'To The Moon And Back'
The beginnings of Scottish act Terra Diablo were pretty typical: four Scottish lads – friends from school or work, uninspired by their jobs and all well versed in the history of rock – form a band, write and rehearse a few tunes and play as many gigs as they can. However, in the words of one broadsheet music critic, 'extraordinary things can often come from ordinary circumstances.'
From its beginnings, Terra Diablo has been driven to write songs with both integrity and commercial appeal and hold a collective disdain for what they see as the 'contrived elements' in modern music. The results have inspired critics and audiences alike.
After releasing an EP on their own 'SPAM2' (Scottish People Are Musical Too) imprint, Terra Diablo's self-titled debut LP 'Terra Diablo' was released on Zuma Records in 2004 to much critical acclaim.
The album has been variously lauded for its technical mastery, intricate musical arrangements and strong melodies. The epic 'Swings and Roundabouts', the frenetic intensity of 'Satellites' (both single releases) and graceful ballad 'Perfect Mistake' are all stand-out tracks that, for audiences in particular, have become signature songs for the band's razor-sharp live shows, which have included two UK tours with Snow Patrol, both the Leeds and Readings Festivals, as well as opening slots for All-American Rejects and Idlewild.
Now Terra Diablo are ready to take the United States by storm with their new album 'Satellites' being released by Nocturnal Records and a series of tours planned. Tracks such as 'The Smoke' and 'That Always Works' continue Terra Diablo's combination of vitriolic and often poignant intensity with striking melodies and strong vocals.
THIS is Terra Diablo.
Taking it from the top and how did four Glaswegians first come up with a
band name like Terra Diablo? And just what does it mean?! Ian Fairclough - "Me and Dave McAuley used to play in a rockabilly band called The Titty
Twisters which was the name of the bar in 'From Dusk Till Dawn.' I played bass and Davie played drums. One of the songs was about a fictional Mexican Town called Terra Diablo which I thought summoned up a lot of good imagery. Devils Earth, Earth Devil, however you want to translate it, it reflects what some of our songs are about. Basically, how we've f**ked everything up down here through greed, arrogance, ignorance and laziness. Things which as human beings we are all subject to. I was always taught we were given self awareness and therefore put in charge here. Whether it was God or f**king aliens, I don't give a f**k. The fact is we are self aware and therefore in charge, we've f**ked it and continue to f**k it on a daily basis because of many of these aspects I described earlier. We're no angels, put it that way."
I see, well, as we're being told that you are the next 'band to watch out for,' what exactly should we (the media) be on the look out for from you?! "Listen to the CD and come and see us live. That's what the bands all about."
Knowing that you play a lot of gigs per year in Glasgow (Scotland), what
is the local music scene like there these days? Has it gotten better or
worse in the past ten years - and if worse, how? "The Scottish scene is as eclectic and alive as ever. The population of Scotland isn't very high compared to the rest of the country but 'cause it rains so much practically everyone either starts a band or goes the other way and hangs about waiting to stab people in a Buckfast fueled frenzy! Do a
search for 'Buckfast' and then 'Neds' and you'll find out what I mean.
There's always been a great community in Glasgow. Bands like Strike The
Colours, Carson, Union of Knives, Biffy Clyro, and Marshall Book Store (to
name a few) are all doing a great job. Everyone supports, records and plays
with each other. In fact its a bit promiscuous that way. If you go to our My Space they're all on there if anyone wants to check them out. I recommend you do."
As Scots have an accent / patter that is sometimes seen (and heard) as
unintelligible, did you have to alter your singing voices in any way to
perhaps make certain words/statements clearer? "First of all, have you ever heard The Proclaimers? Well, try imagining those accents on a My Bloody Valentine or Smashing Pumpkins track. It would be f**king shite!! No one sings in a Scottish accent and gets away with it. It sounds great when you talk to people but totally crap when you sing with it! I grew up listening to my Dads records which consisted of Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc. All from Britain and all of whom sing with, and I
hate using this term, but 'American accents. It just feels more natural
when you sing vowels and stuff. I always wonder if Americans can distinguish regional accents when people sing like that. I think of it as being a non regional dialect in a worldly sense."
