Endzweck | Interview
Music Video Premiere
BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS
ALBUM: Tender is the Night
It is with huge honor that we bring to you an interview with a remarkable Japanese hardcore band called Endzweck. The band started in 1997 and has been incredibly active this entire time. This may seem as quite a surprise for most of us who have been fans of this band who live outside of Japan because when this new album suddenly came on our radar, we really had no idea what Endzweck had been up to or, even frankly, if they were still around.
But Takashi, vocalist of Endzweck, sits down to answer some questions about their new album entitled Tender is the Night and fills us in on what Endzweck has been up to.
Holy shit! Its been a LONG time since we last talked! A lot of people outside of Japan probably dont know what you guys have been up to these past few years! Please tell us about whats going on in the world of Endzweck.
Hello Riz! Long time no see. This is Takashi singer of Endzweck answering. Well, recently we haven’t toured outside of Japan. Our last overseas tour was to Malaysia in 2009 I think. There are various reasons we don’t really tour. I started attending GS and spent years to graduate. Yoshi (bass player) got married and has had children. Hiro (guitar player) started his awesome vegan/vegetarian restaurant here in Tokyo. And there are a few other reasons. But this whole time Endzweck has constantly been playing in Japan. We have put out three series of 7 inches over the period of 2012 to 2014.
But you are right, a lot of overseas friends ask us Hey has Endzweck stopped? Hell NO. We are enjoying playing music and we have finally finished writing a brand new album.
Please tell us about the title and artwork for the new album. What does the album title mean and what is the story behind the artwork?
The title is Tender Is the Night. That is taken from the title of a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Most of our titles are taken from American novels of the Lost Generation-era. We seem to have quite a deep connection to the ideas and thoughts of those authors because our own generation is often categorised as the “Lost Generation of Japan“.
About the artwork…
It is created by Yusuke Okada (a.k.a Demiflare168). He is the same age as us and one of our good friends from the late 90’s. You may have heard of the band State Craft – one of the most legendary Japanese hardcore bands. He was part of that crew.
After they broke up he left the hardcore scene. But some years later I met him at the company I work for. He became a designer for web applications and graphics and has actually designed a lot of album covers. Most notably he designed covers for Mono and Envy. He also does a bunch of shirt designs. I’ve always liked what he designed so I asked him to design our cover. I just know he is a credible person and a great guy. So he made this awesome piece of artwork for us using his authentic and progressive style.
What are some of the songs about on this album?
The songs are written to inspire will, I mean the will to act. You may remember the devastating earthquake, tsunami, meltdown of a nuclear plant that struck Japan in early 2011. We were forced to realize that we can’t always depend on someone to make the right decision. I personally think of Japanese nature as kind, polite and gentle. But at the same time, this type of personality has a flaw – we can be very indecisive. Japan is known as an amazingly safe place where women can go out late at night to purchase something at a 24 hour convenience store. However, those tragedies of 2011 suddenly made us incredibly insecure of our surroundings. Since then we’ve really begun to re-look and be more conscious of politics and try to figure out where Japan is heading. Of course, there are so many opinions about this even amongst the members of Endzweck. All I can say is that we are very clear about the current situation and that we need to think twice about who is leading us and who should be deciding for us.
Who is releasing the album and when is it coming out?
The CD is being released by a label called Cosmicnote on Dec. 9th 2015. Cosmicnote is actually run by Uchu who play drums in Endzweck. If anybody want to distribute the CD in your area, please contact Cosmicnote via Facebook, twitter and/or e-mail. If you want record on vinyl, you have to be patient and wait for Vitiriol Records to finish printing them.
Can you tell us the recording, mixing, mastering process for this album? Did you record it all in Japan or did you guys do any of the production outside of Japan? Where and why did you choose them?
We recorded it in Japan and then all the mixing and mastering was done in the US. All the basic tracks were done here at Attic Studio (http://www.atticstudio.jp) by Daihei. In my opinion he is one of the best punk engineers in Japan. He did great job on every song throughout the process.
