“We had one band practise then Boris Johnson put us in lockdown.” Interview with Terror Cult

On November 12th a Leeds-based four-piece Terror Cult release their debut EP “Self-Titled” featuring 3 tracks which combine heavy rock sounds with post-punk influences and disturbing topics with pop hooks. Gig Islands talked to the band members about recording of their new release, influences behind their music, the impact of pandemic and lockdown on their creative life and Leeds train station being a place to see.

Photo by Shaun Pugh

Hi guys! Thanks for talking to Gig Islands. Could you, please, introduce yourselves to my readers?

Ben: I’m Ben, and I play bass in the band.

Dan: I’m Dan and I play guitar.

Tate: I’m Tate and I play the guitar like Dan, except I also sing.

Alex: And I’m Alex.

Tell us how the band was formed. I heard about some pub in Castleford…

Ben: Yeah, got chatting in a pub I used to work at and got chatting about the idea, Tate said he had a band name and some songs so we took it from there.

Tate: We had one band practise then Boris Johnson put us in lockdown. And here we are!

Your music combines difficult topics with catchy tunes. How did you find this kind of sound and lyrics combination?

Tate: I like the juxtaposition of having really dark subject matter in the lyrics of something that’s accessible. One example is our single “Snubnose Jesus”. If you read into the lyrics, it’s about losers on the internet like Elliot Rodgers, who believe that committing violence is gonna get them famous. I think we’ve drawn influence from bands like Misfits or Manic Street Preachers in terms of the way we write songs.

Do you remember the first gig you played together? What was the first venue you played?

Alex: So, the first gig we ever played was a local pub called Henry Boons in Wakefield. It was an event put on by Philophobia Music and we actually headlined it which was pretty mad. We weren’t even supposed to headline but the main band unfortunately came down with COVID so we put something together last minute and everyone seemed to have a good night.

On November 12th you are presenting your debut “Self-Titled” EP. How long did it take you to put it together?

Tate: We’ve been chipping away at it since last October. Reckon that recording finished at around June time, I think?

Where were these 3 songs recorded? Was there something special about the process?

Ben: The songs were recorded in a few different places. The drums were done by Alex at The Leeds College of Music whereas the guitars, bass, keys and vocals were all recorded in home studios all over the place. Mixing was done by Ben and Alex in their own home studios and the incredible masters were done by Brennan Toplass. It was a weird process because of COVID but we’re really happy with how they turned out.

Are there plans to release an album in near future? Is there a lot of material written?

Alex: We’re not planning on anything like that anytime soon. We have lots of exciting things coming for the future though, so don’t miss out. We can’t wait to share it all with you.

Let’s talk about the new reality we all live in. Could you say that lockdown had its impact on your creative life?

Tate: Well, it’s given us more time indoors. More opportunity to write songs.

Ben: Same thing goes for mixing; we’ve tried to make the most of it by focusing on that sort of thing.

What was the first gig you played after lockdown? How special was it to get back to playing live?

Ben: Like Alex said, the first gig we played after lockdown (and ever) was at Henry Boons in Wakefield. We ended up headlining as the original headline band came down with COVID but we were really shocked by the large turnout, don’t think our first gig could have gone better.

Living in the UK do you feel it is full of music heritage?

Tate: I guess so. A lot of the music that influences us is from America, to be honest. And a lot of the music that influences the British scene is from overseas, anyway. It’s been that way for years.

Do you think that the city where you live influences your sound, lyrics themes or the way you create music?

Dan: Leeds has a decent music scene. We’ve grown up in the Wakefield area, which is also very good. But we’ve found that Leeds just has a lot more going on. Like it’s got a heritage to it.

Tate: We say we’re based in Leeds because there’s our practise space and most of the local venues. However, in terms of influencing the songwriting, I don’t think it has much going on there. I don’t really write about specific places; it’s not as grounded in reality. I either write about emotions or history.

Are there any music heroes who influenced you much?

Tate: D Boon, Johnathon Richman, Lou Reed, Mac Demarco. There’s the heavier bands like Manic Street Preachers and about a dozen punk bands. The songs on our set have a direct influence from either psychedelic/jazzy stuff and post-hardcore and alternative rock.

Are there places and venues in Leeds which mattered to you personally and are gone now?

Alex: I wouldn’t say so. People always talk about The Cockpit being a legendary venue, but that was before our time so I guess we wouldn’t know.

Imagine, you are asked to look after someone completely new to Leeds for a day. Where would you take this person as the must?

Tate: To the train station so they can leave. Or Trinity Kitchen first, because the scran is good.

What is the most romantic place in Leeds? Where would you recommend to go for the first date?

Ben: The most romantic place in Leeds is the Kalvin Phillips Mural on The Calls, we always pass it on the way to practice and it’s nice to see him every week. Danny especially is a really big fan.

Where should visitors to Leeds take a picture to have a proof they’ve been there?

Ben: Leeds Train Station.

Dan: Or Bus Station.

Could you recommend more musicians from Leeds and surroundings to my readers?

Alex: I think Leeds has a great music scene with some serious talent. I’d recommend checking out Japanese Raccoon Dog, Electric Press, The Sound of Modesty and E.V.I.E if you’re into bands and live music. If you’re more into electronic music I’d recommend Tom Louis Ross, Samuriium, Absolute Zero and Gabby Hemmer.

And a final set of questions! Would you like to visit Russia some day as a tourist or on tour? What would be your expectations?

Tate: Think it would be fun. Any opportunity to travel, really. I’d expect it to be cold.

Dan: And big.

Thank you for your answers and good luck with the upcoming release!

Ben: Thank you.

Tate: Merry Christmas!

EP “Self-Titled” is out now.

Follow Terror Cult: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify

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