Terror is one of the best hardcore bands around, no question about that. The band is well known for their rowdy, high-energy performances that draw an entire room together. I had the chance to sit down again with guitarist Martin Stewart about the band's experience on Warped Tour, as well as their new album, and more.
So you're on the Warped Tour this year, something I never would've thought would happen. That's always a topic of discussion "Oh, what if Terror's on the tour, that would be crazy". What are your thoughts on being on the tour?
I actually love it. We're only a few weeks into it and I personally was pretty nervous about coming on it because there's so many rules on the tour and so many ways you can get kicked off the tour. We're a little bit wild sometimes and our shows go a little crazy, so I was afraid that we were going to be in trouble every day and all kinds of stuff, and it's actually been the exact opposite. Everyone's been so welcoming, even the security is real cool. There's still those rules there, and there's a barricade that's probably 15 feet away from the stage, but we've played so many shows like that already so we already know how to deal with it.
I guess did you guys talk to a band like letlive. or someone else who has done the tour before as to how to manage it?
Yeah, we're sharing a bus with the Every Time I Die guys, I think they said it was the fifth or sixth time being on the tour. It was nice to have someone like that, because this shit is crazy, it's different than any other tour we've done before.
It's cool that Every Time I Die is on the Monster stage, because they requested to be there.
And that's what they told us too, "Trust us, you're gonna enjoy the Monster stage." But you know it's cool though, we've been put on main stage twice...
Yeah, that was fun. I think it was Mountain View, there were a ton of kids who came out for that.
We're pretty as far as where we're playing, who we're playing with, any of that stuff. I'm sure there's some bands out there that to them it would be a bummer or something - we played last on the Monster stage, we've played first on the main stage and I feel like some bands would consider that a bad thing, but we're like whatever.
You guys have been so vocal about including everyone that wants to see your set, just be there - whether you like Attila or any other band...
How exciting is it to you guys to know that Terror might be the first band some kids may see live period? I mean, maybe they've never been to a show before...
Yeah, there's a lot of younger, maybe narrow-scoped and closed-minded individuals who don't understand, and they're like "Why are you playing this tour?" They just don't understand the way that things work yet, and one day I'm sure they'll get it like "Oh, now that makes sense..."
Well, I mean they're 14...
Exactly, exactly, and it's like I was the same way at one point. When you love a band and you become selfish, and that band belongs to you, you know? You don't want anyone else to tarnish that. People will realize that they don't have to worry about that with us, it's not like we're going to change because we did the Warped Tour.
You find yourselves on many different tours - last year you did one with Suicidal Tendencies, one with Fucked Up...
Exactly. We've always said that we'll play with any band in front of anyone, anywhere, anytime, and we stick by that. We know that we're going to be us, regardless of what bands we're playing with - the bands that are playing has nothing to do with what we're doing ourselves. So I think it's cool to play to those new people that have never seen that before, because we were all there once, who went to see whoever. You go to see one band and then this other band is playing with them and it changes your outlook on everything.
What bands have been the ones you've seen the most?
Every Time I Die for sure and Stray From The Path - those are two bands that we've toured with multiple times at this point. The Story So Far, damn - I caught their set in their hometown, they closed out the night...
Yeah, that was crazy.
That shit was insane, that was awesome.
Can you imagine doing a tour with those guys? They're a pop-punk band, and you're a hardcore band...
Yeah, you know what? I don't know how it worked out, but I had an off date in NYC and they played with Rotting Out and Stick To Your Guns and it was perfect, it was an awesome show. I would love to tour with them.
Yeah, they had Rotting Out, Stick To Your Guns, and Heart to Heart on that tour.
Heart To Heart, yeah I think they're on this tour as well, I haven't had a chance to see them yet.
They're great, real up and coming.
But yeah, I'm not going to sit here and say I love that type of music, I've never been the type that was in the more - I love Saves The Day and stuff like that, but I was never big in the poppier kind of punk world. [The Story So Far] do what they do really good, and I like them as people too - they're just hardcore kids that just play something that sounds a little different, that's all it is.
I love seeing "Keep Your Mouth Shut" in the setlist. What is your favorite song to play on this tour and why?
The set we're doing now...I think my favorite song is "You're Caught" because it's so different than the rest of the songs we have and it's a lot of fun to play - it's kind of crazy to see people on the Warped Tour jumping up and down, they can get into the song and have some fun because our set for the most part is aggressive and raw, and there's this one song in the middle where it's like "If you're not feeling the punching and kicking and all that shit, you can have a little fun and let loose on this song." So it's a little something for everyone.
That's Scott's favorite song as well, right?
Yeah, he always says that's his favorite song as well.
If you had time to add one more song to the set, which one would it be and why?
Something off Live By The Code for sure, because that's the newest record. On our last European tour, we were playing "Shot of Reality" from the record, we just watched the proof of the video last night, it was fucking awesome. Carlo Opperman (ambitious.films) shot it.
