It was a regular afternoon in Los Angeles. Sweat running down my chest, the whirling sound of cars racing down Hollywood Blvd, and some sirens echoing far off in the distance. I was partaking in my ritualistic music site search, when I spotted probably the sexiest man I have ever seen next to Bradley Cooper. He was a British drummer in a metal band. Up until that moment, that changed my life I had absolutely no clue about metal music, let alone the entire genre. So this metal newbie was about to go undercover and up-close to an entire new scene of music, in attempts to not only make the drummer know I was his new biggest fan, but to witness if this band could transition from catching my eyes, to maintaining my ears.
After hours of research on metal music and bands, clicking repeat about a thousand times, I finally felt confident in my new-found metal background. So, I virtually traveled to the land of accents, scones (God’s gift to breakfast), high tea, and manners (something I knew I had to brush up on before emerging myself among the proper). I found my dream man and his band, in the city of Bristol, nestled between Bath and Weston-Super Mare. This was the official birthplace to the up coming phenomena Endeavour. But it was quite an awakening to discover that Bristol was home to many aspiring metal groups striving to achieve “stardom”. In a city where every other band is competing to be a “rock star”. My immediate question was how would Endeavour weed through the competition?
Endeavour ‘s a new and upcoming band, comprised of four members, each bringing a strong sense of personality and uniqueness. Their music would be categorized as progressive metal, but they still manage to incorporate a rare aspect about them, which can turn even the most cynical into a fanatic. Their musical stylings definitely follow influences from Iron Maiden and Dream Theater, but their musicality and unison when playing is purely mind blowing and very distinct. The idea for the band emerged over two years ago, formulated by the bassist and the guitarist. They were in search of the perfect members therefore have only recently became a solid band. They have performed three times, and are off to a wonderful start, as within the third performance they were already receiving radio requests, and were aired on DJ Beastie’s rock station throughout the UK. So what is the formula that lies behind this new band’s success?
I was able to get in contact with my crush George Russell (the drummer). Ever since I discovered Endeavour, I had been formulating what exactly I would say to him if we were ever able to talk. “Are you single?” “Can I have your number?” but the only words that managed to escape my slightly trembling lips was “Hi, may I interview your band for my article for a musical blog site in the U.S.?”
Luckily for me, it was via telephone and I was not able to fully embarrass myself. He seemed enthusiastic about the blog, and said he would contact his band members and get back to me. From what I learned thus far in Los Angeles, “get back to you” in the entertainment industry is also known as “fuck off”. Ending the conversation there was a bit of fear and apprehension, but I stayed optimistic.
To my surprise, the next day around midnight I received a call from George and thought I was dreaming. Shockingly, I was awake, and he was calling to notify me that I would be able to interview the band members and gave me their contact information. The euphoria I received when I pressed the end button on my phone solidified that my quest to discover Endeavour’s secret was back on. Interviews were set up via Skype, where I was able to undergo heart to heart conversations with each individual member. Not many bands, take the time out of there busy schedules due to gigs, performances, and rehearsals to give outsiders one on one attention.
I started with Ben Hands the bassist. He has been playing bass for ten years, and to my pleasant surprise was very sentimental.
Gimmie Noise: What do you enjoy about being in a band?
Ben Hands: The idea of creating something together. Working in a collaboration to make music. Taking ideas that myself or others in the band may have and coming together as a group to turn preconceived ideas into something our own, it is merely the thought of simply being able to create, and having that creative freedom. In our group we trade new ideas making our own melting pot of inspiration.
Gimmie Noise: What is your motivation in terms of playing in the band?
Ben Hands: My motivation really lays in our listeners and our fans, not to be cliché. When I am on stage and I’m out there doing my best, to really produce the best musical quality and energy I have. I leave it all out there to the fans and the feedback and responses we get in return is what motivates me. For me, playing metal is not just the physical movements my fingers make to the strings, it’s mental, it’s emotional, it’s positive energy circling around the room, and we all gain from that energy that’s revolving around us.
The next member in the line up was Lain “GT” Davies the band’s guitarist who has been playing since the age of thirteen. Iain was funny yet inspiring. His ability to correlate his life’s experiences to music is astounding.
Gimmie Noise: What are your personal motivations that drive you to gain success?
