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Interview

Terror Drummer Nick Jett On New Bassist Chris Linkovich, New Album "Total Retaliation" And Working With Rapper Vinnie Paz

Following our recent interview with Madball vocalist Freddy Cricien (which can be seen here,) we followed his brother Roger Miret's words and went from the East Coast to the West Coast to catch up with one of Los Angeles' biggest hardcore bands, Terror. Currently on a European tour with Deez Nuts, the quintet stopped off in London last night to bring their ferocious music to the English capital.

Before the show, I had the opportunity to climb aboard the tour bus and speak with Terror drummer Nick Jett about the band's new album, "Total Retaliation," how bassist Chris Linkovich is settling into the band, the group's relationship with rap star Vinnie Paz and much more. You can check it out below.

Diamond Oz: The latest album, "Total Retaliation," was released this year. It's a really solid album. How would you compare it to the last album ("The 25th Hour")?

Nick Jett: I guess we don't really have a strong idea of "we're going to try and do something hugely different compared to our last one," but I guess the slight difference is a little more thought out and structured, like chouruses and just spending a little more time on it, compared to the last one which was a little bit more about trying to capture a raw and rough soud, just jamming in the studio. This time a bunch of songs were written and we picked the twelve that worked best together, just a little bit more thought put into it.

Oz: One of the songs that really sticks out is "Post Armageddon Interlude," for the obvious reason that Vinnie Paz appears on it. Of course, Terror and Vinnie Paz have had this relationship for quite a long time. How far back does that go?

Nick: I can't remember exactly when it was but it was right around when we did that track with them ("Heavy Metal Kings", from the Jedi Mind Tricks album, "Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell,") he had hit us up about doing a collaboration and we'd never met him before but in some of his music videos that we'd seen he was wearing a Terror shirt. It's funny because he was wearing shirts that we hadn't made, so I guess he'd made a custom tall tee with one of our designs on it. So he reached out and we clicked instantly. He's an old hardcore dude from the East Coast so he knows where we come from and everything. Since then he's done stuff on our records and back and forth.

Oz: The other main talking point of the album is that it's the first full length from your new bassist Chris Linkovich. How's he settling in so far?

Nick: Awesome. He's such a chill dude and down for whatever which makes it real easy to work with him. He brought some songs into the process too, one of them, "Spirit Of Sacrifice," is one of my favourites on the record. It's awesome to have a new guy come in and we've been friends with him for years but to have him come in and bring things to the table is always a cool thing.

Oz: And did his songs fit in with the Terror style straight away?

Nick: Yeah, that's the thing. Sometimes it's hard to come from the outside. People have their own writing style but he totally nailed it. That song "Spirit Of Sacrifice" sounded like something we would write so straight away we were thinking that this worked out perfect.

Oz: And has he kind of re-energised the band, so to speak?

Nick: Yeah when our bass player David left the band it was a pretty big blow, just because we're such good friends. He's got real life stuff going on, he got married and he's chilling at home but it was like "what are we going to do without David?" and while Chris hasn't totally filled David's spot, he's totally brought a cool new vibe to the band.

Oz: Hardcore has a reputation for having ferocious live shows and intensity, without necessarily being violent in an aggressive way. Yet from all this history and everything, Terror seems to have this reputation for being one of the best hardcore bands one could hope to see. Why is this?

Nick: I think for us that's what it's always been about. The records are always cool but if you can't capture that energy in a live show then it doesn't do the songs any justice. So I think we always think about the show when we're writing music. That's what we've always been about from the beginning, playing small shows and houses and whatever. There's years when we've played like three hundred shows and I think it's important for hardcore, that experience of going out, being in the scene, talking to other hardcore kids and being able to release this energy at a hardcore show. We've always kind of revolved our band around the live show.

Oz: And you're clearly talented since you have that ability to translate the show well to larger stages. For example I saw you at Graspop in 2011 and it was insane even in a larger setting.

Nick: Yeah I'd say this is more of an ideal place to see us. We've played here a few times before and it's always cool when you're somewhere where people can jump off the stage, grab the mic from Scott and really feel like they're a part of it with the band. That for us is more ideal. It was definitely a weird thing when we started playing big festivals and stuff and I think Scott does a really good of communicating with the crowd.

Oz: Yeah, even at Graspop he was getting people to jump the barrier and get up on stage.

Nick: Well he's good at convincing people to do crazy shit!

Oz: There were some bands playing that day from similar backgrounds that couldn't seem to translate the small club show atmosphere to such a big stage but Terror made such a large area feel really claustrophobic.

Nick: Yeah, I think we take it on as a challenge. We don't get up there and think how cool it is to playing in front of thousands of people, it's more a case of "Well how can we make this show just as sick as last night when we played to 200 people?" Every time we do a show like that it's challenge to conquer where we are.

Oz: I was speaking to Freddy Madball the other day and he was saying that in mainland Europe, particularly Germany, hardcore's probably bigger than it is in the U.S. because of a festival culture and things like that. Would you agree?

Nick: Yeah, it's just a different dynamic. Everywhere we go is a little bit different as far as what bands or styles are more popular or the amount of people that come to the shows. i think in Germany, it dips into more of the mainstream culture, whereas in the States it's still more of a counter-culture kind of thing. Not to say either way is better, but in Germany the style's more exposed so you get more people at the shows. It's (festival culture) cool because you get to play with all these different bands and people are there to see bands like Sick Of It All as much as say Slayer, whereas in the States it's probably a little more segregated and I think that's the case in England too.

Oz: Yeah. It's gotta be good for you playing with thrash bands and stuff because then you're representing your patch if you like, as well as being appreciated more for being something different.

Nick: We've always tried playing with different bands regardless. I think everybody that eventually becomes a hardcore kid was exposed to it through something like punk rock or heavy metal or whatever. So for us to play with a heavy metal bands and have a kid that's into Slayer or something take notice and get exposed to it and five years down the line, he might be a full on hardcore kid. Not that there's anything wrong with metal, I love metal!

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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