Talk about the blues, this is some pretty cool stuff that you need to give a listen to today. Has that heavy blues vibe with some vocals that may or may not remind you of Tom Waits. I think that’s a pretty cool thing and you could include a little Seasick Steve while you’re at it. Love the sax and the harmonies, well done, gotta say it’s a great way to start my day…
Hi our name is….
Hi, we are The End Men.
our sound is……
Raw, loud and honest.
I am Livia Ranalli, and my two fellas here are Matthew Hendershot and Matthew Elia.
We are from…….
We all have been living in NYC for a long while, but I am originally from Milan, Italy, Hendershot is from Lakin, Kansas and Elia is from Newburgh, New York.
Who are some that have an influence on you
Livia: Hard to tell – I just take inspiration from anything that catches my attention. In general, I am very much into weird and unconventional percussive sounds and sharp signature and melodic twists. I think I have borrowed a lot from progressive rock music. One of my absolute inspirations is Frank Zappa, mostly because he has covered so much ground musically that I can find quench to any thirst in his work.
Matthew H.: I was baptized in music by listening to oldies and classic rock radio fishing with my parents when I was young, then studied music all the way up thru college. That is a wide breadth from classical to MTV consumable, but the stuff that seems to have stuck the most is the roots, blues and classic rock. But coming of age in the 80’s and 90’s adds quite a bit of ‘heavy’ to my taste.
Matthew E.: Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Richie Cannata, Clarence Clemmons as well as assorted punk/ska bands such as Less Than Jake, The Slackers, & NOFX.
How old were all of you when you started to play and who plays what in the band
Livia: I was 12 when I started playing drums, but I took piano lessons before then. I guess I am the noise maker of the band.
Matthew H.: I play guitar, psudo-bass, and sing in the band. I’ve been playing bass since I was 14, started guitar a few years after that, but didn’t really get serious about guitar (if you can call it that!) until 5 years ago when The End Men got started. That is also when I stepped to the mic to sing leads for the first time.
Matthew E.: I’ve been playing the saxophone since I was 8 years old, starting at the end of third grade in elementary school.
Can you tell us about the process you use, from writing the songs all the way through getting the songs out
It is quite simple. We get into the practice space and start jamming and sometimes we just get caught by it and start changing, adding, building a structure. We have a very collaborative and instinctive way to write songs. Most of the tunes in our latest album, Terms And Conditions, came to life during the recording session! The lyrics are of great importance to us, so we always make sure to take the time to tell a story, or send a message that has a real meaning to us.
The way we produce our music has been DYI, for the most part – tracking and mixing would be taken care of by ourselves, and outsourcing the mastering phase. Terms And Conditions took life under a different – and exciting – scenario. We teamed up with guitar player and vocalist from The Archive, John Epperly, who has built a small and kick-ass recording studio in Williamsburg, and he collaborated on the tracking, mixing and co-production of the record. We were on a real tight schedule, as we needed to launch the album on time for our fourth European tour, so we locked ourselves into the studio and threw the key for a few days, haha!
Bobbie Lurie from Mavericks Studio mixed the tracks in two nights, and Alex DeTurk mastered the album. The whole process took about two weeks. It was pretty insane, but we had an amazing time and are very happy with the raw sound that we got out of it – I think it is very honest.
In general, we seem to work unexpectedly well on tight schedules, as we get lots of creative ideas that we know we do not have time to second guess. Some of my favorite tunes in the album are the ones that were laid out in a heartbeat.
What are some of the challenges you face as musicians and how have you overcome those challenges
I think a real challenge for NYC musicians is trying to catch the attention of an audience that is constantly overstimulated. Aside from that, I think a tricky aspect is having to do everything on your own, with very little access to outside help. We have been blessed with people who believed in us enough to invest time and resources into the band, but it never ends – management, promotion, booking, graphic designing, etc., while keeping the focus on what we are actually supposed to do – make music. This, in my opinion, is the biggest quest. How we overcome it? By working as hard as we can, trying not to burn out, and touring as often as we can, because that’s the absolute best part of being a musician!
1st concert you went to and age….
Livia: absolute no recollection. The first one I can really remember was my first performance when I was at music school, at the age of 12. They made me play Wonderwall from Oasis, and I was absolutely terrified of the audience. I remember thinking, ‘just imagine they’re all naked!’ – and that worked just fine. Sometimes this thought crosses my mind again when I am on stage, but now it’s really just fun. Maybe one day we should play a show for a naked audience…
Matthew H.: Well, if it were up to revisionist history I would say Stone Temple Pilots and Cheap Trick at the Kansas Colosseum when I was 14. But I have a very clear memory of Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood (riding on some mini airplane?) at the Kansas State Fair when I was like 9.
