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Endseeker's Jury Kowalczyk: "So, as a band, we stand for cohesion, peace, participation and freedom. We should not accept injustice. That is what we are about at our core"

Interview with Jury Kowalczyk from Endseeker
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 28 March 2021, 10:00 PM

With mankind coming closer into a crossroad, a threshold where a decision will have to be made about the future. A kind of mutual decision making of the great powers, whether to try to coexist or slowly perish, as they take the rest of us with them down below. There has always been the balance between so-called good and evil, however, it became a never-ending cycle that has to be stopped with the end of hostilities. People need to understand that compassion and reaching out to one another would prolong their future existence. However, that time has yet to come, perhaps in the coming future, let's hope for that. Germany's Death Metal export, Endseeker, became determined even more on their new record, "Mount Carcass", stating their anguish. Steinmetal talked to Jury Kowalczyk of the band, in regards to his perceptions and perspective of the new record, musical development and a little Kurt Russell.

Hello Jury, it is a pleasure to have you for this conversation for Metal Temple online Magazine, how are things going on your end?

Hey, we thank you! Everything is fine with us at the Endseeker - Camp. The circumstances are how they are, because of the pandemic… But we are trying to cope with it and are mainly preparing for our streaming concert on 04/18/2021, which we will play at the “Knust” – Club in Hamburg. Concert tickets are available in our store and we are really looking forward to it. Otherwise, we are in the middle of the promotion for "Mount Carcass" and can hardly wait for the record to finally be released on 04/16/2021.

This pandemic has been an integral part of our lives in the past year or so, and for what it seems, at least in Europe, there is a way to go forward in relation to getting out of this situation. How do you see this going from your end? Is there an actual hope from the people around you or what you are hearing from various individuals?

I think there are quite a few different opinions here. There is hope that things can finally return to normal with vaccinations from the fall, but also a lot of frustration for different reasons, which I can all understand. Some industries and the people behind it are, after all, virtually sacrificed, while elsewhere incomprehensible political decisions are made. Why, for example, you can fly to Mallorca again on vacation, but not go out to eat and open your restaurant. That's just the way it is. But, the virus is real, I know that first hand, because a relative of my cousin has died in the meantime, he had no pre-existing conditions by the way… And I have a partner who is studying medicine, and she has also seen the really bad effects while working. But at least she already got her first vaccination, so something is slowly moving. But no matter who you listen to, they all want this crap to finally end soon. Me too.

So why are we talking about the pandemic, at least for a bit? It is due to the probability that it set you guys off as Endseeker on a form of an attack wave on the social order of the ruling powers. What ticked you off exactly? Enough is enough?

The pandemic was just one reason that inspired us to question things.  So were other worrying currents, just to mention the right-wing development of our societies, conspiracy theorists, corrupt leaders, and the brutalization of the global culture of conversation. There really is enough bad shit in the world where you can feel injustice. Trust is fading. And that's not a good development. And we make Death Metal and not Happy Metal, so it was natural for us to process our thoughts on this. Certain global developments are indeed, in our perception, slowly taking over. There have always been destabilizing developments, but the world is becoming more and more divided and crazy, and actual democratic coexistence is being eroded more and more. We are just concerned about that.

Your new album, titled “Mount Carcass”, appears to deal with aspects of course reality that haven’t been foreign to anyone but rather known and disturbing. What kind of message were you anxious to set out through the album? Are you perhaps offering a solution to the problems that you are showcasing?

It's one aspect of the record. But we haven't suddenly become a thoroughly political band and are also entertainers, so to speak. There are still rather carefree topics with us, like for example the zombie - lyrics of "Unholy Rites". Things that are allowed to be fun in Death Metal. That is just as important from time to time. It's not all hard and we mustn't forget to have good times either. So it doesn't matter to be diverse here.

I don't know if it wouldn't be presumptuous to claim here that we 5 guys would deliver solutions based on our themes. I know, although I am not a politician, but only a politically interested person, that global solutions and currents are very complex. Perhaps our quintessence of the more political issues is not to forget that exclusionary, power-centered, right-wing and anti-democratic to fascist tendencies in the world have traditionally always produced global misfortune. And unfortunately, the climate is tilting again. So remember, we all have to stick together. We are all human beings who should have the same rights and live in peace. And democratic leaders should work for us, who stand for society and good values and are not in office to enrich themselves and their followers and oppress people. So, as a band, we stand for cohesion, peace, participation and freedom. We should not accept injustice. That is what we are about at our core.

