There are some folks in the HC scene that it’s always a pleasure to talk to and Scott Vogel is right at the top of that list. Over the years I’ve talked to him more than a few times about life, Hardcore, the Universe and everything in between and on the eve of Terror releasing their new EP, The Walls Will Fall, we sat down to talk again. This is what he had to say…
Interview by Tim Cundle
MM: So what’s been happening in the world of Terror, since we last spoke a couple of years ago and between 25th Hour and The Walls Will Fall?
SV: Well we just did the new record which is about to be released. I’ve had some health issues which held us back for a while. I have some issues with my back because of all the touring; so that held us back a bit but I think honestly we all – not to say that I liked it – but it did us some good to get a break from touring all the time. I was doing some physical therapy and getting my shit together, and we got to the point where we got done with a record deal with Century media. We started to write some songs and I guess we just wanted to put out an EP instead of an LP. So we started writing for the new record which should be out in a month.
MM: I wanted to ask you about the new record, because it’s straight up balls out. You guys sound angrier than you have in a while. It kind of made me wonder what was fuelling your anger on it.
SV: You know I think for me I go through phases when I want to be a bit more on the positive side with my lyrics and sometimes you’re just in that mood when you just don’t find yourself too much positive. I think that with the state of the United States right now, I’d say this: with my health problems I spent a lot of time in town and around the house which doesn’t really happen very often. Watching the news and watching what was unfolding, it’s just really not a good time in this country, with all the hate that people direct to each other. That was the reason for the title really for The Walls Will Fall; the idea of building a wall, it was kind of disgusting to me to see all these people cheering for all this separation when people have been working so hard to tear down walls (metaphorically). And to see people cheering for all this separation and for building walls. I feel like that’s where the lyrics come from and a lot of the anger…
MM: Then there’s the Madball cover. What made you choose that song?
SV: We threw around a lot of ideas about who to cover. We threw around some mad ideas like the Descendents or Social Distortion and when it comes down to it I think that Terror has always been proud to be this all out Hardcore band that always delivers really aggressive in your face music; and I think that Madball is… you know everybody in Terror listens to different kinds of things, but Madball is one band that – I would say we looked up to them. Especially before we met them and became good friends with them because then it becomes a little different from just straight up looking up to them when people become friends and you get to know them really well. They are a band that we love on and off the stage and they had some older records and songs that just like any band they don’t really play much anymore, and when we started listening back to some of these records and found this classic song, one they don’t play much anymore and that people don’t really think of so much, and we put our own spin on it.`
MM: It sounds great brother. Really ,really good. Did you ever think back when you were fronting Buried Alive that you’d still be doing it in 2017 and making music that was, really, more vital and energetic than what you were doing then?
SV: No I didn’t. Especially when Buried Alive ended I moved from the East coast – Buried Alive were based in Buffalo – to the West coast and got a normal job. I never intended to do music again, I was so over being involved with music, and being in a band with dudes is like being in a relationship with four different guys and – whether people what to admit it or not – the competition between people. I was just over the whole thing and never wanted to be in a band again. I wanted to have a normal life. Then I got this phone call that Terror was starting, and I guess I was still young and hungry to do music even though I thought I’d never want to do music again, but I never imagined at that time that Terror would last 15 years and do all of the shit that we’ve done. What do most bands last… a few years? But somehow we managed to keep this shit going and here we are.
MM: The thing is with you guys is that you always sound vital. There has never been a time when it’s sounded like you’ve been on the back burner or fading, it’s always been all out or nothing…
SV: Right from the start we never had an attitude that we were aiming to be living off the band or making money – not that we were against that – but the attitude was that it felt real and it felt important and had a lot of energy to it. So right from the beginning we decided not to get hung up on the where when or why, let’s just go out and play. Then we just started playing and playing then we started getting more and more tours. Blood for Blood were one of the first bands to take us out on tour, then all these other bands we really liked started asking us to go on tour and we didn’t want to say no. So we just kept going and going and going.
MM: You’ve kind of got a unique perspective about the scene as you’re always out on the road. How healthy do you think it is at the moment?