Yeah, he's so awesome. He has a good vision.
We did a video with him, not knowing who he was, and now he's our boy. He's come to the U.S. and chilled with us before. He did another video with us, he filmed one of the Impericon Festival shows in I think Leipzig - it was a big show, there was a few thousand people there.
30 minutes is a pretty short setlist...
But that's typically how long you guys play anyways...
I like it, because all our songs are typically short and fast, so 30 minutes isn't so bad, but for other bands I feel bad because they can only fire off 5 songs.
Last time we talked about how Hip-Hop and Hardcore connected, and you guys just recently put out a mixtape through Merch Connection. How'd that idea come together?
Exactly that, looking at hip-hop. It's cool, because the whole vision of a mixtape is to put a whole bunch of your stuff together and get it out there, and give people a taste of what you're about.
And you have all those new kids coming out to the see you...
Exactly, so it's perfect for something like this.
And the mix is totally different too.
Yeah, and it was something fun to do too, it was a cool idea. We like to do stuff that isn't typical of a hardcore band, you know?
I think it's a good example to set. It'd be cool if other bands followed suit.
I like the hustle of it.
Do you know if Merch Connection is doing any more of those?
I don't know.
What about the intro to the tape, "World War Drew"?
The intro was done by Andrew, who plays guitar in a band called Strife. He also does a ton of other shit, as far as production goes. He does stuff for the whole Soul Assassins thing, and he makes beats for a lot of people. He actually mixed the whole thing, we came to him and we were like "These are the songs we want to put on it, can you make it like an actual mixtape?" and he did all that.
Live By The Code has been out for a little over a year and three months or so. How's the reaction been?
Great, we haven't had the chance to do too many headlining tours on it...
Because you did four tours that went through Portland last year. I mean, you can't get mad at that though - I mean, Suicidal Tendencies...
It's been great, no complaints at all. We're already writing stuff and we'll have stuff coming soon.
It feels good to have a fifth studio album, a lot of bands don't have that.
We've been around for a minute now, and it feels good to still stick around.
My favorite track on Live By The Code is the opener, "The Most High". What is your favorite track on the record?
My favorite song on the album - it's sad, because I don't actually know if we'll actually get to playing it live, "Not Impressed". We had a weird working title for it because it reminded us of an old Agnostic Front song, the way the verses were. I'll listen to that song and it'll get me so fired up man, it's such a good song - it's the perfect hardcore song, it's only a couple minutes long.
What is something different that you guys tried on this record that you hadn't done on previous records?
Well, this one was very similar to Keepers Of The Faith in the way we recorded it, and we had our friend Chad [Gilbert] producing it. Everything before Keepers was done so much different, so Keepers changed the way shit was done, and then we followed suit with Live By The Code.
I think the way it was pushed was totally different, especially with Victory being involved.
Yeah, it's kind of crazy for us. It was nice to work with Victory, and have them do something good for us.
They love your band...
And it's funny, because you just hear so many horror stories about Victory Records and bands. It's no secret - I'm not saying anything bad about them, but it's no secret that people have problems with them.
I think it's a little different because Scott has a long history with Tony...
Yeah, he has a long history with them and we just rolled in there and legitimately did what we wanted to do, we've had no problems with them at all.
Was there any particular demands you guys had?
Oh yeah, there were a couple of revisions that had to be made. They give you a record contract and...
It is as vague as people say it is?
It can be, but we're not young kids and we've been through this before. We have a good friend who's a lawyer and stuff like that...
And you need that.
Yeah, I hate to say this, but if you get screwed by Victory Records or any other label, a lot of it's on you. If you make sure ahead of time that you know what you want and this is what we're gonna do, you contractually sign a contract...
I feel like Nick told me you're on for three records?
Probably, I don't even know.
So the next one will definitely be out through them then.
Yeah definitely, and there's no reason not to, they've been great to us.
What is something about Live By The Code that most people wouldn't know unless you told them?
Before recording the songs that are on there, there was probably about 40 songs - so 40 songs got narrowed down to 12.
And that's tough. Did you guys do a lot of arguing about which songs made the record, or was it unanimous?
You know, working with an outside person like Chad makes that kind of stuff easier. Because where there might be a disagreement, there's that outside perspective that says "Hey, you like this song and you like this song, we're not recording it, why don't we mix them together and make a whole new song", shit like that.
Did he do something else in the studio to push you guys in a way to make the best record you could?
Yeah, I think so for sure in my opinion. With me, he was recording guitar tracks and he's really good about letting you know if you've done your best or if you should do it again or try it like this. He's real casual about it too because he's my friend - when I'm not on tour and I'm home, I'm hanging out with him most of the time, doing whatever. So being in the studio with someone, being comfortable, and they're your friend like that...
It feels like he's another member of the band.
