Hi Scott, I hope you’re doing well. First of all: Thanks for taking the time to answer the following questions. For starters, please introduce your new band THE TAKE and its beknown members.
Scott: You’re welcome, thanks for asking! THE TAKE is Will Shepler on drums, he was in AGNOSTIC FRONT in the late 80’s & early 90’s and the original drummer in MADBALL. Carlos Congote on bass, he was in NYC’s 45 ADAPTERS and an Oi! band from Columbia called URBAN NOISE, just to name a few. Myself (Scott Roberts) on guitar an vocals. The bands I’m most famous for being in are BIOHAZARD & THE SPUDMONSTERS. I’m also filling in on guitar for NYC Oi! band THE PRESS right now.
How did the idea for this Oi!-Punk three-piece originate – and since when are you involved in the development of the band?
Scott: Will had a conversation with SICK OF IT ALL’s Craig Setari (they were in AGNOSTIC FRONT together) about starting a new band. They wanted to do a hardcore power trio. Will called me to see if I wanted to do it and of course I said yes. I got excited about it and started writing some really fast old school hardcore songs right away. Then I asked Craig what style of music he wanted to play and he replied… “Whatever we feel”.
I said to myself, why didn’t I ever think of that? Don’t try to be anything, just do it. That’s when it started becoming more Oi!. Will really liked what I was writing so I kept going. Craig never actually played with us because he was always on the road with SOIA. Eventually Craig suggested that we should get someone else because he just wasn’t going to be around. That’s when I asked Carlos to join.
Naturally your and Will’s past in groundbreaking bands like BIOHAZARD, MADBALL or AGNOSTIC FRONT raises public interest in THE TAKE. But the most remarkable thing about the new band is that it seems to be based purely on the fun of playing the music you like. Did you feel any pressure at all when writing your self-titled debut album?
Scott: No pressure at all. I was just writing what I felt and I didn’t really care about it fitting into any genre or following any trends etc. The record ended up being a mix of punk, Oi!, hardcore and rock & roll. We think the sound is something a little bit different.
What is your personal connection to the Oi! and Skinhead scene – and which bands and artists were most influencial on the development of the sound of THE TAKE?
Scott: I think the influences are really from everything I’ve ever listed to. I didn’t sit down and say I want to write a song that sounds like this or that. When it happened, it just kind of came from out of nowhere. I’m not sure if that would make any sense to people that haven’t written a song that way, but it doesn’t come from your brain. I don’t know where it comes from really. It happens when it wants to.
I’m not sure what you‘re looking for with the question about my connection. I’m a Skinhead, most of us like Oi!. I was more into hardcore when I was younger, but in recent years I’ve definitely been listening to more Oi! than hardcore. I kind of think that’s because most hardcore has gotten too metal for my taste these days. The music I listen to the most is old 60’s ska, rocksteady and reggae. I love that stuff.
Since punk is always about commenting on political and social states of things: What is your opinion on the latest developments in the US and Europe – especially in regards of the increasing influence of right-wing and nationalistic forces?
Scott: I really don’t know to much about what’s going on honestly. I probably work more than anyone you know, and I don’t watch TV. Politics really isn’t my thing. I have noticed what seems to be an increase in racist groups and that’s part of what inspired the lyrics for one of the songs on the record called „No Tolerance“. It’s an anti fascist song with a kind of MOTÖRHEAD feel. It’s one of my favorites actually.
How came the cooperation with German label Demons Run Amok for the release of „The Take“?
Scott: That came about because of our German booking agency MAD Tourbooking. They we’re the 1st people I sent songs to. They thought DRA would be the best label for us and we value their opinion. They know what’s going on with the scene in Europe. DRA loved what we’re doing, so there you go.
When looking back at your extensive involvement in Hardcore and especially bands like BIOHAZARD, CRO-MAGS or BLOODCLOT, how do you feel the scene has changed over the years?
