‘We are people who make songs using instruments’. This may be the slightly tongue-in-cheek and unassuming way that the members of This is How it Ends choose to describe themselves, but a listen to their music will show that there’s far more to them than they might have you think. Specialising in instrumental music of a post-rock ilk, there’s an intensity to their tracks and a deft use of high and low points – think breakdowns and layering – that belies the fact they’ve only been together for less than a year.
With a forthcoming Club AC30 gig doubling as the launch of their debut EP in the Twisted Pepper on 2nd July, bassist Austin spoke to State about the band’s approach to writing songs, what gets them arguing in the practice room, and what lies ahead for them in the latter half of 2009.
Starting off as a three-piece (Austin, drummer Enda and guitarist Thom) in the summer of 2008, the band gained a new member in the form of second guitarist Connor later that year, and decided to -go for it’, as Austin puts it. Having all been members of other bands previously, they had clear ideas of what they wanted to achieve with This is How it Ends (TIHIE), but because of their varying backgrounds, it took a little while before things melded together.
‘We would have started with three or four people in the room playing the same song but playing it differently. But now we’ve got the whole unit sound,’ explains the Corkman. ‘We’d like to believe that it’s continuing on and that the sound is evolving more into what the four of us – if you took all of our record collections and made a mixtape or a playlist, that the songs would fit in there – there would be a nice summary point. Although the lads may disagree with that…but I’m the one doing the interview!’
Joking aside, each of the band members comes with their own very specific musical influences – they converge in places but in others they are completely diverse. For TIHIE, this means that songwriting at first could have been perhaps a bit haphazard – but in the past few months they’re beginning to work their influences towards a common point. As with anything, practice makes perfect and the more time spent jamming the more smooth the sound will be.
So what’s the creative process like for the band? ‘For the EP we’ve got coming out next month it would be the case of some of us coming in there with ideas for verse and choruses, or basslines and guitarlines. And as a band we extend them, or we flesh them out,’ explains Austin. ‘The way we’re writing at the moment it’s still a person will bring in an idea or start off with an idea but it’s a lot more organic as a band, writing. Like Connor could start with a guitar line or I could start with a bass line – I could start playing over him or he could start playing over me.’ This approach is a pretty balanced and collaborative one, and Austin’s keen to emphasise the fact that they will keep working at a track until they’re all satisfied with it. ‘It can be a laborious process but at the end of it – and after much fighting and arguing and trying every sort of key change… we get to the stage where we’re happy with the song,’ he smiles.
‘The new songs we’re writing as well, I think we’ve kind of found more of a plateau with all our influences,’ he continues. ‘We’ve been hanging around with each other – I think Connor’s been in the band since late last year, so we’ve had six or seven months of the four of us listening to each other’s music, hanging around with each other and going to festivals and writing. So we know each other’s musical styles, we can to a degree telegraph what someone is going to play. And if it’s something obviously that I like of Thom’s influences, and he starts doing something, maybe subconsciously I’ll play something that might allow him to do something else and start something different.’