Endless Hallway Interview

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, June 4, 2009

Endless Hallway is a group on the rise. Following their signing to Wind-Up Records, the band released their debut album Autonomy Games which has been getting a lot of positive responses from critics and fans alike. Cosmos Gaming had the chance to speak with the group’s guitarist Jono Evans about their debut, touring, and more.

Congratulations on releasing your debut album Autonomy Games. How has the album been received so far from critics and fans?

Thank you. The reviews I’ve seen so far on iTunes, AbsolutePunk, digital magazines, MySpace, etc. are all really positive. The response at our shows is amazing. I’m happy that people are enjoying the record.

I understand that even though Autonomy Games is your debut full length that the band has been around for awhile now. Give us a brief history of Endless Hallway and what has changed since you initially formed.

The band started with Ryan and I in 2005. He was attending Art Center in Pasadena, CA. at the time and was developing installation music for some of his school projects. I overheard his stuff through a mutual friend and loved it. So we met up, found out we both dig the same music and started working on some songs together, the first of which was “A Bad Current.”

Around November of ’05, we took our first batch of songs into the studio with Noah Shain. Four months later walked out of there with the four song demo.

As far as forming the full band, we turned to our friend Sonny Moore and he pointed us to Joe Mullen and Michael Tye who were a perfect fit. I knew Evan MacCarthy from playing songs together in middle school, so I called him up and he fit right in, too.

We spent the next two years writing the record. Each song took a long time to write – I think Cell went through about 20 mutations. But that’s what we’re all about. We want to break the chains of the modern music scene and try to introduce new scenery for people to visit. It takes a lot of meticulous attention in the songwriting to feel like we’re accomplishing that.

Anyway, we went into the studio with Noah in October of 2007. We spent nine months in the studio, mostly because we were still figuring it all out. And man, it was brutal at times. I think we redid the whole record three times over.

So the band has gone through a lot of change – but now that we have the record, we’re all about the road and getting it out there.

Your debut was released through Smokin’ Mule/Windup. Is Smokin’ Mule an imprint that was established just for your band or are there plans to put any other bands on it?

That whole thing was pretty last minute. And you know, I’m not really sure. We are ultimately signed to Wind-Up, we’ll see what happens with the imprint.

Autonomy Games has a lot of variety in it and each song sounds a little different from the rest. Did you take this approach when writing it or did the entire album just kind of come together on its own in this way?

For the most part, the record was written chronologically. We wrote one song, then reflected off that and wrote what we felt would be appropriate coming after it. There were bone structures scattered everywhere for most of the process, but the map was there and it all fleshed out well at the end.

Speaking of writing, how do you guys approach the writing process? Does one member write something first or do you begin as a collaborative effort?

Most of the songs begin with either Ryan or me. Tye has been very involved lately. Its a pretty visual process. We like putting ourselves into an imagined world or landscape or situation that is interesting to us, and we feed it riffs and parts until it turns into a living breathing thing. Every single note is specifically written – there’s not much “jamming out” til it sounds cool. It might seem stressful working that way but we have a lot of fun with it. One of the songs, “In Transit,” was one that everyone worked on, and I think it’s my favorite song on the record.

Who directed the video for “Solvency” and where did the ideas for the video come from?

Adam Rothlein & John Carlucci. We knew it was gonna be a low-budget video, so because of the limitations on that we knew we needed to put a twist on it rather than just a straight up performance video. That’s where the night-vision idea came in. I was into octopuses at the time, and Ryan was just like, “Man! We need to have something like THAT in the video!” He bounced around ideas with John and Adam, which resulted in the reverse film octo-action. It all turned out really cool.

I see there is a Machinima video for The Chronicles Of Riddick featuring one of your songs. How did this come about, and what did you guys think of the game itself?

I think that’s something the label worked out. I haven’t played it yet, but man some of the knife stabbing stuff looks totally brutal.

What other video games does each of the members of the band enjoy and how often on tour do they have the time to play them?

My Dad was in Japan when the original Nintendo was released. As soon as it came out in the U.S. he went and grabbed it, so I’ve been playing video games since I was a little kid. I love Nintendo. And I can promise you that Endless Hallway are the best Smash Bros. 64 players that ever lived. Blue Team represent.

For the most part, we’re into video games that aesthetically blow our minds… a great example is Shadow Of The Colossus. That game is unreal. The visuals inspired lots of things on the record, like the opening track.

Ryan digs the Final Fantasy series and Chrono Cross (the video of the opening screen sequence was on loop while we were writing Remora – those underwater visuals are amazing).

Evan likes Astro Boy, Ico, Pokemon, and Street Fighter vs. X-Men.

Tye and Joe are into Mario Kart, Super Mario 64, and of course Smash Bros 64.

We all have emulators on our laptops or handheld systems (I just got the blue DSi), so we get to play a fair amount in the van, during the long drives.

If you were to create a video game/movie based around your music, what would its themes be and what would it be like?

Wow. That’s an intense one. I imagine it would be a cross between Akira and Final Fantasy. You know, a total Sci-Fi feel. It would definitely take you on a journey across mind-bending worlds with everything from enormous creatures to ghosts, machine bodies, deep sea beings, little kodamas, etc., and as the game progresses to the last boss, you finally battle a naked dripping black ink demon woman with her creepy naked powder white bald goons. I imagine there’d be an ending that’s a mix between how Akira and Neon Genesis: Evangelion end.

How do you guys feel about Rock Band/Guitar Hero and would you be interested in having any of your songs featured in these games? If so, which tracks do you feel would fit best?

I think it’s great. People who play that game are really into it, which creates a lot of benefits for the bands involved: great exposure into a large market; people falling in love with songs because it’s such an interactive experience; etc.

I definitely want to become involved in it. I bet “Autonomy Barrier,” “Cell,” and “Gamma” would be a lot of fun for the guitars aspect, and “Solvency” would be a total blast for the drums aspect of Rock Band.

What’s next for Endless Hallway? Do you have any big tours lined up and if so who are you going to be touring with?

We just wrapped up a Gavin Rossdale tour, and now we’re on tour with VAST.

On June 7th, we’re playing the Rockin Roots Festival in Bakersfield, CA. with Taking Back Sunday.

From June 9th to June 19th we’re touring with Dance Gavin Dance and The Audition.

After that, we’re gonna try to take a short week or two break in LA to tighten up the set even more. Then we’ll be right back on the road, hopefully for a good while.

In addition to touring, we are working on new music. We’re already planning out the songs for our next release and trying to be as prepared as possible for the next cycle of Endless Hallway.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

We are grateful and excited that people are interested in and enjoying our music, so thank you for the interview. And I hope everyone who listens to Autonomy Games has the pleasure of emerging into all the worlds it has to offer.

For more information on Endless Hallway, visit their website at http://www.endlesshallway.com/.

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