With your new album Satellites, I'm wondering if this title means
something more personal to you guys? "'Satellites' was written about 4/5 years ago when there was a lot of theories floating about as to whether the government could track you and hold information on you with regard to mobile phone use. Well, after all the recent attacks here in Britain and over there it suddenly turns out that they can and do. Before that they were keeping pretty tight lipped on that one. People have accepted that and a lot more intrusion into their personal lives besides. Whether this is right or wrong is a matter of opinion. I can see the benefits of what their doing but I don't trust the bastards not to abuse the privilege. These are the same f**kers that lied to us about going
to war and then use this to 'make us feel safe'. I wouldn't trust any of the f**kers as far as I could throw them and as far as I can see they're all fat bastards!"
If there was one track on this new album that you loved listening to in
the car, with or without others around, which one would it be and why? "I don't tend to listen to the stuff once its recorded unless its to remind me what the words are. The ol' memory ain't what it used to be. To many drugs in the 90s ...!"
For those out there that wish to buy your new CD but have not yet heard
of you, how would you yourself describe your sound? "We get practically all our influences from early 90s stuff. Shoegazing and
Grunge. The two genres of music that the press decided to give the shitiest names in the world to. What the f**k!! Shoegazing?!!? Tell Swervedriver they were shoegazers and the Pixies they were Grunge and get ready to duck 'cause you'll be in line for a knuckle sandwich. To me they were two of the most 'honest' forms of rock music to appear in the last 20 years or so. All we're trying to be is an honest rock band. You'll never see us in top hats and tails with f**king rockets coming out of our guitars. That's not what we're about. What you will see is four mates trying to make a f**king racket. That's why anyone starts a band. To make as much noise with their mates as possible, hopefully write a few half descent songs that might mean something to a few people and maybe pick up a few girls on the way! If anyone starts a band to make money and get famous they can f**king forget that one right now and go join the queue for X Factor."
How did you involvement with Swervedriver come to be? "When I first heard Raise, Swervedrivers first album, when I was a stone 15
year old I thought 'F**k me!! I didn't realize guitars could make sound like that!!' It was a total revelation. Rhinoceros by the Smashing Pumpkins had just come out, Nevermind had hit the charts hard and it was then I realized something great was going on. Something I would remember forever. So I kept on posting on the Swervedriver message board and after a few years I managed to get in touch with Jez and sent him our first EP The Way Things Are And How They're Meant To Be. He liked it and we kept in touch after that for a year or two. When we sacked our old management and hit a bit of a low I asked Jez for advice and sent him a few new demos we'd done for a follow-up album. He loved it and gave us great advice when we were going through the new contract with Nocturnal. The natural progression from there was to ask him to Manage us full time as it were. To our eternal delight he accepted and I don't know what we'd do without him now."
How are Terra Diablo going to successfully infiltrate the States with
their music? Is there a diabolical game plan, perhaps?! "No. We're going to come over, play our f**king asses off, try and write the
best music we possibly can, smash up a few bits of gear and f**k off again.
Diabolical game plans are for record companies as far as I can see."
Tell me about your craziest touring experience to date thus far! "Touring with Snow Patrol before they hit the big time was good. A few hotel rooms were trashed over a period of a month. We had Wags from Black Grape with us. He just tagged along for a few days and helped/instigated much of the destruction in between having to get to places early so he could get his methadone. There were a few times we had to try and slide out of hotel windows with the cops bashing on the door. One night our guitarist was handed his guitar by a dwarf guy who was in the audience while he was hanging upside down from an overhead pipe in Cardiff. That was pretty cool! There's a picture of that somewhere on the internet."
If you could cover, in your own style, any (cheesy) '80s pop song which
would it be ... and why?! "Probably 'Deep Seat' from Swervedriver's album 'Raise.' Why, 'cause I've never been able to work the bloody thing out and it's doing my f**king head in!"
Exclusive Magazine like Penguins, do you?! "No. Penguins are f**king evil!! Have you seen Wallace and Gromit, The Wrong
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Terra Diablo's new CD, and you think you know all there is to know about the band, just answer this easy question: In 2005, Terra Diablo played a festival slot with Therapy and The Bluetones, but what was the name of that festival?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before December 1st with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: TERRA DIABLO SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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