Scott: It’s gone through a lot of trends and ups and downs, but it has to keep evolving in order to stay alive I guess. It used to be a punk thing, but now it seems like it’s turned into a metal thing. Don’t get me wrong, I do like some metal, but it kinda bums me out the people seem to forget that hardcore used to mean hardcore punk.
What were the reasons for leaving BIOHAZARD back in early 2016 and what have you done until the THE TAKE was founded?
Scott: I left just before Christmas 2015 actually. There’s a lot of things that lead up to me leaving, but to make it simple, I wasn’t getting along with one of the guys, so I really wasn’t enjoying being on the road with them anymore. The only reason for me to stay in the band at that point was to make a new record that I was proud of. When another guy in the band made it clear to me that it wasn’t going to happen, there was no reason for me to stick around any more. I’d rather play in a little band that no one has ever heard of, doing what I believe in, than be in a bigger band and not be into it. I still think I made the right choice.
Not long after I left, I started working on THE TAKE. I took my time writing it, why rush it? The record has been finished for a while though now so we’re happy that it’s finally coming out.
Besides THE TAKE you’re still playing with THE SPUDMONSTERS. What’s the current status of the band?
Scott: We’re not really playing. It’s not like we broke up though. When I got in BIOHAZARD, I just focused my attention on that. Maybe we’ll do something again some day, I definitely wouldn’t rule it out. Those guys are my dear friends and it’s always fun getting together. It’s hard for me to do though because they live 8 hours away from me. Just to get together to rehearse once takes me 2 days.
Actually MAD got ahold of me a couple times asking if we wanted to play some SPUDMONSTERS shows in Europe, but I told them I wanted to concentrate on THE TAKE. This is where I’m at right now. It feels right to me and personally I think this is the best thing I’ve ever done.
Since it’s too early to talk about the impact of „The Take“, how have the reactions on the tracks presented prior to the release date been – especially in regards of the video clip for „Elitist“?
Scott: The reactions we’ve been getting have been incredible. It’s hard to judge from your friends because most people won’t tell you if they don’t like something, but right away people were saying “this is really good!” with a lot of enthusiasm. I could tell the really meant it. After the video came out, we started getting lots of messages from people saying it’s the best thing they’ve heard in a long time. I gotta tell you, it’s a really great feeling!
Being a songwriter you’re kind of putting yourself out there to get slammed you know? I realize it isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, that’s ok, you can’t expect everyone to like it. I know people that hate THE BEATLES for Christ sake! Knowing that some people seem to be getting it is really cool though. I’m really excited for people to hear the whole record because I think they’re going to be surprised by the diversity of the songs. I think only hearing one song, you’re not getting the whole picture of the band.
In August you’ll bring THE TAKE to Europe for the first time. What are your expectations?
Scott: I don’t know what to expect. It’s a new band so I’m not expecting much. I’ve been at this point a few times before and honestly, it’s hard to start a new band. You’re starting over. I do expect to have a good time with good friends though. What more can you ask for really?
You have played concerts all over the world. Which countries, cities and/or clubs have made the biggest impact on you?
Scott: That’s tough to say really. I kind of like everywhere because even if it might not have been the greatest show, I love meeting people from the scene, making new friends, seeing old friends and seeing different places. I think it’s pretty incredible that because of music, I’ve been able to do and see so many things that most people will never get to do. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Besides touring, what’s next for you and THE TAKE?
Scott: We have another video coming out with the European and digital release of the record on June 28th. Besides that I think it’s time for me to start working on new songs. I really haven’t even thought about writing anything for a while because there’s been so many other things to take care of in order to get the band off the ground. Gotta keep moving forward, ya know?
Any last words you’d like to spread?
Scott: Our debut record drops June 28th in Europe and digitally, July 5th in the US and Canada. We keep getting more and more shows, so to keep up to date with what’s going on with us, visit our website. You can find everything there. Music, merch, tour dates, social media and more. We hope to see you on the road soon!
Thanks a lot!