German metallers End Of Green have been a persistent provocateur for the imagination and emotions through their impossibly anthemic sound and equally compelling releases. This has never been more potent than with their new album The Painstream, a release through Napalm Records which takes the band’s fusion of heavy and gothic rock with doom and alternative metal tendencies to stronger contagious imagination. It has a familiarity which plays like an old friend but equally uses that recognition to create a charm and virulent persuasion unique to the Stuttgart and Göppingen hailing quintet. Seizing greedily on the chance to find put more about the band, we talked about the album, pain and passion, melancholy and much more with guitarist Sad Sir .
Hi and thank you for taking time out to talk with us.
As a scene setter to readers new to End Of Green can you give us some background to the band and its beginnings?
We’re five guys from Stuttgart, Germany. We’re loud, intense and occasionally pretty dark. And we’re around since a veeeerry long time. A couple of weeks ago I’ve seen that Frank Turner writes on his setlist “show #1245″. I don’t know how many we played, we simply forgot to count.
Obviously the band’s sound has evolved over the years but has the intent and passion for forming the band has changed or evolved also?
We probably had some updates done over the past couple of years – that’s a natural thing. But one thing has always remained: End Of Green was formed being a loud and intense band. That passion is still our motor for almost anything we do. Things we learned: we don’t booze as much as we used to. I guess eight years ago we were some catastrophe on wheels (laughs) – still playing well, but constantly harming ourselves.
How do you see the difference in your music as found on your excellent new album The Painstream and your first recordings?
Actually, I have never thought about that at all. (laughs). Obviously I think it’s a good sign, that each album we did is different, but still “End Of Green”. We did all those records, there’s no need in doing it again. I guess nowadays we’re a bit more focussed, more “in your face” and a little more cynical with the lyrics. But I still get the kicks playing “Left My Way” or “Away”.
The band name is intriguing, sparking undefined ideas; please tell us its origins and meaning.
In the German language “green” symbolizes “hope”. And we basically set our homes at the end of that scale. Then again: it means, there is still some hope left (laughs). We might also have taken some huge slaps of inspiration by a great Irish rock band.
As we said The Painstream has just been released, your eighth full length release; what explorations does the album take which is new or distinct to the release from your previous albums?
I think we’ve been growing, especially in terms of not giving too many fucks about what other people think we should do or sound like. We’re starting to become one of these grumpy, old and stubborn men. I like that (laughs). I guess a couple of years ago we would not have done songs like “De(ad)generation” or “Death Of The Weakender”. We know our roots, we know our hearts and we’re feeling confident about that. We’ve always been in it for the songs – that’s about it. It’s not our duty to advertise some sort of lifestyle.
The release and your songwriting as since the beginning is drenched in the darkest shadows with varied hues of pain and passion, two guarantees of life which are never far apart, fuelling their explorations and cores. There is a feeling that this is a reflection of your personal experiences and emotive characters, how close are the music and lyrical narratives to all your day to day lives?
Sometimes too close (laughs). It’s not that we are some mobile suicide command or constant moaners – au contraire: we’re pretty fun guys to hang out with. But most of our music is rooted in those moments when you’re alone, alienated, pissed off, really angry or simply sad. That’s when we write down lyrics, that’s when we pick up our instruments and write a song that makes you forget what mood you’re in. We write songs about the stuff that moves us. Some days ago I had an interesting conversation about, why we’re not writing political songs; and I honestly think we’re very political. We write songs about that time of the day when crisis finally hits the coffee mug off your table.
Is this melancholic darkness to your imagination and invention musically predetermined or always an organic emergence from your inspirations and thoughts?
I think melancholy is a good feeling – i just can’t go with sensitivities like “My girlfriend left me and my friends don’t love me. Save the Whales” (laughs). What happens in our songs is most of the times very organic – one thing leads to another. There’s some melancholic melody that picks you up where you are and words or thoughts pour out instantly. But I guess we could never go like “Come on folks, let’s write and intense dark song about all the bad shit in the world.” That’s not us. Sometimes I even think we’re somehow funny.
Across The Painstream there is a light, a hope spawned certainly by some of the melodic imagination you infuse into your songs. You are people who accept the darker tones of life; take the offensive before it but one senses also looks for that glimpse and warmth of happiness in all shadowed corners?
