Even though this site is primarily focused around Rochester and the music that emanates from it, every once in a while we find an out of town band that deserves some attention. The End Men, from Brooklyn NY, just happens to be one of those bands. They have an experimental blues rock sound that can’t be put into words, so i suggest you go see them at the Lovin Cup on October 12th with The Moho Collective and Josh Netsky. We met up with them to talk about touring internationally, becoming known as a band, and finding what happened when you drunkenly become part of a show.
We were kicking around some ideas and did some jamming with a few different people for a while, but the real genesis moment came from a night out drinking with some friends. At some point we were offered a slot on a show that was coming up and I guess we were just tanked enough to say yes. The next day we had like, drinkers’ remorse and had to face the fact that we had no songs, and no band! We called up an old friend to play some guitar and harmonica for us and then got the guy who offered us the gig to play bass since he was playing with his band already. We worked up five tunes and a Marilyn Manson cover song for the first gig (ha!).
The show got a really solid response though for a debut and we ended up doing one more gig and then Liv and I left the country for a month. When we got back we dove straight into recording the EP actually. No shows, just the recording. We kind of pushed our progress that way because we didn’t see a point in gigging around with nothing to hand the people. It is easy for them to say, “Oh you guys are awesome, I love your band!” and then wake up sober and not even remember your name. So we were like, “Oh you love us? Take a CD and remember us tomorrow!”
Then about a year ago now, Jason Godbey (the guitar and harmonica dude) left his full time commitment in the band to go and do a video production project and we decided to continue on as a duo. By the nature of that the songs evolved to be a bit more driving and rocking, and that also played really well with crowds, so since then we have just ran with that and it seems to be working so far. We are having fun at least!
Do you guys have a tour coming up?
We are going to hit the road in the US in March of 2013 for a lot of shows, but leading up to that we are doing a lot of these, what we call, weekend runs. Basically we are just finding three day weekend trips out of town to run off and play. It’s great really because you get to do a weekend trip that also involves rocking out. So Rochester/Hornell, Albany/Saratoga area, I think we are doing one in Feb. that is Pittsburgh/Cleveland! But it is a good way as a growing band, because we have jobs you know, necessary evil, but are also able to do these runs out of town and spread the rock around. I think people have this imagined idea of NYC being a musical mecca, but really what it is, is that there are just a lot of bands and a lot of venues here. Not really a scene, just a, musical mud puddle. It is hard to get anything clear out of it. So we get out of town and play these great shows and meet these great bands, and often they want to book with us in NYC and we always just want to book with them outside the city!
Excited for the European tour?
Yeah, this will be our second Euro Tour, and I think we just want to keep going! Europe is an awesome place and a really different vibe to playing shows. Again, for us it is just a vacation that has music in it for us! This time we are going to try and hit it in July when a lot of summer festivals are going on. The festival scene is really something I would like to see us get our feet into. Here in the US as well. I love that kind of atmosphere and it just puts you in touch with so many other bands and so many new people each time.
There is also this weird sort of “instant street cred” thing that happens in Europe being from the US. They still look to this market for rock and roll a lot I think, so when you are a band from America, they want to see what’s up. Kind of like being from NYC and going around the US, people have been told that that is “the thing” I guess, so before they even know you, they are interested. Of course we do all we can to not disappoint!
Have you ever played in Rochester before?
We have not, this will be our first time there. We are pumped about it though. We have played a lot in the Capital Region and we’ve been to Utica many times and all of the trips Upstate are just awesome. We love the people and they are always really cool and respectful of the music. And again there is that sort of NYC stigma that comes with you, which is cool, even if I don’t fully understand it. We have already been approached by some folks about another show up there, and we are pushing to get it if we can. Again, it is just great that we can do these runs out of town. It’s like going to play in the backyard, only all your friends are there and it just happens to be awesome.
What do you think of the Rochester music scene?
Everything we know about the scene is second hand or from festivals where we have met bands, but it seems that Rochester really loves its bands and its scene. We know The Moho Collective of course and from day one we have loved their music. Meeting them and becoming friends has been great and we look forward to keeping that relationship up for sure. I think we have like 6 or 7 shows planned with those guys now, which is not something you get out of your typical NYC band. So we are thrilled to be connecting with other hard working bands with that kind of attitude. A lot of the NYC scene is style and just ‘being seen’ maybe, but I don’t know how many of them are like, “Ok we have to do this and this and this…” there is a lot of disorganization maybe? I guess for us, we don’t see it as a choice or a hobby, it is what we want and kind of a job that we take on happily. And it is great that a town like Rochester can have great bands, that are working for it, and also have just a super supportive home base. We can’t wait to come check it out.
Do you think it is hard for bands to go from locally know to internationally known?
Hahaha, no! It’s crazy easy. All you got to do is get one of your friends to move abroad, and then boom, you are internationally known! All joking aside, I personally think it is hard to become locally known. There are so many bands in NYC, nobody knows who anyone else is. I know like the handful of bands that we gig with, and outside that it is a big grey area. With Liv being from Milan, that was our inroad to Europe. We were going over anyway and said, “Hey it’d be cool to do a show.” Then with her friends that show because more and more, and then we said, “Well we should go see your cousin in Belgium and our friends in Amsterdam.” and the next you know, it was a tour! But really what it was was playing with our friends and for our friends. We’ve given up on making fans, ha! We just go places now and make lots of friends who also maybe like the music.
How is the full length progressing?
Slowly! We are working on it whenever we can, but between jobs to pay the bills and all the gigs we do it is tough to find the time we need. With the EP it was very much the vibe of just capturing those songs and getting them on the record for people to take home. With this record, we are doing a lot of composing and sculpting, and that takes time. Plus we don’t have a label paying for things, or a studio that is running the clock, so maybe that lack of ‘pressure’ also makes it easier to say, “Well, let’s go play this gig and that gig.” instead of really focusing in and pushing to get it done. We have the itch for sure and the songs are ready and the new ones are coming, so it is time for sure. In the end though we don’t want to push out a bad record just to be done, so when we get our little bits of time and motivation we put something down, and everything that goes down sounds good, so when all the pieces are in it is going to be great. It is kind of like hand painting puzzle pieces one at a time and putting it together in the end. That is to say when it is done, it will be this great, crafted thing, it is just going to take us some time.
The End Men with be playing at the Lovin Cup October 12th with The Moho Collective and Josh Netsky, Check them out!