Interview: Endorphins Lost

Endorphins Lost is a Powerviolence/Grind/Punk band primarily based out of Seattle, Washington. Starting back in 2010, they’ve dropped numerous albums and toured all around the world. Endorphins Lost is unique in that their music is based on pure emotion. It’s dark, extreme, uncomfortable, but ultimately honest. Their goal isn’t to create the heaviest breakdowns, but more to induce heavy emotion. I talked with multiple members of the band about their introduction to music, their philosophical lyrical content, touring, and plans for the future.

Clear Noise: What made you decide to want to write and play music in a band?

Brandon: I was 15 years old. A kid who was older than me saw me at a party. He said, “You look pissed, why don’t you try being a vocalist?” So, he put a microphone in my hand and it was extremely cathartic. It made me feel more normal. From then it was about finding the next more extreme form of expression and “chasing the high” of performing extreme music.

Kerry: I’ve played piano since I was five, and always loved it, and my best friend got a guitar when he was 12, I think. When we would hang out. we would take turns playing it and I fell in love. After I got a guitar of my own I started doing vocals too.

Sam: I guess my love for playing guitar sparked my interest in playing in bands. I was obsessed with guitar when I first started and for many years afterwards. I would practice for eight hours a day when I was in school trying to get my chops as sharp as possible.

Justin: Early on, it was all about learning songs from bands I liked, pretending to be the drummers I idolized at the time. As I became better at my instrument it evolved into wanting to create music that I thought would be rad.

CN: When did you start playing a specific instrument/vocals?

Brandon: 15 years old… so, 2003 I guess?

Kerry: My first band was when I was 15 as well. I played guitar and sang in that band. With Endorphins Lost I wanted to try just doing vocals, so I could focus all my energy on that aspect.

Sam: I started playing guitar when I was 13. I think I started playing in bands around then too.

Justin: I started playing drums at the age of fourteen. My closest friends at the time were all musically inclined so that certainly influenced my decision to try it out.

CN: Endorphins Lost is a concept band with a unique lyrical focus. Can you expand on that a little bit?

Brandon: We do songs about the general psyche and mental condition of people. Each song is purely an observation of how humans function and cope with the bitter truths of reality. Just take a look around you sometime and try to think of the big picture. The things we do are all spokes on the same wheel. We all are in the pursuit of a personal happiness and people chase that fortune in their own way. Everything that a person does is in preparation of the memories that individual wishes to leave behind. The lyrics primarily are my personal reflections of such memories. Unfortunately, for mankind and everything on this planet, happiness is a state of mind that sometimes kills.

Endorphins

CN: You guys have a lot of short songs, what’s the reasoning behind that?

Brandon: The songs don’t set out to be short. When we have a lyrical topic, the music comes next, then we determine what needs to be said/expressed and what doesn’t need to be there. I think we just cut the composition down to its primary parts and discard all the bullshit that doesn’t feel like it belongs or is necessary. Fast, high intensity music doesn’t need to be drawn out, in fact it becomes boring when a song is just riff after riff stacked on top of one another. Songs like that lose focus and ferocity in my opinion. You will notice there isn’t much flashiness going on in Endorphins Lost, we just try to do what feels and sounds like it belongs.

Kerry: I love playing short songs live. I feel like the crowd really seems to get into those.

CN: How does the writing process work for you guys? Does everyone come together and you just combine ideas?

Brandon: I live in Arizona currently. I usually write a demo and send it to the guys in Seattle, they approve the idea or not or suggest amendments in parts. From there, I teach the riffs to Sam over Skype jam sessions and he in turn teaches the song to the rest of the guys. That’s when they will add their flavor and style to the composition and record a demo on their end and send it back to me where I then learn what they have revised.

CN: What bands influence you?

Brandon: Bands that aren’t intimidated by creating their own sound. My roster of influences is dated because I don’t hear fresh sounds these days. Bands that come to mind are: Swans, The Melvins, Godflesh, Killing Joke, Capitalist Casualties, Black Sabbath, Bastard Noise, and Brainoil. These bands are authentic sounding and don’t care about fitting into a certain mold. They just do their thing and lucky for them, it caught on. However, I feel they would have continued with their sound even if they weren’t found to be popular. That is the sign of a great artist to me. Someone who makes their art for themselves first and the people second, never compromising for fame.

Kerry: For this band specifically, I came into it thinking along the lines of Insect Warfare, Warsore, and Terrorizer, but as the band evolved we started to go in a more powerviolence direction. Along those lines I always loved Sidetracked, especially getting to see them live. If we are talking musical influences in general, Bathory, Wolves In The Throne Room, Nortt, Stoupe The Enemy Of Mankind, Robyn Miller.

Sam: As far as grindcore goes, Assuck is my favorite band. I love everything about that band. Other huge influences on me have been Impaled/Exhumed, and At the Gates, which was my favorite band in high school.

Justin: Currently and in no particular order: Assück, Com Truise, Chick Corea Elektric Band, Six Brew Bantha.

endorphins 1

CN: What is your view on today’s power violence/grind/underground scene?

Brandon: I feel like there are a lot of very hard working people that don’t get enough recognition for the art they produce. It’s ironic that there are SO many bands doing this sound yet it still is very obscure. I guess that means it probably never will be mainstream which in my opinion is a good thing. It needs to stay underground and it needs to stay DIY, otherwise, it is doomed to be neutered. It’s a type of art for people who are in times of hardship and times of struggle — mentally and emotionally. Hardship can generate some of the most creative and beautiful art. An unfortunate, yet necessary, byproduct of the short comings in life I’d say. This kind of music is meant to stoke a fire inside, and if it was ever commodified, I think it would lose all of its power. So, I feel like this type of music is right where it should be. Because of the underground music scene, we have essentially been able to travel the world, to meet wonderful people, and feel an inspiration to keep on living. So I, for one, can say that hardcore saved my life! Haha.

Kerry: To be honest, I love to see new faces at shows. I love seeing people that perhaps wouldn’t normally listen to this kind of music get into it. For example, at one show we played last tour there was a 70-year-old Vietnam vet that listened to our whole set and said it made it feel like he was “back in combat.” To me that is what music is all about, creating that emotional response. I wish people wouldn’t limit themselves. I wish people would go see a show for a genre they have never heard of before and just give in to the emotions that the music evokes within them. But I absolutely agree with Brandon, that I would never want to see this turned into a commodity.

Justin: I think that it’s a great time to be a fan of these genres. There are a ton of awesome active bands doing cool shit right now.

CN: How do you feel about touring? What parts do you enjoy and what parts do you hate?

Brandon: We love touring! The only real downside is when the van breaks down. It can be stressful but we always seem to find a way to keep on. I guess the other downside is trying to come back from tour and try to make some magic happen to keep the lights on! There won’t be any quitting our day jobs any time soon unfortunately.

Kerry: My goal in life is to tour forever. It’s likely not possible for me, but is still my goal. I absolutely love it.

Sam: I love touring! The good has always outweighed the bad for me.

Justin: Love it! Seeing the rest of the world on the coattails of my musical endeavors is rad. It can be boring at times during the time traveling between locations but as long as you have a way to occupy yourself it’s fine.

CN: What are your future plans/upcoming tours?

Brandon: Well, we have a tour booked this March that will be a western U.S. tour. We have plans to get back in the studio and record our 2nd LP “SECLUSIONS” this spring at Earhammer studio in Oakland CA. After that I think we are talking about touring the East Coast then on to Europe.

Endorphins Lost can be found on Bandcamp, Facebook, Youtube, etc.

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