Lain “GT’ Davies: There has been studies that metal music directly relates to masculinity. Growing up you could say I did not have the easiest childhood. It was rather difficult, because my dad died when I was fifteen years old, so for me music goes beyond the playing and hits more of a personal level. Music transforms into a therapeutic outlet for me. My personal experiences make me who I am, and inspires me to be the best musically.
Gimmie Noise: What do you feel sets you apart from other metal bands in the UK?
Lain “GT” Davies: We are defined as progressive metal, but we are different because we incorporate various aspects, in terms of rhythms, beats, and influences. We are not the typical pristine metal band; we are a little rough around the edges. We find ways to highlight and blend classic and and catchy rhythms. We are able to connect and appeal to a broader group of individuals, and being able to reach out to not only the progressive metal scene but other metal genres as well. Being able to accommodate we find is really vital in our key to success and uniqueness. In terms of our connection, I like to follow the quote; “Being in a band is the closest you can get to another guy without having sex”. I mean me and the other band members we have such a good dynamic and understanding for each other, we all have the same feel and goal which is to just make music, and create ideas. As our end result is just to please our audience, and having the connection we have definitely gives us an advantage, there is no bull shit, we are never trying to be something were not. We are just Endeavour.
Next to be interviewed was George Russell. He is definitely the shy quiet one in the group, but of course that just turned me on even more as that accounts for the underlying mystery behind his eyes. George has been playing drums for twelve years, and not only has spectacular chops, but is an exceptional musician.
Gimmie Noise: Being the only member of Endeavour that had a proper audition process what was that experience like?
George Russell: Lain and Ben tried to recreate a similar audition process to Dream Theater when they were in search of a drummer. They sent me a song to rehearse and really focused in on having improv skills. Being able to have the specific improv skills they were in search of was a vital component that they were definitely looking for in a drummer. I was a bit nervous at first, but they did a good job at creating a relaxed environment, which truly allowed me to freely access my creativity and innovation.
Gimmie Noise: What type of feelings was going through your mind when you first heard your song on the radio?
George Russell: It was a bit surreal to be honest. I was listening to our track and was thinking “Hey I play drums on that song”. I did do the cliché thing of telling all my family and friends to make sure they listen to us on the radio when our song was about to be played.
The final member to get interviewed was the lead singer, Chris Hawkins who was very outgoing and friendly. Chris does an awesome job at handling the social aspects of the band.
Gimmie Noise: How do you feel you personally contribute to the band’s success?
Chris Hawkins: Well I’ve been a vocalist now for about five years, and I’ve been gigging pretty consistently for the past four. I have plenty of experience to refer to as a front man. I’ve built up a pretty good idea of how to get a crowd going, and also how to not piss them off! So, I guess in some ways in a live situation, I kind of act as the human interaction between the crowd and the music. I think as a front man you have the potential to grab people’s attention and open their ears to the music, but then you also have the potential to alienate them. Regardless of the pressure that arises at times, I do my best. Every audience is different.
Gimmie Noise: What types of emotions do you feel right before a performance?
Chris Hawkins: Apprehension, nerves, excitement. Mostly excitement. I’ve definitely grown a lot more confident. A few years back I used to really get in a ‘zone’ before a gig. I’d get really quiet and kind of shut off about an hour before performing and all I’d think about was the performance. But now that I’ve done so many gigs I can relax before I go on. I usually do all my vocal warm-ups before I even leave the house, so I’m not worried about them before the show. When I am there I just focus on getting the right vibe. The more relaxed you are, the more confident you can be on stage, and the crowd picks up on that.
It was after the final interview that I had discovered their secret to success. There uniqueness, and accomplishments are not restricted to their phenomenal skills, or musicality; it is a combination of extreme talent, friendships and the ability to grow. They are the ideal combination of hard working guys that make the band what they want it to become. They have a true care for their audience and appreciation for the individual, no one person is too small, and their grounded outlook on life has taken them a long way. I want to thank all of the band members for their time in interviewing with me; and for anyone curious I did get a chance to talk with George on a personal level and am proud to say were continue to talk. I guess dreams do come true. At least it has for Endeavour. I hope you find the same talent and appeal that I do when listening to their music. Check out there Facebook, sound cloud, and look for upcoming shows and dates enlisted below!
Upcoming Shows: May 22, At The Croft, Bristol, United Kingdom
Filed under: Band Review