PropertyOfZack just recently sat down with Fred and Josh from Terrible Things for a great interview at the 2011 Vans Warped Tour. Emily, Josh, and Fred discussed Warped Tour, how the festival has changed from when they played it in prior bands, adjusting to being a three-piece, new music, and the future. Read up and enjoy!
For the record, could you state your name and role in Terrible Things?
Josh: I’m Josh Eppard, and I play drums and sing.
Fred: I’m Fred, and I play guitar and sing.
So we’re roughly just past the middle of Warped Tour. How’s the experience been, on and off stage?
Josh: It’s been good; the shows have been great. For any band all you can ask on Warped is for the opportunity to turn people on to your music. We believe in what we do, and when it gets rough out here you really have to believe in what you’re doing. Every bit that’s hard makes it worth it when you’re on stage and you literally watch people who tell you that they don’t know who your band is but they checked you out and they dig it. Warped has been awesome for us and I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better.
How has the fan turnout been for you guys?
Fred: Yesterday on Long Island was actually the best we had. Everyone knew the words and it was amazing. It’s cool because we’re on a pretty small stage and if we get a big crowd out it definitely looks packed. Like Josh said, I think it’s better than I expected.
Having played this festival in the past, in Coheed & Cambria and Taking Back Sunday, how does it compare to be playing on a different stage, at a different time, with a new identity, to a different fanbase?
Josh: That’s a good question. Definitely different, but again, I think it goes back to believing in what you do. We’re out here because we believe in what we’re doing. I can honestly say if there was no one there that we would still be playing guitar and drums in our basements alone.
Fred: There is a whole new group of people out there. We can’t just rely on our past and go from there. We have to be really good every day and win them over all over again. As far as comparisons, that’s what it’s been like.
Do you think Warped has changed? Or that fans here have changed, compared to your experience in the past?
Josh: Without a doubt, and I think that’s a good thing. I know there are Warped mainstays and stuff, but I think Warped Tour deserves credit for casting the net pretty wide and bringing out a really eclectic lineup. I think the kids are different too. In 2004 you saw a lot of Coheed and TBS shirts because both our bands were on the whole tour. It’s just all new bands now. I look at it as if it’s the Coheed’s fans little brothers who come out now. I say thank god that it’s alive and these kids are out at a rock show. Those kids could be out at a club dancing, so we’re keeping rock a lot. You don’t see a lot of Coheed or TBS shirts, and I think that’s a positive thing.
Fred: There are a lot of heavy bands and a lot of dance-y bands this year, so we standout. People stop when they hear us because they don’t hear that during the day. It’s helped us. We usually start with a smaller crowd and it grows every song.
How has the adjustment to playing live without Andy Jackson been?
Fred: It’s been good, and the reason is that it was hard when he was in the band because of the travelling. Now that we’re all in the Northeast, we’ve been able to travel a lot more and I think that we’re tighter than ever because of that. Mainly just because we spent two to three weeks before this tour working out all the songs and all the parts. I think Josh has done a great job singing Andy’s parts too.
Josh: It’s definitely trying sometimes. It’s worth saying; these aren’t parts that I wrote. It’s not always in my register. Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I think we’re a better band as a three-piece. That’s no disrespect to Andy Jackson either. It’s really less to do as him with a player and more to do with being able to gel as a three-piece. Terrible Things is more of a band now than ever before. I think we’ve done a really good job. Some of it’s hard for me sometimes, but we’ve done a pretty good job. You can’t really say that without sounding like an asshole [Laughs].
Fred: I also think that a lot of people comment on the rhythm section and there’s a lot more going on there now that we’re a three-piece. Our bassist has been with us for a year now too.
Josh: Brian’s a really high caliber bass player. He’s one of the best bass players I’ve ever played with. There’s more room now for things to stick out. I’m excited for where we’re headed as a band.
The last tour you were on was with Streetlight Manifesto, and you dropped off of that tour for a variety of reasons. How is it to be back out on tour after so many changes to the band?
