’Now Wide Awake and Yet Sleeping With Ease’
Endo's 2001 debut, Evolve, was characterized by Guitar World as "an ultra-modern, sonically pristine blend of raging guitars and throbbing hip-hop beats tempered by a harsh industrial edge," while the LA Weekly simply stated "...[Endo] kick all kinds of motherf***ing ass."
In 2003, the Miami foursome ignites another gritty wake up call with Songs For The Restless, an album that ventures for no less than rock revolution. Songs For The Restless, recorded in Los Angeles with producer David Schiffman (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty), exhibits Endo in its finest fashion. While clearly a pivotal debut, Evolve was independently recorded in sporadic sessions over a year, and the group acquired a new guitarist and drummer right as the disc hit retail.
Now with focused studio time and a galvanized line-up, Endo (Gil Bitton – vocals, Zelick – bass, Joe Eshkenazi – drums and Eli Parker – guitar) takes Evolve's singularized touches to full fruition with a darker, more seductive sound that magnifies the band's immediate force and draw.
Sitting down with lead singer of Endo, Gil Bitton, we first discussed his interpretation of his very own quote: ”There are those times in which a simple lie can help prevent someone from being hurt.”
So, based on your quote, what was the last lie you told and why?! ”I don’t know if I can tell you the last lie, but I think that there’s a circle of simple lies – meaning comfortable lies. Something like in a relationship things could become really complex and some things you do personally sometimes have a need not to be aired. So, what telling simple lies actually entails is that everyone has their skeletons in their closets and I think it all comes down to the basis of trust. Whether you trust yourself or you don’t trust yourself with significant others that surround you. It means you’re possibly telling the person that you love a sort of a white, simple lie for them not to get hurt or broken.”
Having once suffered from severe insomnia, were there times during the night that you put it to good use and wrote lyrics and such? ”Absolutely, yeah. I think most of the times it was crucial, because the album needed to be written. So it sort of like a God-send that I was going through such a traumatic experience with these issues. I couldn’t sleep so I’d go downstairs and write and write exactly how I felt. I’d go downstairs and play guitar. I kinda needed this sort of suffering to write this record and it came out amazing, … I think!”
Quote: “I recently embraced different styles of music, from Diamanda Galas to Leonard Cohen” - In what ways though? ”I think Leonard Cohen has a very seductive, deep voice and it’s dark in a weird way. It’s dark in a ‘70s kind of way. It’s a very surreal sort of tone, like you can tell he’s been through a lot of shit in his life. His voice has got so much depth and so much bottom and it screams pain even though it’s soft. So, I think I sort of embraced his style a little bit. I wouldn’t say that he’s totally an influence on my music, but from the wide range I was trying to get inspired, get any kinda sensation from, he was just perfect.”
Are any of your own boyhood musical influences on this record? ”If you listen to the album each song has sort of it’s own influence. I mean, I was very influenced by Bowie and Peter Murphy and The Cure and Depeche Mode. I love all those bands, so it’s kind of like I’m into those types of bands and I’m trying to bring more that style into our music. So, I think those elements combined kinda comes out for me.”
Did the release of two band members and the hiring of two fresh ones at such a pivotal point in Endo’s charge for musical domination falter you in anyway? ”Actually, not really, ‘cause we were just getting off tour and five days after that we needed to go on tour with Megadeth. I called Joe five days prior and it worked out well. It was sort of like a natural process. It was shit, this guy’s an asshole, he’s f**king up, what’s next and who can we call and are they available?! It kind of just all worked out for us and it was the best thing we could ever have done.”
Where does the band’s name Endo originate? ”Endo, like endo-skeletal is a prefix for inner or within. So, we were looking for something that meant whatever was inside of us and was a reflection of ourselves and so Endo seemed like the perfect prefix.”
And what does the album title Songs For The Restless mean to you personally? ”There was definitely a restlessness writing this album. I mean for me personally and Joe also suffers from insomnia and can’t sleep for shit. So, I was going through all these personal issues and that obviously reflected on my lyrics. A lot of insomnia and a lot of anxieties.”
What helped you break from the ties of Insomnia? ”I actually got into yoga and that helped me quite a bit. I’m not doing it on the road, but I’m kinda fine right now. I’m better, put it that way.”
[Turning to Joe, who’s now silently come in to listen to the interview, I ask him how his own insomnia is these days] ”I think it’s almost the same, but maybe a little bit worse than when we first started this tour. At home there will still be no sleep, but at least you get the chance to sleep in your own bed all day! But, here it’s tough to sleep in this environment with these bunks and shit. My mind never stops,” he laughs.
There seems to be less screaming on this sophomore recording, but was that a deliberate choice? ”No, not a deliberate choice at all, actually,” Gil quickly intercedes. ”I just wanted to sing. I just wanted to evolve as the record before this dealt with a lot screaming and a lot of angst. We’ve been through so much in the past three years as far as growth, personally, spiritually and emotionally, and musically it was just a natural process.”
What is it about Endo that enables it to stand out from the pack? ”If you listen to the record I think you can tell because as far as melody and diversity go, we never stay consistent in style in one song. So, there’s so much diversity between the four of us that if you listen to each of the songs it’s almost like a different element. It’s never one consistent sound.”
The Fun Five:
1) Who would look the best dressed as a woman in the band and why?! - ”Me, because I pluck my eyebrows and I grew up with two sisters.”
2) Who is the worst to travel on tour with … and why? - ’Joe, because of his flatulence, but actually all of them. My farts don’t smell and they think I’m gay ‘cause of it,” he laughs.
3) Who was the last member of the band to throw up … and why? - ”Eli, obviously because of the Jagermeister drinks he keeps inventing,” he again laughs.
4) Who’s the freakiest member of the band … for whatever reason?! - ”Me … anything or anyone,” he now really laughs heartily.
5) What was the cheesiest ‘80s hair band that someone from the band can admit to liking way back when?! - ”Probably, the Flock of Seagulls or the Thompson Twins. I like Culture Club and all that stuff man.”
[Joe] ”Cinderella,” as now he himself laughs.
What’s the most interesting thing to know about Endo? ”Erm, before we go on stage we have this ritual where it’s just like Joe and I hug. It’s just like a lot of, you know, brotherhood-type stuff ‘cause we need that in order to have a good show.”
Finally, describe the bands music in three words! ”Explosive, seductive and intelligent.”
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
To win a Brand New copy of ENDO's new CD, Songs For The Restless just tell me which other band member mentioned in the above interview also suffers from insomnia?! Then, just send an e:mail to me with the subject title 'ENDO' and the answer in the text to:
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