The Take may be a new name to many of you reading this and that is understandable. Before their debut 11 song album was announced earlier this year there was not much out there in the way of press and the band was not actively out there on the road either so their burst on to the scene with a quality debut record was a really nice surprise. The band consists of Scott Roberts on guitar and vocals (formerly of Biohazard, The Spudmonsters and Bloodclot!) Will Shepler (formerly of Agnostic Front and Madball) on drums and Carlos Congote (formerly of 45 Adapters and Urban Noise) on bass. After reading the list of their previous bands I was pretty sure what to expect sound wise but I (like many) was in for a bit of a surprise as The Take lean heavily on their Oi and punk influences. When the opportunity came up to interview drummer Will Shepler we jumped on it. Our dude Brian Espitia down in Florida took it from there and knocked out this nice interview which was conducted on June 22nd via phone. With the lack of live band photos out there to be had we kind of sat on this interview for a few extra weeks knowing they had a run of shows in the Northeast with The Old Firm Casuals and that some quality shots would probably come forward. Shout out to NY photographers Tim Daley and Steven J. Messina for hitting up the St. Vitus show on July 31st to get some nice shots and to John Franko for the graphic work. Unmarked photos supplied by the band. Click on The Take's album cover below and the video links at the end of the interview to hear what they are all about!
IE: Will, this is Brian from In Effect Hardcore, how are you doing?
Will: Good Brian. How are you doing?
IE: I’m good. So, my first question is, it’s been a long time since we saw you playing drums for Agnostic Front, Madball and all that. So, how did you get this thing going?
Will: Ha, yeah, it has been awhile. Me and Scott you know, we’ve been best friends for years. Well after I left Agnostic Front, which was in ‘98, I started a project with Scott and Alan from Life of Agony, called Among Thieves. Yeah it was kind of more a rock thing. That was the first time we played together, and you know we did some stuff over the years. We just never got together to play again until a few years ago when I moved back upstate (NY). Craig Setari from Sick Of It All lived in a place upstate too. So we would get together, and we were talking again about maybe starting a trio. A hardcore power trio. And I was like “Yeah, cool! Let’s call Scott. Man, he would be perfect for that!” Also, I loved playing with him and Craig’s great friends with him. I called Scott and he had just left Biohazard, so I think he was looking for a fresh start. And that is how it all happened. I had been playing in between bands just not in any band that anyone would ever hear, keeping my chops up and looking for the next opportunity.
IE: Cool, so Craig Setari… I know he’s not on the new record and I know he did start the project… how much involvement did he have on the album?
Will: No, we never even played together but it was the concept we all had come up with together. The three of us. Craig was on tour all the time, so me and Scott just kind of got together on our own. We were waiting for Craig to get back from touring, and something else would always come up and he was just so busy. All three of us never actually got together in the studio together. Craig said we shouldn’t hold up the project. So, Scott got Carlos from 45 Adapters to play with us and he’s on the album. Scott wrote all the songs and we worked out all that stuff. I was actually in Key West (FL) at the time. I went from New York back to Key West after we started the project.
IE: Yeah, I was going to ask you about that! I live in Florida myself and I’ve been down here over ten years and I used to go down there to do some work once in a while. That’s quite different from NY. I mean, there’s one road in and one road out. You’re stuck on an island in Jimmy Buffett Land!
Will: I am isolated down here. I moved down here about ten years ago and I’ve been back and forth a couple of times. When I’m down here, it’s total isolation and I’m cutoff from the whole world. It’s funny that you mentioned Jimmy Buffet, because when I was looking to start a project here… and there is no punk or hardcore scene or anything like that around here. I started a band with a couple of guys called Parrot Head Massacre. Which was this crazy anti-trop rock thing, and we were doing Nine Inch Nail covers and other things to shock people a bit.
IE: So, you were the anti-beach rock?
Will: Right, exactly... so we just wanted to shock people and for me just to play.
Well, Key West is the perfect place for that. We would play about once a year and do benefit shows. It was just a little side project just to keep my chops up. And we never saw it going anywhere… it’s just to have some fun and play. But this project, The Take, was something that we really wanted to do for us from the heart. In the beginning, it wasn’t something we thought would really go anywhere, but it turned out great. We’ve had a great reception so far.
IE: Well, the thing about it for me is, when I first heard about it. I thought the Take was going to be a more traditional hardcore record. Coming from Agnostic Front, Madball and Biohazard, I thought you were going to kind of go that way, but it’s not a typical hardcore record.
Will: No, no, it’s not. I mean, there is that influence in there, but there’s also a lot of Oi, punk, and rock and roll that kind of straddles a bunch of different genres. It’s like a culmination of a bunch of different stuff that we’ve been listening to our whole lives and it just came together that way. Initially, we thought it was going to be just total hardcore, but it didn’t come out that way. It was an organic process. It went where it wanted to go. That’s what we ended up with and I think it’s great because I love the songs and I really enjoy playing them and it’s a good thing. It turned out to be a bonus that people liked it.
IE: Yeah, I really liked the record. It reminded me a lot of The Old Firm Casuals. I’m a big fan of that band. It had a lot of that, but it’s unique and different. It’s its own thing.
Will: Yeah, I look at it like as more progressive Oi and not your just straight formula, standard Oi. There’s different parts and different influences that vary. I read one review where the reviewer said it was a mix of Motorhead, Sheer Terror and some other band. And I’m like “OK! That’s cool!” I’m happy to be lumped in with those guys.
CLICK BELOW TO STREAM OR DOWNLOAD THE TAKE'S 11 SONG DEBUT ALBUM
IE: So, as far as songs go, who’s involved more lyrically? Do you and Scott trade off with that?
