Terry is a hybrid everyman concept encapsulated in all of the kitsch normalities a man like ‘Terry’ would possess. Terry is also a subversive Australian ‘super-group’ - incorporating an assortment of musical talents including members from Dick Diver, UV Race and Total Control.
Terry are one of the most imaginative, whimsical and irreverent post-punk bands touring the circuit today and their forthcoming new album, Remember Terry is soon to be released.
We caught up with Zephyr Pavey (Z) and Xanthe Waite (X) to discuss the divisiveness of papier mâché bandmates, Helen Mirren’s influence on the new record and their favourite ‘Terry’ in the world.
Q. The music scene in Melbourne continues to be increasingly vibrant and productive. What makes Terry stand out amongst the buzz?
Z- nothing really makes us stand out from any other band, it's a very democratic community and the only buzz is self-generated energy between loving members … we all blend in like the ANZAC camouflage. There is no big music press/media here like there is in the UK, and what little there is down here has nothing to do with us or with any decent music so there is no hype style buzz just buzz buzz! BUT also ... the 6 ft Papier mâché human in our band that plays a synthesizer is a pretty polarising figure that really shines bright in a sea of regular flesh humans.
Q. Some of the lyrics on Remember Terry can be considered sharply political. What inspired you during the writing process for this album?
Z - Because of where we live (Australia) we can’t help being somewhat political. This is a country that was brutally invaded by the British and continues to be occupied by their Settler scum offspring (us). An idiotic population of Masterchefs and Simpsons with grand designs propping up capitalism and all the forms of oppression it requires to function. Other things that inspired us on Remember Terry were Helen Mirren and imagining ourselves on the Italian coast.
Q. The new album also sees you bring in more synthesisers and programmed drums. Was this a natural progression in instrumentation?
X - We wanted to experiment with the instrumentation on these recordings. We all enjoy the process of recording and the prospect of taking songs in a different direction than we would take them in a live setting. We had a lot of fun with that – we were recording overdubs at Al & Amy’s house, they have so many instruments lying around so Zeph and I would head over for a few hours and we would just try stuff out over the basic tracks and We were working from a set of demos most of wich were made at home using a drum machine – I think we all liked the way they sounded and We recorded everything ourselves and the overdubs were mostly recorded at Al and Amy’s house.
Q. Is it ever tricky to divide vocal parts between band members?
X – No, it’s the opposite of tricky. Generally our approach has been that we all sing everything – inevitably it doesn’t always work out like that because our voices are so different – we can’t all sing the same things. Regardless of who has written the lyrics we kind of work a song until it finds a good balance with the vocals. Or with some songs whoever can play the riff / beat and sing at the same time becomes the lead vocal. The potential for different vocal combinations is one of my favourite things about the band. Terry has many voices!!
Q. There are nostalgic old country vibes blended with your punk sound and style. Are there any particular country artists you admire?
X - Currently the country picks for me are any George Jones, and Jimmy Little’s covers of all the country classics. The other best thing I cant remember is a cd that amy and Al had of some North American First-Nations country artists, there was some great stuff on there, I remember it being great.
Q. Each of you is involved in a number of other musical projects alongside your roles in Terry. What are the rewards in juggling multiple bands at once?
Z- I play a different instrument in every band I am in so that is enjoyable just in the variety things I can play with. Also, they are very different scenarios for each band, for example this weekend Al and I played (in Total Control) at the Sydney Opera House to 1000 or so people, there were tons of security regulations, stage personnel, “managers” and all kinds of other somewhat difficult and irritating things that come with such an immense production. Then the next night Terry played in a residential neighbourhood pub to about 50 people, there was no worksheets, security briefings, stage managers etc. We got 3 free drinks each and didn't have to wear ID tags PERFETTO!
Q. The world has produced many notable individuals named Terry. Do you have a favourite famous Terry?
Z – There are so many good Terrys, it is definitely a part of why we chose this name. A recent favourite Terry was our friend in Sydney, Colin, had an uncle called Terry who was friends with Ivan Milat the famous backpacker murderer.
Q. What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Z- We are touring all through Europe and the former Europe (UK) in June and July, then we will come home and probably record about 2 more albums. We want to go back to Aoteroa (New Zealand) ASAP so maybe that can happen before the year fizzles out