In Sheffield for the Hell On Earth Tour, Faye caught up with Terror vocalist Scott Vogel, for a lengthy discussion about his disdain for barriers, his ‘alcoholism’, keeping the faith and so much more!
Faye: How’s the tour been going so far? I heard you got the barrier took down yesterday in Manchester.
Scott: The UK usually has a lot of barriers, we always try to get them to take them down, but if we can’t, then we just deal with it. I guess I understand the theory of them, but they cause more damage than help, because if you fall into that moat of metal and no-one is there, then you’re going to get hurt. Just to me, they ruin the show. Like today, it won’t be ruined, but it won’t be the same. The stage is a little bit high too, but I don’t want to sit here and be too preachy, because if we really, really cared, then we’d make sure beforehand that it wasn’t there. We just show up and try to get it how we can, and if they won’t take it down, then they won’t take it down, we’ll do our thing anyway.
Faye: What’s with your fascination about stage dives?
Scott: In about 2004, when Terror was kind of new, but not new, we had so many fights at our shows in the States. At every show, people were fighting and beating each other up, it was getting bad, and I think to get the attention off of people dancing really hard, I just kind of tried to get people to move up and stage dive more, to get the attention off smashing the person next to you. We had to work kind of hard to kill that violent vibe at our shows, it’s pretty much gone, so hopefully that helped. I just think what separates underground music or hardcore from other types of music is that people can do whatever the fuck they want, they can get on stage. At a Terror show, everybody should be involved and I can just remember when I was young and stage diving and stuff. I mean like, especially at a show like this, a lot of people have probably never done it and are probably a little timid too, so if they get encouraged then they’re going to do it and go from there. Hopefully, they don’t just get hurt. A couple years ago, we played with Full Force which was about 9,000/10,000 people with a huge barricade and it was one of the craziest shows we’ve ever had, the most energy. You can get up there and let a thing like this bum you out or you can get up there and be like, “I don’t give a fuck what they put in front of me, we’re going to make this crowd go off.” You just got to do what you go to do, like when I was jogging with Alan from Down To Nothing before, we were talking about that. It sucks that the stage is so high with a barricade, but just go in there and do your own thing. You can’t really worry about it.
Faye: I saw a HardTimes.CA interview with you one time, and you said you like to get drunk before playing most shows, why is that?
Scott: Well, it’s called alcoholism. [laughs] No, I’ve definitely gone through spurts where I get drunk all the time, but right now, I haven’t been getting drunk too much. I think on this tour, I’ve only been drunk once, so far.I don’t know, I sit around all day and there’s beer, and I like to drink. Is this like an intervention? [laughs] I have an easy life, I don’t have a wife, I don’t have a fucking other job, I don’t have fucking kids, I’m just a free semi-young man and if I feel like drinking, then I’m going to drink, but sometimes I do think it’s dumb and I’ll stop for a while. In the summer when we were over here, in the first month, I didn’t drink at all. It’s not like I can’t do it, it’s just like, I like to do it.
Faye: Do you think it’s easy for people in bands to get stuck in a rut of alcohol dependency because of riders and stuff?
Scott: I definitely think there’s things about touring that revolve around partying and there’s beer there, then you go to a city and one of the things that gets me is that a lot of the places we go to, I know a lot of people and when we go there, that’s that person’s night out. They’re excited, they have to work all week and they’ve been looking forward to the show, so that’s their night to hang out and drink, but they don’t understand that we get that every fucking night, so when you tell them, “Nah, I’m taking it easy tonight…”, they’re like, “What the fuck? I haven’t seen you in like six months, let’s hang out!” So that’s one thing that gets you. I don’t know, it’s real simple, if you don’t want to drink, don’t drink and if you’re in a band, don’t drink.
Faye: I was looking at all the shows you’ve played this year alone and it’s insane, what is it that keeps you on the road as relentlessly?
Scott: I don’t know, it’s just kind of normal for us. Ever since we started out, we’ve just played all the time and we take breaks sometimes, but we have five people that live off the band, no one else has a job, so in order for a fucking hardcore band to make enough money to live, we’ve got to play a lot. We don’t have all these other cool things going on to give us money. It’s a case of money and we’ll always say, “Alright, let’s not tour for a little while…” Then we’ll get offered this tour and everybody will be like, “Fuck yeah, let’s go do it!” It’s just the way it is.
