Save Ends (USA) Interview

Save Ends from Boston, USA are an emo-punk band consisting of (photo FLTR) Tom (guitar), Brendan (vocals/keyboard), Burton (drums), Christine (vocals/guitar) and Brad (bass). Milo from Radio Radius spoke to them after they opened up Obenuse Fest IV in the Hafenkneipe on May 5, 2018. In this interview, they talk about their album A Book About Bad Luck, Dungeons & Dragons and more.

Milo: Thank you guys so much for doing this interview with Radio Radius!

Brendan: Of course!

Milo: Are you happy having just opened Obenuse Fest?

Christine: Absolutely! This is our first time playing Europe ever, so to be able to open up this festival is extra special, I would.

Tom: Yeah, that was really, really fun.

Christine: Good first European show, for sure.

Milo: Nice. For people who aren’t familiar with Save Ends yet, how would you describe your band in five words?

Christine: Dungeons and Dragons and beer.

Milo: You already mentioned Dungeons & Dragons, and if I’m not mistaken, you decided to form Save Ends after playing D&D together, is that correct?

All: That’s true.

Milo: How has D&D influenced you as a band?

Brendan: I’ll handle this one. Tom, Christine and I were playing D&D together on a regular basis and we had all been in bands in the past. We just decided it would be funny or fun to do a band together and also name it something D&D-related. We all have played a lot, and I guess that’s it.

Milo: Any songs in particular that are influenced by D&D?

Christine: Well, the band name is a Dungeons & Dragons reference. Same Old Dice, which is the last song that we just played.

Brendan: Yeah, that’s a reference to D&D.

Christine: On our first EP we tried to make every song name be a reference, but that’s a lot.

Brendan: That’s a lot of work.

Tom: Ten or Better, the first EP we did, is about… save ends is a mechanic where if you roll ten or better, you save. The next EP, Strength Vs Will, was an example of a saving throw. So, you’d have to do two combined rolls, strength vs. will. Anyway, that’s D&D related.

Brad: I think this is what they want to hear. They want to know about it, don’t feel weird about it.

Tom: What else? There’s more.

Milo: Well, actually, we do have one more D&D question. Who do you like to play as in D&D?

Tom: Well, our campaign that we’ve been playing forever is an evil campaign, so we’re all really evil, and I am a drow paladin, so that’s a dark elf paladin who is evil as crap.

Christine: I’m a tiefling warlock and I have a tail, and it’s prehensile, which means that I can hit things with it.

Brendan: I’m the DM, I just make up the story. And I can attest to them being very evil. I don’t want to mention the things that they’ve done in the interview because people wouldn’t like us anymore.

Milo: Alright, we’ve talked a bit about your game influences, now let’s talk about musical influences. When I heard your music, it reminded a lot of 90s emo like The Get Up Kids or Rainer Maria, did these kinds of bands influence your music?

Christine: Yeah, you are hitting the nail on the head with those two bands, absolutely. Especially Rainer Maria. For me growing up, going to shows, seeing Rainer Maria and seeing a woman in a band singing, it was like: “This is cool. Is that a thing I could do?” That just influenced me to even play at all, and additionally they have influenced our songwriting.

Brendon: Yeah, that nailed it, I think.

Milo: Alright. And maybe any other influences worth mentioning on your sound?

Tom: I think we have a lot of punk influences too. We all grew up listening to 90s Fat Wreck Chords bands, Lagwagon and stuff like that, so I think there’s a hint of that in some of our songs too. It’s kind of like a marriage of 90s emo, pop-punk and punk.

Brendan: Brad and Tom also play in No Trigger, so that’s a little heavier band than we are. That comes into play a bit.

Milo: Since you bring it up, Brad and Tom, you play in No Trigger as well, what are the differences between playing in No Trigger and Save Ends?

Christine: Yeah guys, what are the differences?

Brad: Mostly the sweat. I sweat way more in No Trigger. It’s just a lot more work in general.

Tom: I think I only head bang in No Trigger and in Save Ends I get to get sexy and dance a little.

Brad: I get to really groove with the bass, which is nice. It was actually scary because No Trigger’s been on tour for a week now. So, for me to get out of that groove of just being crazy and relax, just hang out, it took me like three songs tonight.

Tom: This was also particularly difficult, being early. I call it early, it’s not early in the day, but Brad and I have been up very, very late every night for the past week.

Christine: And we also haven’t played together in three weeks.

Tom: But I think it went ok.

Christine: We did the songs. We got through all of them.

Milo: No, it was great. You wouldn’t have noticed that it’s the first time you played together in three weeks.

Christine: Good.

Tom: Perfect.

Christine: That’s what we were going for.

Tom: We tricked them!

