Nine Circles is extremely pleased to announce that North Carolina’s The Pod will be releasing their upcoming album, titled The Pod, June 2 via Accident Prone Records. In anticipation of that release, we have an exclusive preview of the fourth track from the new album titled “Lifegiver.” And on top of all that we also have an interview with The Pod’s mastermind Scott Endres. More than enough reason for excitement (and we are very excited), so dive right in to get the details.
In case you’re not familiar, The Pod was started by Scott Endres. That name should sound familiar given that Scott is also the guitarist in the atmospheric doom metal band MAKE. Are you on our level yet? Many of you are familiar with MAKE since their last two albums have appeared on many year end lists. The appreciation within these pages hasn’t exactly been subtle, either. You may not have been aware, but The Pod has been around just as long as MAKE, which we’ll get into the details of a bit later. Ambient, drone, noise, psychedelic, electronic and experimentation are all terms that could describe The Pod’s last eight releases (which can be found here). All that may sound like a mouthful but trust me when I say that it translates extremely well. Dark and moody at times yet uplifting and catchy at others, their output can play on your emotions like nothing else I’ve heard in quite awhile.
Their upcoming self-titled album is the next chapter in this journey of sound experimentation and is amazingly cohesive in its delivery. Take a listen below to the menacing darkness of “Lifegiver” then click here for the preorder via Accident Prone Records, only 100 LP’s will be pressed so grab it quick. Download codes will be included with the LP. After the stream, read on for our interview with Scott Endres.
Last we talked was July of last year in Atlanta when Make was with Primitive Man and Dragged Into Sunlight, how you been Scott? And how is everyone from MAKE?
That was a fun night! Everybody’s great, high spirits…working hard on the next LP. Hopefully we’ll get started recording it this year.
Many in the metal circles are familiar with your work in MAKE but The Pod may be something new for that same crowd even though this band has been around for about as long. Give us the back story on The Pod and how it came to fruition?
Yeah, it’s probably new for everybody but like ten weirdos out there. The Pod started in the very early days of MAKE when I needed a project where my ideas didn’t need to go through a process or get compromised by anybody who wasn’t me. I kept leaving for work and coming home and passing this shitty Casio in the foyer and eventually decided I was going to have a solo bedroom project which was based entirely off shitty Casios. This didn’t quite last but it did stay a primarily synth-based project and it’s always just been me composing, arranging and mixing, etc.
With each release The Pod experiments a little more with soundscapes and their effect on the outcome of each album or more to the point, the direction each album takes. Assassins in the Mirrored Hall was arguably the heaviest per se but you strike a fine line of never wandering into the heft and straight ahead doom of MAKE. Is restraint hard to do when you’re straddling the mindset of these two bands?
Not especially, since anything recorded live is going to get cut up and arranged later while in front of a computer. The Pod doesn’t really “begin” until the mixing stage. Essentially picture a burlap sack that I’m throwing sounds into, then I reach into that sack after it’s full or just dump it out on a table and start trying to build something with the disparate pieces. Mixing is the process of arranging and writing for The Pod, almost without exception. And I certainly never have an idea of what I’m about to do or how it might turn out. Sometimes things sit on the shelf finished or unfinished for so long that when I happen back upon it I don’t even remember ever creating it in the first place.
One thing, among many, that stands out with The Pod is the ability to strike a lush soundscape, seemingly out of nowhere, that gives the listener a sort of comfort and the feeling of wanting to stay in that moment as long as possible. This is not an easy task but you make it seem effortless, is this something you have in mind going into the writing process?
Oh gosh, no. That’s even almost hilarious to hear since most of my time spent with The Pod comes out of the darkest and worst moments of my life. I guess it’s a silver lining for ME that I haven’t felt compelled to break The Pod out in a couple years now. I’m deeply gratified to hear this though, on the other hand…since it certainly isn’t something I ever think about. In fact, most all I think about when working on The Pod is “Is this shit?” and then I just sort of shrug and carry on.
Speaking of the writing process: the music, over the course of the last eight releases, strikes a fine balance of laser precise planning and improvisation at the time of recording. What is the thought process behind new music for this project and specifically for the upcoming album?
Well, the upcoming album is a grab-bag of some of my favorite material and some unreleased material. Each track was curated meticulously with the help of a few close friends, with the only thought put forward being “Is this one of my better tracks and does it help represent the dynamic range of the project?” And I kid you not that there is NO thought process behind creating new pieces for the project. In fact, that lack of premeditation is really the reason the project exists or continues to exist.
I get the sense that The Pod is where you go to just create music that mirrors what you hear in your head with no thoughts to current events or the outside world, a safe haven if you will. Would you agree?
Correct. It is ALL internal. No politics, no allusions to the external world, just pure and uncontrived catharsis. The contrivance comes later in the arranging and mixing stage but at that point I’m in an entirely different mindset: not emotionally invested at all, more like creating or solving a puzzle at that point.
The Pod has covered a lot of ground since 2011’s Satellite: electronic, ambient, noise and psychedelic to name a select few different genres. What can we expect from your upcoming self titled release? Is it more of the experimentation we’ve come to expect or something else entirely?
The self-titled LP is meant as an introduction to the project, so I hope it feels like a pretty dynamic coalescence of styles and approaches. I always do try to stay within the loose parameters of blackened synth music though, in one way or another.
Matt Stevenson has been a constant in one form or another since the beginning and with Assassins… you brought in Spencer Lee. Ever since it’s been somewhat of a rotating cast, do you plan on bringing them back for the new album or will this one feature different musicians or will it be you doing everything like we heard on Tapeworm?
This is more a byproduct of Matt having been with MAKE for so long. He was never exactly involved with The Pod, per se. All of his drums came from studio improvisations with MAKE or are samples of his isolated drum tracks from MAKE recordings. For the most part I prefer to do everything myself, even if that means sampling somebody else’s performance.
Early on, electronic rhythmic patterns were more of a focal point and while this hasn’t disappeared completely it has taken a backseat to heavier atmosphere and even harsh vocals. Is this a sign of the times bleeding into your happy place or is this just a natural progression in the bands sound and where you want to take it?
Oh man there was never a happy place. Satellite is about a person becoming stranded in space and floating aimlessly in the void until their oxygen runs out. Haha. So…yeahhh.
Going back to your last album Land of Bread and Water, “And This Is Where We Part Ways” is in my opinion one of the darkest songs The Pod has ever done. It’s a slow burn of a song that could easily find its way onto a soundtrack of a very serious and grave film. I found myself completely immersed in it for weeks. It sure seems like a very emotionally charged piece of work, tell us a little about that track and what was going on at the time.
Wow, that’s crazy! Well…it was a collaboration with Matt right around the time he left MAKE and went on to pursue a solo electronic musical career. I never really thought of it that way, but I suppose there was plenty of emotion rolling around back then for sure.
Any chance to experience The Pod on the concert circuit?
Slight. I have a friend who may be my live collaborator to help promote and play around the release of the LP. If it’s successful, more shows could follow. Who knows!
Scott, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview and we wish you all the best with the upcoming self titled album from The Pod, anything you’d like to add or say?
Stay tuned and on the lookout for the LP release! There’s only 100 copies being pressed so don’t sleep on it! Cheers and thank you, Josh!
Many thanks to Scott for his time!