It’s June. It's North London and I am sitting on a roof with probably one of the only guys I can call myself a fan of. It’s sunny and I’m beginning to see the fringe benefits of this journalism lark. I’m here to interview Terry Abbot, lead singer in the band Septembre (Yes that is spelt the right way), his new group after the split of the Virgin signed, Ross Robinson produced saviours of British rock music, Vex Red, in which he had the role of front man. Now stop me if you know the history of Vex Red and what happened afterwards, but for those who don’t know, here is the science bit, concentrate!

Vex Red were a band from Aldershot-some may say geniuses-who combined American Grunge anthem guitars with synthesisers and samplers. Kind of like Nine Inch Nails meets Silverchair, but better. They got signed after sending their demo off to Ross Robinson after seeing an advert in 'Kerrang' magazine. At the time this caused them problems as they were considered to have not “paid their dues” on the touring circuit. They, however, went on to tour across the USA, play main stage at the Reading, Leeds and Glastonbury festivals ,make two videos and generally hold their own in the British rock market.

They were, however, continuously dogged by the likes of 'Kerrang' and so never became as large as they could have and some say should have been.

Unfortunately when the music industry crashed into itself at the end of 2002 Ross Robinson’s Imprint label, 'I Am', separated from its parent label Virgin leaving Vex Red on the Virgin roster with little or no support from label big wigs. In Christmas 2002 the band left Virgin at which point Abbott quit the band effectively ending Vex Red.

After a year away and some time spent in the USA with Ross Robinson, Terry returned with a new band and a whole heap of Robinson produced tracks under the name Septembre. This new band has toured quite extensively this year after their first gig in early February but have been struggling to break away from the Vex Red name and the “mystery” about what happened at the end of 2002.

So , dear reader, read on and see the delights that I managed to coax out of the enigmatic Terry Abbott that afternoon

PB: I think in practically every review I’ve read about you guys you end up being compared to the Smashing Pumpkins or Silver Chair. Do you have anything to say in return to this?

TA : Well, I think they are both brilliant bands and it's an honour to be compared to them. I’m not trying to rip them off but to be in classed the same vein is wicked. I mean I can think of worse things to be compared to. For one Smashing Pumpkins taught me to play guitar, not physically but the sound, you know like aghh fuck!. Plus Silverchair are just incredible. That comparison of course will obviously fade with time as Septembre becomes more developed.

PB: What is Ross (Robinson) like to work with?

TA : He’s terrible (Laughs. No seriously if you're American and in Slipknot hell he'll throw shit at you but if you write a song you happen to be English and more refrained he has fun with you! He calls me “cat” right because I watch people from the top of the studio stairs. With Ross we always talk about the songs for a long time so by the time we get to the studio we all know exactly what is going on and we will pick out line set up lines! He makes you want to bleed for it. If you don’t feel like your heart is going to jump out your mouth then why do it!?

PB: Do you see him much?

TA : No last time I saw him was when he was recording the Cure up at Olympic , and I had the honour of going up to see them record for a day because Robert (Smith) had borrowed my amp, my special recording amp. Yeah, man ! Robert Smith was using my amp!! So I went up, took my dog up and hung out at the studio. I totally freaked out when they were recording. I freaked out and had to run home! I didn’t run obviously because it's a long way, I drove…..obviously.

PB: How long had the Septembre tracks been written before going into the studio?

TA : Some of them were written. Actually all were written during Vex (Vex Red) 'I am Weightless' for example. By the final Vex show at the Marquee Club I had started keeping songs aside because I was planning for a drought or something!

But then there is no rush, but for me there was, so Septembre began as a side project to get these songs out. Then I was suggested to kind of leave Vex by... er...um Ross. Yeah it was a kind of joint decision, my decision in the long run obviously! It was a low patch and I just chose my time and went. I would say we were in dire straits, but we weren’t. We were Vex Red! Obviously the boys all hated me but we are getting closer again and Ant (Forbes-Vex Red's guitarist) tour managed the last tour with Reuben.

PB: With Sammy and Jim coming in after you recorded do you now write as a band?

TA : No, no I still write everything but now I know what I’m writing for so it’s easier. I think the new stuff is better. It’s a great way as a three piece. It's what I wanted to do right form the twilight days of Vex. I wanted a full on three piece. Its organic for me you know because I know how I want every song to sound from start to finish. I have never been able to write with anyone else ever, even in Vex I would write and give it to Keith (keyboard/Bass player in Vex Red) and he would take chunks out or whatever. The boys (Drummer Sammy Lee and bassist Jim James ) know where they stand though. No egos ! No shit ! “Here is the song we are doing it this way”. We have levelled out on a plateau as what I wanted it to be. I’m totally happy. They say they are too and I really hope that they are.

PB: How was the last tour?

TA :Ah dude, this was so good. I've done some shit ones but this one was special. I've loved Reuben since my first band like 8 years ago and having taken them out so many times with Vex it was lovely for them to take us out and pay us back

PB: Was that difficult going from big venues with Vex Red to small venues with Septembre?

TA : It’s doing it that’s cool. If it was Vex doing this it would be “let’s just call it a day” but as it’s a new thing, a new band, new bands have to do this. We did it kind of with Vex but we were signed already so it was like here's the gear. Go! It’s a big thing to live up to but I love it! Hopefully Septembre will grow to bigger venues.

PB: Any label interest??

TA : Speak to the management. They know what’s going on (laughs). Of course there is interest. We will see how it goes. The record industry is in a dire state. They are blaming it on piracy but there have been a hundred million more CD sales than a decade ago but everyone wants that instant hit. Sign em up, get a single then drop em.

PB: So would you ever “sell out”?

TA : I don’t know how a band sells out. I would love to do it. At the right point in anyone’s life anyone would sell their soul. You have just got to get to that time. Linkin Park did it by writing a great album. The same with Good Charlotte. Great songs and production, I really hope they aren’t manufactured because that would suck. Bands should be a good band of brothers against the world type thing.

PB: Would you take a major label, major money deal?

TA : Well if they did I would ask why you know! I would rather have a little bit of money to pay rent and the boys and use the rest of the money to promote the band. Because these bands that take huge money end up getting dropped anyway because they never make it back.

PB: Who’s got the best hair?

TA : I've seen all of us at silly o clock in the morning so I don't know. We all have problem hair. Put it that way. Jim is always like “What can I do with my hair!?” and we don’t know. We gave him a Mohawk on the last tour, which was cool. Egg the soundman has the best hairdo man! Yeah, man out of all of Septembre and our associated others Egg our soundman has the best hair! He’s bald.

PB: Favourite sandwich filling?

TA : I don’t eat sandwiches

PB: You don’t eat sandwiches, right! OK potato filling, pizza topping?

TA : I don’t know man. My favourite munch is animal biscuits. You know the half-covered Cadburys chocolate ones. I don’t eat sandwiches. If I do it’s a baguette with ham or chicken with some salad kinda thing and a little bit toasty and warm.

My fave restaurant is a Thai restaurant in LA on Sunset Boulevard called Toi. I always have the yellow chicken curry. But I've never found a good one in this country.

PB: Yeah why go to England if you can get one in LA!


At this point the interview is interrupted by the rest of the band turning up We all say our hello's before Terry making a hasty exit!! I follow him out and he holds the door for me. What a nice man ! Luckily. however, I was out of questions and so it wrapped the interview up nicely!


The top three photographs that accompany this article were taken by Matthew Williams














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