Yeah, it's natural I guess.
Will he be returning for the recording process for this upcoming record?
I'm not sure. I'm not sure what we're going to do, we haven't started making definite plans yet. If he does, that's great - if not, it wouldn't be because we didn't like it, it'd just be something like "Hey, let's try something different". And plus, he's got so much shit to do, his band's got a new record coming out too...
And I think he's producing other records as well...
Yeah, he's always doing stuff, you never know.
So you're writing a new record. What kind of stuff can we expect this time around?
That's always a tough question for us, because it's early and it's not like we're going to come out with a pop record or anything. So all I can really say is that we're writing cool hardcore songs that we like and that we would listen to. It's hard to get more descriptive than that.
Do you feel like there's going to be another idea that you guys are putting forward? There was Keepers Of The Faith, Live By The Code...
Yeah, for sure. We actually already made promo stickers and stuff like that, the record's going to be called The 25th Hour.
Cool. Can you tell us the idea behind that?
See, you know what I like about a lot of our record titles is that it's not just one meaning behind it the whole thing, there's collective meanings. When I first heard the title, the first thing that I saw was that we're such a hard working band, and that's tooting my own horn or anything, we just do a lot...
What other band would come through Portland three or four times in a year? Is that even legally allowed?
Yeah. So we have people that do stuff for us, we have a booking agent and that kind of stuff, but still the five of us are involved in doing everything for our band, so we're all working hard. Each person is doing something for the band. Some bands just hand everything over to someone else and they're like "Here, take care of all the work", but we don't do that and we're always on tour, so 24 hours in a day is almost not enough for us, we go above and beyond that. That's what I saw right away, and I thought it was a great album title.
And then Scott had an idea...there's the the movie The 25th Hour, and the symbolism behind the 25th hour is that it's living on borrowed time, after the 24th hour everything after that is kind of a make or break type of thing.
Are you guys doing a fall tour? Or are you guys hanging back and relaxing?
We have one more tour planned for the rest of the year, we're going back to Europe for the Never Say Die tour.
Oh yeah? Who's headlining it this year?
We are, actually. It feels crazy, it feels like a big step for us.
It's time though, you've put in a lot of work.
We put in a lot of work overseas, we're always over there. People who don't go there or have never been there don't understand why we go there so much, but if they could see what we see and do the things we do over there, it's incredible.
I'm jealous! I love having those 150-200 cap room shows - that Backspace show early last year was nuts, people still talk about it. In Europe you have those 2000-3000 cap shows...
And I love the variation of shows that we play over there. When we do festival tours over there and stuff we'll have shows between the festivals - one day we'll be on With Full Force and there's 30,000 people watching us, and then we'll be at a small club in France with a couple hundred people. It's so awesome, I love both of them equally too.
Wrapping up, for someone who is brand new to Terror, what is the most important thing they know?
First and foremost, we're a hardcore band and always will be a hardcore band, no matter what we're doing or what show we're playing, all that stuff.
I feel like Scott branded Terror as the hardcore band on the tour...it's funny, because you look at the Warped Tour page and you see a band like Falling In Reverse labeled as a hardcore band. How do they differentiate the sounds?
I don't know that band at all - I've heard their music and I've seen their music videos, I haven't seen them play or anything, it's 120% not my thing all from what I've seen. I'll say I don't see anything hardcore about them - I'm not saying that their music isn't hardcore or whatever, I'm saying as people there's nothing hardcore going on, there's no connection to the crowd...I dunno, it doesn't strike me as a hardcore band at all, and I don't know if I'm being judgmental at all...
And they're pop-rock, and that's totally fine.
Yeah, and that's fine, and I don't think they even care. I don't think they sat there and said "Hey Warped Tour, label us as a hardcore band", I don't even think they know that it says that. I'm sure they have no care whatsoever whether they're a hardcore band or not. It's kind of funny because people have been sending us that on the internet, "Have you seen this?!" And it's like "Yeah, we see it, nothing we can do about it, it's not like we're going to picket"
You're not gonna start shit, you know?
Cause then it's so far out of the realm, they're not even trying.
I think that's what people expected from you guys on this tour - "Oh, what's Scott going to say about Attila?"
People gotta know, that shit's not planned. It's not like we're here to start shit, when you're passionate about something sometimes you just say shit, you know? I'm sure people have been in a relationship and you get in a fight with someone and then you fire off at the mouth and say a bunch of shit; it comes from love that you're saying all this stuff, and maybe it gets a little exaggerated because you're all fired up and stuff like that, but the idea and meaning is still there. You never know, something might happen.
Anything else you'd like to mention before we wrap up?
That pretty much covers it. Check out the Instagram and Twitter, we're keeping it pretty well updated on this tour, taking shots of every show that we play. We all run it, including our tour manager Rashod - he takes most of the photos for Instagram, but we all do it together.