"I think Dubstep is something that just got out of hand creatively and now it's just a bunch of people ripping each other off"
Trebuchet’s love affair with Breakcore continues when Sofia Ilyas caught up with Lynn Standafer better known as Enduser, a specialist in the proto D&B genre of Breakcore. Enduser’s early stuff typically used amen breaks cut into a highly aggressive format complemented with dark film samples, metallic ambient samples and some of the filthiest basslines committed to record. Since then he has explored a number of diverse musical projects including all-star collaborative (and Dubstep remixes) efforts such as The Blood of Heroes, the common thread throughout is a visceral approach to groove and brooding melodies.
Trebuchet: You were born in US but now live in Belgium, why did you relocate?
Enduser: I was born in the states where I bounced around a lot, Cincinnati, New York, San Francisco.
I was used to moving for various reasons usually I would live in one place then go on tour, see another city I liked better and then move there. I did that quite a lot and quickly realised that you have to visit some place more than just once or twice for a few days before just packing up and moving there. I’m pretty impulsive so I keep going.
Right now I’m in Gent, which like every other city has its pros and cons. The main reason I moved to Gent is because my girlfriend is from there, so we live there now. It’s a good place to be based to do gigs it's not too far from Brussels so I can get out pretty quickly for the weekend, come back by Sunday night and just hang out during the week. It’s a big college town so the parties there are really always full on, which is good and bad.
The older I’m getting the less I party, so being surrounded by people nearly half my age wrecked on drugs I don't even know the names of is a bit odd at times. I prefer sitting on my couch having a beer and watching police academy on repeat.
Trebuchet: How did you come across breakcore?
Enduser: I guess Breakcore is something that didn't even have a name when I first heard it. I was really into stuff like old Position Chrome and the Digital Hardcore stuff, more dark and distorted jungle. After my love for stuff on Metalheads, I couldn't find anything harder than Ed Rush or darker than source direct or even Photek, so I looked for harder, faster shit. Alec Empire's 'The Destroyer', Panacea's 'Low Profile Darkness', and Christoph de Babalon's 'If You're Into It, I’m out of it' are 3 records that stand out in particular.
I also remember the early records on Hymen (Somatic Response and later Venetian Snares), Cdatakill and Needle Sharing on Ad Noiseam, tons of shit that really didn't have a name. At least, it didn’t where I was living in Cincinnati & Indianapolis at the time.
Then all of the more hardcore stuff like Bloody Fist from Australia, all the Addict and Drop Bass stuff from Milwaukee. Doormouse always blew my mind. I started to go to the parties in Wisconsin & Illinois a bit when I was in college and would always hear something new. A lot of that music was all over the place, distorted hip hop, distorted Jungle, tongue-in-cheek hardcore… I was really into noise and industrial music before I was into Jungle so it all just sort of made sense to go together.
Trebuchet: What influenced you in your early years to make your style of breakcore?
Enduser: I had been messing around creating electronic music with a couple of friends in Cincinnati in the mid-late 90s. Once I heard more of the type of stuff I just mentioned – I started to focus more on making something like that myself, so I got a computer and started working with a Tracker, it didn't seem that I was able to get the sound I wanted from the hardware I had been using. More of the glitchy, fucked up stuff seemed to be easier to do on a computer, then when the compositions started coming out, it took a while but I really wanted to make 'songs' rather than just tracks for a Dj to play on a dancefloor.
Anyone who was into old jungle or even the early breakcore/hardcore stuff might agree that the music back then had more of a 'soul' or a bit more feeling behind it, not just mechanical repetitive bullshit for people to take drugs and zombie around to. I really miss the old stuff but anyway, I think with my music I still focus more on song writing/composition rather than just creating a 'killer loop!' and 'smashing the dancefloor!'. I actually don't even listen to much electronic music these days, just some of the old stuff and bits and pieces here and there.
I listen to music that moves me personally, good lyrics or a good melody can do so much for a person like me, I really just want to feel what I’m hearing. Not just background noise for me to be social too.
Trebuchet: Why do you think your music appeals to such a wide audience?
Enduser: I guess that's related to the last answer, I really don't like to stick to any trends or gimmicks in electronic music. If I feel like making something violent and abrasive, so be it I’ll do that. If I want to go off and really isolate myself and feed off of my mood or depression, I do that.
Everyone is both up and down, no one is ever in the same emotional state all of the time. We all have this sort of pulsating mood that coincides with what's going on in our personal lives, our past, what we plan on for the future, all on top of the other mental bullshit we were either predisposed to or something that just created itself over time. I think what I’ve always found important for me to do is to identify with these little (or big) changes in my mood, personality and just work with them. I'm usually working on about 15-20 tracks at once, each one has its own identity, its own personality and over time some of them have to just sit there for months until I can 'feel' it again. Sometimes a track is pretty much wrapped up in a day, it's always different, and it's always very personal.