I have heard many people say that man, in its origins, is evil. In fact, that notion appears to be hand in hand with what you are displaying in the album’s artwork. The main elements that may turn people to become corrupted, losing their dignity, is to an extent the media, money, power and weapons. How do you view these aspects of our past and present? Is it bound to be the future?

People can actually be extremely evil, cruel and corrupt, especially in masses and organizations. But I am convinced that human beings are not born that way. Nobody wants to live in and with disharmony, fear and violence. But people, unfortunately, adapt. People who grow up with violence and exploitation and lack of love and empathy will eventually not be able to pass on anything positive. Therefore, it is important to stand up for societies that want to provide resources fairly for all, so that humanity can develop positively and with equal opportunities.

Unfortunately, the human being also struggles with bad qualities, with self-centered and evil demons as well as envy. Opportunity then quickly makes thieves. People favor and enrich themselves, especially if they think they are invulnerable and more powerful than society. Many wars have been committed by megalomaniacal and empathy-less leaders at the expense of the population. Unfortunately, I am enough of a realist to know that this could happen again, especially in light of current developments. Every now and then it is frustrating to see how quickly humanity forgets and similar things happen again. I wish it was different. Hopefully, humanity will eventually be able to live together in peace and not exploit each other and bash each other's heads in. In my opinion, love can so often be seen in individual subjects. But in social conditions it quickly becomes more difficult and cruel. Unfortunately, I don't know if this can ever be overcome, and it hurts and provides these lyrics that appear on the new record. That's what the artwork expresses, correct.

When you listen to your own tunes on the subject, along with taking a peek at the artwork, do you fear for what could become of us? Has it ever crossed your mind that it can happen tomorrow?

Of course that comes to mind, that's what we mean, as just described. Resist the beginnings. Wake up. There are massive undesirable developments worldwide and we all don't want any new world wars, do we? If we all fight against each other, what will that lead to? You don't have to be a political scientist to recognize the tensions and injustice. If we don't all start to look after each other again and deal with each other socially, it will continue to explode.

In light of the negativity within the spirit of the record, which is the picture of dystopia, but with hints towards our current state of affairs, do you find any comfort in anything?

Of course. Like I said, I think I can speak for all of us that we don't see humanity itself as a malevolent being. I enjoy my friendships with my good souls. I enjoy making music, being creative and playing live (hopefully again soon) with the band, messing around, discovering great new places and people and so much more. You can't let these issues break you either. But it is just as important to remain aware of the undesirable developments and to admonish that. In that respect, life is a scale and the positive should die last. With a certain awareness, we can perhaps change things for the better. We are not a band that wants to promote depression…but as I said, we create awareness and speak our mind. And as I said, we also have enough light-hearted topics, of course always in the Death Metal context. Shrunken heads for example, like in "Cult", haha… So, we must not leave out the laughter.

Entrusting yourselves by the Swedish Death Metal meat grinding machine, which your sound is also derived from, you certainly made a heavier export with the coming of “Mount Carcass”. How do you view the band’s musical development while working on the album?

Actually, we continued to write without thinking and acted out unconstrained as usual. The basic ingredients have remained the same, in my opinion. But we tightened up the song structures and wrote songs that get to the point and have massive hooks despite all the aggression. We just had a natural desire for songs that drive forward and also work in the live - situation. I think we succeeded quite well.

If there is one thing that musicians do, especially when wishing to become better and present a level up material in quality in comparison to previous work, is to look back and learn from possible mistakes. Would you say that there were lessons learned while working on “Mount Carcass”? What were they?

What we might have learned from Mount Carcass is probably yet to be seen. But from the previous recordings we learned that we are always the strongest when our songs drive straight forward. Also, this time we didn't want an over-compressed sound, but rather a more natural sound, so we deliberately recorded more analog and without samples, replacements - sounds or triggers. You can hear us people on the recording, there is a much bigger dynamic on "Mount Carcass" than ever before. We also did a vocal pre-production for the first time. We realized that this is important for us to be able to deliver more focused and it really paid off.

In a matter of perception, would you say that “Mount Carcass” is a much more straightforward record than your previous albums? 

Yes, I would say that. We've never been a heady band and we're not Prog - fans, but we've never sounded as focused as we do on "Mount Carcass". I like all our records though, just to be clear. But overall I'm just absolutely happy with how this new record turned out.

Certainly one of the elements that are noticeable on the album, which is my favorite, and frankly it is hard to escape from, are the melodies. Tough as the music is, grinding and puking blood, it shows signs of induction of melodies, even though not through solos. How do you find the melody aspect as a booster for the effort of the album?

