June 28, 2013 Interview: Gil Bitton talks resurrection of Endo
Endo came on the metal scene in the late 1990’s. After years of touring and creating their sound they released their major label debut Evolve in 2001. With killer tracks like “Suffer”, “Leave Us Alone”, and “Malice” the band craved a name for themselves in the metal world. In 2003 the band looked to expand their sound with the album Songs For The Restless. With their most mature and cohesive piece of work to date they toured on the Ozzfest in 2003 among Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, Marilyn Manson and many more. In 2007 Endo went on hiatus which inevitably appeared to be end of of the band. In 2012 due to a driving desire to bring Endo back to life lead man Gil Bitton relaunched Endo. Recently we sat down with Gil for a in depth conversation about passion for music, art, life and the future of Endo.
Crypticrock.com- Endo formed back in 1995 and you released the albums Evolve in 2001 and Songs For The Restless in 2003. You played Ozzfest in 2003 as well. The band went on hiatus in 2007 and 5 years later Endo is back. Tell me how the reformation of the band began?
Gil Bitton- It wasn’t as complex as it seems. We took a hiatus, we were dropped by our record label. We were on a pretty big record label in Columbia Records, they have Beyonce and all these big acts that they market. We were just kind of like that band they threw in there and sort of gave it a shot and I guess we weren’t selling millions of records so they kind of put us on the back burner. That was a real blow for us mentally. I was personally going into other avenues in music as far as genre is considered. I like all types of music, some of my favorite bands growing up with The Cure and Depeche Mode and these great 80’s and 90’s alternative acts. I kind of went on that hiatus for a while, got into some bad drug use, got into the wrong crowd, and kind of gave Endo a good body kick for a while. I finally came to the realization that Endo is always what I wanted to do. It is a part of me and it stood out more than anything else I was doing, I wanted to really give it another shot. My old drummer Joel came in and offered that we get in touch with Eli Parker , the guitar player, we did and went into the band room, starting playing the and it was just like it was. The energy was still there, the magic was still there, the intensity was still there. We said let’s just do this, let’s make this happen, it’s a dream of ours and why not.
Crypticrock.com- That is great that you came to that realization and I am sure that many fans are happy. Yourself and Eli Parker are the two original members from Endo. Was it difficult to find new members to work with that were on the same wave length as you as far as the direction you wanted to go?
Gil Bitton- No it wasn’t hard to find the other two members. Our bass player before that was in Endo from the beginning Zelick, he is one of my best friends, I practically begged him to be in this band but he was going a different route. So we got Derrick Gormely and he turned out to be quite a gem. He’s a really great bass player, he is so dedicated and enthusiastic about making this happen again. We started out with Joel Suarez in the band, he part much got us going, then his life was taking a turn, he had twins and he couldn’t really tour anymore. We have a new drummer named Grover III, he’s been so fantastic throughout this whole thing. He came and he just killed it, and we are just really happy to have him in the band. He’s definitely a trooper, he loves the road, he’s a road warrior and we need that coming back into the game. Rock right now isn’t want it uses to be, it uses to be a lot more accepted and popular I feel and now the electronic element is taking over. I really believe that we need to come back to the raw essences of music, as well as everything, we need to come back to basics as far as spirit, as far as music, as far as life. We need that raw passion and we’re really happy about what we’re doing right now.
Crypticrock.com- I tend to agree with you with the raw aspect of music. Everything seems so over processed now and there is nothing organic about music coming out now a days. Auto tuning and whatever other studio trickery they are using it just doesn’t seem like it’s really. The albums Evolve and Songs For The Restless were two very different albums. Both filled with great tracks but different. How do you think the fans responded to the bands change in sound believe it out not a decade ago?
Gil Bitton- Some that had more of an open mind to music accepted it obviously. The others that kept themselves in a metal box mentality did not like it. Personally I think it showed a wide range of elements. Granted that we have an open heart and mind I think us as humans have such a wide spectrum of thoughts and emotions. That is where the album came from, it took a bit of a turn. It was almost like two different bands you are right, but it was true. It came from us, it came from the heart and it was what it was whether people accepted it or they did not. It wasn’t forced and it was very natural. It wasn’t as consistent as most people like to see, I guess we just gave it a shot.
