EndAnd have come out of Brooklyn with a vengeance. After headlining the Noise Rock Stage at the 2012 CMJ Festival, they foisted their new opus Mechanics & Energetics Of Stilt-Running on an unsuspecting legion of fans. The intense album is 11 songs long, yet comes in at only 21:30 in length. The songs are both direct and hard-edged. Guitarist/vocalist Daniel Fern calls the album immensely personal and angry, and while a host of themes are explored, the overriding theme is a situation that Dan found himself in for many years; that of illegally residing in what he considered his own country. Now 27 years of age and legal, he first came to the U.S. at the age of 12.
“Lyrically, the effects it had on Dan’s life is evident,” says bassist/vocalist Bill Fitzgerald. “The whole issue is so convoluted in this country, founded by and on immigration. The term ‘illegal‘ seems misleading itself. I know more law-abiding immigrants and complacent corrupt citizens than the opposite. How I could judge someone who seeks to survive here just as my family did when they came 100 or so years ago is beyond me.”
Dan is aware of the overriding thoughts that come through in his songs. “Even when my themes focus on a different subject matter, you will most likely find a line or two completely referring to the feeling of being an illegal human being,” he relates. “The bare categorization of illegal alien is absurd. While I understand that not everyone can go anywhere they want to, I was brought here as a child and was forced to assimilate all throughout middle school and high school, in a small, ultra white suburban town. To me, the spirit ofAmericais found in the amazing melting pots located at the urban cities.New Yorkis particularly incredible in that respect. I grew up with the thought that I may be deported at everything that kids do, like fighting, smoking pot, tripping or drinking. I did all those things, like most kids do, with the feeling that I’m risking my livelihood.
“Police love to harass kids in small towns, and I’ve been arrested twice for nonsense and harassed continuously. My friends would get a pat on the back and I’d get community service and probation. Every relationship I was in was shadowed by my status. Why not go back? Because my friends, loved ones, career, interests, culture, and politics are here now, whether I like it or not. The Dream Act refers to my situation exactly. As great as this country is, it’s amazing how dire things are politically now.”
Dan does most of the core writing and melodies for the band, but Bill and drummer Mike Morales also were key contributors to the new release. “This release is the most mutual experience EndAnd has been up to yet,” Dan says. “Bill wrote a couple songs and helped shape others. Bill has the vocal leads on ‘The Detach.’ Mike has basically formed and evolved beats I had in mind and created ideas that I hadn’t thought of that are necessary at this point.”
EndAnd have become a staple of the New York noise/punk rock scene, hitting venues such as Pianos, Union Pool and Public Assembly, but they really made their mark at warehouse parties and art galleries, where they’d put on free, community-based shows. They also often return to their home base, the studio where they got their start together, King Killer Studios.
Dan started his foray into music after seeing Bill and Ted perform Kiss’ “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” in the iconic movie when he was eight years old. “I started taking guitar lessons,” he recalls. “I performed horrible rock at 14 to 16, and performed again, better rock, at 21.” Mike’s father played percussion, which led to him performing in school plays at a young age, but it was watching Carter Beauford playing drums in the Dave Matthews Band “Ants Marching” video that really piqued his interest. Bill actually started on drums as well, switching to guitar for a series of musical projects ranging from Godspell to chamber music, but his taste for hardcore, hip-hop and what he calls “abrasive music” eventually led him to bass.
Dan was a product of the ‘90s rock sounds, although he admits to an early attraction for Ace Of Base and the Spin Doctors. “My definite collection at third grade was Nirvana, Metallica, REM, and The Beatles,” he says. “Along the way; My Bloody Valentine, Pixies, Queens Of The Stone Age.”
Mike was more influenced by Afro-Cuban, Motown, swing and instrumental jazz, while Mike got the classic rock treatment from his dad. “Sabbath, Queen, Dead, Aerosmith, Who. Guitars and harmonies,” he says. “I wasn’t allowed to watch early MTV and could barely get away with VH1, a crime to a musically passionate kid. My best friend was my biggest influence. Real young we’d pretend to be Jane’s Addiction, then fell into the Nirvana-fueled state common of my generation. Big into Beck too and his blend of noise, folk, and hip-hop rock. My ‘Three R’s’ became Rage, Radiohead and RHCP. All of it rounded me out to now. Give me noise, screams and funky dissonance. And I will ease Dan’s burden and admit to owning Ace Of Base in fifth grade as well, though it soon became my sister’s.”
As far as the immediate future, EndAnd will be heading out on the festival circuit later this year. “I hope to be professionally touring and making a modest living out of music making and performing,” Dan says. “I hope to be presented a chance to work and perform with my heroes and other amazing musicians. I want to live music.”
You can find out more about EndAnd, including the new release and upcoming tour dates, at endand.bandcamp.com and facebook.com/endandmusic.