It’s rather seldom, that a release musically based in the wide andintricate field of rhythmically Powernoise/Industrial can reach applausefrom all related as well as different electronic music genres. Theofficial full-length debut of the US one man act Endif “Meta” out onCA-based Crunch Pod Media label surely falls into this and can be calleda genre-overlapping release by mixing Powernoise with Electro/EBM, IDMand Electronica. Remarkable textures and well included details arepushing this release to the forefront of harsh and rhythmicPowernoise/Industrial music. So here we offer an introducing interviewwith mastermind Jason Hollis…
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Jason, I think you’re active with Endif since severalyears. Would you like to tell us a bit about the past, about how, whenand why you’ve built up Endif?
Endif: I’ve been mutilating sound since ’92, under such names asWinterlong and Epilogue, as more of an obsessed hobbyist. I finallychose Endif in ’00 when I decided to get serious about building theproject into something more than just me endlessly tweaking with mymachines in my basement.
Chain D.L.K.: You’re also an active member of the Thirdwave Collective,which still seems to be around. How is it with this collective, has itstill influence on your work? What has your membership brought and meantto you?
Endif: Thirdwave Collective started as a cluster of hard electronicmusicians in Chicago that decided to work together in order to get andplay gigs and scratch out a presence, and evolved from there into aninternational effort from over a hundred artists. I was one of thefounders, and eventually took over most of the, err, “leadership roles”for a few years, spearheading projects such as V/A compilation CDs,stickers, etc. I still admin the content for the site, but no longerhave the energy or time to put into, well, cheerleading and babysitting.The site is still up, and news/events are still posted, but for the mostpart the organization itself is dormant. Maybe that’ll change, maybe not.
Chain D.L.K.: It took some time until you got picked up by Crunch PodMedia, your current label. What are the reasons that it needed almost 3years to bring out your debut? Why the decision to go under the wings ofBen Arp’s fine label?
Endif: What took so long was me being a neurotic perfectionist controlfreak, endlessly tweaking and refining and mutating before I deemed acollection of tracks worthy of shopping to labels as an album. Once thatcoalesced I footprinted the many excellent labels out there anddetermined that Crunch Pod was the best place to start. And that’s whereit ended – no other demos went out. The actual process of getting the CDout on Crunch Pod was entirely painless, swift, efficient, and I gotexactly the deal I had hoped for. Crunch Pod is a happy little family oflike minded hard electronic artists that are not only dripping withtalent, but who genuinely “get it”. It’s what Thirdwave should havebeen, in retrospect. Go figure.
Chain D.L.K.: Some words to your collaborative release “Meld” withCaustic aka Matt Fanale. Tell us a bit about your relation to him andthe idea behind this release.
Endif: Matt is a total mench. He works his ass off DJing, promotingshows, and making Caustic, as well as helping out his friends any way hecan. Matt, Josef Ferraro of CTRLSHFT and I all sat down together in aTaco Johns shortly after I moved to Madison and committed to help eachother out in any way we could. Sort of a mini-Thirdwave all over again:cooperate, crosspimp, live support, etc. “Meld” was a way for us to keepthe buzz going while we put together our initial full length releases,to have something to sell at the Los Angeles Industrial Festival andother upcoming gigs, and as a way to scrape some money together toenable us to play some California shows. We each put on four songs, plusone remix of each other, plus one remix of each of us by CTRLSHFT. Threehundred hand assembled signed and numbered units, professionally dupedscreen printed CDR’s. I think there’s still maybe ten copies leftbetween us, the rest are sold.
Chain D.L.K.: Collaborations with other artists seem to mean a lot foryou. Also on “Meta” can be heard some mutual works with people like J.Conley of Saemskin, M. Rigdon of Polluted Axis and Siren313 of Apraxia.Why these collaborations and how does this work technically?
Endif: In each of those instances the artists credited contributed asound or two to the tracks in question save for Siren313, who wrote thelyrics and sung the vox for the existing Endif track “Totenplatz” afterI played it for him one evening. I feel very strongly about creditingpeople for their work, as well as cross-pimping good artists, so nomatter how small, everyone gets credit if their bit gets used. There area few true collaborations that haven’t seen the light of day yet thatwill likely find their way onto the next CD, which is about halfway doneright now.