Crypticrock.com- It was a great record. It’s a shame that some people may have not given it a chance because it has some really great songs on it. Endo has been actively playing shows for the past year now. You are actively working on some new material. What can fans expect to hear from the new songs and when can we expect to hear a new album?
Gil Bitton- It’s funny that you mention before that the album Evolve to Songs For the Restless were two different albums. What we’re feeling now is a more aggressive approach to what is going on behind the scenes of the government. What is happening as far as the darkness and evil that is going on in our society and our nation. With Monsanto and the poison of our crops, the fluoride put in our drinking water, all these deceptions that completely disregard human life and consciousness. It’s almost unfathomable that this is happening, because of what I would consider human greed and capitalism. Greed for the most part that we are demonizing this planet, we are cutting down the lungs of this planet, we’re destroying our forest and destroying natural. It’s so sad that human beings can do this, so our approach as the band now is to bring back the elements of that which makes us human. The elements that make this earth possible, this earth needs a lot of love, it’s being destroyed, it’s totally being destroyed. We need to come back to our roots, we need to come back to spirit, we need to come back to nature. We have to get away from the media, we need to get away from the propaganda, the hypocrisy, it’s so poisoned, it’s so polluted. We are really need to come back to ourselves, we’re divided by race, we’re divided by culture, we’re divided in so many ways that we don’t see ourselves as human beings anymore. The simplicity of being humans is gone. I quote this “we’re one consciousness having different experiences”, we need to realize that we are of this earth. I don’t care if I sound corny but it needs to be said that, we need to heal this planet, and we need to heal ourselves and our differences. That’s important to me and that’s the message that I want to get out there. The approach against this poison is aggressiveness, we are coming out very aggro it seems like. It just seems appropriate at the time and that’s what we’re doing.
Crypticrock.com- The new material is obviously going to be very aggressive and deep. Now as far as your vocal approach on the new record is going to be a mix of your aggressive vocals and singing as well?
Gil Bitton- It depends on the song. The song takes on its own theme, yes I am going to sing and I’m going to be screaming. The parts that I need to express, that I need to sing, that I’m trying to saying something in a very normal tone, I am going to sing. The parts that I need to express more aggressively I am going to yell them out. That’s what I do, these things come naturally for me and it really depends on the song. I don’t knock these bands that scream all the time but I just think that there needs to be another voice within the voice, you need to have that dichotomy. That is what I try to do.
Crypticrock.com- It’s good to have that balance. It’s a wide range of emotions, just screaming is just one emotion, you need to mix them up. With the new material being worked on will Endo be hitting the road supporting of the new material?
Gil Bitton- We have been doing a lot of runs, we just did a run with Primer 55 and Allele. We are also doing a tour starting July 5th for 6 weeks with a band called Sunburn coming on it for a copy of runs. We are pretty much doing the rest of it ourselves. We’re really happy, we were out with Primer 55 and they were amazing, just great cats. The lead singer Bobby was in Soulfly for about 8 years playing bass. It was exciting to meet him because I love Sepultura and Soulfly. We were on tour with Sepultura (without Max) back in the day , with Hatebreed and Puya, that was an amazing tour for us. We’re pretty much starting out again, we are a little bit older and we a lot more mature. It’s definitely there now, were conscious of everything we are doing now and we are doing it obviously for the love of music again. After this we are looking forward to possibly going on tour with Slaves on Dope. We have a big festival here in Miami and Virginia Key in November called The Friends of Nature Music festival with Matisyahu and Reel Big Fish and all these bands. I’m sure we’ll being do a lot more tour dates before then, check out the Endo page endorocks.com and like us on facebook.
Crypticrock.com- That is something to look forward to. You mentioned about all the bands you toured with some of the bands you toured with in the past. Look back on your experiences recording two albums, extensive touring with bands like Megadeth and bands on the Ozzfest what do you think you can take from that and apply it to Endo in 2013?