Will: Scott wrote all the lyrics. He may ask for my opinion, but he had already written the music and has the concept and it was great the way he pulled that together. What he would do when I was in Key West, was he would send me riffs and songs and send me the guitar track. I have a little studio over here where I record the drum tracks over that and send it back to him. And then he would record the real guitar tracks and bass. Then he would figure out how the lyrics would go. And we went back and forth like that for a long time. The record did take a long time to make because, when I was in NY, we would do the actual recording in the studio. So it was long distance for a little bit and when I was around we’d put down the tracks. It took us a couple of years to record it and getting it all together. And taking our time was very beneficial. Instead of rushing an album through, you’re putting down songs that maybe if you had more time they wouldn’t be on the album.
IE: Yeah, or maybe you would have worked them out better.
Will: You always end up with a couple of throwaways in the recording process, but I don’t think we have any on the album.
IE: No, unless you already threw those away and didn’t even put them on the album.
Will: We did. As we’re going through, we will just see what doesn’t really work and see if it’s not what we are trying to do and when we’re not feeling it, then we don’t pursue it.
THE TAKE @ ST. VITUS, BROOKLYN, NY JULY 31, 2019. PHOTO BY: STEVEN J. MESSINA
IE: So, you guys shot a video up in New York, you want to tell us about that?
Will: We have two videos. One was the release for the song “Elitist”. We released that a couple of months ago just to put something out there because it took a while for the album to actually come out which will be released digitally next week on the 28th and in the US physical copies will be released July 5th. In conjunction with the release, we have a second video that we are going to release for “Revolution Now”. Both videos were done by Drew Stone who is a good friend of ours for many years. He’s done a lot of hardcore videos, some hip-hop stuff back in the day, some Biohazard and a lot of bands. He doesn’t really do music videos anymore, unless he really likes the band. He’s totally behind the music and we like to have him as a creative force behind our videos and we think things turned out well.
IE: Is that the one that you shot in NYC at Niagara?
Will: Yes. We were looking to do something in a small venue and that has a lot of significance being the old A7 club. That was a lot of fun and that was a great idea. We had the whole place to ourselves; Jesse Malan from D-Generation is one of the owners, so he hooked us up. Another good friend for many years. And all our friends were there, and everyone was drinking and having a good time.
IE: Did you ever get to the old A7 or was that still before your time?
Will: That was before my time. I moved to NY in the winter of ’86/’87, so I was all CBGB’s all the time. That was at the height of the CBGB’s matinees. So many incredible bands were playing then. I mean, A7, that was the first wave and when I was in NY when I was seventeen, it was all second wave like Straight Ahead, Breakdown, Youth of Today, Underdog. I mean, so many bands would play like every Sunday like Sick of it All, Sheer Terror. Wetlands was always having shows back then too. You had to choose sometimes. Wetlands was another great second club after CBGB’s.
THE TAKE @ ST. VITUS, BROOKLYN, NY JULY 31, 2019. PHOTO BY: TIM DALEY
IE: Yeah, that’s all awesome. So, the other question I have is, I don’t know if the music inspired it or if the lifestyles inspired the music, but I see you guys in the video rocking the old traditional skinhead style with the Docs, Fred Perry’s, shaved heads and everything. Are you pretty much going back to the roots of how you got into it? Did the album spark that?
Will: Yeah, definitely, it’s going back to the roots. And Carlos is a real traditional skinhead. I’m more of a hardcore guy and I was into the whole skinhead thing in the early 80’s with boots and braces and, yes. It’s kind of going back to the roots. I think all of us are. Carlos is a little younger, but Scott too, is going back to the roots. It’s a great attitude… it’s like a family thing. You know the whole skinhead thing was very diverse. Except for a few boneheads, it’s just working-class values, taking pride in yourself and working hard. Having honor and respect are all good things.
IE: Well, that stuff needs to come back. Things are a bit different now.
Will: As I get older, I realize now how important those things are. It’s just natural going back to those roots.
IE: So, basically, as far as shows. What shows have you played? Are you doing tours? Some short runs, long runs? What do you have going on now?
Will: Yeah, we started off doing maybe one show a month just because, before the album comes out nobody really knows the material or who we are. So, once the album’s out we plan to really hit hard. We’re doing a short run with The Old Firm Casuals on the East Coast. Just a hand full of shows.
IE: Wow. Come to Florida!
Will: You know that Florida is the retirement community for old hardcore folks. Freddy Madball’s here, Hoya’s here, and a bunch of others.
IE: Yeah, I know Mark from Shutdown is down here too.
Will: Right. So, Florida will be in our future. Don’t worry. What we have booked right now is the Northeast and then Europe for ten days in August. Then we are coming back and we’re going to the Midwest. We’re going to hit Chicago for Live and Loud. Then back to Europe for a week and we are playing with Cock Sparrer in Germany and that’s going to be a big show. They’re huge over there. Then we come back to the states and then we go back to Europe again. We’re going to do three weeks with Agnostic Front which will be a lot of shows in the UK which should be a lot of fun. Talk about going back to the roots.
IE: Well, that’s awesome, Will. I’m happy for you. I’m glad you have something going on that you’re excited about. We’re all excited about it. When is the album coming out, again? I forget what day it was.
Will: Yeah, the album will be released in the states on July 5th. Digital downloads will be available June 28th and the video will also be released on June 28th.Everybody can just go to our website which is www.thetakenyc.com and that has links to everything like tour dates, album sales. We got merch through merchnow.com and coretexrecords.com over in Europe. We have some cool designs going up there that people haven’t seen.
UPCOMING EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
CLICK BELOW TO WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEO "ELITIST" BY THE TAKE
CLICK BELOW TO WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEO "REVOLUTION NOW" BY THE TAKE