This Friday, Endless Heights will release their brand new body of work, Pray I Fade 7″. As is usually the case with the Sydney outfit, the record arrived with little warning. The band broke more than a years worth of silence, well, pulverised it with Drain. Now the title single has been released, thus completing the two-track offering.
Existing completely outside any scene movement, Endless Heights is an anomaly. Rather than adhering to the industry protocol the band are hell bent on doing things their way. As frontman Joel Martorana explains to us that this was one of the main reasons for the recent radio silence…”We spent a year behind the scenes figuring out what we wanted to do.”
That seems to be an operative phrase for the outfit. Since day one, the band vehemently defended their right to retain sovereign control over themselves. They’ve managed to avoid hitching their wagon to any sort of trend or movement for over a decade, instead staying true to their D.I.Y roots and cause.
Joel agrees with the term, “It’s funny you say D.I.Y…”
“We’ve always been a sub-genre band, so to speak, and always held onto doing it our way, quite stubbornly. We’ve always been very reluctant to work with new people. In saying that, everything in the last year has been about ‘Now that we’ve stepped out in a new direction, how do we team up with the right people to get this out there?’ But also do it our way.”
Forget justifying 18-months off the grid, few bands could even survive it. Each time Endless Heights make a return, the adoring fan base emerges once more. Increasing the duration of the periods of radio silence is a formula that the band have discovered – music is “a very less-is-more game.”
“We’ve stripped right back so when we do play the shows seem to be so much more fulfilling, which is weird because then you want to do it every single day. We still have that gut instinct where we do it our way. At the end of the day, it’s our art and we’re lucky to have that freedom with the people we work with.”
“Every year we sit down and say ‘What’s going on? What are we doing with this?’. We all live pretty absurd and different lives. But we all sat down and thought we have at least one album left, it wouldn’t make sense not to do it. There’s stuff I want to sing about and stuff the guys want to write and we need to do it together, as this group.”
They won’t be departing too far from the mentality that got them to where they are now. Joel explains that fundamentally the vision will always stay true no matter how in demand the band gets, “…whether 10 people listen to us or 10 million, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day I’m still playing music with my friends I met in high school and I don’t think that will ever go away.”
“The only pressure we have has always been on ourselves. It’s probably why we write music so slowly, so we can make something that we’re happy with. We’re never really sold on something that’s good enough, we’ve always had a value of excellence in our band because it’s not just a job or a hobby for us, it’s art.”
To ensure the highest quality in all their outputs, be it merchandise, videos, music, live performances, Endless Heights have adopted a fairly intense, albeit effective standard…”When we make decisions we come at it with an angle that’s literally ‘When we look back on this in our dying days, or if we show our grandkids one day, are we going to regret doing this?’ That’s the kind of lens we view things through. It’s because we want to do something that has substance.”
As the end of the downtime drew near the band began their routine ‘What do we do now?’ talks. “We already got so much out of this whole adventure.” Joel recalls of the decision, “we’ve still got the same members and I think we’ve been going for something stupid like eight years. But, we knew we weren’t done. What was next? What’s on our list that we haven’t crossed off? One of those things was to really go for a deeper, darker rockier sound. We’ve always touched on it but I don’t think we’ve ever been ready…for whatever reason.”
“From a songwriting perspective, we just knew there was more to give. So we retreated. We didn’t really tour much this year. We put our heads down and started writing to set up a full-length.”
During that process, far earlier in than expected, the band found themselves sitting on two complete tracks – Drain and Pray I Stay. Not only were they complete but they couldn’t be locked away on a hard drive. Despite the album not being announced the band opted to release the two tracks well in advance.
With the rapid increase in attention, encouraged by the success of Drain, the band are finding themselves expanding from within the confounds of a D.I.Y ethos, embracing the growing community that’s embraced them.
“People are resonating with that song which was just in our heads…now it’s a real thing that people enjoy…We do it for ourselves, but we’re also doing it for people. We’ve never had a reception like this before and I’ve just thought ‘Oh my god, this is why you sing about things that are uncomfortable’. This is why you try and write something that hasn’t been written before or try and give your own spin on a sound. This is why you keep writing music – it empowers people.”
“I’ve come full circle like that”, he admits.
The first thing you’ll notice about the songs, is that while existing well within the soundscape of the band, they feel far more mature and confident than their previous bodies of work. To work out why we have to look back to the groups 2014 release New Bloom.
“It’s pretty heavy but I think it’s important to be transparent about it. My dad had an affair and left my mum. It obviously really upset our family and one of my idols all of a sudden became very, very human. Him and I have worked through most of that which is a huge blessing.”
“That was so vulnerable for me to sing about but obviously I had to. It was great, I loved it. But part of it was a little immature, or a knee-jerk reaction so to speak in terms of dealing with the actual emotions that you express as an artist. This time I thought there was some more there that needed to be said…”
Joel furthers this point, explaining that while informed by his personal situation, the songs are a far more broad look at the concept of relationships, love and the lack thereof.
“It’s strange to me how easily we can settle for shit or get lost in what to do. Am I meant to be the person of justice in this relationship? Am I meant to be holding this person accountable for their actions? Am I meant to be loving? For lack of a better word, it is draining.”
Rather than allowing the draining process to be complete, Drain is instead resistance. “It’s declaring what ever control, whether it’s from pain or any form of manipulation, none of it’s going to work anymore.”
On account of the bands approach to future plans (i.e. none), Joel reveals that the band never knew for sure if they would return to pick up where New Bloom left off. Explaining, “we just take everything as it comes”, and again have found themselves adopting a fairly unique approach to assessing their next move.
“We still have a lot to bring together to make it happen. We’re still not fully aware of how it’ll come out but I know it’ll be the best thing we’ve ever done. I remember jamming and getting goosebumps, and that’s new.”
A release date is going to be in high demand shortly. However, Joel admits things are simply “too loose to say” at this stage. “I’ve got target dates in mind but I’m gonna watch my words here. It’s too soon to say…but hopefully soon.”
…I just want to get it out there.”
Pray | Fade 7″ Launch Show
Tickets on sale now
Friday, December 9th
Captain Cook Hotel, Sydney