Gil Bitton- We know what it’s like to be on the road so we’re experienced enough to be on the road. Like I said back when we were on tour with these people I personally wasn’t all there on a maturity level, I wish I knew then what I know now. My experiences were a dream come true, going on tour with Megadeth, one of the first records I got as a child was “So Far So Good So What”. To sit down with Dave Mustaine and have a nice catering lunch with him right before we played was very surreal (laughs). All these things were very surreal for me in the past. Meeting all these great bands like Hatebreed, Sepultura, Puya, Korn, Manson, and all these great acts I uses to look up to. Being on the road with them and meeting Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne on the Ozzfest was quite surreal. I’m really looking forward to this year and the next years for Endo to be its own entity and right up there with everyone else. Really bring a message of positivity mostly, a message of healing, and everything else that comes along with life. The darkness, the passion, and everything else that life has to offer.
Crypticrock.com- Endo had a great sound back in the day and I am sure many are looking forward to the new material. It seems like you have a wide range of tastes in music, Depeche Mode and The Cure. I’d like to know what some of your other musical influences are?
Gil Bitton- Growing up as a child I was listening to metal like Sabotage and Sanctuary. The Scorpions, Foreigner and all these great bands, there’s so much. Then I go into Depeche Mode and The Cure. Then Sepultura, Megadeth, Metallica. Just a wide range of music, I was never stuck on one genre of music, I never boxed myself. Now I am listening to classical music. I really like the Deftones, Pink Floyd obviously, The Doors, Zeppelin. Bands that had the mysticism, I want to bring the mysticism back to music, the rawness, that was a beautiful time. Hendrix and everything else, it was just such amazing art. The 70’s were just a great time for music as well as the 80’s Nothing really beats the time of Zeppelin, Hendrix and Floyd. There was just so much spirit in that music hence the drugs.
Crypticrock.com- I understand what you’re saying completely. you bring up spirituality. I think that often people mistaken religion for spirituality and I think they are two completely different things. Do you agree?
Gil Bitton- Absolutely. I don’t knock religion, I don’t knock anything that is going to bring positivity. Religion does divide and that’s the big thing, the division. Your catholic, I’m Christian, I’m Jewish, I’m Buddhist, I’m this, I’m that. Spiritually brings human being together. It shows that there is no division, it shows that the blood runs through your veins as it does mine, and your heart pumps as well as mine. You have emotions just like I do, these things are what’s important. Not some entity that is in the sky that is looking over us and that is going to send us to hell if we do what’s “morally” wrong. We’ve been so conditioned as species to your born, you have to go to school, you have to do this, you have to listen to this, the media tells you what to do. It’s just like the movie “They Live” OBEY, you have to obey this and you have to obey that. They are not giving human beings a chance to expand their consciousness. With that divide I feel like that is how the elite ruling class are ruling humanity. It goes back to divide and conquer and that is the essences of what is happening. We have to expand our consciousness, we have to come back to basics.
Crypticrock.com- I agree with you. You mentioned the movie “They Live”. That is the perfect segue into my last question for you which is pertaining to horror films. Crypticrock.com covers all forms of rock music and horror movies so we like to focus on both areas. Do you have a favorite horror film?
Gil Bitton- Wow I am such a big fan of horror films, I always loved to be scared as a child. One of the movies that scared that shit out of me as a child was “The Shining”. Why? Because of the twins, the twins in the hallway traumatized me as a child. The Exorcist was almost too much to watch, it still is to this day isn’t it? It’s so disturbing. Evil Dead and Phantasm. I don’t get scared as much these days but you know what was good “VHS”. It takes a lot to scare me these days, horror films are not what they uses to be.
Crypticrock.com- I agree they aren’t, I like the older ones. I have always been a fan of the older ones. You try to be open to different things, but it just seems like the new films are just rehashed ideas or just really weak story lines. They just do not have the atmosphere anymore.
Gil Bitton- Right, if it does have the atmosphere it’s digital, it’s over produced. People don’t want to be scared by being over produced, that’s why “The Blair Witch Project” made it so huge. It was the beginning of the VHS recorder, very raw footage, as if it was real life. People need to bring back the essence of real life horror.