Thanks mate. I find melodies incredibly important, which has always been the case. They provide dynamics and the hard parts only become more powerful. Melodies also give a song a common thread. I also think that some of our strongest leads are immortalized on the new disc. But we've always had a certain sense of melody on all of our releases, as I said. But maybe this time we revealed it a little more consciously and mixed it more obviously as well. Equally, I think that we have not forfeited hardness and brutality. The mixture makes it.

Eike Freese, your engineer, did you an amazing service by implementing everything that is needed for you guys to sound grand. No doubt one of the reasons that “Mount Carcass” sounds rich. What is your appreciation of Freese’s work? How do you capture the band’s sound on the record?

Eike is super. We have worked with him every time so far. Above all, we had the feeling that with Eike we had improved every time in terms of production.  This time in particular, this is especially audible. We have never sounded so organic. In my perception, this is also one of the biggest developments of all of us as a team. I can hardly imagine that we will leave this analog way again. Eike has also supported us totally on this path, miced the instruments very well, for example, and spurred us on to top performance. I think he himself is also very happy about the lively result. As I said, on this record you can really hear us and our raw instruments and this created a very different and powerful sound. You can feel the air that was moving during the recording.

I think that the song that truly seized the problematic situation we are in is “Count The Dead”. With its Bolt Throwerish musical direction, it delivers things that logical folks should be worried about. Furthermore, as I stated, it is mighty heavy and achingly melodic as an old school Death Metaller. What is your take on this track, both musically and philosophically?

You've got that right. "Count The Dead" is certainly the most ostensibly political song, which puts the finger directly into the painful wound and names the grievances lyrically.

Musically, it combines this with a certain melancholy, especially because of the guitar melodies in the chorus. I believe that exactly this mood also contributes to making the song so approachable with its message. We not only express our anger about the conditions, but you can also share our feeling about it, the despair you have when you sit in front of the TV and have to endure all this shit. The song has a great purity and I hope that transfers to the listener and stimulates thought and sharpens the democratic consciousness. We all surely do not want to return to a time where right-wing forces and despots take power.

When I checked the tracklist, the “Escape From New York” had my attention right from the start. Also, I completely forgot that it was its 40th anniversary, it is one hell of a movie. Other than paying respects to the film, I have the feeling that you had other reasons for picking that theme, as what the movie’s content suggests in terms of total loss of social control and the decay of man.  What are your thoughts?

Ah okay, that's a really clever thought. Maybe cleverer than ours, haha…I could construct something there now and that would actually fit totally well, but the banal truth is that Ben in particular is a huge fan of the film and has been playing the theme on guitar for years. And he awakened the fire in us and we then rehearsed and recorded the thing. But maybe the further message behind it is a happy and magical coincidence, who knows :-). For me this instrumental - outro is musically seen for example in tradition to what Entombed did back then with the "Hellraiser" - track on the Hollowman EP. It is in my opinion an atmospheric conclusion of the record. That it was then unknowingly discovered by us at the anniversary time is of course another happy coincidence.

Since it was your first time covering an instrumental track, what can you tell about the experience? How were you able to maintain the darkness of the original theme? Would you say that it might become a routine to go for instrumental and old school movie themes?

I don't think something like that will become routine for us. For us it was rather a new experiment. Before that, we just covered other metal bands, which was also a lot of fun. We just like to face new things as well. So let's wait and see if and what we come up with next. Maybe there will be no cover at all at some point. Covering the song in “Endseeker - Style” was pretty easy. Somehow we were in the flow and in the rehearsal room the thing stood immediately. But Ben had taken care of all the polyphonic melodies beforehand and also presented a demo, so we could approach it quite purposefully. Then everyone contributed his own ideas and we were done. It was definitely a good and also uncomplicated experience.

Let’s take a look at 2021, is there a hope for it when it comes to live shows? Have you scheduled anything for this year?

We will play the streaming show on 04/18/2021 as we said. Otherwise, our booking agency is currently also in touch with some requests for Corona - conform festivals outdoors. We accept all this, but of course we have to wait and see how things and regulations develop. Otherwise, the further extended planning goes rather into the year 2022, where we are currently also planning a larger tour. Wait and see!

Jury, many thanks for this interview, it was amazing to get your insights about the new record, and everything that took place around it. It is a great listen and I am sure that it would make waves. All the best.

Lior, we thank you for your support! Stay healthy! Best, Jury


 



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