I never really felt too much about songs about heartbreak

Terror

I’ve been a dedicated Metalhead for a long time, yet my musical taste goes wider than that. Ever since my teens, I’ve also felt a pull towards other, related genres like Punk and Hardcore. My first lessons in Hardcore included Hatebreed, the Cro-mags, Madball and Terror. When I got the chance to talk to Terror about their upcoming EP “The Walls Will Fall”, I didn’t have to think twice. Guitarist Martin Stewart gave me his views on the world, the genre and the band’s latest release.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! How are things in your world?

Yeah, no problem at all! Things are great. We are in Germany, in ah… shit, I don’t remember what city we’re in *laughs*, but we’re in Germany. This is the third show on the tour, and it’s been great so far!

*laughs* Alright, just having some fun then!

Absolutely, yeah.

I’ve been playing your upcoming EP “The Walls Will Fall” a lot this week, it’s uncompromising in-your-face Hardcore, as always.

Yeah, I agree!

What can you tell us about the release?

Well, as you said, it’s an EP, it’s five songs and it’s actually coming out, being released at the end of this month, but we’ve got some copies with us on the tour, that we’ve been selling. Just like you said, it’s just Hardcore how we like it, and so far, the songs the people have heard, we’ve had very good feedback. Which is always a good thing, when you put out new music and people enjoy it!

That’s why you do it! *laughs*

*laughs* Yeah, that’s true. I’m excited for it to finally actually come out and give everyone a chance to listen to it.

I always love the aggression in your music. Where do you draw this energy from? Are you also an angry person?

No. I think we are all somewhat angry in some way, but I think it’s what draws us to underground Punk and Hardcore in the first place. We’re angry at the way things appear to be in like the everyday world, so yeah. There’s a lot of things that piss me off. Especially today there’s a lot of crazy shit happening that makes us angry, and we look to Hardcore and Punk for some sort of comfort and release. We find other people that are likeminded and pissed off at the world, you know? We go to these shows where you can find some of these people, and we can all kind of flip off that world together.

What would you say are the biggest things in this world right now, that piss you off?

Well, I don’t want to get too deep into political issues, but the political climate of the world is very unsettling.

Yeah, scary stuff.

Yeah, you definitely can say that.

Where did the title of the EP come from, might it have gotten it’s inspiration from the great American wall that’s being built?

*laughs* You know, well actually, yeah. That does have something to do with it, because I think that most people can see how silly that idea is, to actually build a wall. There are people out there that will agree with him, but whatever, that’s their own problem, but we as a band definitely think it’s silly, and that’s part of the inspiration for the title. *laughs* I don’t support that shit, at all. I think it’s ridiculous.

I’m from Holland myself, so I live relatively close to Germany, and I’ve seen the wall over there. It’s not something to aspire.

*laughs* Exactly. Things usually don’t play out that well in the end, if you build walls like that.

There’s also a Madball cover on this EP, “Step To You”. How big of an influence has this band been to you?

Oh everyone in the band, even previous members of the band, everyone that stepped on stage with Terror has really been influenced by Madball. Everyone in the band, so I think it’s really cool that we did that cover. I think a lot of people will not even recognize the song, because it’s such an old song and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them play it live. They are still playing, they’re still an active band, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in their set, so I think there are a lot of people that don’t know about it. And it’s a great song!

Yeah, absolutely. A lot of energy there!

Yes, definitely. And in such a short period of time. It’s a short song with a lot of energy.

Yeah, a fast burst. Hardcore, and especially your brand of Hardcore is mostly full speed ahead, aggressive and raw. What would you say are the bare essentials that any Hardcore song should have?

Actually that’s a tough one, because I think it could be different for everybody, but for me… You can have a slow song, it doesn’t have to be fast. A slow song can have a lot of energy, and it can still be a Hardcore song. I think it’s what you put into it like, when you’re creating the song. I think what you have in mind at that point, to get it across really comes through, so as long as you feel that you are making a good Hardcore song, then it should translate over to the people that are listening to it. I think that’s the most important thing. Lyrics have a lot to do with that.

It’s not about the speed of the sledgehammer, but the power with which it hits.

Yeah, like that. For me personally, I always felt more for a song that has like a sense of urgency to it, like speaking about a topic that matters, versus like, nothing against it, but I never really felt too much about songs about heartbreak and such. I guess I identify more with like, the aggression, like you said.

Yeah. Well, they always say to write what you know, so that you don’t write about heartbreak is a good thing! *laughs*

*laughs* Yeah, totally.

You are known for staying very true to the Hardcore code. You even released an album called “Live By The Code”. To you, what does that code entail?

That’s another thing that will most probably be different from person to person, but in my personal experience it’s just actually giving a shit, and doing things that better the community that you are a part of, and actually being a member of that community. Some people take it for granted, they hear these words in these songs over and over again and it kind of becomes like a cliche, but we understand that you really do have to be a part of this movement, no matter what. No matter how large it gets. If you say you’re going to be a part of it, do something. Stick to it and be there. I’ve seen so many people over the years that are here, vocal and very loud, talking the most, and in a couple of years they vanish like they were never there. And it doesn’t mean that you have to be at the forefront every single day of your life, but you can help better the movement in different ways. You can go to the show of a band, buy someone’s record, there are a lot of different ways to make that happen. Those are the basics to be a part of what’s happening.