Chain D.L.K.: Related to releases of some colleagues I appreciate thedetails and textures and you obviously try to build upsomething different on “Meta” compared to the usual rhythmicallyPowernoise formula. I guess it takes a lot of time by starting fromscratch up to the final mastered track. Please give us some insight intoyour composition process…
Endif: I approach music primarily from a sound design/experimentalparadigm. The actual process involves freeform experiments that arerecorded and stored, then edited, sometimes years later, to extractuseable sounds and riffs. These components are then assembled as samplerinstances in a sequencing program. Sort of a“mulch/edit/assemble/refine” process. There’s a constant re-combinantexperimental process stretching back 15 years that I both add to anddraw from, like sort of a sonic genepool. Any given coherent songusually starts with a single hunk of sound. I let that “tell” me how itneeds to be used. Rhythms or tonal elements accrete from there, and bythat point the track has “legs” and pretty much builds itself. Not verytraditional, and the output is frequently genre-irrelevant, buttradition and genre are both highly overrated in my opinion.
Chain D.L.K.: How is it with the technical side of your music? In timesof a growing evolution of computer-based software-synths, which kind doyou prefer, the hard- or the software-based solution?
Endif: I used to be all hardware based, then shifted to mostly softwarebased. Over the last few years, and especially with the explosion ofbooking for live performances, there has been an integration of the two.Much of the base level experimentation happens in both realms, all theediting and assembly happens in software, and for live shows all of thathas to be completely reconfigured back into hardware. Its a lot of work,but I live for it, so it’s very much a labor of love.
Chain D.L.K.: You’re doing live performances. Please give us some infoof your live show for all of us who haven’t had the chance to see youacting on stage…
Endif: Given that this project is very much based around a “studio asinstrument” gestalt, a conversion process must happen between writing afinished song and playing it live. Songs are rendered out as .wav filesand chopped back down by hand to individual loops and sounds, which arethen loaded into a maxed out rackmounted Emu e6400 sampler (often runthrough an Electrix MoFX) and then triggered/played by means of an KorgKontrol49, a Roland SPD11 drum pad, and a Moebius sequencer via anM-Audio MIDI merger, plus I play live analogue drums from aneighties-vintage Simmons SDSV. For shows I can drive to, I’lloccasionally add a Moog Taurus II or Chroma Polaris or mutant reel toreel and effects rig for that nerdy live tweakage factor. The wholething is submixed through the same Firepod I use to record audio intothe computer in the first place. This simple hardware based platformenables a ridiculous amount of tweaking over a solid substrate of selfgenerated sound – without the benefit of a laptop. Total control. Veryquasi-neo-retro. Or something. Why go through so much trouble and lug somuch gear around on top of it? Because frankly, however amazing themusic may be, laptop-only shows are both boring to watch and technicallylazy, and I have this crazy notion that when someone comes out to see aperformance they should get one instead of the disappointment ofwatching someone scowl at their powerbook and chain-smoke for 40minutes. But maybe that’s just me. And everyone I’ve ever talked to.
Chain D.L.K.: What else do you expect from the future, musically and foryour private life? Any new releases in the works which you can alreadyconfirm here?
Endif: I’ll keep making music: it’s what I do. Hardwired in. And peopleseem to enjoy it, so I’ll keep releasing it and playing out. As Imentioned before, I’m halfway done with my next CD at the moment. I’mplanning on adding midi controlled live video, with clips assigned to agiven sound and played simultaneously, to the live show. This of coursewill require a laptop and a projector. I also want to add some unusualcontrollers, and a modular synth. So that’s exciting. To me anyway, butthen I’m a nerd like that. =]
Chain D.L.K.: Your final words to our readers to conclude this interview?
Endif: Pay attention. Live. You could be dead tomorrow.
Visit Endif on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Tommy T. Rapisardi]