END, the blistering metalcore supergroup comprised of current & former members of Counterparts, Misery Signals, Fit For An Autopsy, & Reign Supreme, brings their punishing brand of aggression to North Carolina this weekend for the very first time. Ahead of their show Sunday night in Chapel Hill, vocalist Brendan Murphy was kind enough to talk to me about balancing time between projects, taking a more relaxed approach to playing shows, & watching Advent three nights in a row.
Hey Brendan, I really appreciate you taking a break from laying in your bathtub full of money & chatting with me. How are you doing today?
I’m good, I’m good. Just finished playing the first show of the tour tonight in New Jersey. It was great.
You’re out on a weekend run of END shows with Advent. What are you looking forward to most about these gigs?
Definitely looking forward to the 15 minute set, haha. But seriously, END was started as a fun project for everyone involved and it’s always fun to go on tour and only worry about the show aspect as opposed to being concerned with all of the behind the scenes business bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, I love touring with Counterparts but the vibe is definitely more laid back with END. For example, today we literally left the studio (which is an hour away from the venue) 15 minutes later than we were supposed to be at the show sound-checking. Definitely a relaxed atmosphere and somehow everything still runs smoothly, haha.
END released their debut EP, From the Unforgiving Arms of God, last fall via Good Fight, but I know this project was in the works for nearly two years. How exactly did the concept for this band come about?
I think it kinda stemmed from Will and I having a conversation about how we both want to be involved in a heavier 90’s influenced metalcore project. Will basically put the band together and we did the EP in a week. It’s funny, I literally met Greg the day we started tracking.
What’s the most enjoyable aspect of END in comparison to your more full-time commitment with Counterparts?
Like I mentioned before the atmosphere is way more relaxed which is real fun for me. I am the “business” guy for Counterparts so it’s fun to basically be lazy and only worry about playing a sick show. Another big thing is being brought back to a more grass-roots style of touring, which I honestly thought I would hate after Counterparts got to the level we’re at. I love playing small venues with bands that are sick and meeting people that really care about their scene as well as the music. It feels like a vacation from a lot of the things I don’t necessarily enjoy about touring at a professional level. It’s just fun for me.
From a lyrical standpoint, these songs seem to be much more straight forward angry & abrasive then your usual emotionally-driven writing style. Was this something you did purposely, or did the sonic vibe just lend itself in this way?
I think it was definitely intentional. The music is begging for angry lyrics, you know? It was a bit of a challenge for me to step out of my element and take a different approach to writing, but I honestly enjoyed it. There are certain things I can do with END that I can’t do with Counterparts and vice versa. It scratches a different itch for me.
As a guy in multiple aggressive bands, listening to heavy music in your free time is sometimes the last thing on earth you want to do. However, what bands were you & the guys channeling for this particular project from an influence perspective?
I think goal was always to sort of combine the mosh elements of old 90’s metalcore and the speed/anger of crust/grind. The band names thrown around during the first writing/recording session ranged from the likes of Turmoil & Snapcase to His Hero is Gone.
Was their an end goal (ha) in mind when y’all started this project? Or is it just play shows, write music, & hang when everyone’s very busy schedules allows for it?
Definitely not. We just wanted to put out a cool EP that we all thought was sick and hopefully a few people would give a shit. I never thought we’d play a single show so the fact that our schedule is filling up is nuts. Obviously it’s very dependent on each member’s individual schedule but for me personally, whenever Counterparts has down time I’ll be looking to do shit with END for sure.
You’re playing in Chapel Hill on this run, the first ever NC show for END, & also Advent’s home state. What are you most excited for about that night?
My first time ever seeing Advent was tonight in Jersey, and while it was sick, I’m definitely hyped to see them play in their neck of the woods. Advent was a band I always fucked with heavy but never got the chance to see, so it’s cool to not only watch their set, but see them every night for a few days in a row. Plus there probably isn’t snow in North Carolina which is sick as fuck.
What are END’s plans for the rest of the calendar year?
We have a couple more weekend runs planned and we’ll definitely be working on and hopefully recording new material in the summer, so I can’t wait for that.
Any final words or thoughts you’d care to share with readers out there?
Clownvis we be headlining the show.
END is playing at Local 506 in Chapel Hill, NC tomorrow night with Advent, Vatican, Dwell, & Joy.