SV: I think it’s amazingly healthy. And I don’t base that on numbers, it makes no difference if it’s 50 or 500 kids who turn up to a show. I think as well it’s something that Terror started in some ways; it used to be that bands in Hardcore were super serious and business like; they had to get the record deal and the booking agent, but we never thought that every band needs to have a booking agent or all of that other stuff and that these days with the internet and a phone you can do a lot of that stuff yourself. There are a lot of bands and cool venues now and a few years ago for better or worse things were different and they didn’t seem to have so much to say they weren’t using their head and had no heart and no morals. That’s changing back now and bands are starting to realise that you can do some of that stuff for yourself for a while, and that you can have principals and stand up for them, be more forward thinking and care about the world. The time I would say Hardcore was in a really bad place was when there was all that violence at shows.
MM: Do you think age has changed your perspective and how you feel about being in Terror and about music in general?
SV: Of course it does and has. I still think of myself as young at heart and get excited about doing demos and stuff, but I’m not an 18 year old kid who’s excited just to be in the band and sit there and talk Hardcore for 10 hours a day. Even – I’m not like a musician, so it’s not like I go and see a band and if they are musically excellent that’s all I’m looking for – I’m looking for an energy and spirit which is something completely different to just pure musical ability, it’s more of a feeling. So in some ways I’m still a kid and have that blindness, but I’ve kind of seen a lot and I think I can judge people’s egos and where they are coming from a lot easier now. So in some ways I’m young but I’ve been through a lot and that’s obviously shaped the way I think.
MM: Do you think that being a part of the Hardcore scene in general has shaped who you are as a person?
SV: Yes absolutely, in really positive ways. I was thinking, this doesn’t relate to me but it kind of relates to everything I would answer; a lot of the people I see who were Hardcore kids and have children, I think they really raised their kids in a different way than I see just your average civilian. I think they really maybe learned from the way that they were treated by their parents or saw their friends get treated and made a decision to do things differently and to raise their kids surrounded by a load of cool things like art as opposed to the things that they were raised with. That kind of sums things up for me, I’m not a parent, but for me it sums up something about – and it doesn’t just have to be Hardcore either, it’s any kind of underground music, anything that goes against the grain where the people want to see true change, be a little bit different, think differently and question things, not just get fed everything the world wants you to think and go with it.
MM: I have to ask you Scott, what’s happening with World Be Free?
SV: We have a new song coming out on Triple B records’ American Hardcore Compilation 4 – they do these compilations every couple of years. We also have this other song that I’ve just put vocals to that’s coming out soon then we’re looking to do something up. It’s another one of those things that I just kind of fucked things up with my health. Now I’m stronger we’ll get that back on track.
MM: With The Walls Will Fall coming out, is it a precursor to a full length album? What are the plans?
SV: This gives us the time to get the next album right. I think it’s strong and it will give us time to make sure it’s a really good album, put our heads together and do it right.
MM: What’s the best advice that someone in the scene gave you when you were younger, and what advice would you give to younger bands just starting to come through?
SV: I would say when starting a band try to do something different and original. I see a lot of bands today, they just start their band off with “we kind of sound like this band so let’s name the band after one of their songs”. I see that so much and – I don’t want to diss anyone – but it’s such a poor starting place for me. Come up with an original name and an original sound and you’ll be that far ahead of all the other bands around you. And I think Hardcore’s really trendy you know? I think Turnstile came along and sounded really different now everyone wants to sound like them, but I think that if you’re the follower you’re never going to break much ground. If you follow the trend it’s a sure bet to get a fanbase but I think it’s better to walk your own path. And you know with World Be Free I learned a lot, to step outside of my comfort zone and do something completely different. Then when I went back to doing vocals for Terror I found that my voice was doing things it had never done before because I’d opened up new ways of doing things with World Be Free.
MM: You must have some solid touring plans in place with the EP about to drop?
SV: Yes. We’re not coming to the UK yet though. It’s on our list just not booked yet. Just the US and Europe.
The Walls Will Fall is out now