Keith interviews Terry Abbott of Vex Red/Septembre for Exploding In Sound’s Artist-To-Artist series. Terry talks being signed to a major label, working with Ross Robinson (Glassjaw, At The Drive-In, Korn), his new solo project Fears, and the two discuss self-producing, a shared loved of Autolux, and more. Read the full interview here.
KF: According to Wikipedia, Vex Red litigated their way off [producer] Ross Robinson‘s label. What happened?
TA: Er really? Haha that’s funny. Okay, well, his label I Am is an imprint that he kinda takes to wherever he wants to take it. It had been on Roadrunner, Warner, etc. With us, it was Virgin. Now everything was going kinda okay, apart from the odd weird tour slot, etc. (don’t ask…), but then things started to get cocked up. Our first released single had the wrong vocal takes on it. The second single was advertised as being released on various dates, making the initial sales spread out over 2 or 3 weeks, therefore charting not so good, etc. etc. Then, and this is the real killer bit, Virgin signed Mariah Carey for an utterly ridiculous sum of money! She subsequently had a breakdown. Virgin subsequently went into panic mode, paid her stupid cash to clear off, having to close some of their offices and fire staff and we were left in limbo. It wasn’t a great time for us and we were really frustrated by it all. I’m not sure on the finer points but I think eventually they agreed to let us go. It’s actually quite funny looking back on it!
KF: I read an interview from before the Vex Red album came out that there was some reluctance to work with Ross because of the preconceptions it might create for the band. Did that become a reality once the record came out?
TA: In truth, there was no pre-conceived reluctance whatsoever. We were just really, really, super happy to be working with Ross Robinson! We had all known and loved Sepultura and other albums he had done. I was well into Korn, Slipknot, At The Drive-In, Glassjaw, etc. In no way would he have made us sound like any of those bands. We had the songs written how we wanted them and we were so lucky to have been given the opportunity.
KF: What was his production style like?
TA: Intense. I think that he quickly figured out that we would not respond to his style in the way that he was famous for… if that makes sense. He was very into exploring the songs full meanings before even attempting to lay a take. He wanted us all completely on point in order to capture the sincerity and emotion of the music. He didn’t throw things at us like he did with other bands! He never even got angry. He’s a very sweet man. An amazing soul and really unique character. I’m blessed to have worked with him more than once. It was an amazing experience for us four English boys to be there in LA, just having a really life-changing time.
KF: What else did you work with him on?
TA: I worked with him on an album after Vex. It was Septembre. I had a load of songs written and it wasn’t looking like we would explore them properly with Vex Red so Ross invited me over to record them. I was incredibly lucky really.
KF: Wow. I discovered Septembre in preparing for this interview and I love it too.
TA: Yeah man, Manny from Glassjaw came and played bass, Ash, the drummer on the Vex Red album, came over too, and the three of us recorded some incredible songs.