“I was attracted to the balance of lightness and darkness in their music,” writes Endgame via email about the ongoing influence of Slipknot and their use of extreme musical and aesthetic binaries on his own production. “The song ‘Duality’ sums this up perfectly,” he adds, on the 2004 song that features die-hard fans destroying an Iowa home to the wildly vacillating dynamic shifts of the masked nu metal band’s music.
That use of contrasts is also discernible in Endgame’s sound, where he presents a thrilling mix of highs and lows in the grime-y hardcore of last year’s Consumed mixtape, released via his own Bala Club label (co-founded with Kamixlo and Uli K) on October 31, 2017. In support of that, the London-based producer shares a music video for track ‘Skull Riddim’ via AQNB today. Directed by Joe Ward, it’s not only inspired by Endgame’s love of early Slipknot and Ward’s deep knowledge of rare film and anime but a particular 1987 Soviet era film called Dead Man’s Letters. Featuring an eerily prescient depiction of a town following a nuclear war caused by computers, Ward and Endgame saw parallels between this bleak dystopian past with London’s bleak dystopian future.
Watch the video and read on for a short Q & A with the artist on its themes and influences below:
E: I can definitely relate to that. I had a similar experience with Korn at Wembley stadium when I was kid. I first heard Slipknot and saw their imagery and videos when I was about 13 [years old]. I was so shook because it was it was so terrifying and intense. I’ve been trying to replicate that feeling in my music ever since. That feeling of fear is exciting to me and it has had such a lasting impact on me; the rawness of energy and emotion is what I aspire to.
Also, that feeling of ‘otherness,’ is really important to me, as someone that felt that I didn’t really fit in anywhere. That’s something that has stayed with me. Like, I want to make music for outsiders or people that feel alienated.
**You describe the theme of Consumed as something hopeful, despite this kind of horrific (though stylised) aesthetic you apply to it but your description of the ‘Skull Riddim’ video doesn’t sound hopeful at all… is it because it’s one aspect of a greater arc, or am I missing something in its interpretation?
E: It’s true, ‘Skull’ is definitely pretty bleak and relentless. The idea with Consumed was to have some kind of a balance between despair and hope. I would say around half the tracks are cold and hopeless, where some offer glimmers of light; tracks like ‘Reina’ or ‘Caravana de la Muerte’. The balance has always been a part of what interests me. Darkness is only powerful and affecting if put it in contrast with lightness.
**I know you’ve worked with Daniel Swan before but I’m interested in Hannah Diamond‘s involvement in the artwork. What do you think it is that she leant to the development of the themes of the mixtape?
E: I have know both Daniel and Hannah for a long time and came to them with my ideas for imagery that were mostly based on 90s Todd McFarlane comics, the Hellraiser films and the idea of turning me into some kind of anti-hero. Hannah was really interested in pushing her style into a darker and more unexpected place, and I like that she kinda turns people into a hyper-exaggerated version of themselves.
**I ask because — given the double-edged title of Consumed — as well Hannah Diamond’s high-def (HD) contribution to the artwork, I get this sense of a sort of aestheticisation or fetishisation of its themes of apocalypse and self-destruction. I’m thinking of something like Humans of Late Capitalism, where there’s something almost gleefully sadistic about its intention. Is that something you were thinking about when doing this mixtape?
E: I’m really interested in hyper-HD imagery as a reflection of destruction. For me this type of imagery is about the feeling that everything is temporary, everyone you know will be dust, and everything we own will disintegrate eventually, there is something reassuring about that. That’s what I’m trying to get across, not celebrate it, but just remind.
**The video for ‘Skull Riddim’ though is more lo-fi, and also its theme, more bleak, is there a correlation here between approaches?
E: I feel like the track demanded it. It couldn’t be too slick. It’s about destruction and despair and the video needed to convey that. The two approaches run in parallel, talking about the same things, just in different ways.**