Faye: You always get called the “the hardest working band in hardcore” and even Toby Morse from H2O said that when I interviewed him, is that flattering?
Scott: Tell him I said to “Fuck off!” [laughs] No, he’s one of the craziest people I’ve ever met. Yeah, we do work pretty hard, I can’t say we’re the hardest working, but we did give up a lot of our lives to do this shit.
Faye: I’ve heard some people say that bands like yourself, who have this whole tough-guy, metallic-y sound that you’re not real hardcore, do you get offended by that?
Scott: [laughs] I could care less, we are a real hardcore band. Anyone who wants to come up, and not in a violent way, but I’d like for someone to come up and explain why we’re not a real hardcore band, because we are. It doesn’t surprise me and it doesn’t offend me, like is a real hardcore band a band that puts out a demo and breaks up? What defines what’s a real hardcore band? To me, a real hardcore band is hardcore kids, which is a mind frame of people that support hardcore and the community playing music and that’s what we are. So, tell me who’s a real hardcore band.
Faye: Since you have this tough-guy image, do you have many female fans?
Scott: Yeah, of course we do. Maybe not as many as Have Heart. [laughs] We definitely have female ‘fans’, I don’t like to say ‘fans’, but people that support us, definitely.
Faye: What is it with you guys and the word ‘fans’? Like when I interviewed Agnostic Front and H2O, they also said that they don’t like the word ‘fans’.
Scott: It just makes it really rock-ish, it’s just weird, ‘fans’. It makes me feel like I’m Kanye West or something, that shit’s corny.
Faye: You’ve just released Keepers Of The Faith and it shows a lot of new sides to Terror, like the track Shattered, it seems like a love song, you show a softer side.
Scott: Kind of, it’s like a broken love song. But yeah, it’s the first time I ever wrote anything like that.
Faye: Shattered and You’re Caught are my favourite on the record. You’re Caught is quite a bit different as well, it’s kind of got a grungy sound to it.
Scott: Oh, thank you and yeah, it’s very different, but I love it. Shattered is probably my favourite Terror song we’ve ever wrote, just because it means so much to me. It’s funny to think about those two songs, because You’re Caught, you know how it gets really fast at the end? The main part of the song was just the intro and the song was just really fast for a long time, then it just had a break on the end. It was a really generic Terror song, like a basic Terror song and Chad from New Found Glory who produced the record, he heard the intro riff and really changed the whole song up, like the complete vibe of the song and it turned out to be the most poppy song we’ve ever wrote. It really hits hard though, it’s really poppy, but with the lyrical content and my voice, it’s still a really hard-hitting song. With Shattered, we had 14-songs done in pre-production and we kind of started Shattered but Nick, our drummer, he really wanted it to be on the record, but Chad was like, “We already have enough songs, let’s just concentrate on what we have.” Nick really pushed for it, though, and Chad agreed to work on it a little bit more if we had time, then Chad heard what he had and really liked it. Chad then sat me down and was like, “I want to write lyrics about someone who’s really important to you”, because the song has a lot of feel and energy to it. I had previously written lyrics about what happened to me and my ex-girlfriend, but I was too scared to use them and there was never a song that had the right vibe, and then when I first started hearing it, it all came together and now it’s like my favourite Terror song out of nine years, and it was this close to never being written. It’s kind of weird how stuff like that happens.
Faye: Do you wish you had wrote more songs like that beforehand?
Scott: No, I was never in a situation like that to write a song like that. I’m glad I did write it and I would have regretted it if I never did. That’s the only girlfriend I ever had for a long time, so it was the only thing that mattered to me… [laughs]
Faye: So, Chad obviously pushed you to do a lot of different things on this record?
Scott: Yeah, he was amazing. I can’t say enough about him, he was fucking great. I hope he does our next record, he says he’s going to. He did everything in every aspect, he was fucking awesome. I really like the new Terror record, like we would have made a good record without him, but we made a better record with him.
