For Andrew Endres, it all started with a violin. It was his first real instrument, a gift from his great-grandfather when he was a kid, and one which inspired a life filled with passion for making music. He grew up playing in Portland bands and released a solo jazz album just last year after completing a degree in Jazz Studies at Portland State University. His current musical inclination has shifted towards experimental pop, forming a group called Mordecai. The release of their first full-length album, It’s Never Enough, kicks off with a show at Holocene on Wednesday, August 30.
“I really wanted to assemble a band and create some really cool pop and rock arrangements,” Endres says. To achieve Mordecai’s bigger sound, Endres (who plays lap steel and bass) recruited local musicians Kate Kilbourne on violin and synths and Nick Quiller on drums. “We set out to accomplish a really fat, huge-sounding pop record with really amazing, hard-hitting drums and bass,” he says.
What also hits hard on this record are the lyrics. Like any true artist should, Endres and the members of Mordecai have learned to not only overcome hardships but also utilize them as inspiration. While on tour last winter all of their gear was stolen, leaving Endres with little more than a bass guitar to work with. This restriction ended up shaping the tone for what their record has become, with Endres’ lyrics exploring darker subject matter such as desperation and emotional trauma.
“I hoped to create songs that conveyed my emotions when experiencing moments like these,” Endres says. He describes the song “Control” as being about society’s desensitization towards the capitalistic reality so prevalent today.
In the end, Endres will be the first to tell you that he’s quite fortunate just to make music. “I’ve done some cool things in my life,” he says, reflecting on his journey so far. And with the release of a debut album, along with a tour this fall venturing overseas and across Europe, there’s a lot for Endres and Mordecai to look forward to. Let’s just hope they don’t lose any more gear in the process.