No Life Til’ Terror! KNIGHT TERROR Interview + Full EP Premiere!
There was a point in time not very long ago within metal music where being the absolute tightest player was priority number one, getting a perfectly produced and crystal clear sound in the studio was without question and trying to “mix it up” to keep metal fresh was a real thing. It now feels like “keeping it true” is the latest thing, for better or worse, and with every trend, there are people doing it completely wrong. Then you have those who never went away, giving the finger to everyone else and stuck with underground metal through it all. These are the people that live and breathe this music and the lifestyle – “lifers” as some might call them – and Knight Terror perfectly falls into this category. Guitarist Cole Cooper proclaims, “how serious do I take metal? Well, I once lit a pavilion on fire and burned it down because no one had Metallica on their iPod. I served time for that, too!”
Though you won’t find their uncompromising sleazy take on black metal filled with candles, medallions and other clichés, they’re assaulting your senses the way it was done back in the early ‘80’s – by being the most insane and arrogant bunch you’ve ever met, creating some of the most ignorant and caveman riffs this side of Triumph of Death. Who the fuck are they, you ask? Well, read on…
Tell me how Knight Terror started. When and from what basement were you conceived?
Cole: In 2007, Curt bought me a guitar so he could learn drums and I could learn guitar, so we could be in a band together. We were in Portland, OR then and the early practices were basically just drinking night train, snorting coke and not playing our instruments.
Curt: We originally had Cole on bass and our buds Jesse and Fro on guitars. Practices were quite a blur and somehow it worked its way down to just Cole and myself rather quickly for one reason or another. Our original idea for Knight Terror was for the both of us to play instruments we had no experience with and let that be the driving force behind the music while keeping Hellhammer solidly in mind.
What has the band done so far and what’s in the works? Seems like you guys play a lot locally, including a show coming up real soon with OCCVLTA from Germany, who seems to be generating a lot of buzz in Europe.
Cole: We’ve had some pretty big shows in the past with bands like Eyehategod, English Dogs and Toxic Holocaust, but we took a hiatus for five years because we lived on different coasts. We started back up two years ago.
Curt: Well…we’ve slowly gotten our very scattered shit together over these last ten or so years, having formed in Oregon in the doom room, existed in Vermont where we are both from, played lots of basement parties and backyard bonfire ragers, formed again in NYC and managed to open some great gigs here. We took a break for a few years but we really dug our heels in to make this shit-show a reality about two years ago, playing locally a lot more and did our first tour this past November. We’ve recorded the No Life ‘til Terror demo with our pal Travis Bacon at Chapel Black Studios and we’re currently working on our full-length album with Ryan “The Rhino” Jones. In the words of the great Cheech Marin from Ghostbusters 2, “better late than never!”
Wait, so what’s up with the full-length? Are you guys self-releasing it or do you guys have a label lined up already?
Curt: We’re not too sure. It would be nice not to drop mad money on a self-release but if we have to work a few weekends to make it happen we will! No Life ‘Til Leather will be released as a 7” by Crypt of the Wizard from London, though. Fuckin’ cheers, boys!
Is No Life ’til Terror the second demo or the first proper demo? According to your Bandcamp page, you have a single track from a 2016 demo (“Cultist”) up but that’s it. I also have to ask about that Venom tribute artwork; what is Givener and what is “In League with Paintin’?”
Cole: No Life ‘til Terror is the second demo, in my opinion. As far as the song “Cultist” goes, I think that’s now become our song “Under the Serpent Law.”
Curt: I’m also going to consider No Life ‘til Terror our first proper demo. Our old bass player had recorded a rehearsal and threw it onto the Bandcamp for people to check out. He basically made it. I don’t really even know what’s on there—I should probably check it out! As for Give’N’er, that’s Cole’s painting company. No job too big, no fee too big! I work there sometimes. The rest is for Cole to answer, ha!
Cole: I was listening to Venom at work one day and came up with the saying, “in league with paintin’” (obviously from the Venom song “In League with Satan”) and was like, “I have to make this a shirt now!” The picture is used on the Bandcamp because our old bassist, Russsh’r, put it on there since he knows how to use a computer.
Who else is in the band now?
Cole: We got Dimmn’r on full-time bass duty now. He fits in great; he shows up, doesn’t complain and, at some points, shows interest.
It’s really clear to me Knight Terror’s sound is heavily inspired by the early works of bands like Bathory, Sodom, Venom and, of course, Hellhammer. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t exactly new within metal these days, but in New York City, you guys seem to be one of the very few bands doing this unfiltered style. Where do you see yourself in the local scene?
Cole: I have no clue where the band stands in the local scene. I’d like to think we’re perceived as some wild card group that gets people to bang their heads, but I’m somewhat of a hermit and recluse and don’t make it out to social events or shows. Your guess is probably better than mine on where we stand!
Curt: I don’t really picture us landing anywhere specific in the scene. We’re in it for ourselves and we do what we want to.
You guys like Anti-Cimex? The No Life ‘til Terror artwork reminds me of…
Curt: SCANDINAVIAN JAWBREAKER!
I was just gonna say that the art reminds me of that. Who illustrated it?
Cole: I sent my friend, Rachel Brown (also a Vermonter), a picture of Legion of Doom, the Skull Skates logo and a skull I saw in the Mortal Kombat movie, so she drew a combination of those things. I also traded our buddy Calvin Wright a quarter ounce of weed to draw our logo.
Going back to your first tour this past November, 2017, how did it go?
Cole: It somehow went well! No van problems, sold all of our cassettes and only had like nine XL shirts left at the end.
Curt: It was fuckin’ epic! Let’s see; we went fishing and gator hunting in Florida, had the best and worst strip club experiences in Georgia, scored some awesome fireworks in one of those lawless states (which are definitely illegal here up north), met a fuckload of rad and crazy people, and played hard and partied hard. Oh, and the shows were pretty good, too!
Cole: Almost got a DUI in Pittsburgh, but that’s a story for another time…
Oh, I’ve got plenty of time.
Cole: It could have been death or jail, really. I was asleep in the van and got woken up by our van hitting another vehicle. Our photographer blacked out behind the wheel, driving on those Pittsburgh streets with the headlights off, not knowing why he was even driving nor where was going!
I’m guessing no one was in it?
Cole: Most likely not…it was a nice car and probably had no one sleeping in it!
Was the tour completely booked by you guys?
Curt: Between Dimmn’r and myself, we booked the whole tour ourselves, which was 15 dates, the first eight of which were with our ripping buds from Harrisonburg, VA, Earthling.
Cole: Watching Earthling for the first eight nights was the biggest help. Those guys were awesome to tour with and are just natural badass musicians.
It seems like we’re now at a point where being completely DIY within the metal scene is more crucial than ever, even being more effective than label support. All the tools and information for creating and promoting a band are there for bands new and old to use. Do you agree?
Curt: Yes, totally. Every band I’d ever been in has been DIY in every way. Being on a label also doesn’t guarantee you don’t suck. Goat sacrifices aren’t cheap on the DIY level but you gotta keep it real. Answer is A: agree.
Cole: I just let the riffs do the talking.
Knight Terror kicks tires n’ lights fires once again on Groundhog’s Day at Union Pool in Brooklyn with fellow NYC metal maniacs NATUR and OCCVLTA from Berlin. The band’s debut vinyl release, the No Life ‘Til Terror 7”, is coming out real soon via London’s Crypt of the Wizard.