Vocalist Sean Murphy of the Mediaskare Records hardcore/metal act Endwell recently took some time out of his busy schedule to speak with us about the band and their new release, Punishment. Since 2003 the N.Y.C. based band has been cranking out heavy, aggressive and relevant music and Punishment follows in those traditions. Here’s what Murphy had to say.
Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?
Sean: We don’t really have a set structure to our songwriting process. For Punishment it’s hard to say because there are riffs from 5 years ago on the record, but for the most part Danny and I would get together in the studio and jam out on riffs and parts. We would string them together and mess around with different drum parts and arrange them with the rest of the band. Then we would usually program drums and do scratch tracks to give everyone to listen to and get familiar with.
What is the story behind the name of the band?
Sean: Endwell is a town near where Danny went to college, which was around the time the band was looking for a name and there it is… nothing too crazy. I think the band makes the name in any case.
Now that your brand new EP, Punishment, is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Sean: Yeah completely. We put a lot of time and hard work into the album. We were lucky enough to get Steve Evetts who has worked with some of our favorite bands to mix it. I mean the dude’s done everything. Turmoil, Hatebreed, Glassjaw, Poison The Well, Every Time I Die, Snapcase, Earth Crisis, Dillinger Escape Plan… do I have to keep going? Also the master himself, Alan Douches, put the finishing touch on it. Musically were very confident in the album impressing people. We feel as though were doing something different. We also went with as much of a natural sound as we could. The drums are not triggered, sound replaced or programmed. They are all natural and we feel as though that helps set us apart in the age of digital over production, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just not for us right now.
What is it that gives you inspiration when writing and is there a theme running through Punishment?
Sean: We draw inspiration from all over the place, but we’re all just huge music nerds at heart. So as we listen to new music and get exposed to new bands and genres it just makes us want to delve deeper into our creative bank. We don’t like to confine ourselves to one genre. Theme-wise I guess Punishment is a loosely based concept record. We’ve been grinding for a while with little recognition; we’ve fucked up and lost tours and members because of bad choices so this is the culmination of that. Kind of confessing your sins to be cleansed… only it has nothing to do with that shit. I feel as though this is our clean slate.
Are there any tracks on the record that are personal favorites or that have good stories behind them?
Sean Yeah that’s a hard one. I really love “Greater Haste.” It starts right where “Consequences” left off and the opening lines had been in my head for years. “Laments,” “Plague Wielders,” “Forgotten Wolves,” “Black Horns,” “Fractal Gloom,” pretty much all of them; I love how they aren’t what you would typically find on an Endwell record… they are signs of progression and we plan to keep moving forward.
I find it a shame that a band like Endwell still hasn’t find the recognition it deserves. Do you think Punishment has the ability to change that?
Sean: I really think that this is our most well put together, cohesive record to date. For the first time in years we’ve found our sound. I feel that we have a better chance now to get that recognition more than ever before… but well still be here making weirder, music.
What kind of touring plans do you have in support of the record?
Sean: We head out on an east coast run in May with Shai Hulud, Foundation and Lions Lions then an Eastern Canadian run again with Shai, Naysayer and My Turn to Win. Then well be heading out west on a full US with This Is Hell for the better part of the summer (July-Aug) hopefully Europe again soon and then we’ll see where it takes us.
What artists would fans be surprised to find on your iPod?
Sean: On my iPod? I don’t know probably a lot of stuff they’ve never heard of. Frank Zappa, Jogger, Moëvöt, Chelsea Wolfe, Nine Inch Nails, Type O Negative, Orlog, Enuff ‘Z’ Nuff, Cold Cave, Cryptopsy, Urgehal, Leviathan, King Crimson, M83, Mahavishnu Orquestra, Nerve City, Primus, Wild Eyes, White Horse, Plum Nelly, La Roux.
Tell me about a book or two that you’ve read that you think other people should read?
Sean:That would have to be RuPaul “Lettin It All Hang Out” but I think it’s out of print so you can borrow my copy.
If you had not become a musician what other career path would you have liked to attempt?
Sean: Wait this is my career? It’s hard to say. I always wanted to be a journalist when I was younger. Maybe going to school to learn music theory and expanding my ability to play different instruments. Honestly it would need to be something in which I create. I want to write a book someday.
What three words best describe your band?
Sean: Different, Inspired and Dark.
If you were a superhero, who would it be and why?
Sean: That’s a tough one; I’m not really into comics that much so I only know the basic superheroes. I think Superman’s got it down. He’s faster than a bullet, can fly through space, invincible and let’s face it, when was the last time you saw kryptonite hanging around? Superman definitely.