After just returning from a sold out tour of Europe, Endless Heights aren’t sparing a second, as they are already two shows deep into their national tour and locking themselves in for more international gigs to showcase their critically acclaimed album Vicious Pleasures to the world. Jem Siow took some time out of the busy schedule to have a chat with Tayla Sudall about the new album, the bands never-ending schedule and how Endless Heights came to be the remarkable band they are today.
Catch the interview below!
RR: Hey Jem, it’s Tayla from Rabbit, how are you going?
JS: Great thanks Tayla, how are you?
RR: I’m good thank you, what’ve you been up to today?
JS: Oh I just had some coffee, I’m actually in Melbourne at the moment just hangin’ out till tonight
RR: Oh cool! Is it cold down there?
JS: Nah it’s actually a beautiful day!
RR: Oh that’s good
JS: -laughs- I’m in the sun, it’s good!
RR: That’s nice, that’s really different ‘cause I’m in Queensland and it’s freezing here so –laughs- that’s weird
JS: What?! It should be the other way around!
RR: I know right? It’s strange, it’s windy and cold here it’s weird –laughs-
JS: That sounds like Melbourne
RR: Right? We’ve swapped –laughs- Um so, you guys have just wrapped up a sold out tour around Europe literally just like a couple of weeks ago, so how did that tour go?
JS: It was amazing, it was so, so good! It was actually… it was incredible because we’ve been once before and we played um, which was amazing for us to be over there the first time I mean we had a great time seeing all of Europe, some of us have never been, well most of us had never been there before but this time, the second time we got to go to a bunch of new places, the shows were also a lot more engaging, there were 8 sold out shows playing main support to Caseywho were an awesome band from over there, awesome music and really, really good guys and the whole experience was incredible, just being able to play to a really receptive crowd and I think they enjoyed it, overall we were feeling super positive and not that tired either
RR: Well that’s good! I was gonna ask did anyone get any really serious jet lag? –laughs-
JS: Oh well we were prepared for it but um, to be honest touring over there is much easier than in Australia because the shortest drive that we have in Australia is like 9 hours so for us it’s like, we’re used to that where as a normal drive in Europe is like 2 [hours] and you have a driver who does it for you
RR: -laughs- and you’re in another country in 2 hours, it’s crazy!
JS: Exactly! It’s like, luxury being in the back of a van being able to sleep and just drive 2 hours, wake up in another language –laughs-
RR: -laughs- that’s awesome! Did you have a favourite place that you played at? You said that it was um very engaging, was there anywhere in Europe that you felt more at home than the other countries?
JS: Aww, our favourite show I would say would be the London show, it was just… the first time we played there, there were like 40 people there, this was like a 300 head venue, sold out like 300 people
RR: Oh wow, that’s massively different!
JS: Yeah! It was the same venue and everything, it was awesome! And then the other show that was awesome was Budapest! It was like home town show almost –laughs-
RR: Oh really? –laughs-
JS: Yeah it was great!
RR: That’s awesome, so you guys don’t really give yourselves much of a break, like you’ve just gotten back from this tour and now you’ve announced all these supporting acts for your album tour for Vicious Pleasures um, so would you like to tell us about who you’ve lined up as your guests?
JS: So we’re really lucky to have Paradise Club from Adelaide doing their first tour um, they’re friends of ours who we’ve known and when they started their new band we were just blown away by how good the songs are! And they’re awesome, they’re joining us for the first time and Harbours from Melbourne who are also long time friends of ours and we’ve been wanting to play with them for years and it just finally lined up for us so we couldn’t be happier that the timing was right for both of them and they said yes!
RR: Yeah that’s awesome and you get to go on like a bit of a roadtrip with all your friends, that’ll be heaps of fun!
JS: Yeah it was awesome we just did Adelaide and Melbourne actually over the weekend, those were the first 2 shows of the tour and they both sold out, yeah it was amazing!
RR: Oh awesome! Congratulations!
JS: Thank you! They were definitely two of the best shows we’ve played, like, in Australia, it’s insane so yeah, couldn’t be happier right now!
RR: Yeah that’s great! Um and you’ve also lined up some different support bands at each of the venues that you’re going to, um, so how did you choose all of those bands? Did you just kind of hit them up on Facebook or like were they friends as well maybe?
