Following the release of their latest album Total Retaliation and with a string of Australian shows just around the corner, we had a chat with Scott Vogel, vocalist of legendary hardcore band Terror. Find out what he has to say about the new record, writing, touring and more.
Mike: It feels like, even from previous albums, you guys really cleared the way for the lyrics of this one to shine through. How correct is my read on that?
Scott: Thank you. I appreciate that but I think the music has to be intense and have an energy in order for me to write the right types of things, so I don't want to take all the credit. Also, I hope when you're writing a song ... I don't write music, but when the people who have been there are writing a song, I hope they keep in mind that one of the important things about the hardcore scene that, in my opinion, makes it different in all of the forms of music is hopefully, the lyrics are saying something and expressing something real and getting people to think and maybe reaching for some sort of positive change.
I think, too, on this record that the state of the world right now is so bleak and ugly that it's just a great time to write pissed-off lyrics that you can really let your guard down and just say what's on your mind. I think that's one of the reasons why the record is so angry and people can relate to it. I think whether you live in Australia or the United States and you take a look at what's going on right now, you're probably not feeling like the world's a happy, great place.
Mike: Does it make it easy to write an album in the world of Trump? Or is it difficult because there's just so much to be pissed-off at, most people don't know what to be pissed-off about?
Scott: Terror's never been this political band and we definitely aren't now, but if you're living in this world and seeing what's going on around you and you're angry and you're not speaking your mind, then I think there may be a little something missing. Too long I've thought to myself things are going to get better or as long as you keep your head up and keep positive thoughts in your head that you'll get by and things will get better and the world's an ugly place, but I've got music and friends and it gets me through it.
Every day, there's something new. Even if you strip away political stuff, things with the government, just the world, in general, is so fucking greedy and human beings are so fucking shitty. Sure, you could find some good things going on in this world, but for the most part, it's a really ugly, dangerous, scary place.
Living in Los Angeles, I don't live in some crazy, terrible neighbourhood, but all day and all night, I hear sirens and cop cars and ambulances whizzing by my house all day and all night. Whether it's someone shot somebody or someone had a heart attack or someone ran over someone with a car because they were fucking text messaging too much, there's just so much shit. There's just so much shit going on and then ... I don't know. Things have just gotten to me lately where I just didn't feel like I could say things are going to be all right because they don't feel like they're going to be.
Mike: As a songwriter, the very nature of your existence is you can't just see a problem. Songwriters need to dwell on it. Songwriters come up with solutions. Now that you've studied this topic, why do you think that we've all turned to shit?
Scott: I really think everything comes down to, as human beings, we have freedom to do what we want and most of us choose to be fucking greedy and have realized that lying and stepping on other people for your own benefit is just second nature now. Whether it's just a little thing you do to one of your friends that fucks them over or you're really doing something horrible, it just seems like... I don't want to say most because there are definitely good people and there are people with morals but just out there in the world, there are so many people that just want to take and take and no matter who gets in the way or who it fucking crushes, they're willing to take those steps. I just think it's all, whether it's money or ego or greed or power trips, there's just so much greed going on.
Mike: For me personally, tracks like A Mental Demolition and Total Retaliation, they really fucking spoke to me on a personal level. I imagine that you've got some really intimate fan feedback from fans on this.
Scott: I don't really like to speak about how great Terror is or anything like that, but I think we've got almost 100% positive feedback like "I can really feel this record; the music is really hard-hitting; the lyrics are so pissed-off and saying what needs to be said right now." There's a lot of people that have said, "I like all the Terror records. Maybe the last couple, I kind of slept on, but this one really woke me up and reminded me how important your band is to me" and just stuff like that, which is all ... It's nice to hear that.
It does take a lot of work to make a record, write the songs, write the lyrics, get to a studio, get everything in line to get someone to record it, do the fucking artwork and all the shit that goes into doing a record. It takes a while and it really is some work so sometimes when you see a Terror review that says, "Oh, this Terror is pretty good. You know what you're getting with them. If you liked them before, you'll like it. If you didn't you won't." You're just like, "I just did all that fucking work to hear that shit? You didn't even listen to it."
I think a lot of the current bigger hardcore bands like Turnstile or Code Orange and even like Power Trip, they're all the newer, bigger bands and they're all really outside the box of just straight up hardcore. I'm all for people experimenting and going with their music wherever they want to go, but I think to a certain degree, people are really excited on the new Terror record because it's just hardcore. No frills. You know what you're getting and as much as people want different things and want to hear different noises and different styles of writing, there's always going to be a place for just straight up hardcore. I think we fill that spot right now.
Mike: We are a small part of the world but we are fucking up just as much as everyone so Australian fans need some home truths shouted at us in the way that only Terror can…
Scott: Yeah, it's been so fucking long. I think we came there, I don't know, five times. When we started, we came there pretty early and then we came back every couple of years. Just over maybe the last, I don't know, it seems like it has been about five years. It just hasn't happened. It hasn't worked out with our schedule or certain times, we've been talking to booking agents and just to be really blunt, they've said, "The scene isn't so great right now to come here. The shows aren't going to be as good as they once were." We were like, "You know what? We've already been there so many times, why don't we wait until the right tour comes along and everything falls into place. There's no reason to fly over there and just force a tour if it's just going to be so-so.
Stick To Your Guns 'True View Au' Australian Tour
Friday 25th January - The Brightside, Brisbane 18+
Saturday 26th January - Shark Bar, Gold Coast 18+
Sunday 27th January - Crowbar, Sydnet 18+
Monday 28th January - Small Ballroom, Newcastle 18+
Tuesday 29th January - The Basement, Canberra 18+
Thursday 31st January - Pelly Bar, Frankston 18+
Friday 1st February - Stay Gold, Melbourne 18+
Saturday 2nd February - Enigma Bar, Adelaide 18+
Sunday 3rd February - Amplifier Bar, Perth 18+