Sydney hardcore band Endless Heights have been on a bit of a roll lately. They have recently released their new EP "Dream Strong", and just completed their first national tour to launch the release of the EP. The band is shaping up to have a big year in 2012, so we caught up with the band’s guitarist Jem Siow to discuss the new EP amongst other things.
Start off by stating your name, your role in Endless Heights and how many hours you have wasted playing Skyrim since it was released?
Hello, I’m Jem and I play guitar and sometimes sing a bit in Endless Heights. I’ve probably played Skyrim for a mere 25-30 hours since launch but will have more time to slay now that tour’s over. I’m a level 25 Redguard warrior.
Your new EP “Dream Strong” was released about two weeks ago now, how are you feeling now that it is out? And what has the feedback been like from it so far?
Dude it is such a rewarding feeling. To have made so many financial investments, put so much effort and most significantly, sacrificed time for this record has left us feeling completely satisfied that it’s out and people are listening to it. Not only that, but the feeling that we’ve done our very best with this is seriously fulfilling. The feedback has been extremely positive and that adds to this whole experience.
You recorded the EP with Mitta Norath at Tommirock Studios in Newcastle. What made you guys decided to record with Mitta?
We wanted somewhere that was different to where most Sydney bands had recorded. We didn’t know Mitta personally but knew enough that he was someone professional, friendly and of high quality and that was good enough for us.
How did you find working with him? What was it like compared to recording previous material?
We’ve been blessed to have worked with some truly awesome people in everything we’ve done. Mitta was no exception – he is an amazing engineer and more importantly a genuine and loyal friend. We could’ve spent loads more in the recording process, but money couldn’t buy the friendship that we’ve made. We couldn’t be happier with how every aspect of this record has turned out.
The production on the EP is obviously a step up from past material, was this something the band wanted to focus on with this release?
The goal for Dream Strong was to put out 6 of the best songs we could possibly achieve in every aspect and production played a big role in that.
What does the title “Dream Strong” mean to everyone in the band?
Dream Strong is finding a deep sense of fulfillment in life and pursuing that with everything you have. We don’t write anything with the intention of a specific meaning though, if you find something personal in it then hold on to that!
How did you approach the writing of the record?
I guess we always stick to the ethos of making everything significant. No filler or weak tracks, riffs, melodies, vocal lines, anything. Always striving to put out the best we can do.
A fair chunk of the singing on the new EP is more melodic than previous material, what sparked this change for the band?
Joel loves to sing, he was a choir boy back in the day. Our biggest influences come from bands that sing as oppose to yell so I guess it was just natural that it came out that way.
So far the EP only exists on CD and digital formats, can we expect to see it being pressed on vinyl at some stage next year?
We’ve always wanted to print vinyl but thought it was probably a good idea to print it this way for our first physical release. If enough people are down and the timing is right we might reprint in the future!
Last week saw the end of your first national tour, what was that experience like for the band?
So, so cool. Playing in a band that tours, prints records, is listened to, all that, is something we’ve dreamt of since we were real young. Being able to do the Dream Strong tour this year was like the first real big taste of our dreams truly surfacing and for that we feel deeply privileged.
What were your favourite shows of the tour?
You know being in different places, and seeing rural and outer-city venues that we normally wouldn’t go to by ourselves was a really cool experience. But the best show of the tour was Loud Fest 2, and possibly the best we’ve played to date.
Who was the most annoying in the van throughout the trip?
The more I think about it, we’re actually so lucky that we all get along so well – I can’t actually say I find anyone truly ‘annoying’. So I’m going to nominate myself. For all the group selfies, solo selfies, farts, stupid calls, nudity, Gucci, homosexual tendencies, long drives: I’m not sorry.
How did you find the reaction to the new songs in the different cities, especially compared to Sydney?
We’ve only been to Queensland and Victoria once each before this tour so the faces we played to were all pretty new. Thanks to all the people that checked us out, nodded along and bought something, that meant a lot.
You played with a solid list of bands on the tour including the likes of Hopeless, Iron Mind, Warbrain, Dream On Dreamer and 50 Lions, what was it like playing with those bands?
Some of those bands were bands we’ve been listening to for a long time, others were friends and some both so it was so cool to be able to play with them. Big love to them for giving us a crowd to play to, that’s always rewarding.
For the last 6 months or so, I have noticed that the band has been on a bit of a rise, have you started to notice this yourself?
We’ve played some seriously awesome shows this year, and culminating that with the release of this record and doing cool promo things on the side, I guess things have started to pick up a bit lately which is a cool feeling. We have a bit more time now that we all graduated high school.
Some people may or may not know that you are actually amazing at playing the flute. When can we expect to see the flute making an appearance on some Endless Heights material?
Amazing is a big word but thanks Maddo. You know people that know what I do outside the band always ask me that question. We’re pretty much down for anything – if it adds something then why not! Maybe our first full length, who knows.
What were your favourite releases of 2011?
The records put out by The Story So Far, Foundation, Title Fight, Balance and Composure, Basement, Brutality Will Prevail, Trapped Under Ice… there were so many. What a year!
Who are some bands that you have heard lately that have impressed you?
Sydney’s Civil War write some sick riffs. Turnover and Citizen from the States are picking up and Chris Dicker’s new band Bear Witness is pretty cool. Look out for Legions in 2012.
Do you have any certain goals that you would like to achieve with this band?
Dude I want to do everything. I’m 18 years old and it honestly feels like I’m living the beginnings of a dream I’ve always had. To be overseas with Endless Heights before I’m 20 would be something special.
What are the band’s plans for 2012? Will we see you hitting the road more often?
We’re going to put out a new record in the first quarter, a full length by the end of the 12 and push a whole bunch of tours across the whole 365.
Thanks for doing the interview, any last words or shout outs?
Shout out to Maddo from KYS for being a full-time brother. Shout out to John Hatfield from Foo Fighters for being a full-time weirdo. Spend time with your loved ones this festive season and don’t be afraid to give some love!