I agree with you there. More than once I’ve heard someone describe Hardcore as both a therapy and a release for those with a hard life.

Yeah, absolutely.

The lyrics are often about standing for who you are, being yourself, and surviving. Do you relate to this self-help kind of description of the genre?

Yeah, definitely. I feel like a lot of people I know and talked with me over the years can agree with that also. I meet a lot of people, from all over the world, and they had like a heavy childhood experience, they feel like they are alone, that everything around you is not the right way to be doing things. Maybe that’s because they come from a broken home, or have been in trouble, or gangs or whatever. In my personal experience, if it wasn’t for Punk and Hardcore, I would have taken a completely different route. If it wasn’t around, I probably would be doing some bad things. I’m not saying I haven’t been doing them otherwise, but it would probably have been a lot worse. It’s that typical thing that people say, it actually did save my life. I one hundred percent identify with that. Not everyone can, but that shouldn’t exclude anybody.

Yeah, I absolutely agree. To me personally, Hardcore has always been the bridge between Punk and Metal. I happen to love all three genres.

Me too, yeah.

The last few decades we’ve seen a lot of new subgenres being created, with a *core prefix. Metalcore, Deathcore, etc. How do you feel about these new hybrid bands?

Some of them I like, some of them I don’t really listen to or pay attention to, but I give everything a fair chance. I mean, music is music, and all I really care about is that when you’re going to attach the word Hardcore to any band, no matter what you sound like, then you better be doing something that actually matters, and care. You know, the one thing that I notice the most is that bands would call themselves a Hardcore band, but then if their band isn’t playing a show, they won’t even be at another show supporting what they are claiming to be a part of. To me, that’s what matters the most. It’s not so much the sound of the band, but it’s what they do off the stage.

Yeah, that’s very important these days, to support the scene. Absolutely.

Yeah, and I know people say that so much, like I said before, it’s become a cliche talking feelings. It shifts reality, really. If you say you’re a part of something, do something.

In what ways would you say Terror supports other bands in the scene at this moment?

Ah, for us it’s pretty easy, as far as it comes to the shows that we play, and the bands that we are able to bring with us out on tour. We are lucky to be able to come over to Europe and tour a couple of times a year, and it puts us in a position where we’re able to bring bands with us who might not normally have opportunities to come here. We help them come over here and show people something new, hopefully. Well, in our minds that’s what we’re doing. And then, all of us have other active bands outside of Terror, also, which is really cool. So we’re doing all of that also. I also go to shows when I’m at home and not on the road. We’ve got guys in the band that are making fanzines, and putting out records, pretty much all across the board, you know? We make our drummer record bands that need help, we do as much as we possibly can.

So, the short answer is, you do a lot *laughs*

*laughs* Yeah. We try to. It feels like a lot.

On your Wikipedia page it’s stated that the band is something they call “Vogelisms”, which are described as onstage banter *laughs*. Do you recognize yourselves in that description?

*laughs* Yeah. That’s Scott, who does that. He’s a personality, for sure. He’s got a very strong, unique personality. I think people pay attention to that, I think it’s cool. People know him for who he is, which is really individualistic. Some people think it’s funny, some people don’t like it, some people love it, but no matter what, he’s still himself. He’s not putting on an act, it’s just who he is all the time. I can vouch for that.

I read it and I had to smile, to have your own name used in such a descriptive way.

*laughs* Yeah. He wouldn’t enjoy it, because he’s like not the kind of person that wants to attract all that kind of attention to himself, but I can appreciate it. I think it’s just who he is.

How do you usually interact with the crowd? How do you experience a live set from the stage?

At a Hardcore show that’s pretty easy, because 95% of the time it’s going to be at a club where there’s no barricade or anything like that, and people already know that they basically have free reign to do whatever they want. People are taking the microphone, jumping on stage with you, you know? To us there is no division between the people in the crowd, and the people on stage. We are all part of the same thing, it’s a natural interaction, but sometimes it gets a little difficult when you play like a bigger crowd and there’s like a barricade, creating a separation. That can suck, but we do our best to work around it. You still feel that connection with the crowd, even with that barricade between us.

Yeah, that’s something that has increased in the last few years I think. Barricades, bans on crowdsurfing, stuff like that. How do you look at that development?

I think that problem has always been there, maybe not for Punk and Hardcore shows, but the way I see it is, a venue can ban that as much as they want, but if the band wants that… If the venue says no but you want to do it, then book the show somewhere else. If that venue says no, go to someone’s basement. People will keep doing what they want to do. I think that spirit will survive.

Exactly. I remember one year at a big festival, they banned circle pits, and I have never seen as many circle pits as that year *laughs*.

Right, exactly. That’s going to happen. Especially when you’re booking bands that incite that type of movement. You can’t book a Hardcore band and then tell them they can’t have a Hardcore show, without expecting the people are going to revolt against the rules you are trying to put in place. People have to understand that if they book these bands and take people’s money, then they have to be ready for what’s going to happen.