I think that the people who appreciate what I do with Enduser, Blood of Heroes, or anything else I'm involved with can at least relate to something in these songs, whether it be aggression or sadness and isolation. I really think both extremes are necessary in everyone and the ability to appreciate these emotions is something that I've always cherished.
Trebuchet: Tell me a bit about your process of music production.
Enduser: Each track is always different, each track is always its own thing, sometimes I start with a sample from something that I want to use, maybe a vocal clip or a hook that I want to incorporate. Sometimes I just sit down and start playing something on the keyboard random pads, patches and just record everything for a few hours. Then I go back, take the Midi or an audio sample of that and put it into Renoise.
Basically I only use Renoise for composition. All of my tracking, any audio recording, plugins, vsti's, automation, all inside Renoise. It's a really simple and effective way for me to work. I can take my laptop on the road with me anywhere and work on an idea as soon as it comes into my head. I've been using trackers so long that these days, to get an idea down in Renoise is pretty much as simple as thinking of the idea itself. I have tried other things through the years, I have a few things that I open every now and then, mostly virtual instruments or processors, but I really would rather just do it all in the same place.
Trebuchet: What music is exciting to you at the moment?
Enduser: Lately I've been listening to a lot of music like Pelican, Jesu, Russian Circles as well as really old Peter Gabriel and more of the folky stuff from The Swans. I've always been a fan of 'the love of life' I really don't hear too much going on with new music that appeals to me. We heard a lot of 'Witch House' in San Francisco recently on a tour W/ Bong Ra, I liked some of it. I really just liked the symbols and ridiculous attitude of it all and I have to say that I think Dubstep is something that just got out of hand creatively and now it's just a bunch of people ripping each other off, taking a format and just recycling / copying each other. It's pretty disgusting but it happens everywhere not just music in visual art, film, the way people dress, it's fucking depressing.
I'm going to go write a song about it.
Trebuchet: Tell me about your album collection
Enduser: My records are mostly in storage in the US so I'll give you a random list from iTunes as I type this, makes me seem very '90s' (alphabetical even)
Aarktica, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Amon Tobin, Angels of Light, Aphex Twin (do i even need to put that one?), Bad Brains, Band of Horses, Big Black, Bjork, Black Star, Bloodbath, Brand Nubian, Curial, Calla, Carcass, The Cure, Danzig, Dead Kennedys, Del, Dj Shadow, Dying Fetus, el-p, Enya, Eric B & Rakim, Failure, Frank Zappa, fugazi, genesis, godflesh, gordon Lightfoot, GZA, Helmet, Ice Cube, igorrr, isis, Jane's Addiction, jawbox, Jesu, Johnny Cash, Joy Division, Kate Bush, Knut, Krs One/bdp, Kyuss, Lard, Low, Meat Puppets, Melvins, Merzbow, Ministry, Napalm Death, Nasenbluten, Nile, Nitin Sawhney, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Pigface, Placebo, Portishead, prefuse 73, Public Enemy, Quicksand, Replicants, Sheila Chandra, Skinny Puppy, Slayer, Sole, Source Direct, Swans, techno animal, Tom Waits, Tori Amos, A Tribe Called Quest, Tricky, Ultramagnetic Mcs, USSA, Velvet Underground, White Ring, The Young Gods…
Trebuchet: Do you have a funny stories to tell relating to music?
Enduser: Once I was locked out of Nic's place (Ad Noiseam), and he lives on the 5th floor of a building in Berlin. It was winter, but I ran to the night shop to get a few beers for us and then came right back so I just went in like a t-shirt or maybe a hoodie. Berlin is cold in winter it's ridiculous so I ran, came back to the place and realised the front door was locked and the keyhole was jammed. someone tried to break in, and broke the lock (the locksmith later told us), anyway I got stuck outside for hours (maybe 4?) sitting on a park bench outside the door in very little clothing.
Nic was screaming to me from the balcony and I would scream back he dropped me a pack of cigarettes, I had beer so it seemed like I had everything while I had to wait for the locksmith. The locksmith finally arrived after people were lined up trying to get out of the building to go to work in the AM as it was getting close to 7am. I finally got in, went upstairs, we were both a bit drunk but we realised when looking at each other, 'Why the fuck didn't you throw a coat down?!’
Trebuchet: What does future hold for Enduser?
Enduser: A new album in September, lots of gigs this spring/summer; Berlin Friday, tour in Belgium in July, Ad Noiseam gigs all over Europe, more festivals this summer in Germany, Croatia, UK. Also there is a new Blood of Heroes album coming out in the fall (again with JK Broadrick, Submerged, Bill Laswell, Balazs Pandi) and hopefully some live dates with that if we can pull it all together.
Trebuchet: Thanks to you, take it easy