It's been about four years since Brooklyn blues-rockers Endless Boogie last put out a new record, 2013's Long Island. It's the longest gap between albums in the band's 20-year career, but rest assured that they have their reasons for the delays.
“We move in Boogie time,” says singer and guitarist Paul Major. “It's not particularly fast sometimes of course, but we finally got a new record in the bag. We had a few hassles along the way – I broke my arm, which put us back about five months because I couldn't play. We recovered from that, and then our bass player had a skateboarding accident and broke his hand. That's why he didn't come out to Australia the last time that we played there – he was still out of action. Finally, we were able to make it happen, and I'm really excited that we get to share it with people.”
Vibe Killer is album number five from Endless Boogie – who, as their name suggests, trade in big grooves, big riffs and getting down-and-dirty when the time calls for it. As they have spent the majority of their time trading as a live band, it was important for them to capture that lightning in a bottle. It's for this reason that the songs themselves are built up through extensive rehearsals and jam sessions, rather than trying to build them part by part. “Our tactic when we're writing songs is to get in the studio, set our stuff up and play live for hours and hours,” says Major.
“We might have a few ideas here and there, but for the most part we just like to jam and let it happen from there. Once we've been doing that for awhile, we go through the tapes and see what good parts are there for us to salvage. We like capturing everything live – only after we've done that will we tinker with a lyric or a guitar part or something like that. It's funny to see how things change from when you start making a record to when you finish it – you keep saying to yourself 'this is gonna be the one, or maybe this one,' and then they don't even make the record. Something that you weren't even thinking about touching might come up, and then you'll be like 'Y'know what? Let's see what we can do with that one.' Everything can change. That's evolution coming on through the whole process – and that's part of the fun of it all.”
Vibe Killer was recorded by the band at Garey's Electric, a studio in their native Brooklyn. Aside from a few guests joining in – including guitarist Matt Sweeney – there are relatively few frills to the Endless Boogie sound. “We're one of those bands that really keeps it down to the bare minimum,” says Major.
“I use a distortion boost every now and then, and Jesper [Eklow, lead guitarist] uses a wah-wah pedal. For everything else, we're just getting the sound out of the amplifier. Aside from a little bit here and there, we're mostly just going straight in. We're into the organic sound of our guitars as much as possible. We play with so many guys where the guitarist will have one of those slabs of wood with something like 20 pedals attached to it. I'm like, 'man, that'd be too confusing for us!' We like things direct and straight-on. We like to have as little in-between as possible. I'm not a tech-head or an equipment-head at all. I've never really gotten into the whole, 'oh, this amp gets zero-point-zero-zero-one per cent more tone than this one.' Honestly, our only real preference is using tube amps over transistors – just for that natural sound that I was talking about. We'll just screw with whatever we're going through.”
Ahead of the release of Vibe Killer in May, Endless Boogie are set to come to Australia for a run of headlining shows, as well as an appearance at Boogie Festival and shows with Philadelphian rock outfit Strand of Oaks. “We're really looking forward to doing these gigs with them,” says Major. “Our shows in Australia are going to be some of the first places that we'll get to play these new songs before the record comes out. What better place to premiere it?”