JS: Well some of them are, as a band we like to um, have our hand very closely in everything that we do and it’s really important to us that we bring out bands that we respect and want to support and also bands that we wanna push personally, I think a big thing on this tour for us is just trying to bring more diversity to the line up, we’re trying to favour more friends bands of ours that have females involved just to kind of balance things out, um, I’ve gotta admit that’s something that we consciously did just because I know it’s something is quite relevant now in the music world and it’s something that was important to us ‘cause we recognise there is a bit of disparity, so, we’re really lucky to have some awesome bands around the place especially coming up at our next show in Brisbane we’ve got our friends back Empress who are like, an awesome female fronted, gothic, metal band, they’re opening so they’re amazing um, and ah in Sydney we’ve got a great band as well called Hey Lady who are opening up for us, we’ve never played with before so we’re really stoked to have them and then on the weekend on Saturday we had Caged Existence from Melbourne open up who are a female fronted hardcore band, um, super, super heavy and it was one of their first shows so, they’re mostly just friends of ours but yeah, stoked that they all said yes
RR: -laughs- that’s good, that’s good and it’s exciting getting all the girls in there and giving ‘em a shot so that’s awesome of ya’s… and so, Vicious Pleasures came out in March, how would you say this album differs from your previous albums?
JS: Well, the last album came out in 2013 and when we wrote it, I would’ve been 19 or 20 and going into this album we were like 23, 24 years old, so, the biggest difference definitely was just the impact of time you know, we definitely matured just in our personal lives a lot, you know, a lot of personal things had happened for us individually and just from touring as well, like, we grew up quite a lot in four years so I think, rather than being a conscious decision to actually change the musical direction or anything like that we just really went with our intuition and what worked, or what we felt was right for us at the time based on the circumstances of our personal lives and a lot of people have kinda said that it sounds a lot darker and people have described this record as quite emo and touching on a lot of personal themes where as the last few records were focussed on other broader kind of topics, and it honestly was just a coming of age I think over the last four years and um, and we did that actually consciously we wanted to take more time to write this record, we weren’t sure if we were gonna do another one. We’ve actually been a band for 10 years this year and the five of us have been playing without a member change so we told ourselves we’d commit to another album and we spent that time just figuring out what that would entail and also you know, how much we wanted to put into it and um, and I’m really glad that we did because we couldn’t be happier with how it came out
RR: Yeah, yeah you’ve had an amazing response to it so that’s great
JS: Thank you!
RR: So um, going back to the start you guys started out just as a bunch of mates in Sydney, so what was it that motivated you guys to start the band and get it going?
JS: Well, I’ve known everyone… I met everyone in the band in Year 7 when I was like 12
RR: Oh wow!
JS: We’ve all been friends since we were 12, I know Joel and Matt have been friends since they were 5
RR: Aw that’s cute –laughs-
JS: Yeah! We got it together and like, I was just going through my emo, metal, whatever phase – highschool teenage phase –laughs-
RR: -laughs- I think a lot of us went through that
JS: Yeah exactly, like we just never grew out of it –laughs- I remember my Mum introduced me to Joel, like she met Joel’s Mum and she was like
“there’s that red head boy, look out for him, his names Joel, he sings opera!” and I was like “aw yeah that’s sick I need a singer to start a band with” and I saw him in the corridor and I was like ‘Joel!’… I was like 12 so it would’ve been more like –high pitched voice- ‘Joel! Do you wanna start a band with me? Do you wanna start a metal band with me?’
JS: And I remember he looked at me, he was like ‘ah, okay’ and then kind of ran off and like, got the rest of his books and then ya know, we just started playing and we kept playing in cover bands and stuff until I turned 14, about Year 9, Year 10, and then we were like ‘let’s start playing in a band where we write our own music’ –laughs-
RR: -laughs- that’s awesome
JS: And that’s how Endless Heights pretty much started and the five of us have just been jamming since, we met Diaz through a local Battle of the Bands, he was playing in another band at the time and yeah um
RR: And you poached him!
JS: Yeah yeah! Well he was looking for another band to play in at the time I think, I dunno we were just kids and besides apart from being a band, the thing that I’ve been most proud of is that we’ve always been a group of friends first, and it’s really important to us you know, the family that we have, it’s first you know, which is why it took us a while to do this album you know, we respect that we all went through uni, or most of us went through uni and had jobs and went through high school and everything and we all compromised for each other to make this work and you know, being friends for this long it’s not an option for us to really swap someone out for someone else, you know it’s just the only way we know, it’s part of our culture and it’s a part of the way we do things so being adults now, or trying to be adults, we were tossing up, are we gonna keep doing this? Keep putting off work and keep putting off, you know, other commitments to tour and sleep on floors or you know, are we gonna stop this and do something else? But we all said no, we need to do another album and have our final say with this whole thing and that’s really what Vicious Pleasures was, it was us just giving it our all as if it was the last chance that we have and now we’re just trying to see it through and get as much out of it as possible with touring and everything else. We started off with like a, you know, play the local youth centre, you know, write a song, record a song and then after we did that, we just kept adding more things to the bucket list like play outside of Sydney – ok, put out an album –ok, tour overseas and you know, a lot of the time we had to do it ourselves, book shows and tours and yeah it just grew from that. So we’re just, still tickin’ off that list!
