In 2013, does Terror really need an introduction? The California five-piece have risen to the forefront of the global hardcore movement across a career spanning more than a decade, commanding a legion of fans with their unwavering dedication to hardcore music and the values that underpin it. Drummer and founding member Nick Jett recently spoke to Killyourstereo.com about their latest album, ‘Live By The Code’, and their upcoming appearance at Soundwave 2014.
What have you guys been up to lately?
We just got back from tour. We just did a tour in the States called the All Stars Tour and before that we were in Europe. We’ve pretty much been on tour the whole time for the last few things.
For the uninitiated, what is "the code"?
‘Live By The Code’. There’s a code of ethics for the hardcore scene and hardcore music. It gives people a path that goes against what people are normally told to do: go to school, go to college, get a job, whatever it is. I think hardcore for us was a place that we could go to and feel like we could be whatever we wanted to be. It’s a cool support system that we all became a part of. For us, it taught us a code of ethics and it’s become an important thing for us. We’ve been a band for twelve years and we’re trying to spread the message and spread this code of ethics that we grew up on and show people the right direction when it comes to hardcore and hardcore music. There are a lot of bands that don’t do it the proper way.
Did the song writing and recording process for ‘Live By The Code’ differ at all from the band’s earlier work?
It’s a little bit different. We worked with the same producer that we worked with on the last record, Chad (Gilbert) of New Found Glory. Our new guitar player, Jordan (Posner, ex-No Warning) became involved with a lot of the songs. Me and him wrote everything together and collaborated on pretty much every song. That’s kind of a new twist on the pit, a Terror record. And also, we recorded the whole thing at my house in my studio, which was a cool introduction for us.
Terror has always come across as a band that continues to refine and hone down its own niche in hardcore, rather than constantly reinventing itself. Is experimentation on the cards for the future or will the band stick to the quintessential ‘Terror’ sound?
I don’t think we ever want to do anything too out of the box. We’re a hardcore band. We don’t want to cross over or have people consider us a metal band or a punk band. For us, we try to keep things pretty straightforward and add in little twists here and there. I think people appreciate that we’re just sticking to it and trying not to do anything crazy or change our sound.
Terror has come to be regarded as a flagship band in the hardcore scene. Is this a humbling position for you to be in?
Not at all, you know? We started a band, we wanted to travel and play hardcore shows. We never thought we’d be where we are now. It’s pretty insane for us to hear stuff like that. I still don’t even think that we think like that. We’re still pretty humbled to the whole idea of it, but it’s cool, man. When people say that kind of stuff, it means that we’ve maybe that we’ve done it right and people consider us like that.
Your frontman, Scott Vogel, has been quite vocal about specific bands in the scene in the past. Do you consider the enduring popularity and shifting genre boundaries of hardcore to be a commercialisation and dilution of the genre?
It depends; I think where the bands minds are with it. I wouldn’t bash a band like Hatebreed that maybe has gone crossover and become this big metal band, because they’ve stayed true to hardcore ethics and are still doing it for the right reason and never sold out or strayed away from it. There’s definitely some bands that it’s pretty obvious that they use the hardcore scene for a few years to gain some popularity and then they’re off to wherever they can make some money. If a band has the right ideas behind what they’re doing, I support ’em. It doesn’t matter, the sound, the look, it’s more the ideas and the attitude behind why they’re doing it.
Terror are set to play Soundwave Festival for the third time in February. What are you most excited about playing the festival again?
It’s a surreal experience for us. We’re not used to doing that stuff, to be able to play alongside these big mainstream bands and play in front of a lot of people. The hospitality is so nice on it too. We stay in these really nice hotels and people drive us around. It’s not the kind of thing we’re used to, but it’s good. It’s like a vacation.
You seem to be regular visitors to our shores. Would you say the band has a certain kinship with Australia and our hardcore scene?
I think that we’ve grown to love coming to Australia. Every time we’ve come over we’ve met a lot of cool people and we’ve played with a lot of cool bands from Australia. We know how cool the scene is over there. It’s definitely become one of our favourite places to go for sure.
The pairing with pop punkers The Story So Far for your New Zealand dates has been regarded as a strange choice by some. What is Terror’s relationship like with those guys?
We’ve never played with them before, so it’s kind of a new thing. From what I’ve heard, they’re hardcore kids from the Bay area. I don’t really know too much about them. I don’t know if it’s a good fit or a bad fit, but I think it’s cool to play with different bands that don’t sound exactly like tour.
It’s interesting how seamlessly Terror fits in with such a wide array of line-ups. Do you ever feel like outsiders amongst the more mixed bills?
For sure. The last tour we did, the All Stars Tour, I think we stood out like a sore thumb. I think it’s cool to be like that, you know? Going into a tour like that, you’re gonna shock some people. People are going to see you and be like, "What the fuck is this shit?" I like the idea of being the odd man out.
Do you have a favourite show or tour that you can remember from your career?
The first thing that comes to my mind: We did this tour, maybe five or six years ago, with Trapped Under Ice, Stick To Your Guns and Born From Pain. It was for two months in the summer and we were all in one bus that didn’t have air conditioning. It was probably one of the hottest summers we’ve ever experienced. Some people might say it was an abysmal thing, but for us, it was such a cool thing being on a bus with twenty-five of our closest friends. That’s probably one of my favourite things I’ve ever done.
How much longer do you think the Terror legacy will continue?
I feel like we could be a band for another twenty years, thirty years, until Scott (Vogel, vocalist) can’t get up there. I don’t see us slowing down at any point.
Thanks very much for your time. Are there any comments you’d like to finish on?
We’re super, super excited to come back over. We love Australia and we’re super excited to come to Soundwave. And shout out to our friends from Sydney, Relentless. They have a new album out. That’s about it.