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**INTERVIEW** Struggles Are Real, With Jem Siow from Endless Heights

February 6, 2018

 

An epic collaboration of Aussie awesomeness, Endless Heights are fresh off tour supporting Hands Like Houses. If you like the latter, you’ll love the former. Mindfully creative, Endless Heights are always trying to push themselves, bend their own boundaries and think to themselves, ‘What’s the next step?’ Performing on tour in a stripped back acoustic environment, Endless Heights have cemented themselves as the new versatile commanders of Aussie rock – but getting to this point wasn’t all fun and games.

 

Their new album Vicious Pleasure, their first release in four years, marks a turbulent time for the Sydney five-piece, a time marred by personal struggle, questionable faith in music and their direction but ultimately, the journey and the doubt has amounted to an intensely true album, one more real than anything you would ever have expected. 

 

 

It’s a pretty epic collaboration, for you guys to support Hands Like Houses.

 

Yeah, well, we’ve never done an acoustic tour before, we’ve done some acoustic performances, but we’ve actually never really gotten on stage and played that way. I guess within the culture of our band we’re always trying to do have new experiences and challenge ourselves, push ourselves in new ways. We’re really open to any kind of new experiences and this was a great opportunity for us to do something different, especially with the new album coming out.

 

Woah, woah, woah! Let me stop you there; an acoustic tour?

 

Yeah, an acoustic tour!

 

I had no clue, now that just completely changes the ball game! I’ve been listening to Vicious Pleasure - now I don’t know whether it’s just the way I’m feeling today or what, but literally, the last hour or so I’ve had my heart strings pulled, my chest punched, my head made to think… It is so beautifully, sensually emotive, and from what I’m getting from what you guys have said about the album and how you came to write it, it’s much the same for you guys…  But let’s go back to the acoustic thing, how does this translate to the live stage? I mean, you’re going to have people balling, man!

 

Well, it’s actually, and I’m putting both of my hands in the air to make quotations, it’s “stripped down”. We’re playing with clean electric guitars and it’s just softer renditions of the songs. It’s gonna have a bit more atmosphere…

 

'Come A Little Closer'

 

What do you mean a bit more atmosphere?! Vicious Pleasure is like… I was listening to ‘Pray I Fade’, and I’ve gotta say it’s probably my second favourite track after ‘Come A Little Closer’ but it’s just so… atmospheric, you know? It totally transports you somewhere else, and I’m definitely the kind of person who loves to get lost in their music.

 

Thank you so much – I honestly… we haven’t shown many people the album, we really haven’t shown many people at all, but that, I appreciate that so very much. It’s so good to hear. But yeah, I guess the music complimented Joel’s [vocalist Joel Martorana] lyrical content and it worked out well. We approached the album wanting to give it our all.

 

About two years ago we sat down and said, ‘What are we going to do with the band?’ We’ve been a band this year, for ten years. The five of us got together when I was 15 and I just turned 25. It’s been a big commitment putting our lives on hold to do this thing – it was like, ‘Are we gonna keep doing this or are we gonna stop?’ It’s been about four years since the last album came out – I was 20. Every year, we say to people, especially at this age, I think the album is a reflection of that maturity, maybe? Not necessarily a conscious decision for us to change the music but just the sound, it’s a reflection. A reflection of how we’ve changed as people. That’s just how we do things now. People seem to say, with a lot of our albums, our sound has changed or evolved between each one – I guess what I’m trying to say is, it was just us going as people and what came out is what came out.

 

I’m sensing it’s been more than that. I feel like this has been more of a fight for you guys not just to do what you love but, I don’t know, maybe it was a struggle in some ways, a true labour of love?

 

Look, it hasn’t been easy. With every band, especially in the creative sphere, there’s so much emotion and so much intensity with everything you do especially working with four other people in such close proximity, but for us, we went into this album, this whole experience, pretty much putting everything on the line – and when I say that I don’t mean just compromising, I mean that we were really, really, really trusting each other, trusting our vision and being completely honest with each other in the way we were being creative. I think that’s reflected very much in the lyrics and the concept of the album entirely. It ties in with this thing about maturity because, in the last album, as a songwriter I realised I had these limiting barriers in my head – [I] can’t have a melody like this, can’t write lyrics like that, we’re too young to say this, we sound like this band or that band…

 

I think you shouldn’t be comparing yourselves to other bands because what Endless Heights has, in your melodies, your harmonies and lyrics, is totally heart-wrenching and you can really feel there’s soul in your band, heart and soul – I don’t mean to sound corny but I mean that, truly.

 

I really, really appreciate that. This is a very raw and vulnerable experience for us, putting an album out like this. We’re completely out of our comfort zone. I’m not afraid to release it all, we’re confident and active with where we’re at but it is very vulnerable for us because these are things Joel’s never sung about before to this degree. It’s not that… it’s… it’s not that we’ve been necessarily… it’s not that we’ve held ourselves back doing this, but things have changed in our lives personally that have influenced the content of the album.

 

As I said before, we told ourselves we were going to be completely honest and treat this album like it was the last album we were ever going to put out. ‘What do we want to say with or music? What do we want to say in terms of how we’d reflect on our lives right now? How we’ve come to be in our relationships with people we love,’ and more importantly, our relationships with ourselves – that’s what this album is about, a reflection on how we influenced relationships. I’m really excited for people to hear it. This is who we are and I’m afraid to own this. In fact, I’m really excited to own this, now more than ever.

 

 

Vicious Pleasure out February 16th 2018 via Cooking Vinyl Australia.

Pre-order Vicious Pleasure HERE

 

VICIOUS PLEASURE TRACK LISTING:

01. Taste It
02. You Coward
03. Toxic
04. Drain
05. Come A Little Closer
06. Pray I Fade
07. Goldleaf
08. Shiver Down
09. Paralyse
10. Run
11. Heart Of Your Lie

 

 

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