Faye: What made you pick Chad? Was it because he had done H2O’s last record?
Scott: I would say about two years ago, I started hanging out with Toby a lot and Chad was around sometimes, and they kind of live together. They own a house and Chad has the downstairs and Toby and his wife and son have the upstairs, so I’d see Chad a lot and we became better friends, and then, of course, he did the H2O record, which was really good. When we were getting ready to do the record, some ideas were being thrown around and I just brought up Chad, because he’s a great musician, but the biggest thing is that he knows Terror, he knows that we’re not going to cheese out or go too far off the path, but the plan was to bring out the best of us and dig a little deeper and be able to make better songs, and I think it worked.
Faye: What does the phrase ‘Keepers Of The Faith’ actually mean?
Scott: It comes from the band Warzone, they always had this phrase, ‘keep the faith’, and musically, they’re definitely one of Terror’s collectively favourite bands, and their singer, Raybeez, was like a figure that we all believe in and look up to, and just one day, it just clicked in my head to keep the faith and that Terror keeps the faith, then it just got spun into keepers of the faith. That term, to me, means just believing in yourself and the underground hardcore scene, and that it’s a lot more than just the nonsense, it’s not fashion or violent or a contest or a fucking competition about being the best, it’s a lot more than that. So, just remembering what it’s about, and even though hardcore goes through it’s really lows and it’s really highs, it’s just important to keep a level playing field and keep going. That’s what it means to me and having some belief that it’s a beautiful thing, because you meet people that say hardcore’s dead, you meet people that give a really bad impression of hardcore and then in the midst of all that, you go on tour and shit sucks and the last time you played somewhere there was 500-people and now there’s 100-people, there’s so much bullshit, and then it just takes a demo of a new band that reminds me of why I still do this, just stuff like that.
Faye: What has Terror got planned after this tour?
Scott: We go home for like two weeks and then we’ve got a tour in the US with The Acacia Strain. We’ll actually be back in Europe in January.
Faye: Why do you go on tours with a lot of metal bands these days like The Acacia Strain?
Scott: We like to mix it up, like last time we were over, we were with Death Before Dishonor, Madball and Cruel Hand. We definitely like to tour with hardcore bands and our friends and have that vibe, but I’ve always been to the belief that it’s dumb to come back again and again and play to the same people that already know you and not expand and not play to different people. I love the fact that if things go right tonight that at least half of this crowd has never heard of us before and they’re going to leave here being like, “Wow, that was really cool!” Then they’re going to be like, “Oh, that one dude had a Donnybrook t-shirt on, what’s that?” Then maybe he’ll go to their MySpace and check them out, and it just grows from there. I know there’s certain bands that always tour with the same bands that sound like them or are similar to them, and play the same clubs to the same kids and, to me, that’s kind of counterproductive. I want to play to different people, I want to play with a hip-hop group, we’ll play with anyone, we don’t give a fuck. It’s simple, I want to play to new people and I want new people to hear what we have to say, because we’re not the deepest band, but everything we say has some meaning to it, so I would like for people who haven’t heard us yet to hear us.
Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Scott: I’ve been listening to that Backtrack 7” all the time. Title Fight, I love them. I’d also like to recommend Joell Ortiz, he’s a rapper from Brooklyn, he’s really good, he has some really good lyrics. Dead End Path and the new Alpha & Omega record is really good. Down To Nothing has a new record if people haven’t got that on Reaper Records. My room-mate does Reaper Records, which is a really good label, it’s doing really good. He’s just put out this band from Buffalo called the Chosen Ones, which I guess is street-punk, I don’t really know that type of music, like Rancid-ish kind of stuff, and it’s really good. Trapped Under Ice, of course, if people don’t know. Iron Age and the new Bitter End record is really good. Jordan has a record that just came out, he does with a band with the singer of Fucked Up called Millenial Reign. I think that’s all I’ve got.
– Faye Turnbull.
Many thanks to Scott for the interview and Terror’s new record ‘Keepers Of The Faith’ is out now on Century Media. For more information on the band, visit: www.myspace.com/terror and facebook.com/terrorhardcore