Tantric Biography and Profile

tantric
Tantric. Photo: Lori Smith Photography.

Tantric Overview:

Tantric took inspiration from Alice in Chains and Creed for their brand of sludgy hard rock. Rising from the ashes of a successful group, Days of the New, the members of Tantric initially found a large commercial audience at the beginning of the 2000s, but as the decade wore on, internal tensions and mediocre albums conspired to undercut their continued viability. Undaunted, Tantric returned in 2009 with a new album, Mind Control.

Tantric's Origins:

Three of the members of Tantric – guitarist Todd Whitener, drummer Matt Taul and bassist Jesse Vest – were part of the late-‘90s group Days of the New, which rode the coattails of grunge bands like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains to mainstream popularity. But disagreements with frontman and principal songwriter Travis Meeks led to the rest of the group either being fired or quitting on their own. The three musicians decided to form a new group, recruiting Hugo Ferreira as their new singer. The band signed with Madonna’s Maverick label and prepared their debut.

A Successful Post-Grunge Debut:

Tantric’s self-titled debut dropped in February 2001. On the strength of Tantric, it was clear that Ferreira was at least partly recruited because of his ability to mimic the fearsome growl of Layne Staley, the deceased frontman for Alice in Chains. This wasn’t a group interested in breaking new ground – rather, on songs like the hit single “Breakdown,” Tantric wanted to ride the post-grunge gravy train that had been good to groups like Creed and, later, Nickelback.

Tantric went gold although, predictably, reviews were harsh when they weren’t simply dismissive.

The Sophomore Slump:

Three years later, Tantric returned with After We Go, another slab of meat-and-potatoes hard rock. Still channeling Alice in Chains’ mystical/demonic vibe on singles like “Hey Now,” Tantric failed to gain much commercial headway with After We Go, raising concerns about the band’s future.

Lineup Changes and Label Woes:

Before the release of the band’s next album, Tantric experienced a series of transitions. The group members, with the exception of Ferreira, left the band – ironically, the frontman who had been hired by Whitener, Taul and Vest was now the sole member left from the original Tantric lineup. Ferreira recruited new musicians and abandoned a set of songs he had already written with his original bandmates. At the same time, Tantric parted ways with Maverick, leading the way for them to be signed to Silent Majority to release 2008’s The End Begins, which failed to reverse the group’s commercial fortunes.

'Mind Control':

Tantric returned with a new album, Mind Control, on August 4, 2009, which was produced by former Creed touring bassist and former Dark New Day frontman Brett Hestla. After more personnel changes with the then-current band scattered across the U.S. then the members traded music files via email to build their songs. The band later convened together with 30 songs in the studio eventually choosing to record 12 songs for one of their heaviest album to date.  

'37 Channels':

Lead singer Hugo Ferreira remained the only sole member of the band during the recording of Tantic's fifth album 37 Channels which Ferreira self-produced.

The album featured guest vocals by Shooter Jennings and Hinder's then-lead singer Austin Winkler. The album album featured several guest musicians and to promote the album Ferreira put together a new touring band that did now play on the album.

'Blue Room Archives':

For Tantic's sixth studio album Ferreira again self-produced 2014's Blue Room Archives which is a compilation album featuring previously unreleased material from their entire career. The title of the album came from the name of the band's home studio, "The Blue Room." The album also includes newly recorded acoustic versions of early hits "Breakdown" and "Mourning" and new remixes of later hits "Mind Control" and "Fall to the Ground."

Current Tantric Lineup:

Hugo Ferreira – vocals
Scott Wilson - bass guitar
Tommy Gibbons - guitar

Essential Tantric Songs:

“Breakdown” (Purchase/Download)
“Astounded” (Purchase/Download)
“Hey Now” (Purchase/Download)
“Down and Out” (Purchase/Download)
“Mind Control” (Purchase/Download)

Tantric Discography:

Tantric (2001)
After We Go (2004)
The End Begins (2008) 
Mind Control (2009)
37 Channels (2013)
Blue Room Archives (2014) 

Tantric Quotes:                 

Hugo Ferreira, on how he became part of the lineup for Tantric.
“We were managed by the same company at one point when I was in a band called Merge and they were in Days of the New. We knew each other and actually toured together a little bit. I was ready for a change, and they got fired from the Days of the New gig and were looking for a new gig, too. I came down and sang with them, and it was real natural. Everybody got along really well, so we were like, ‘Hey, we should probably call this something.’ We called it C-14, which was the original name of the band. After that we decided to come up with a better name.”

Hugo Ferreira, on how he handled the label problems and personnel changes in the wake of 'After We Go'.
“After that initial shock faded away, I just went and released all that type of energy into music. I went into the basement of my house where I have a studio built, and I just started writing. The funny thing about going through struggles is that struggles make you interesting.”

Hugo Ferreira, explaining why he decided to keep the Tantric name after the rest of the band quit.
“It was definitely tied to my personal identity, plus I just wasn’t about to start over from scratch. I’ve got the thing tattooed on my arm. The way I looked at it was that I was part of what put this band where it is right now, so I was definitely entitled to use the name.

I didn’t quit on the band, everyone else did. I’m the one who still believes in it.”

Tantric Trivia:

  • Tantric covered Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” on After We Go.
  • Hugo Ferreira grew up with Nuno Bettencourt, formerly of the early-‘90s group Extreme.


(Edited by Bob Schallau)