Exactly, this is who we are.

Yes. Exactly.

The band was formed in 2002, that means Terror celebrates its fifteenth year in existence, are you planning anything special?

No, not that I know of! I mean, fifteen years is a long time, but I don’t know. I think the whole anniversary thing has become kind of like expected now. There are like a lot of ten year anniversary tours, and celebrations of specific records, that kind of thing, and I’ve got nothing against that, but I don’t think we feel the need yet. We haven’t yet reached the point for that kind of thing. We’ve been around for some time, but it’s not really that big of an accomplishment *laughs*. We just play shows, and we have been playing these fifteen years, probably more, and we will be playing for many years after this. And it’s still really cool, fifteen years is a long time. Especially nowadays, bands don’t really seem to last that long anymore.

In these fifteen years the music industry has changed a lot as well. In what ways would you say that the Hardcore scene has changed?

Like you said, the industry is changing, no matter what, and Hardcore is going to be somewhat a part of that, you know? Like, we have to use the formats to release the music in this mess, so I guess we take cues from the music industry over all. It are like basic changes that have happened in the music industry have affected the Hardcore scene as well, like with selling records. We are at a point where bands like “Shadows Fall” and “Unearth”, who were like in my eyes, these were the bands that were playing Hardcore shows and got opportunities to start selling hundreds of thousands of records, and do massive tours and stuff. They were able to do their thing on such a big level, and it’s like, the music industry started slowing down. I think the trend is like rising and falling, that happens in Hardcore also. When you’ve got a band like us, here we are playing a club show in front of a couple of a hundred people, but we also have the opportunity to step on stage at “At Full Force” in front of 10,000 people. Those are the changes that I feel that expand and contract in the current music industry. Some bands will be selling millions of records the one day, and the next day they’re breaking up, or that kind of thing.

Well, you’re still out there, and you’re keeping it real, and kicking ass! *laughs*

*laughs* Yeah, exactly. As long as you’re willing to put up with the bullshit, then you can stay a band for as long as you want, but a lot of bands don’t have the will, if it’s not moving forward, they tend to give up.

It’s a sad thing. I read somewhere that Terror was founded to bring the scene back to its roots, to what it’s supposed to be. Do you feel you’ve been successful in that mission?

I don’t know! I guess people coming to our shows would have to be the judge of that. I think I’ve been playing in the band now for almost 12 years, so I wasn’t there in the very beginning, but I was there to see it all start, I went to the first show and everything and in my opinion, looking at it from the outside, yes. Because when I saw Terror start I felt like this was a band that actually cared about the songs they are writing, that was the whole vibe of the band, their mission. I can say, I think so.

I think so as well, but I always like to hear it in the band’s own words *laughs*.

*laughs* yeah.

In the last 15 years the band has also done a whole lot of touring. What are your favorite tour memories so far, and which are your worst ones?

*laughs* Oh man, I don’t know. Like you said, since I started in the band, we’ve been touring non-stop, so the amounts of memories are endless, but one moment I always think of was the very first time we were asked to play the main stage of <inaudible>. I’ve never seen that many people stand in front of a stage that we were playing before, it’s something that I’ve never experienced before, and it was really cool. I guess that tour was pretty cool, but all the tours that we do are pretty good. Just different experience than touring in the United States.

So, no bad memories?

Honestly? I mean, not really. Everything that happens on tour has been a learning experience, so I look at them all in a positive way, because if you don’t, you will be fucking miserable. I see a lot of miserable people out on tour, and I refuse to be one of them *laughs*.

*laughs* Yeah. There’s a whole lot of miserable people, period.

*laughs* Yeah, yeah. It’s crazy to see these people go out on tour, to see a band that has the opportunity to be out on the road and play their music for people that want to see them, and they’re unhappy. I just don’t understand that at all.

Yeah. I remember one show, I won’t mention the band, but the singer decided not to sing his hit song, because he was fucking tired of it. *laughs*. The band played it, but he didn’t sing it.

*laughs* Yeah. You have to understand that it’s not just about you, but what it means to all those people that came to enjoy this movement that you’ve created. You’ve got to make that happen.

Yeah, agreed. Where it comes to touring, where can we see you play this year?

We will be back in Europe in the summer for a bunch of summer festivals. There’s a shitload, but I can’t remember them top of my head. But we will be back in the summer, and we have a couple of things in the US coming up.

Alright! I’ll definitely check you out somewhere this year.

You’re in the Netherlands, right?

Yeah. I’m in the Netherlands, but our readers are everywhere!

Yeah, okay. But I’m sure we will get to the Netherlands at some point!

Looking forward to it! That leads me to my final question, and that’s, do you have any last words for our readers?

Yeah definitely.  Check out our new website that has everything that’s related to the new EP coming out and it’s http://thewallswillfall.com. It has tour dates, there’s a music video coming out there, and everything we have going on right now is on there. I think people should check that out!

I think so as well, I already did! Thank you very much for your time and enjoy the rest of your night!

Alright, thanks a lot!

Randy Gerritse