Milo: So, Brendan and Christine, you share lead vocal duties for Save Ends. I’d like to ask, what is your songwriting process like? Who does what in the band?

Christine: When we started, Brendan and I kind of brought some stuff in. But then Brendan and Tom started writing together, and Tom and I started writing together, and then over the years as a band, especially this last record, we wrote a lot of the songs in band practice, got skeletons down for them, and then Brendan and I separately work on them. We bring them together and try to combine things. It’s actually very collaborative, we have really figured out how to write songs together, which is great.

Brendan: We’ll get the music down, for the most part, in band practice and whoever has a part will write it. Tom C is super good at song structure stuff, so he’ll help out with that a lot. We do vocals afterwards. What we’ll do is take the recordings of practice home, and Christine and I will give songs a shot.

Christine: Yeah, and try to play along with them, change things up and see what works for singing. We’ll move them in different places.

Milo: Alright, now let’s talk about A Book About Bad Luck, your album from last year. The album’s title comes from the opening tack Bad News. What is this song about and why did you choose a lyric from it as your album title?

Christine: This is you.

Brendan: You wrote some of the lyrics on this too. This album is kind of a bummer, it’s more of bummer, I think, than most of our albums. I think calling it A Book About Bad Luck kind of fit the mood of the album, so we used it. Maybe it was partially out of laziness. You know, like: “That’s cool.”

Christine: “Alright.”

Brendan: I mean, we could have tried super hard.

Christine: It’s a nice line though.

Brendan: I know, it sounded good.

Brad: It’s a good line!

Burton: I like that name.

Brendan: We’re old. We’re in our mid-thirties, and that song is basically just about people in your life that you meet or yourself, everyone goes through some tough times. It’s basically about people that you know and love going through bad times. You just have to get them through the rut. That’s basically what that song’s about, lifting your friends up from the rut, and it’s from the perspective of someone who’s in a bad place.

Milo: Alright. Another lyric that I found interesting from that album was “I should be missing it, but I’m not missing it” from Way Back. Could you tell us about this song as well?

Brendan: Yeah, I wrote that lyric too. That one, Way Back, is pretty literal, about going back to where you grew up. You had some great times back there, but you’re not there in your life anymore. So, at least personally, I literally went back to the street where I grew up because a friend of mine still lives there. I lived there for 15 years. No, I lived there for 18 years. You remember how it felt to be there, but it’s not like that anymore. As much as you romanticize the past, you can’t go back. It’s that cliché, you can’t go home again, that’s what it’s about.

Milo: The song Hateful Kids, still from the same album, is a bit more political than your other material. What compelled you to write that song?

Brendan: The United States is going to such a shitty place right now, it’s hilarious.

Christine: We suck!

Brendan: It’s hilariously fucked up, how we elected a reality TV star racist asshole to be president. And I would have felt bad, if you play anything in the punk genre, and you don’t at least bring up the fact of how fucked up that is. It’s completely ridiculous what’s going on, and we have a lot of people acting on, as the song says, tribal instincts, where they’re being racist or the easiest person to pick on is who they’re going to pick on. It’s just trying to address the actual problem that we have. I don’t know, we live in frustrating times and it would have felt bad to not have a song that addressed it.

Burton: I like the line in that song where you say “we are going back on our worst instincts”, is that what you say?

Brendan: Yeah.

Burton: I always crack up when I hear that line because I can just picture you saying it, just so sharply, you know what I mean? Just like: “We’re going back on our worst instincts.”

Brendan: Yeah, I think that’s true.

Milo: We’ve talked about A Book About Bad Luck.How do you think it compares to your previous album Warm Hearts, Cold Hands?

Tom: I think we put more into this one. We took a lot longer to write this one, we didn’t rush it, not that we did that with Warm Hearts, Cold Handsall the way, but this time we weren’t in a rush. We wrote songs over time, some of those songs took a couple years.

Christine: One day we were like: “We should probably do a full length now. We’ve been working on stuff, what are we doing?”

Tom: I think this one’s probably a little bit closer to our real sound. I think Warm Hearts, Cold Hands was little bit… not harder, but a little punkier, pop-punkier, whereas this one has a lot more feeling, depth, and dynamics to it. We’re proud of both of them, but I think it’s a good evolution for us.

Christine: I think the material is just sadder, too. Moodier and sadder. Being at point where you feel like you can be truly honest writing lyrics is hard the first couple times around, but I felt more comfortable this time really writing what I wanted to talk about. Things I hadn’t been able to address previously, I could do it on this album. That felt really good.

Milo: Alright, thanks again and enjoy the rest of your European tour!

Christine: Thank you!

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Interview: Milo Schärer / Foto: Tommy Calderon