Matthew E.: first real concert was John Williams & The Boston Pops at Tanglewood when I was 6 years old. My first rock and roll concert was Goldfinger when I was in the 9th grade.
coolest band t-shirt you ever bought…
Livia: I had no money to buy t-shirts, so at the age of ten I started using my passion for drawing to make them myself. The coolest one I made was a Queen t-shirt – I drew a nice logo on the front and wrote ‘The show must go on’ on the back. I was really proud of it. I think I still have it somewhere, at my parents’ house.
Matthew H.: The Slaughterhouse Chorus shirt is my favorite. It has the Statue of Liberty toasting with a beer instead of holding the torch.
Matthew E.: My Slackers/Slayer t-shirt is pretty awesome.
The most insane concert you ever went to or were a part of….
Livia: maybe the Rolling Stones, but I wouldn’t define it as insane. Just seeing those older dudes rocking the hell out of the San Siro stadium in Milan blew my mind. There was no pretence in it. It is as if they took an oath many years ago that they never failed to keep. That, to me, felt like rock and roll.
Matthew H.: Seeing Monotonix crowdsurf the entire backline for a whole set was pretty wacky. Seeing Slipknot open for a touring act in ’97 before they were anything was pretty fucking memorable, especially since it was like a 300 person venue and they went ballistic. Seeing Incubus also in ’97 opening for 311 and Sugar Ray (before they just completely started sucking the money-dick) was something I’ll remember since it took two years to find a copy of their album after the fact… I would say a ton of these shows are ‘insane’ in the light of hindsight just because of the way time unfolds things. Probably the most insane show I’ve ever been a part of was 100+ people packed into a basement and house in the middle of nowhere in Western Mass. getting so rowdy that the floor above us was bowing up and down and multiple people moshing ran into the pole holding the floor up… that was insane in a “should probably be locked away” kind of way.
Matthew E.: I’ve seen the Big Four of Metal (Metallica/Slayer/Megadeath/Anthrax) twice and have been front row for Metallica 4 other times. All of those shows were insane, life changing experiences but I would have to say my first Slayer concert in which multiple people were carried out covered in blood, and the venue was so hot, condensation was “raining” from the ceiling was the craziest.
If you could open for any Band right now who would that be and why?
Livia: Gorillaz! I actually would open for any of Damon Albarn’s projects, or Mike Patton’s. Or an Albarn+Patton project. Damn, can somebody suggest that to them?
Matthew H.: I would like to open for Reignwolf right now, mainly because he is opening for Black Sabbath, and that would mean that we would get to open for both Reignwolf and Black Sabbath.
Matthew E.: Lucero…I think the sounds would compliment each other very well.
My youngest son is 13 and in a Band, what advice would you offer him…
Livia: Let the music be the reason why you play it, not fame, or money, or social status. Use it to travel, meet amazing people and live mind blowing experiences. And, as years ago somebody advised me, always play with people you admire and consider better than you as musicians. And remember: this isn’t a competition, it’s not a ‘battle of the bands’. There should be no battle – this is a community. The only person you owe progress to is yourself only. And if one day you decide to turn it into a career, take pride in what you do – ask to be paid for your work and steer away from businesses that offer ‘exposure’ instead of a compensation. Loving your own job doesn’t justify working for free – ever.
Matthew E.: Play as much and as often as possible with as many people you can. Participate in your highschool music programs! Band/Chorus/School Musicals…many of the relationships I developed during those programs have ended up being my closest friends years and years later.
Matthew H.: Agreed, play play play all the time, everywhere, for any reason. If you aren’t in it for the love, just get out now. There may or may not come a time where you have to get all businessy with it, but until your hands are forced, just let yourself be a conduit of the Rock.
your thoughts on the state of music in 2015…..
The State of Music is great, there are a ton of killer bands around doing a ton of original, creative and progressive shit. The Music Business on the other hand…
Our plans for the rest of 2015…..
We have some shows down the pipeline – Larkfest (Albany) in September should be a lot of fun! Aside from that, we are putting our thinking hats back on to figure the next steps out. The winter might be a good time to record another album, and start booking our fifth European tour for the spring. And, oh – maybe try to get on a label. We could definitely use some help so, world, raise your hands if interested!
Let us know!
The End Men
released 21 April 2015
Written and produced by Matthew Hendershot, Livia Ranalli, and Matthew Elia
Co-produced and engineered by John Epperly at 100 Metropolitan in Brooklyn
Mixed by Bobby Lurie at Mavericks in New York City
Mastered by Alex DeTurk
Lyrical content in East of West is inspired by and adapted from the copyrighted creative works of Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta and is intended as a tribute to and comment on the original works with their express permission.