Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Tantric is a new modern-rock band that emerged from the break-up of the original line-up of Days of the New. The Louisville, KY-based group debuted in 1997 and quickly went platinum, but by the following year, a split with singer Travis Meeks landed guitarist Todd Whitener, bassist Jesse Vest and drummer Matt Taul back in Kentucky, their brush with stardom seemingly over.
But their dismissal from Days of the New by Meeks only left the three musicians more determined than ever. “The day he fired us, we were cutting our first demos,” recalls Vest.
“We could have fallen apart easily and each gone out own way,” notes Whitener. “The fact that we were able to stay together says a lot about the band’s spirit and determination.” Recording instrumental tracks to get their new project underway, they still needed the right singer.
Enter Hugo Ferreira, who was born in North Africa and grew up in Portugal and Massachusetts before landing in Detroit, where he honed his craft in local bands. When he happened to hear the music the three Louisville players were recording, he wrangled an audition and immediately won the job. Ferreira packed his possessions into a U-Haul trailer and moved to Louisville.
Explains Ferreira, “When I heard those initial tapes there was really no other choice. It was such a natural match for the lyrics and emotion I was putting into my songs. We were coming from the same place musically. Those first experiences playing music together were like an artistic awakening, and living together and struggling to make ends meet, we became more like a family than just friend or bandmates.”
The struggle paid off handsomely. Maverick Records signed the group, and Tantric’s debut yielded the hit “Breakdown” and the Top 5 single “Astounded.” For Whitener, the success is the reward for their determination. “For us, we know about ups and downs, but one thing that has remained constant for us is our dedication to our music, and to our fans. We’ve played everything from basements to stadiums to corner bars, but the music we’re playing seems to resonate with people, and that’s something that continues to drive us.”