Circuit Sweet Interview, Circuit Sweet Introducing, Feature, Reviews

North End- Exclusive Interview and EP Special

October 30, 2013

 Brittany Lee Mason

Brittany Lee Mason

This year has been incredibly successful for discovering some sensational acts. This has been the year of independent DIY releases, releases that are instantly recognized as being the greatest of 2013. Let us introduce you to the addictive sounds of 4 piece North End. Hailing from Pennsylvania, North End consist of Russ Daniels, Marcus Rodriguez, Kevin Burk and Peter Willis. Together they are an outstanding act who are on the verge of something incredibly rewarding due to their triumphant 5 track EP ‘ Cognoscere’; which they unveiled back in August.

Their talents and passion combined have produced a simply flawless record. ‘Cognoscere’ is simply explosive- from start to finish the record engages the listener. Taking various genres, influences and ideas and making their own mark on music; North End are a breath of fresh air within the industry.  Their efforts and creativity displayed throughout each influential orchestration proves the perfect combination of workmanship. With each track showcasing the quartet’s range of musical ability. Not one musician trying to overpower the rest, but simply the perfect balance of ingenuity.


Cognoscere EP Tracklisting:

1. Miles Dyson
2. Gabardine
3. Test of Thyme
4. Cognoscere
5. Warm Winter

Released 13 August 2013
Recorded and Mixed by Kevin Dye. Mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering. Music by North End. Album art by Matt Dye at VGKids

Streaming in it’s entirety below- fall in love with this release available as a name your price download.

It’s fantastic to see such talented and hardworking musicians putting their all into North End and it’s paying off. We had the pleasure in talking to Russ from North End on all things band related, the response of their record, tour life and what’s next for the four.

Firstly thank you for spending time with Circuit Sweet.

(Russ from North End)

Before we get to the details of your  newly released 5 track EP ‘Cognoscere’, we want to get to know more on you- Firstly introduce yourselves, How long have you each been playing and performing live?

Russ Daniels- Guitar Marcus Rodriguez- Bass Kevin Burk- Drums Peter Willis- Guitar.  We’ve all been playing music since grade school.

How did you all meet and whats the story being the formation of North End?

Kevin and I met in elementary school; we lived right down the street from each other in Reading, Pennsylvania.  We’ve been jamming for a while, playing in a few bands together when we were kids.  Kameron Biehl, who played with us on our first three records, also lived 2 blocks away.  I met Marcus in college and we formed a metal band with KB.  We formed North End in 2008 and added Pete, who Marcus knew from high school in New Jersey. 

North End was actually an instrumental acoustic project I formed while I was in high school.  We brought the name back when we wanted to go for a more melodic sound while keeping the instrumental roots.

What outside influences trigger your creativity and create your unique sound?

All of us came from areas that had great indie music scenes.  Reading use to have crazy awesome basement shows and New Brunswick, New Jersey is still cranking out great bands.  We also like to challenge each other to get better as musicians from record to record. 

 How would you personally describe your own sound?

Instrumental Rock always in a state of change.  We’ve been compared to such a wide variety of bands through the years and I think that’s because we’re influenced by so many different bands.  We don’t like to repeat parts within our songs either to keep the listener in a state of change.

You’ve put out a release in 2009, 2010, 2011 and then skipped a year until your release in August of this year. How would you describe your earlier EP’s such as 2009’s ‘In Through the Musical Earth’ and the direction of those releases up until your latest ?

Our earlier records were mix of us finding our sound and getting comfortable playing with Pete.  Marcus, KB, and I had been playing together for a few years before North End, but we changed our style drastically from the previous project and that’s what Musical Earth was all about.  The self-titled was us finding what we wanted to do with Peter.  Atlantica and Cognoscere were a product of our comfort level with each other and a defined vision of what the record was going to sound like going into the writing process.  Putting out 4 records in 5 years is one of the reasons I love playing with these guys,  we’re having the most fun when we’re writing new material.

Casting back to your previous EP releases- were these released independently and how was the reception?

We’ve release everything independently thus far.  While Musical Earth and our self titled were received very well locally, Atlantica and Cognoscere have allowed us to connect to listeners outside of our local area.    

With regards to your new EP ‘Cognoscere’  we would love to know the ins and outs on this release. Firstly describe your writing process and how you’ve managed to get to the point of this standout EP release.

