Interview || The one with Terrence McAuley from Obey The Brave

By the time I sat down with Terrence McAuley, I had already figured out he'd be a pleasant person to talk to. See, before chiming in my previous interview, he'd already been establishing his vibrant presence outside of Obey The Brave's dressing room. What I couldn't foresee, however, was that this enthusiastic manchild would turn out to be a total badass and quite possibly my favorite funniest interview to date. 

Unraveled: You have long announced that you’ll be playing new songs on Never Say Die tour, so apparently there’s an album coming. Could you elaborate?
Terrence McAuley: There is! It’s a long story but the new album’s finally coming out in April 2017, just in time for next summer. It’s all done, within the next days we’ll be getting our mixes. 

U: Looking forward to that. Could you tell us more about the writing and recording process?
T.M.: I certainly can! The writing process is me and this guy, here’s John [Campbell, guitars, stealing cigarettes]. The recording process was difficult because originally we went down to Florida to work with the producer, Tom Denney (ed -formerly of A Day To Remember). Epitaph, our record label, wanted us to write with him so we did. We went down to record it, recorded the whole album and basically there was a mess-up in the financial situation. He was paid in full for the whole record but never gave us a record and we stopped hearing from him after he was done. Our management, his management [demanded] the record; that was last February so almost a year ago, when we recorded and we stopped hearing from him in June. Over the summer we had no record. The day before we left for this tour we were in the studio finishing our record so we had to go back to our friend, Dean, who’s from Ottawa and who just did the new Parkway record; he’s recorded our bands for years, he’s an awesome friend. We went to him and we recorded the whole thing in 17 days. Start to finish, we had to re-record everything, re-learn all the songs we haven’t played in a year… It’s been a hell for us to get this record done but it’s finally done!

U: What do you think will be the differentiation point between this album and the previous ones?
T.M.: I would say it’s a bit more melodic. Still has a lot of heavy parts, OK, but we wanted to write some better songs. It’s the first record for OTB that I got to write and I’ve been writing in pop punk and pop rock for so long, so to kinda get this into the band, get Alex out of his comfort zone a little bit so he started to sing, try to hit some notes… There’s a lot of big choruses, there’s a lot of melody on it. There are still heavy parts but it’s a lot more focused; the songs are good, there’s good choruses, there’s good big singalong parts, and there’s still of course hilariously heavy breakdowns.

 U: Well, you have my full and undivided attention. Any French songs?
T.M.: Of course there’s always a French song! Absolutely! This one is actually kinda one song and a half, there’s a surprise song we have in the works with some friends from Montreal. You have to wait ‘til the record comes out to hear it but it’s interesting, it’s half French half English. I’ll just leave it to that.

U: One thing I’ve noticed, and which I should probably be asking Alex about, is that OTB is doing this tour with a lot of deathcore bands, whilst earlier this year, Despised Icon did the Impericon Festivals with a ton of hardcore bands… Was that intentional?
T.M.: I don’t know, it doesn’t make sense to me but it’s the way it goes! We’re happy to be on this tour, it’s nice to play, all the guys are cool… It is a little bit different than what we sound like but I think it’s cool to be the odd-sounding band in a bunch so it’s fun.

U: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
T.M.: For writing? A LOT! We all listen to all sorts of different music. This record for me was difficult to write because I don’t listen to that kind of music very much so I really had to delve into, go back to when I used to listen to hardcore a lot, I used to listen to metal a lot, take what I really loved about those records and apply that. Literally anything from pop punk to deathcore to death metal to old hardcore to new big bands like new Bring Me… We listen to hip hop all the time… It’s so diverse. Just try to make the best OTB record by combining all that we listen to all the time.

U: You travel across the world to play shows. With all the recent events in Europe and after the Bataclan attack, do you have a sense of fear when you walk into a venue?
T.N.: I do not. At all. As tragic as those events have been, I will not be scared, I won’t live in fear; not at all. What I do is amazing so I’m not gonna let myself be afraid. That’s the whole point; what they’re trying to do is make you scared and I won’t be scared. I’m gonna live my life the way I want to and get to enjoy it as much as possible.

U: If you could cast each member of the band as a villain, who would each member be?
T.M.: Oh Alex for sure would be a villain! He’d be like Lex Luthor I think, from Superman. Stevie could be a good villain too, he’s kinda evil. He’d be… No no, Alex could be Kevin Spacey from the movie “Se7en”.  Do you know that fucked-up movie? Where he loses his mind and he goes on a big psychopathic killing spree, that’s what I imagine. That’s what Alex would be.

