Nov 17, 2016
Photography by Terry Issue #58 - The Protest Issue
Relationships often can be strained for members of internationally touring bands. But for Melbourne, Australia, four-piece Terry, it's not a concern. That's because the band consists of two sets of couples-Amy Hill and Al Montfort and Xanthe Waite and Zephyr Pavey.
"Leaving a partner for months at a time to tour is one of the hardest things about the international rock regime, so being together certainly solves that dilemma," says Pavey.
A chance trip to Mexico helped unify the couples and lay the groundwork for Terry. When Pavey and Montfort's band Total Control's show in Mexico City that followed their U.S. tour was canceled, they saw it as an opportunity to take a spontaneous, but somewhat ill-fated, couples' trip. First there was a small earthquake. Later as a result of a poor grasp of Spanish, they received many unwanted meat-based meals since all but one are vegetarian. There was also a severe throat infection for Montfort. Their experiences in Mexico helped them bond and left them wanting to continue what they started once they got home.
"I guess somewhere in the confusion of [all that] we started imagining Terry," says Pavey. "Maybe it even occurred when we got back and looked at photos of ourselves and thought, 'Hey we look like a band.' That's enough, right?"
Upon returning home and forming the band, they realized they had something special musically. Their debut full-length, Terry HQ, features their quirky mix of punk, glam, and pop. From the very start they agreed they should all sing.
"I think it was an imagined punk ABBA and cool outfits," says Pavey. "Perhaps having these influences that don't necessarily translate directly to a particular or definite sound (but rather an imaginary one) meant that when we did start jamming there was no possibility of failure, only organic growth; we embrace the mutations."
Initially everyone was singing all the time but as they became familiar with each others' voices they learnt how to best utilize them.
"It definitely gives us flexibility; it is also a lot of fun to experiment with how songs mutate with different male and female vocal combinations," says Waite. "One person will write a song with lyrics but then maybe get someone else to sing it or share different parts. I like how the authorship gets kind of blurry and just becomes Terry."
They liked Terry as a band name because, as Pavey says, "everyone knows a Terry or two and they are generally remarkable people in some way." He adds that Terry HQ is a "mythical place where all these Terry's get together."
"I imagine it looks exactly like Rocksteady Eddies Cafe in Camberwell, London, England," he continues. "A place with tables big enough to read a broadsheet newspaper whilst eating breakfast; the kind of place where the management vehemently refuse credit but will gladly call you a taxi."
[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar's August/September/October 2016 Issue, which is out now. This is its debut online.]
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