If we’re lucky, most conflicts we encounter pave the way for personal growth. Where ‘An Urgent Release’ revolved around dealing with heartbreak, Jayden Hebbard’s 3rd LP as Joe Terror, ‘World Built of U’, reflects sentiments of relief and gratification for a tough time lived and learnt from. Brimming with Terror’s most experimental take on soul-infused rock, we sat down for a quarantine-approved online interview to discuss its cathartic release 2 years after first being penned.
A sequel to his sophomore record, ‘World Built Of U’ details Terror’s moving on from the misery earlier established; “‘An Urgent Release’ was about letting go of a relationship and my first love and moving into another period of time. I recorded ‘World Built Of U’ as an encapsulation of new love and prosperity”. Crafted in quick succession after one another, Terror appreciates how darker moments from the preceding record still bled through; “The more time’s gone on, I’ve realised how many deep, dark holes are in amongst the scene I was trying to set. I was goin’ through a lot of changes and trying to understand myself better whilst I was doing those songs. Sometimes you can’t actually put your finger on what you’re doing until life unravels a little bit further”.
Whilst the album is rooted in resolution, a 2-year lapse between its composition and release proved its own battle as Terror struggled to balance everything amongst a hectic touring schedule and another EP; “I had to release ‘Stinky Soul’ first to get it off my chest. I got so lost in that album and then I started touring and recording with other bands and it slipped into the back of my mind for a long time”. Amid these difficulties, self-doubt surrounding his ability to supplement the record’s release with the live performance it deserved added another obstacle; “A lot of shit had gone down and I was really angry at myself. I was thinkin’, ‘Do I hold onto it longer so I can tour it properly?’, until I just said, ‘Screw it’. I realised I could do it later and it would still be a nice thing”.
Unable to perform the record live in the current climate, the Grafton-born local saviours the chances he took pre-lockdown to try out some new tracks; “We got my friend, Mitch Peters (Tug), to play all the strings and piano and I felt like I had to concentrate more on being a front man without playing guitar and selling the songs in the way that they should be sold”. There’s a palpable excitement as he speaks of fulfilling his front man fantasy; “It ended up being energetic because, I dunno, I go into a frenzy sometimes, but I really wanted to capture people more than just yelling at them. It’s like living out your childhood Rockstar moment… to 10 people (laughs)”.
Sonically, there’s a wider array of instrumentation on the new LP, all of which was catalysed by acting on an accident; “Mitch (Tug) left his keyboard at our house and I just started fiddling around and making cooky string arrangements. That became the shape of the sound”. Though more electronics and samples appear, Terror’s song writing roots remain entrenched in folk; “I’ve always really been into folk music. I’ve been heading back in the direction of folky ballads so when I started making this album, it become clear that this was a way to mesh those two worlds”.
An immersive month of writing and playing allowed Terror to strike while the iron was hot, crafting almost a song a day; “For 4 or 5 weeks I was doing a lot of writing on the bus on the way into and home from work and then I’d get home at 3 or 4 in the arvo and build a song around whatever I’d written that day”. This intensive period facilitated emotional processing for Terror as much as it cultivated artistic expression. His tangential writing results in rabbit holes open to introspection; “Sometimes I just get onto tangents and connect different pathways and figure out where some thoughts and emotions are coming from. It’s a process that helps me deal with things, with this stuff.”
Whilst in lockdown, the multi-instrumentalist turns to his band/housemates who comprise The Stained Daisies for creative inspiration; “I’ve got the guys here and they’re one of the greatest sources of inspiration in my life, so its good to be with them”. He draws a similar warmth from the local music community and the response to adversity; “I feel like the arts always finds its way, no matter what happens. It’s so ironic that, not more than a few months ago, the Arts is raising millions of dollars for Bushfire relief and now its just been tossed aside by the government. Seeing everyone’s spirits shine through that is just incredible”.
As eclectic a performer as Joe Terror is, Hebbard describes his guise as being grounded entirely in himself, underscoring his artistic and honest integrity; “I wouldn’t call it a persona per se, it’s still me. I think its important to be truthful to your feelings and not try and dance around that. Respect how you’re feeling and what you want from how you’re feeling at the time.” Having already overcome hardships, Terror thrives in the thrill of those that still lie ahead; “The really fun thing is that time keeps ticking and things keep happening. Life keeps me on my toes”.
Joe Terror’s latest release ‘World Built Of U’ is available now on all streaming services and for purchase on Bandcamp.