CHRIS:Endura formed because we had too much spite for two people to carry, we had to unload it some way.
WHAT INFLUENCES YOU, LITERATURE, MUSIC, FILMS?
CHRIS:The biggest influence on me is having to deal with all the stupid, ugly, ignorant worthless people I am forced to confront day after fucking day. This what influences me more than any other thing, the drive to create something of worth and beauty in an ugly worthless world, and in the process distance myself from that world.I take strength from other artists in all mediums, some literary, some visual, some musical but that is secondary to my own experiences. STEPHEN:As far as I’m concerned, my main influences are sex, alcohol and the inadequacies of man (or women). I think alcohol is now playing a larger part. Most of my perception of life is through semi-conscious, glazed eyes. I tend to go through a series of love / hate relationships with life. Sometimes, just when I think I have lost interest in humanity and revert into my shell, something will happen which brings me back. I need, once more, to be impressed.As for influences, I tend to generate my own rather than adopt those of any recognised academics. I urge our listeners to do the same.
. YOU HAVE RELEASED YOUR WORK ON A COUPLE OF LABELS, WHY DID YOU END UP ON MISANTHROPY SUBLABEL ELFENBLUT?
CHRIS:Why does anything happen? We get on well with the people at Misanthropy, and had done before the question of releasing our work with them ever came about; we share many common interests and prejudices, we also have our disagreements.Misanthropy are a very professional, tight and hard working label, they are able to give our work the push we know it deserves. More importantly for us they genuinely share a love of this kind of music and we trust them.
4. YOU HAVE BEEN CATAGORISED AS BELONGING TO THE “DARK AMBIENT” MOVEMENT, WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THIS? HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOUR MUSIC?
STEPHEN:I would describe our music as “bloody brilliant”. It is quite dark in its origins and I would like to think that it makes people think.We didn’t choose to play “dark ambient” music, that is just the way it comes out. We play music which sounds good to us, if other people are impressed by it then I guess that’s OK. We don’t sit down and say “right this is gonna be a really dark, depressing miserable track” that’s just the way they are. I think it’s probably a reflection of our inner side. However, this does not reflect how we are as people.ENDURA is not just a Ritual Music set-up. We work with loads of different styles and have broken so many boundaries. I don’t want ENDURA to be restricted to have to follow the same set of listeners. When we play music, we play for ourselves. Who knows which direction ENDURA will follow? CHRIS:“Dark Ambient” is just a convenient tag that has been thought up by the music industry, it is very difficult to sell something that does not have a name. Most of our music is “dark” and some of it is “ambient”, but we record music in many styles and moods, we have many faces.Dark Ambient is becoming a fashion, there are a few bands who have been doing this for a long time and many more who are ripping each other off. I don’t care about it anyway, we will record whatever we want when ever we want, if we want to record an acid jazz or a Cuban roots dub trip-hop album we will.
THE LAST ALBUM, “GREAT GOD PAN” CAME WITH A NUMBER OF TAROT CARDS, WHY?
CHRIS:I would hesitate to use the term “Tarot” as that suggests that those cards are part of a larger system. What they are, and what by extension the Atu’s of the Tarot are, are sigils that cipher information in a visual context. The idea behind the cards with the album were an attempt to create a visual talisman that could be used to access the sonic talisman of the music, we wanted to create aesthetic objects that complimented the music and could be used, by those with the wit, to get deeper into the music.
YOU CHOSE THE NAME OF AN ANCIENT GREEK GOD FOR THIS ALBUM, IS THIS AN INTEREST, SOMETHING THAT INFLUENCES YOU?
CHRIS:It has been said that everything worth doing was done 2000 years ago by the Greeks, that may be an exaggeration but it shows you how developed Greek civilisation was and the debt European culture owes to the Greeks. Greek culture spread as far west as the Atlantic, they traded tin with the Celtic people of Cornwall in southern Britain, and as far east as the Black sea coasts of Russia and the Ukraine, their language, art and architecture and beliefs influence us all. When you go deeper into mythology and philosophy you realise that most cultures talk about the same things, the local colour may be different as the circumstance under which people tell these stories are different, but it is the same psychological archetype resurfacing. However the Greeks polished their mythology to such a fine sheen that their stories are among the most complex and colourful and insightful the world has.The Greek Pan was a horned God, a God of the Wilderness and the Mountains, a God who represented all the modern mind fears, chaos, disorder, rampant unchecked Will. The words Panic and Pandemonium (the name of Satan’s palace in Milton's "Paradise Lost") come from the name Pan and show how deeply these ideas affected people. The tradition of "Satan" as a horned half goat comes directly from the myth of the Greek Pan. But the force the Greeks typified as "Pan" was known to the Celtic peoples of north west Europe as Curnennos, the Horned God, the Lord of the Woods. Near to Ferryhill and West Cornforth, in the valley of the River Wear several stone alters were discovered dating from the Roman occupation of Britain. They are dedicated to "Silvanus", the Latin name for The Lord of the Woods, and were erected by officers in the Roman Army to celebrate successful hunts. There are also numerous carved heads of Horned Gods that have been discovered in the area.