U: Well, what about yourself and the other guys?
T.M.: I would never be a villain. I would obviously be a superhero and I would be Spiderman, the best superhero ever.

U: You could be an anti-hero like Deadpool. 
T.M.: Deadpool is pretty cool too but, if I had to be a villain, I’d be some basass villain like Apocalypse from X-Men, like the gnarliest of bad guys ever! And you do not want to fuck with him, that's who I would be.

U: If you woke up one day in the opposite gender’s body, what would be your first reaction?
T.M.: The first thing I would do is touch myself everywhere. Naturally. It’d be kinda cool actually. 
[Stevie(Morotti, drums) and John come over; Stevie settles behind us and Terrence asks John the same question]
John: Oh I would flick the bean.
T.M.: You know, that would be a very interesting turn of events! I would spend all day figuring out… yeah (laughs) I’d be like “well here’s what I’ve been doing wrong all these years!” (everyone bursts laughing)

U: What’s the best tour prank you’ve ever pulled?
T.M.: We’re not too bad on the tour pranks…

U: However…
T.M.: …however, there is one legendary tour prank that we didn’t pull but my friends pulled that I think the world needs to know about. It was my friends, Sylar, but I don’t remember who they were on tour with. All the bands filled the headliner’s bus with, I mean FILLED the bus with foam peanuts. It was like boxes and boxes, you couldn’t go anywhere, shit got over everything. I saw a video someone posted, it was ruthless. We  try not to do pranks, be nice to each other.
Stevie: I’ve pissed in your bunk before, just didn’t tell you.
T.M.: (awkward) yeah.. I pranked John on the way here. He got really drunk on the plane here and I was like “here, take this pill man it will make you fall asleep”. He was like “Oh fuck no, I’m not gonna fall asleep”. I dissolved one in his liquor, 3’ later he’s passed out, woke up in Germany. [John is laughing in the back] His neighbour, the girl sitting next to him on that flight up here, got arrested by german police when we landed because they were both too drunk but luckily I put John to bed so he didn’t get arrested. Could have gone either way.

U: What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever done?
T.M.: They asked to touch my hair, which was weird for me because I used to have short hair, now it’s normal. That’s pretty much it, fans are pretty cool!
S.M.: Have you been asked to sign a dick?
T.M.: I’ve never been asked to sign a dick. Although Stevie had a fan asking him to have sex with his girlfriend.
S.M.: His wife! This was in Mexico. This kid came up to me and he was like “Stevie Morotti, oh my God! I’m so happy to meet you! My wife want to fuck you so bad! For real! Can we take a picture together so I can prove to her that I met you?”. The show went on, at the end I was out to get a drumstick and this kid had been hanging over the rail like “Stevie! My wife wants to fuck you, remember? Give me the drumstick!”. He got the drumstick.

U: What advice would you give to your 10-year-old self?
T.M.: Probably “stay in school”. But it’s weird; every day I wake up on tour, now I’m here doing this interview… 16-year-old me would be so fucking stoked to know that eventually this is gonna happen. Because I’m like 30, it’s been a long time. All the boys in the band have known each other for 15 years, we’ve all been playing music in Ottawa, not really getting anywhere. There were many opportunities to quit playing music but I didn’t, and now I’m in France playing an awesome show.

U: What’s the biggest decision you’ve had to make?
S.M.: Keep it or not.
T.M.:  (laughs) I’ve never been faced with that decision thankfully. To be honest with you, I had a really good job that I quit to do front of house sound for OTB. I was kinda over music and to go on tour to do FOH sound for bands I was like “yeah sure, I’ll do it”. That was 3 years ago and now I’m in the band.

U: Fuck, marry, kill in the band.
T.M.: Fuck Steve, marry Corey, kill Alex. That’s the easiest question you asked all day! (laughs)
S.M.: The same! Fuck myself, marry Corey, kill Alex (laughs)
T.M.: So rude! Can’t kill Corey, can’t kill John, and I’m already fucking Steve! What are the options now? It’s a good question though.

U: If you died today, what song would you like to play at the funeral?
S.M.: (starts singing Journey’s “Anyway you want it”)
T.M.: “Danger Zone” maybe? I don’t know…
S.M.: "Sonny" by New Found Glory.

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