What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I think it’s always been, on some level, about music’s ability to give shape to the shapeless. Music offers a cathartic doorway into certain emotions that simple language rarely offers. When you hit that moment in creating a song where you finally say what you’ve been trying to say, it’s intoxicating.
As far as the current incarnation of the band, it’s really come full circle. When I started Endless Forms and recorded my debut album Lazarus, it was just me, and I produced and recorded every single instrument. From there, I found other musicians who could support the vision of Endless Forms, but as they’ve come and gone, I’ve realized that Endless Forms was always fundamentally my project, and that it’s not narcissistic or self-serving for me to take full responsibility for it. I love collaborating and I love having a big supporting band, but I also don’t want to wait for someone else before I pursue my vision. I wrote and recorded this new record mostly by myself, and my longtime friend Joe Moore played drums on it.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
“Giving Myself to the Glue” is a song about acceptance. I was reading a lot of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke when I wrote this song, and I was particularly captivated by his line that says, “Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror, just keep going, no feeling is final.” This song is a kind of meditation on what it means to let everything happen to you, and about the fear of making real decisions, and the fear of truly belonging to another person, and then reaching this point of willingness where you say, “Okay, I’m afraid, but I’m giving myself to this.”
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Musically, I will always be in some debt to early 2000’s indie rock, like early Arcade Fire and Sigur Rós, which were my favorite bands as a teenager, but I also have a really special place in my heart for really earthy, spacious, ethereal music like Brian Eno’s ambient catalogue, Aphex Twin, and shoegaze like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. Non-musically, I read a lot of poetry—I studied English Literature and Philosophy in college and still love it. I love T. S. Eliot and Rilke. Every Endless Forms album so far has some references to T. S. Eliot—the title of our last album If There Were Water is taken from his poem The Waste Land.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I suppose the immediate answer would be “indie rock,” but that term has been so exploded that it could mean anything now. Most of my songs exist on some tightrope between indie rock and ambient—many of the songs on this new album, More Than Candy, started as ambient demos that I tried to turn into pop music. The results felt really new and difficult to define, which I thought was a really good thing. Endless Forms has always been very spatially-driven in the sense that I want the songs to spread out like landscapes. I want to take the listeners to a location in their own mind. Once you get in there, you realize it’s bigger than you thought.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
For albums, I’ll say The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, Takk… by Sigur Rós, and High Violet by The National
Movies: The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick, Birdman by Alejandro González Iñárritu, and 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick.
Books: probably Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot, Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger, and Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, to mix it up.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Apart from obviously both being about music, they honestly couldn’t be more different to me. A studio album can take years to produce, between songwriting, recording, mixing, and mastering, there are so many elements to make perfect, and one person can play ten instruments, and then it lasts forever. But live performances happen one time in one space, only while you’re playing, and then it’s over. So the studio has this insanely long creative arc, and live performance is very short. I honestly love both, and think both modes of creating are really important. I think the studio is more creatively challenging, with a greater creative reward. Playing live is probably harder physical work with lugging gear and the physical exhaustion from performing, but it’s insanely fun while it’s happening.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
It’s honestly been a wild ride. The very first Endless Forms show ever was actually the album release party of my debut album Lazarus. I had recorded the entire album before even having a band or playing a single show, and then I courted a bunch of my friends to play with me, including a guy from Craigslist I had never met. We rehearsed the entire album in about two weeks’ time. I was so nervous that no one would come, but somehow, the show sold out. It wasn’t a huge venue, but I couldn’t believe it. When you are starting out you have such a “if you build it, they will come” attitude, and somehow it actually worked that time.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
On the new album there’s a few in the running. “Pull Me Out of the White” definitely has the most unique dynamic structure, because it’s explosive whereas most of my songs are a slow build, but “Giving Myself to the Glue” is also up there. When I was recording that song I was repeatedly struck by how I had no idea what kind of music it was, in terms of genre. It felt like I was making a song I had legitimately never heard before, and that felt really good.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
At any given moment I’m sitting on a few weird demos that might become future Endless Forms songs. During self-isolation from COVID-19, I’ve been engaging in a lot of musical play, trying to turn pop songs into ambient songs and ambient songs into pop songs, trying to find new things that a guitar can do. But for now I am just trying to celebrate the release of More Than Candy. It’s important for me to have a big exhale after creating an album.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Well, when I’m not working on Endless Forms, I absolutely love to cook. Cooking, like live performance, is this creative expression that has a really short creative arc. Even you make a really involved meal, it won’t take more than a couple of hours, which seems like a blip when you’re in the middle of writing and recording an entire album. It’s also fun in a simple way—you eat it. It’s art for the body. And the stakes for failure are so low—the meal is over in minutes. I also really love running. I got really into marathon running last year, I suppose because the goal is so incredibly linear. If you just keep going, you will reach the finish line. So few things in life are so easy in that sense. Humans are full of complex goals. We aren’t sure what we want. And with a career in music there is no hard-and-fast way to achieve career success. Running is different—you just keep going and you get there. There’s also something cheesy in running for me about a warrior-poet relationship with the body, and how running long distances is also a form of art. Even though it’s cliché, there’s something beautiful about it to me.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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