Interview: World/Inferno Friendship Society on Borders and Brass Knuckles

Interview with singer Jack Terricloth

We had the chance to catch up with long-running, circus-punk group World/Inferno Friendship Society while they were on tour in support of their latest full-length, All Borders Are Porous to Cats. The album, out now on Alternative Tentacles, showcases the band in all their unique, wild, eclectic, and creative glory.

From an Applebee’s in Virginia, vocalist Jack Terricloth spoke of the new release—which, as he rightly states, has “got some gems on it”—as well as the sometimes-odd, daily goings on and encounters while on tour with such a large contingent.

“One of the best parts of touring is freaking out the squares,” he asserts, laughing. “When we walk into a room, we definitely have a presence. No one is sure what to make of us.”

“It is fun traveling around with this many people because we are a bunch of freaks, and we look like a bunch of freaks,” he adds. “But there are so many of us. People wanna fuck with us, but then—you can tell they’re thinking about it—but then they’re like, ‘I don’t think I can take all nine of them.’”

Terricloth describes being at a gas station the previous day, still in his stage makeup from the prior night.

“Some guy is like, ‘Are you fucking wearing eyeliner?!’ I was like, ‘I don’t know, am I wearing eyeliner? Do I look OK?’ I’m always amazed when people try and fuck with us. It’s like, I’m a 50-year-old in a suit. You really wanna get in a fight with me? Our accordionist actually carries brass knuckles and a switchblade with him at all times. So, it’s always entertaining when people try to interact with us in a negative manner.”

And now to touch upon the band’s actual recordings, Terricloth explains their writing process.

“We really are a collective. We sit in a small room and bang on the instruments. I write about half the songs, and everyone else writes about half the songs. But they all change anyway. We’re pretty much Sly and the Family Stone.”

He mentions that most of the members live together in Brooklyn. We “just sit around and play guitars and keyboards and clarinets.”

Terricloth explains that this particular album’s theme centers around “the immigration crisis, and of course, the awful Number 45 that we have in the office.”

“So, people can’t enter the country, but cats can, because all borders are porous to cats,” he says. “I don’t wanna get too political, but goddamn, our president is so goddamn fucking embarrassing. And I go to Europe a lot. Thank God the U.K. is also stupid as crap, with that Brexit stuff.”

Terricloth says the idea behind this record was keyboardist/producer Scott Hollingsworth’s.

“He’s an immigrant himself. He’s from the U.K., and we got in trouble going back and forth. But yes, we travel so much, and we are Americans, and it’s so embarrassing to be the ugly American and having to explain yourself.”

However, he goes on to say, “It’s a constant adventure I enjoy, and I will keep doing until I die.”

All Borders Are Porous To Cats is out now on Alternative Tentacles, and available here.

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