Interview by Brayden Bagnall
I make no secret for my love of Arizona's ridiculously good music scene - whether it's punk, noise or hardcore - there seems to be a never ending stream of above-par bands trickling out of that state. Territory are no exception. Their facebook page describes them as a ' Dark Mo$h/Black Pit' band - which oddly enough, is relatively close to being an adequate description. On their latest 7", Blowback (out via Crown And Throne ), Territory bring the, uh, black pit - recalling the metal/hardcore acts of the 90s and lending it a much darker, sinister vibe. I had a chat recently with ringleader Sam Abate about Territory, their influences and their new record.
FBN: Hi there! Who are you, what do you do and what's the name of your band?
Sam: My name is Sam and I sing in Territory
FBN: Can you tell us a bit about how Territory came to be a band?
Sam: Ryan (guitar player) and I started Territory in like January of 2010, our original intention was to just start a band that sounded like Negative Approach and 86 Mentality. I was playing drums and we were jamming as 2 piece. The stuff we naturally wrote ended up being quite a bit heavier so we said fuck it and just ran with a more metal sound. We wrote a 4 song demo and we recorded it with me doing drums and vocals and Ryan doing bass and guitar. It took longer than we had hoped to find some decent musicians, but luckily we found some dawgs that were down. Matt plays drums and Sean plays bass. We started playing live in the summer of 2010 and here we are in 2014 with all our wealth and fame.
FBN: What would you say are the biggest influences, musically, on Territory's sound?
Sam: Ringworm, Sepultura, Craft, Merauder, Kickback, Buried Alive, Godflesh - a bunch of cool shit.
FBN: And how about thematically? What inspires the lyrics behind the music?
Sam: Mostly armed struggle, although lyrically the themes and ideas are often more complex than that, but I guess the initial theme is about seeking and exacting justice/revenge from the individuals who destroy this planet and create death and misery for its people. A few songs focus more on personal themes, but mostly we make violent music with violent lyrics for a violent world.
FBN: Can you tell us about the the recording process behind your latest 7"?
Sam: Our guitar player Ryan Bram runs a studio called Homewrecker Studios, and we initially recorded these songs just to be a demo. For a myriad of reasons it took like 5 months to actually finish the recordings. We were gonna just use it as a demo to show some labels, but we liked the songs and quality enough that we thought, fuck it, let’s release it. We were lucky to have our buddy Garth show a lot of interest and this summer he released it on his label, Crown And Throne LTD out of Denver, CO.
FBN: What's the local scene in Arizona like for you guys? I know there's quite a few punk and hardcore bands, but how does your brand of dark, metallic hardcore go down with the masses?
Sam: Eh, we do alright, I think we are more of a “band’s band,” haha. Territory is not an easy band to digest , we like the music we play so I’m happy if anyone digs what we do. We mix a lot of styles of heavy music so we are the odd band out a lot of times, too metal, too hardcore, whatever. Arizona has some really rad bands doing cool shit right now though; I implore anyone reading this to check out Sex Prisoner, The Beautiful Ones, North, TOAD, Gatecreeper, and Seas Will Rise.
FBN: Would you say there's a higher tolerance for metal/hardcore crossovers nowadays?
Sam: Absolutely, I mean I don’t really worry about that kind of shit, but I definitely feel like a lot of newer bands are more prone to blending metal and hardcore and people are definitely digging a lot of these bands.
FBN: The whole 'what are the top 3 albums you'd want to have with on on a desert island' question is a bit old. In lieu of this, what are the top 3 albums you'd like to toss into a fireplace?
Sam: like this question, but I seriously don’t waste time on records that I think suck, so I had a hard time thinking of records outside of like a Nickelback record or some bullshit.
So I chose three records that I think are great, but that are not well liked by fans of these bands
Cro Mags - Alpha & Omega, Carcass - Swansong, Life Of Agony - Ugly. I think all three of those records are awesome.
FBN: What's planned for the rest of 2014 for Territory - any shows, tours, writing or recording?
Sam: A couple shows here and there, but mostly writing. We are 5 or songs into writing our next LP, we are putting most of our focus on writing and recording a killer record by the end of 2014. A few of us started new jobs so touring is difficult for the moment, but I’m hoping in the spring we can do a little touring.
FBN: Lastly, any final words of wisdom, thanks or shout outs you wish to impart with the web?
Sam: Umm, get the new Old Wounds record, those are our homies. Our drummer and bass player are in a new band called Gatecreeper, check that out. If you are in a band on the West Coast come record in Tucson with Ryan at Homewrecker Studios. Thanks for the interview!
And a great big old thanks to Sam for the interview. For those of you keen to hear the new 7", head over to the Crown And Throne bandcamp HERE, where you can stream and/or purchase it. Head over to Territory's bandcamp HERE, where there's quite a few releases available for download.
Finally, Territory have scored a place on A389's annual mixtape (!!!) which you can have a geez at HERE