Mixing was done at The Atomic Garden Recording Studio (http://theatomicgarden.com/) in the US by Jack who was once the guitar player of an American punk band called Comadre. We have toured together both in Japan and the US a few years ago. Jack is one of my best friends from outside of Japan. He is also known for his stunning work on records by Deafheaven, Loma Prieta and Train Wreck, etc. We love his work.
Mastering was done at Audiosiege Mastering (http://www.audiosiege.com). The engineer Brad is a guitarist of From Ashes Rise. FAR is my favorite band. He does a lot of mastering for bands like Defeater, Code Orange, Full Of Hell, Nails, Xibalba and Modern Life Is War etc.
All of these guys did such a great job…I can’t thank them enough.
How are you guys going to celebrate the release of this album?
After not really doing much, we have finally set out a plan for touring overseas. US, Europe and Asia along with a Japanese tour. We are still working on the details! I hope a lot of you readers will come out and enjoy!
Endzweck has always been a very emotional hardcore band. What is the current state of Japanese hardcore?
I may not be the proper person to talk about the current state of Japanese music scene because not only is it so huge, but I am also too close to the scene to be able to view it with an outsider’s perspective. I know a lot of youngsters are gettting involved through the NYHC style of hardcore. But there is a huge variety of scenes in Japan especially in Tokyo. I know Endzweck is labeled a”hardcore band”, but I don’t think we should be pinned down so easily. I’d be more honest and say Endzweck is a bit strange and peculiar in the scene. We may be somewhere between the mainstream and the underground, this scene and that scene. But I can definitely say that the Japanese metalcore scene is becoming huge and attracting a growing audience. My friends in Crystal Lake and Her Name In Blood etc., are getting bigger. Im so happy about that.
What are some Japanese hardcore bands that you suggest we check out?
Do you know Envy? Envy will always be my favorite hardcore band but they are labeled post rock here. Numb and Loyal To The Grave are both some of the biggest hardcore bands in Japan. Super Structure, Friendship and VVorld, all of these guys are great bands in the vein of sludge or grind core. Nervous Light Of Sunday, Noy and For Life are our label mates. Cosmicnote, our drummer’s label that I talked about above, has a lot of Japanese punk/hardcore/emo/rock bands on his roster that span over the last 10 years. The biggest Japanese punk label Pizza Of Death is releasing Sand’s new album. These guys have a very brutal beatdown style. It’s interesting to see melodic hardcore fans love them. Also Doggy Hood$ is another beatdown style band. They are funny party guys! Blind Side, Deliverance and Otus are getting bigger in the hardcore scene. They are metal-tinged hardcore which reminds me of the 90’s new school sound. Blind Side has a release on my own label called Militia Inc.
Hmmm…there are too many bands to recommend.
You should check out Palm, Believe and Creepout. I’m running a Podcast called “Tokyo Unlearned” in Japanese with the guitarist of “Kowloon Ghost Syndicate”. If you want more Japanese hardcore information, please check http://tokyo.unlearned.fm
On this new release I can’t believe I can say that Endzweck has gone in the direction of being even MORE emotional! Was this a conscious decision to make the music and album sound like this? How do you guys approach song writing?
Most of the songs were written by both our guitar players. They especially like 90’s emo, hardcore and old Endzweck songs. To write the songs for this session, we went back to how we started out. When it came to actually composing, we would use software to get rough tracks down and then we arranged through rehearsals.
You guys have been around for such a long time, what has kept you guys going for so long?
Endzweck has been for 18 years! Crazy, it’s been a long time. I think Endzweck might not be the best musicians. There are so many better albums, better songs, better acts. But who cares! That’s not our goal. Our goal is make ourselves happy as a collective playing music and also fulfill our lives. We are doing this for fun, and we are alright, we will do what we can even if it’s slow. I feel we are still growing up. We are good friends, we care for each other. That’s something super precious for all of us.
To purchase the new Endzweck record or ANY of their music:
Don’t forget these guys are up on bandcamp as well: