we were booked to play I was in the hospital.

MER: Who do you hope to tour with and why?

Wells: Well, a goal of mine, since I was probably 18 years old, was to tour and to play with Dream Theater. Being lucky enough that we were signed to a label on ‘Her Halo’ from the guy who signed Dream Theater Jim Podolski, who I’ve become good friends. Keeping in mind that six degrees of separation, I’ve met the guys in Dream Theater and I used to be with music man guitars, so there’s the old ties there with Petrucci… but to be able to play with those guys to me, they’re the benchmark to see if we can hold our own, with probably the best progressive metal band in the world.

MER: Is there anywhere that’s your favorite to play live and why?

Wells: Actually, in Melbourne, the billboard we’ve had a few good major support slots there over the years. The last last show we did there with Avatar was it was sort of a last minute thing as well, but it was one of the best gigs we’ve ever did. It was so good that we made the DVD out of the show. So Locally, we love playing Billboard (AKA 170 Russell) and probably one of the best gigs we’ve done, as well as the ProgPower Europe last year in the Netherlands.

MER: How would you describe the music scene in Australia?

Wells: The music scene in Australia at the moment seems really strong. Lots of major bands coming out and lots of tours and seems to be a lot of the metal progressive stuff. Seems to be touring a lot as well and hopefully it continues.

MER: Out of your band’s eleven albums, what is one you would suggest to a new fan and why?

Wells: The Teramaze album that I would choose to show a first time listener… you could choose any of them, but for me, either I Wonder or Her Halo, one of those two. Probably I Wonder as that’s still my favorite album… but now I’d say even Eli would be a great introduction to us a band. I mean even if you haven’t heard Her Halo, I think you’d still enjoy it Eli.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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