Definitely! There’s nothing wrong with being happy, even when it sometimes seems like there’s nothing scheduled like that in the near future. I guess it’s always a good choice to be aware of darkness and the good life at the same time. We basically do this in our songs as well. There is always at least some glimpse of hope there, though this might sound like a one liner from a Chinese cookie. I think it’s true. Or maybe i just want this to be true. Thinking about it: this might be the essence of melancholy.
Do your preferences in other art forms, art, film etc. also find a stronger companion with the darker hued explorations than lighter themes and joyful scenarios?
I personally like them all. I enjoy a good laugh as much as I go for some deep Arthaus stuff. For instance watching “Dexter” tells me as much about life, as “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or slapstick like “Hangover”. What I find more important is that there are drops of real life in any form of art – something to connect with. That includes a good laugh and total darkness as well – and everything in between.
As the album shows once again your music is layered and textured with an array of flavours and styles, what would you say are or have been the biggest musical inspirations which have impacted on your ideas and inventiveness most openly?
Probably the late 80s and 90s. The stuff we listened to when we grew up. Alice In Chains, Metallica, The Cure or Sisters Of Mercy. We draw a lot of inspiration from all sorts of different music, simply because we all enjoy music very much. The latest Carcass record knocked me off my boots as much as “Bish Bosch” from Scott Walker, the latest Placebo, Lucero or The Dirtbombs did. I guess we do not care about genres, because we do not have to. Who would when there’s so much good music around? There’s certainly nothing wrong with being inspired, as long as you don’t rip off your faves. It’s strange: sometimes Roky Erickson gives me a swing in a direction that absolutely does not sound like him. That’s the magic of music.
How does the writing process work generally within the band?
It’s a drag (laughs). No, someone comes up with an idea and the rest improves it. That’s about it.
Is it a democratic approach once ideas are nailed down into a basis for a song?
Yes, but one part of democracy will always be: stepping back from your own ego. Sometimes I think “that’s shite!”, but when the rest of our band goes “no, that’s great” – I might argue or even be totally pissed off at first – but I will always trust their opinion, because I know they are not idiots. That’s important, I think. Basically, it’s more about trust and taste, than about democracy.
For us we found the first half of the album was a stronger potent proposition to the remainder of what is still an impressively satisfying album. It had us wondering about song orders and if, for what is obviously a personal preference, how much of a change a different order would have achieved. How do you, taking The Painstream as the example, set about deciding the best order of tracks, how much time and debate do you take over the decision?
Honestly: I can’t. You sit there with eleven songs, all recorded and every other minute you come up with some new order that would totally make sense. There is no such thing as the best decision in discussions like that. Sometimes we’re happy when others come up with ideas like “this would make a great opening track” or “perfect last song”. If it sucks, we can blame it on them afterwards (laughs).
De(ad)generation seems to be the track, which certainly to people we have talked to, that is the pinnacle and most virulent bait for the album. Can you tell us about the song and its inspiration?
We probably never came closer to “art” before (laughs). It’s a really catchy and cheesy song that makes you sing along until you realize what you’re singing. And that was basically our motivation. We’re not judging in that song, we’re describing – well aware of the fact, that we are all part of “the problem”. And sometimes it just creeps me out that 12 year olds seem to know better about fucking that about grammar. Everybody wants to be a celebrity – better get your four minutes of fame now, before everything falls apart.
Is there a particular moment or aspect of The Painstream which gives you that extra tingle or glow?
“Death Of The Weakender”, probably. Michelle’s vocals are outstanding in that one. He was sick during the recording and I can literally see his vocal chords snap every time I listen to the song. I asked him, if he’d prefer to take a break, and he went “no, let me do one more. My throat really hurts.”
What comes next for End Of Green now the album is out there working its seduction?
Some breathing, lots of touring, more breathing and new songs. That’s what we always do. (laughs)
Once more thank you for sharing your time and thoughts with us.
It was all my pleasure, believe me.
Anything you would like to leave the readers with?
Nothing but good feelings. Thanks for all the support. We really can’t tell you how much we appreciate your interest in our music.
Read the review of The Painstream @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/end-of-green-the-painstream/
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