We started writing Cognoscere in March 2012.  It took us about a year to write.  We decided to work with Kevin Dye on the recording and mixing part of the EP.   We loved what he did for his band, gates.  We wanted to get a heavier soun compared to our previous releases.  Paul Gold at Salt Mastering put the finishing touches on Cognoscere.  Paul is one of the best in the business.  He also mastered Musical Earth and Atlantica for us.  He works with so many different musical styles, so that translates well to working with our music.

From the writing process, the recording process followed, how did this come about and what do you feel your EP captures?

The idea was to change it up from the 12 track Atlantica and give you North End packed into a 5 song 20 minute punch in the face.  Kevin captured the punchy sound for it.  We’re very happy with how it came out.

Cognoscere was released in August and its a EP which I’ve already mentioned to the band as being withoutadoubt one of the best releases of this year and certainly one of our favourite music submissions to date, describe the influences and what its meant to you personally.

First of all, it means a lot you like the EP.  This Town Needs Guns, And So I Watch You from Afar, Enemies, and Cloudkicker were the big musical influences for Cognoscere. 

What it means to me personally… It feels good to put out a 4th album with the same guys.  We never thought when we started we would put out 4 releases, not to mention doing an interview for an awesome site like Circuit Sweet in the UK!

Congnoscere has in the time since its release solidified North End  a respectful reputation and dutiful support from a fan base, did you expect the support that arose from the release? And how does this make you feel knowing the work you create is constantly aiding others?

We were very happy with the EP when it was finished, but the reception has absolutely exceeded expectations.  We love making records and people enjoying our music makes it a thousand times better!

 For those of us this side of the pond who would love to see you guys perform live; how do you project your EP live what do your live performances posses? And what live ventures have you got in the pipeline?

What I like most about our live show is we can recreate the sound from the EP verbatim.  Kevin did a great job capturing our live sound, we didn’t put in a lot of extra stuff during the recording process.  This gives Cognoscere the raw sound we were looking for and it translates well in a live setting.

We have a weekend tour in the beginning of November with our friends Owel.  If you haven’t heard them before, definitely worth the time!

You’ve recently had a run of shows from another CS favorite The Bulletproof Tiger- how did that go?

Amazing.  We’ve known those guys for over a year now, they were great to play with and they’re ridiculously talented.

Funny story about TBT.  A guy I work with told me to check them out about a year and half ago and they were so good.  5 days later, our booker in NYC asked us to play a show with them, what a coincidence! We’ve stayed in touch and we were stoked we could do a run of shows with them to support Cognoscere. 


Describe what you think you each bring to your live performances, sell your show.

Our goal is to bring a lot of energy when we play shows.  When I go to see my favorite bands play, I want to see them going nuts on stage.  It makes the experience memorable.  We also jam and play sections of our songs that aren’t on our records, it gives our friends something different every time.

What is it that you personally get from your performance?

There is nothing like playing or going to a show.  You’ve got your friends and other like-minded people gathering together to hear what others have created. 

Would you consider a UK tour? And to play in Circuit Sweet’s Front room?

YES! Let’s make it happen please!

You are surrounded by some equally amazing bands all of which with strong DIY mentalities, how is the live community in Pennsylvania ( as we love the sounds coming out of it) ?

Pennsylvania has been great to us.  We have a few places we consider “hometown venues”, those are always fun.  The Northeast has some great musicians.  It has definitely grown over the last two years or so.  We’ve become friends with great bands like signal hill, Owel, gates, Vasudeva, Black Dirty, Mohican, and Hannibal Montana, just to name a few.  Check all of those bands out!

Enlighten us to what can we look forward to from you in the future?

Acoustic versions of some of our favorite North End songs.  We’ve always wanted to do that, so we’re glad that’s in the works.  You may see some live material leak from the earlier North End years.  We’ve also started writing our 5th album.

Before we finish all featured artists are asked this- What album or track has been stuck on your turntable, ipod, cd player for a while now?

Signal hill- Chase the Ghost

And Finally any last words from you?

Thank you so much for doing this interview.  It’s the listeners and other people working hard in the indie music industry that keep us motivated.  Please email us and talk to us about music, we’d love to hear from everyone!

As mentioned from Russ, North End are now working on their 5th release!- If it’s anything like the 4th we are all in for a big treat. We look forward to hearing it. The band have the world at their feet-  with such relentless passion keeping the four motivated it’s no wonder their compositions are reaching afar- and rightly deserved. With one of the best EP releases of this year, we would give anything to see this band hit the UK. Until then this won’t be the last you will be hearing of North End so do the right thing- head over to their bandcamp and make their enitre back catalog your own.

Again we thank the band for their involvement, it’s been a pleasure.

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