Pan is “All”, All is One. The Greeks called Pan, “All Devourer, All Begetter”, a very appropriate metaphor for Black Holes. The Black Hole is in Qabbalaic terms the Soph, the Manifest Unmanifest, Hoor-Paar-Kraat and Ra-Hoor-Khuit, the dark twins of Set and Horus.
Hoor-Par-Kraat is the unknown past and Ra-Hoor-Khuit is the unknown future, where these two meet, the lip of the Black Hole, the "Event Horizon", Time itself is stopped, the Cosmic Yoni of the Goddess runs like a reverse generator, taking all back to the singularity of the pre-create and crushing it all to the primal darkness, Nothing exists except NOW, the ONE in ALL, the Great God Pan as 777, the sum of the Paths and Sephira of the Tree. Totality. All. Pan. WHAT INSTRUMENTS DO YOU USE?
STEPHEN:At the moment, my studio consists of: PENTIUM P 6O PC (72 MEG) & IOMEG 100 MEG ZIP DRIVE ATARI ST 520 FM (4 MEG) [MONO] CAKEWALK PROFESSIONAL SEQUENCER (PC). STEINBERG AVALON SAMPLE EDITOR CUBASE V2.1 (ST) SANSUI MDR7 SMART FSK SYNCHRONISATION. YAMAHA PSS 790. YAMAHA V 50. KAWAI K4r. ROLAND JUNO 60. ROLAND JD 800.YAMAHA RM 50 DRUM MODULE. YAMAHA TG 500. CHEETAH SX 16 SAMPLER (520K). TECHNICS WSA 1R MIDIMAN 24 CH LINE MIXER. 2 x REALISTIC 20 BAND GRAPHIC EQs. TASCAM 564 DIGITAL MULTI TRACKER. TASCAM PORTA 02 HS FOUR TRACK. AUDIO ARCHITECTURE 8 WAY FUNCTION JUNCTION. DOD STEREO COMPRESSOR/LIMITER. AIWA HDS-100 PORTABLE DAT RECORDER. PHILIPS DCC300 RECORDER. 2 x TECHNICS RS-B605 HX PRO CASSETTE DECKS. 2 x P&R AUDIO 48 WAY PATCHBAYS . TECHNICS AMP & JVC MONITORS. ART PROVERB 200 EFFECTS UNIT. ART ALPHA 2 EFFECTS UNIT. ZOOM 9010 STUDIO EFFECTS UNIT. ASSORTED MICROPHONES. WASHBURN GUITARS. ASSORTED GUITAR FX PEDALS.ASSORTED HOME-MADE PERCUSSION CHRIS: My favourite instrument is phtonos, I practice all the time.
WHY DID YOU CHOSE THE NAME ENDURA?
CHRIS: The ENDURA Was the name of a ritual performed by the Cathars, a sect of Manichean Gnostics who lived in southern France and Northern Italy in the 12th and 13th centuries. The Cathars were the western embodiment of the dualist tradition that entered the Mediterranean world from the Balkan Bogomils, and earlier from the Gnostic mysteries of the ancient near east. The Cathars have been called Christian Heretics but this is missing the point. In reality the Cathars were true Christians, in that they knew (had Gnosis of) the spiritual Gnostic Christ, who they knew had never incarnated as Orthodox and Catholic Christianity claimed, and who they saw as a spiritual guide rather than a saviour. The Cathars were not Heretics, they were the inheritors of the esoteric Gnostic tradition that infused early Christianity, and carried with it elements of the Manichean (Dualist) mysteries and the Greco-Egyptian and Eastern mystery cults. The ENDURA was a period of fasting and meditation that had to be endured before the Cathar could attain the grade of Perfecti (Perfect One), the Cathar priesthood. The ritual had obvious Shamanic overtones, the aspirant would leave his community and go into the wilderness, often into deep forests or mountain’s, and survive there for 40 days sustained only by bread and water. This recalls the story of the Temptation of Christ in the wilderness, and shows the Cathars were familiar with the esoteric Christian tradition.
The Cathars also incorporated Mithraic and Druidic elements into there tradition, and before they were eradicated in the Albigensian crusade the Cathar-Troubadour civilisation of Provence and Lanquedoc was the flowering of western medievalism. For us the name ENDURA has all these meanings and more.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE FOR ENDURA?
CHRIS: In the immediate future we have plans to record a track for the “Lucifer Rising” album and a limited release on Old Europe Cafe, after that the 6th album awaits, possibly some time in middle 1998. If anybody can see a different future please let me know.
The past few months have been quite hectic for us because we each have so many irons in the fire, it is about time we earned ourselves a bit of a rest. As a result, our releases will be at a more sedate pace than previous years.