Fred: We weren’t just running home worried. We went home and made a lot of changes. We stopped working with our management, we stopped working with our label, we stopped working with Andy, and these were all conscious decisions that Josh and I made. We needed to fix everything that wasn’t going smoothly. We knew we wanted to be running like a smooth machine on Warped because if we weren’t, we weren’t going to get through this tour. This has been the most stress-free tour I’ve done. Yes it’s hot, yes I’m tired every day, but there hasn’t been much stress because we planned everything out and we have everything in our control. We’re looking forward to recording when we’re getting back and doing things a lot more DIY. We’re happier that way.
Josh: From the biggest band out here to the smallest, there’s going to be a process of becoming that band. Terrible Things had to do that in the public eye because I was in the band for a week and we had a major label contract. I went from sitting on the couch wondering what happened to my career to Alabama making a record [Laughs]. We had to do that in the public eye, and I know that we’ll look back and say that it was the beginning of becoming something. That’s why I can’t help but be excited for where Terrible Things is headed musically. I think any band might go through that in the garage, while we went through that on PropertyOfZack [Laughs]. That’s fine and I’m not complaining, but we’re finally where we need to be.
When do you guys see yourselves recording?
Fred: Another thing we did before this tour was try out a bunch of songs. We actually played one for a couple of the shows. We have some stuff in the works. I think we’re looking forward to getting home and writing like a three-piece. Not even a full album necessarily because we want to do things that aren’t the standard. We’ve tried everything. Because we were working with a major label we could never give away tracks, so I want to give back to the fans in that way. Maybe do a donation-based EP and press some vinyl. Something that’s going to keep people more interested. We spent eight months on that last album between the writing and recording and I don’t know if people need a record from us. I don’t know if people listen to full-lengths. Whatever it is, we just want to keep creating. I think recording will happen after Australia.
Do you know when you’d like to see something hit the market?
Fred: I would think it’ll be in early-2012. We’re on the longest tour of our lives right now, so we’re taking it one day at a time.
Josh: We can write our own ticket at this point. For me, personally, the one thing that I’m most excited about is getting in the studio. We’ve all got a lot of ideas and I think it should be fun to get into the studio. However it comes out, it has to be the best thing we’ve ever done. I like that pressure. I think that makes every hit feel vital. Not in a cocky way, but I know we can live up to that challenge. That makes me excited to get into the studio.
You and Universal obviously parted ways a little while ago. Do you think you’ll try to shop around for a new label-home?
Fred: We feel like Universal didn’t do anything for us. We were very letdown. I don’t think we’re going to put the control in anybody else’s hands. If some really indie label that we’ve worked with or that we feel comfortable with wants to, that’s a different story. I think that major labels will be gone within the next few years so we don’t have to worry about it.
How do you see the next year shaping up, between balancing Terrible Things and your other projects?
Josh: I haven’t given it a ton of thought, but the one thing that I’m mostly excited about is recording with Terrible Things. That’s naturally where my mind goes. I think it’s going to be a lot of work for both projects. Right before Australia I’m going to China, and I think it’s going to save Terrible Things money. There are worse problems to have. I sat around for years feeling really down, so if the problem I have now is that I’m too busy, it’s a good problem to have. We’re going to hit the road too. There’s a lot of energy and heart in this band and Universal was a huge letdown. As a company they didn’t do anything for us. They’ll feed you yeses all day and you walk out of there high-fiving and then we were really crushed that they never did anything for us. It’s fair to say that we’re going to be busy.
Fred: We’re workaholics in general. I recorded the first Color Fred album while I was still in Taking Back Sunday. We’re good at juggling and creating. There’s going to be a lot. We’re going to rock the Soundwave Festival then hopefully get in the studio. We’re going to hit the road and put the miles on the van too.
Thanks so much for your time, is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Fred: We’d like people to keep checking out the Tuesday videos that we’ve been putting up at terriblethings.net. We still stick them up every week.
*This interview was conducted by Emily Coch
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