Its been eleven years since Evergreen Terrace first formed and whilst they may not be the biggest band in music history, they are undoubtedly a big feature in the underground circuit, with a large cult following and loyal fans. Today at Ghostfest, many of these fans are here, ready and waiting to see Evergreen Terrace back in action in the UK, after a long two year wait. Before they could take to the stage however, Altsounds stole some time with guitarist Josh James to discuss his band, America and hotdog competitions.
Altsounds – How would you describe your music to people who haven’t heard it before?
Josh – Like this (makes odd guitar like scratching noise)…
Altsounds – (laughs) That’s going to pretty hard to put in print.
Josh – Yeah. I’d say its like a mix between punk, hardcore and metal. It’s a mix between all kinds of music. I would say “what’s your favourite band” and you would tell me and I would go “oh we sound just like that, come to the show, check it out, buy a shirt we sound just like your favourite band”.
Altsounds – That’s what you say to fans?
Josh – (laughs) Yeah.
Altsounds – Haha. Well, what made you want to form Evergreen Terrace?
Josh – We started in 1999 and at that time in Jacksonville our home town, there wasn’t really any hardcore bands, there was just mostly the punk scene and so we were all in punk bands and we all listened to hardcore but we just wanted to do something different, so it was just kind of like do it for fun type deal. Yeah it was just one of those things that we did for fun we had all been in different styles of punk bands before and I hadn’t been in a hardcore band yet so.
Altsounds – So what other bands inspired your music?
Josh – What like hardcore bands?
Altsounds – Yeah any bands really that have inspired you.
Josh – Hardcore bands I’d say we get a lot of influence from Trial, Stretch Armstrong, Boy Sets Fire, Snapcase, those bands have all been influences on us throughout the years. Non-hardcore bands, bands like NOFX, Propagandhi, Good Riddance, a lot of us listen to a lot of mid-90s Fat Wreck Chords style bands and then were huge fans of Foo Fighters, U2. We have a pretty diverse group of influences because everybody kind of has their own genre of music that they listen too.
Altsounds – What would say is your favourite band?
Josh – My favourite band…that’s a good question. I’m a really big Good Riddance fan and Rancid is one of my favourite bands. We defiantly grew up on punk rock.
Altsounds – Would you say that’s because of where you lived, because you lived in Florida, which is quite a big punk city?
Josh – I dunno I never really thought about it because whenever I started listening to punk rock there wasn’t that many of us…it was just like me and my five friendsthat listened to it you know what I mean, we didn’t know anyone else that was listening to that kind of music. It wasn’t popular you know, it wasn’t on the radio, there was no Internet, so it was a real like underground type thing then.
Altsounds – So this is your first time at Ghostfest? Have you seen any other bands?
Josh – No we actually played a festival in Germany yesterday and then we drove eight hours, got on a ferry then on the ferry for a couple of hours and then got in the van and drove 7 hours to here. We got here, ate a raw bar, went to the hotel, showered and came right back here and it looks awesome. Were pretty psyched we haven’t been to the UK since 2006.
Altsounds – Why?
Josh – Well apparently we only come when the world cup is going on, which, like last time was the worst time. Honestly, I dunno its just one of those things.
Altsounds – There’s been two albums since you last came, surely you guys should tour after every album?
Josh – Yeah I agree. I don’t know why we haven’t. Sorry, sorry United Kingdom, but are here now.
Altsounds – Do you see any differences between your fans back at home and your fans here?
Josh – In Europe in general?
Altsounds – Yeah.
Josh – Yeah there’s definitely…I mean today is our first show in the UK and its been four years so I really cant judge what its like for us here. But I know for the rest of Europe it really seems like European fans are very loyal and really dedicated to the bands that they like which is really cool. In the States, its very fickle. In the States, you’ll be really popular for a couple of records and then…
Altsounds – So its like the majority like you and then all of a sudden they just go on to another band?
Josh – Yeah that’s what it is like in the States.
Altsounds – So its all about hype really?
Josh – Yeah you catch a hype wave, ride it for a while and then you get burned to the shallow end.
Altsounds – So what’s the support like for you now in the States?
Josh – Its weird. We definitely have support because we have been a band for so long, we have our loyal fan base in the States but every tour we see it go up and down. So its almost in the States like a little bit of a ride.
Altsounds – Has that depended on what album has been out?
Josh – No it really just depends on what is popular at the moment. The States is very trendy.
Altsounds – Is it the same in every state?
Josh – Its really weird because its like all of America is on the same trend. Like right now it is really trendy to have like techno beats and shit like that in your music. Like Asking Alexandra, their popular right now. That style of music is very popular right now.
Altsounds – So are you guys still up to date with the trend then?
Josh – No. We don’t really pay too much attention with the trends because were not the type of band that’s going to be like “okay blast beats are popular now so lets write a record full of blast beats”. Were still getting in the practice space and yelling at each other until some shitty song comes out and then we’re like “this is it were done.” And then when it comes out and if it happens to be popular at the time then it is and if it doesn’t, then it isn’t.
