Hardcore/grind supergroup END released their new album Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face on June 5th via Closed Casket Activities. We sat down with mastermind Will Putney to learn more about the record.
Let’s start with the album title, Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face, how did that name come to be?
It was one of the lines in the lyrics that stood out for us. We just thought it was a cool image. And it lent itself really well to the artwork. And it also accidentally summed up all the different themes that we talk about lyrically on the album. So it was kind of like the perfect storm. We got a cool art concept for it. It was already a part of a song. And that line itself that sounded cool, also helped explain a bunch. It was a general, global thing that fit with all the songs, so we just liked it right away.
Are you a fan of longer album titles? From the previous END record, it was, From The Unforgiving Arms Of God, and then you had, The Sea Of Tragic Beasts with Fit For An Autopsy. Is that a thing for you?
I guess I do like long album titles. Yeah. I find it hard to name albums with something really short. And I feel like everything cool was taken, so I usually go for maybe a bigger thought sometimes. But yeah, I like long titles. And we were goofing that we will always have a long title just for the proper ’90s aesthetic of the band.
What was a major influence on this record?
A major influence? I don’t know if there’s any one thing or band, but we all knew we wanted to go into this and make a bit more of an extreme record than the last one. I think there’s a lot more grind influence on this one as a whole, as a global thing. It’s faster. And we borrowed from some of that stuff we grew up listening to and being fans of. No one particular band, but we usually pull from that world, and some of the earlier stuff. I know we’re all big fans of His Hero Is Gone, that’s a band that a lot of people may not be aware of anymore, because they haven’t been active for a long time, but there’s a lot of … Me and Greg are big fans of that, and it works itself into the writing. And then just classic, like grinding, thrashing bands, Napalm Death kind of stuff. We were very into trying to do some more stuff like that on this record.
With each member being in their own respective band and their own unique style, how does that affect the writing process?
Honestly, it doesn’t really affect us. I think END started as a way to play this kind of music, where we couldn’t with our other bands. Not that we couldn’t, but it just didn’t really always apply. I know with me and Brendan, we always felt like we were trying to force this kind of stuff into our other bands. So having this band lets us get it out of our system. You can focus on the other bands too. And then, as far as everybody else who was a part of this, when we put this band together, we just knew everyone was on the same page, everybody likes the same stuff. So all of our influences and pace line up for these records, and we’re able to just write stuff pretty efficiently and quickly, and never really disagree on where songs should go or anything like that. It’s honestly pretty fluid and easy, because it’s more of a passion project. There’s no other real agenda in it then just to make the kind of music that we like.
Was there ever a time you were trying to write a song for END, and it sounded more like Fit For An Autopsy riff? Did you ever save that riff for FFAA, or did you try to make it work for END?
It probably went the other way. I have always tried to do this style and to work little bits of these influences into Fit [Fit For An Autopsy]. And, I mean, obviously some of it’s still there, but the more I was doing that on some of our later records, I realized it’s not really the direction that the band felt like we thought it should be heading. And I wound up probably scrapping a lot of stuff, that when I started END, subconsciously might’ve come back around as a general theme, or idea, or tempo, or way to move a song. But yeah, I think it probably happened in reverse. I think we came into it so focused that there wasn’t really anything where I was like, “Oh, that’s a beat for another project.” I think we all just brought the stuff we knew was going to work for this.
A lot of bands like Lamb Of God and Hatebreed have decided to push their album release back due to COVID-19. Was that ever an option for END? Did you guys ever think about doing that?
We had talked about it, and we actually did push it back a little bit. We were supposed to be on tour at the end of April, beginning of May. And that’s when the record was going to come out, but we didn’t want to wait for six months to a year to put this out at that point. Well, what we were looking at, to when we could even maybe get back on tour. Right now we have rescheduled dates for the end of the year, and who knows if that’s even going to happen. So we just decided, we had been sitting on this record for a long time to begin with, and trying to align our schedules so we could tour. Then once that wasn’t an option anymore, it was like, you know what? Let’s just put this out. I mean, we’ve literally had this record done for almost a year. And nobody really wanted to wait another year. And I’m honestly glad we did because, I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I’m home, I don’t have a ton to do. I’m definitely listening to more music right now. And I’m glad that we were able to just give something to kids who are into our band, while they’re sitting on their ass too.
You mentioned you had this album done a year ago. So you guys wrote the record even earlier?
Yeah, we did a lot of writing, and our session was more like writing the record, and then recording it, almost in one shot. We had a couple tunes beforehand, me and Greg had some song starts and ideas. And then we got together and just did it all. Yeah. And just kind of wrote it all together in the studio and jammed on it. And then we actually just jumped right into recording it. And we did that, that would have been the end of 2018, sort of. It was maybe the fall of 2018, we had kind of finished tracking this record. That’s how long we’ve had it for. And we, yeah, we just felt like it was time to put it out.
I guess it’s easier when you have your own studio, Graphic Nature Studio.
Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t hurt. Me and Greg both make records, and we know each other’s process, and we know what we can get done in a studio setting. We’re used to making records in a studio, obviously, so it was business as usual when it came to being productive in that sense.
Obviously, you love making music, you love going to the studio, but does it ever feel like a job more than a hobby?
It can burn me out. I’ve hit that point before, where I started getting tired and it started to creep in that it felt more like work and wasn’t as fun. I had a good reset a couple years ago, where I was just doing a ton of records, and I didn’t particularly love everything I was doing, but I took a year, and I just tried to work with stuff that I was only really into. Some younger bands, and some stuff that was more up my alley as far as my tastes in heavy music are concerned. And it was really good. It was really good for me and productive. Since then, I’ve almost held that line a little more, where I’m only trying to get involved with projects that I really understand, or I’m really into musically. And that’s helped me from ever feeling like this is a job. And I’m very fortunate that I get to be able to pick and choose at times what I’d like to do, and what I can pass on. But yeah, I mean, I just made it a point to really just go after the stuff that I thought was really cool for me, you know?
Going back to the album, at the end of “Absence” and at the beginning of “Hesitation Wounds,” there are samples playing. Where are they from? And whose idea were they?
We wanted the theme to be a little bit of a story around some of the lyrical content on the record. And there’s a lot of sort of psychotic breaking point, mental turmoil kind of lyrics that happen on this record. So a lot of these samples were pulled from old psychiatrist recordings from the ’40s and ’50s, where they didn’t really even know how to treat people yet, like that science was new at the time. So there’s a lot of really bizarre interviews, and really weird approaches to dealing with people who are schizophrenic, or suicidal, or have some as of yet explained mental illness. And I just thought they were really interesting, because it was a strange time in medicine, where they just didn’t know what to do with people like this. And I thought that almost unsettling, kind of dark approach to it felt like it fit the vibe really good with what a lot of the lyrics were about. So we built some of that loosely in and out of some of the songs on the records. And I think it sets a tone for the whole album.
What would you say is your favorite track off the brand new record?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. Favorite track. I really like “Covet Not.” That’s the first track. I just love how fast paced and kind of linear that song is. And it’s the style of song that I’ve always wanted to write, or I’ve always wanted to be in a band that sounded like. Greg did a lot on that song too. And I think maybe that’s why I like it so much too, because there was this great idea that he had, that I just got to be a part of, and just be stoked, like, wow, this is one of the first times I think I’ve ever really been in a band. It’s literally the first time I have been in a band where somebody else brought me something that I was just so blown away with. And that one’s probably my favorite for that reason. To have that song under our belts, and call it a track for my band, you know?
Are there any plans for a record release show, when concerts resume?
We had a bunch of stuff in the works, and we were looking forward to playing a lot. Outside of just the Misery Signals tour that we have, we were planning a little record release on the East Coast. Who knows when we’ll get back out there at this point, but as soon as we can, we will. We definitely want to play more on this record. I think everybody in the band is going to make a collective effort to free up some time and be able to hit a lot of places we haven’t been to. There’s just so many places to play where we’ve never been. And we’ve got a lot of people who are interested in the band all over now, and we feel like we owe it to them to try to get in front of them for it.
Any upcoming projects we should be looking out for?
What can I say? There’s not too much I can talk about right now. A lot of announcements are up in the air as far as what’s done over here. But we put a record out the same day The Ghost Inside does. That’s a record I had a lot of fun making, and I think it’s their best record. And if you’re a fan of that band, I think you’re going to absolutely love that record. So if you’re picking up our record on June 5th, get theirs too.
Grab your copy of Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face here.
This Sunday (14th), Will Putney will be hosting an all-day-live-streaming event, We Can Do Better. The stream will consist of a number of artists participating in a discussion on a wide-range of topics in an open forum with Q&As and giveaways. You will be able to make a donation as well as watch live livestream at this location.
The following artists will be participating in the discussions and giveaways:
Ice-T (Body Count)
Keith Buckley (Every Time I Die)
Bryan Garris (Knocked Loose)
Matt Heafy (Trivium)
Kurt Ballou (Converge/God City)
Andrew Marsh (Thy Art Is Murder)
Tom Williams (Stray From The Path)
Scott Vogel (Terror)
Todd Jones (Nails)
Buddy Nielson (Senses Fail)
Alan Day and Dan O’Connor (Four Year Strong)
Josh Smith (Northlane)
Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves/God Forbid)
Anthony Martini (E-Town Concrete/Commission)
Patrick Sheridan (Fit For An Autopsy)
Brendan Garrone (Incendiary)
James Pligge (Harms Way)
Brendan Murphy (Counterparts/END)
Ethan Harrison (Great American Ghost)
Mark Lewis (Producer)
Anthony DiDio (Vein)
Monte Conner (Nuclear Blast)
Justin Louden (Closed Casket Activities)
Carl Severson (Ferret/Good Fight Music)
Equal Vision Records
Pure Noise Records
Closed Casket Activities
Good Fight Entertainment
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