RR: That’s really awesome, it’s good that you guys kept at it because yeah, like you said, you played a show in London a few years ago and it was 40 people and now you’re selling it out like, that’s amazing
JS: It is, it is really special for us, it feels like we’re doing… when we think about it and think about like 10 years ago you know, this is what we dreamed about doing, we’re doing it, you know and we’re not the biggest band in the world by any means, I don’t even consider us a big band but the things that we’ve done are the things that we’ve dreamt of doing and we’re really grateful for it
RR: Yeah, no that’s awesome! And so I mean like, you guys have been uploading your music onto Triple J Unearthed since about 2015 so it’s only been a few years that your music’s really been like, out there, in people’s faces for them to see um, and now you’re already lining up album tours all over Australia and playing sold out shows around Europe, so what does that feel like to you guys? Like, I know you said it feels good but is it ever overwhelming or um, stressful at all?
JS: it is definitely everything you would ever imagine to… being in a band is like being in a relationship you know what I mean?
JS: It’s literally like driving a relationship with four other guys and especially with something that’s you know, when it’s created you’re all so passionate about it personally that… it’s stressful, it’s completely like, it can put you in the lowest points ever because it means so much to you but at the same time it’s what brings the greatest gratification to you, you know? So, putting out this record has been extremely overwhelming. The response is insane you know, reading reviews around the world like, people calling it ‘album of the year’ and you know, people doing 10 minute video blogs about it from America and stuff it’s just weird ‘cause I just wrote these songs in my bedroom
RR: Yep –laughs-
JS: But at the same time yeah, definitely been totally stressful but we’ve done this for so long that we know that none of this comes easily, you’ve gotta really put it in and we’ve been a band for this long and I know selling out the Northcote Social Club and selling out, [other venues], last year they were big milestones for us but they’re also things that bands have done within three years, there are bands that have started like… there are many bands that have started in the time that we’ve been together who have done bigger things much faster than us but for us, you know, kind of just taking it in our own path and doing things our own way so, for us to be here right now is really special and I’m just glad that the hardwork is really, really paying off now and continuing too
RR: Yeah, it’s been worth your while, that’s good! And so what do you think it is that’s helped you guys to really ahh, make a name for yourself? Like um, some bands really struggle to just get off the ground and start gigging and touring, so what is it that you think has helped your band to get out there?
JS: Well, I think the biggest thing first and foremost is that we’ve always believed in ourselves and we’ve always had our own goals for what we wanted to achieve, I told you about that bucket list right?
JS: And that bucket list just keeps growing and you know, if we weren’t able to do it, you know, international tour with the help of someone else… we couldn’t for a long time, the first international tour we did was South East Asia in 2014 I think, 2015, and I booked that over Facebook Messenger–laughs- with a guy I’d never met from Indonesia
JS: You know, we just believe in ourselves and just, you know, do what we want and that’s the first thing. Secondly I think it’s just that we’ve always gone into everything with no expectations you know, so um, so I guess I feel that we’re quite grateful for things that have happened to us and because of that we seem to make a lot of friends and we can get along with people really well and we’re just about having a good time and everything otherwise there’s no point to it, you know? So we seem to just make good company and make friends everywhere and in this kind of world that’s important to have networking and have people that want to support you and that’s just come kind of naturally to us so definitely just, making friends everywhere has been a very, very important thing for us as a band
RR: Yeah! That’s good. And so have you guys sorted any plans for after this tour? Will you guys be taking a break? I think you guys deserve a bit of a break –laughs-
JS: -laughs- we’re trying to um, ‘cause this is our first Australian show since the album came out and we’re trying to tour as much as possible um, we have more international tours coming up this year
RR: Oooo exciting!
JS: So, yep, and we have more Australian tours coming up so, I can’t say what they are but we have just locked those away over the last few days now actually so it is really exciting times
RR: Yeah! Well that’s mad! Well, cool as, so thank you so much for taking some time to talk to me today and I’m wishing you and the rest of the guys the best of luck on this tour
JS: Oh it’s a pleasure! Thank you so much, I appreciate the call and I appreciate your time as well, it’s awesome that..
RR: Aw thank you –laughs-
JS: -laughs- it’s awesome that you’re interested, it means a lot!
RR: -laughs- aw alright well yeah, thank you and I hope you enjoy the rest of your afternoon in Melbourne!
JS: Will do, thank you so much!