Altsounds – So you went to Warped Tour in 2008 what was that like? Who actually played that year?
Josh – Angels and Airwaves, Against Me!, Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes.
Altsounds – See to me that’s strange to see those acts at Warped Tour because it’s a punk festival.
Josh – Yeah like 30H!3 played our stage, Katy Perry played our stage. Then there were bands like Every Time I Die, A Day To Remember and Bring Me The Horizon. To be honest I did not give a shit who was on the Warped Tour I was just pumped to be on it because Warped Tour is something that I went to when I was younger and I always thought like “man if I was ever in a band that was on Warped tour then I have made it”.
Altsounds – Where were you on the line-up?
Josh – Well the crazy thing about Warped Tour is that you never know what time your gonna play, any band, until the morning of. At 9 in the morning two hours before doors, they put up a list and you could be playing in 2 hours or you could be playing in 12 hours. The first show that we played on Warped Tour, I think we played around 12.30 which is pretty good. I will tell you now from experience it sucks to play at 11 and it sucks to play at 8 because at 11, people are still getting there and at 8 everyone is like I wanna kill myself because I have been listening to so many bands. I’m trying to think what the best Warped Tour was for us.
Altsounds – How many have you played on?
Josh – Just that one I’m talking about the places on that tour. San Francisco was really cool because where we played our view was of the Golden Gate bridge so the pictures from the stage are really cool. So its like we’re on the stage, in front of us is the crowd and behind them is the Golden Gate bridge so that was really cool. And there’s a place if you look it up online its called The Gorge in Washington and that was just awesome to play because it just in the middle of nowhere.
Altsounds – How many shows are on Warped Tour?
Josh – 60. Well its 60 days long.
Altsounds – Does the line-up change halfway through?
Josh – Well some bands can be on for a week, some can be on for a month.
Altsounds – How long were you on for?
Josh – For all two months. It was brutal. I had a tan. There was five or six days off but on those days off we played shows at regular clubs.
Altsounds – What was the last day like, was it just epic?
Josh – Oh here’s the last day. The last day was in LA, we finish the show which was awesome and that was the last day we had a tour bus, so we got into our van and drove straight from LA to Florida which is at opposite ends of the country. A couple of days before that we had had this hot dog eating contest and our team consisted of me and the tour manager for Norma Jean. We almost won until I was on hot dog 28 and I just threw up everywhere and we were disqualified.
Altsounds – Who did you have it against?
Josh – A group of security guards who weighed 400 pounds. Yeah I don’t even remember who won I just remember throwing up a lot and I remember my girlfriend had just flown in that day and she was probably so turned off. I’ve just ate 28 hotdogs and then she’s watching me throw up all over the place.
Altsounds – (laughs) lovely. So in September Almost Home was released. How did the fans react to that?
Josh – Pretty good. It wasn’t bad. They were kind of shocked that we were still together (laughs) No it was a bit more of a progression from Wolfbiker and it got on the billboard charts in America and Canada, which is pretty cool for us. I think so far its been a good reaction.
Altsounds – Bassist Jason Southwell left the band last year after being with you from the start. What was it like him leaving?
Josh – Well he left because really he didn’t want to be in a band anymore, he didn’t have fun going on tour anymore. We all appreciated his honesty.
Altsounds – Could you tell he wasn’t enjoying himself?
Josh – Yeah we could tell he really wasn’t enjoying himself.
Altsounds – Was it like a brother leaving?
Josh – It was kind of awkward a little bit but he left on good terms and the last tour that he did with us was in Australia and it was probably one of the best tours we had ever done. It was on the Soundwave tour which had Nine Inch Nails and all these awesome bands so he left on a good note and we still see him around. We played a hometown show before we came on this tour and he was there. There’s no like bad blood or anything like that.
Altsounds – How long did it take new bassist Chris to settle into the band?
Josh – He’s just been playing bass with us on tour he’s not like a permanent member. He’s actually only doing this tour and then one more tour and then he’s going to school.
Altsounds – What’s going to happen then? You going to audition?
Josh – We have a couple of friends. Like for Almost Home we wrote it without bass then we had our friend record the bass on the record. So we will probably just continue to do it like that because its one less person to have and you know after being in a band for almost eleven years, bringing someone else in is just like “eurgh”. We already have our own routine and the way we go about everything and bringing someone else in might just fuck that all up.
Altsounds – You said you’ve been doing this for eleven years. Can you see your self doing this for another 11 years?
Josh – I dunno maybe.
Altsounds – Can you see yourself at Download or Leeds Festival? I could see you there.
Josh – Wherever you see me that’s where I go.
Altsounds – Well thank you Josh good luck with the show.
Josh – Thank you.
Original article first appeared on Altsounds website on 06/09/10