The quintessence of a tragic Greek myth come to life, a musical characterization and determination describing the modern American man, novelist Jack Kerouac and more provide key ideas behind the album Orpheus Emerged, from the band Endelouz. Founded and fronted by multi-instrumental singer and songwriter Jack Endelouz, the music often rocks with a nonfiction ring.
Endelouz’s Orpheus Emerged clearly features skilled musicianship among heartfelt lyrics. Leading off the collection, the 4:04 “Nicolette” is passionate with an R&B feel to the instrumentation and singing. The same sentiment can be heard in “Woman’s Touch.” Other highlights, including “Eurydice” and “Nic 2,” radiate an intangible yet nevertheless autobiographical essence. The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based artist brings a closeness to the music easily heard throughout the songs. While “Without Her” and “Wheel of Sorrow” are two more standouts from Orpheus Emerged, a studio album, Endelouz the man, as well as the band, deliver an exceptional show in concert.
Musicinterviewmagazine.com checked in with Jack Endelouz for some insight regarding the album Orpheus Emerged.
Musicinterviewmagazine.com: Watching the live videos for “Alright Somehow” and “Nicolette,” tracks appearing on Orpheus Emerged, would you say using a hollow-body, or maybe a semi-hollow body guitar, with humbuckers, is part of the Endelouz sound?
Jack Endelouz: I have used a bunch of different guitars with Endelouz over the years and when I found that guitar, it just stuck. It was the one.
Did you use the guitar from your live videos to record Orpheus Emerged? What guitars were used on Orpheus Emerged? And in the live videos?
A lot of the record was recorded on that guitar, which is a 1986 Epiphone Sheraton. I also used a Jazz Master, a Les Paul, this really fast Stratocaster and my pedal steel, which is a Sho-Bud, for this album.
Are the songs “Nicolette” and “Nic 2” based on a real person?
Yes, Nicolette is a very real person. I met her in Chattanooga and we had a whirlwind relationship. Then she went back to San Francisco and I chased after her. So, the whole album is about her. I lost her somewhere along the way and I began to connect our story with the Greek Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. So, I just interwove that story with my story for the lyrics.
The track “Without Her,” an instrumental, is a bit atmospheric, perhaps the most on the album. What was the inspiration for the song?
So, as the story was about Orpheus and Eurydice, we had always planned to have one song be a dirge. You know, just one really sad piece about Orpheus losing Eurydice. We were getting toward the end of the recording sessions and I hadn’t written anything. One morning, when I was going to the studio, my best friend called and said that her dog had suddenly passed away. I loved that dog. And that dog was her whole world. It was crushing. So, I went in that day to the studio and with the engineer, Jason Craig, we put that piece together. That’s him on bass and me playing pedal steel. The emotion completely comes through because it is real pain that I am experiencing in real time on the track.
Considering the album’s title, is Jack Kerouac a personal favorite?
Well [pause] yes, Jack Kerouac is one of my all-time favorites. He wrote that book after reading James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Both books had a huge impact on me finding my way as an artist. Did you know that Orpheus Emerged was one of the first books he ever wrote and it wasn’t published during his lifetime. But they found it in his desk after his death and published it posthumously. Truly, Orpheus Emerged. So, yeah, I couldn’t pass up the chance to share that title.
Is the song “American Man” a musical picture at large, or a suggestion going forward?
Well in the sequence of the story, “American Man” is Orpheus’ return to the world of the living. For me, it is sort of the answer to how I would live after losing Nic. It does use cryptic language that I suppose is borrowed from some dark American voices. I guess I was thinking that to make it here in this country, that seems to crush the meek and mild human, you might need to be a little dark, like the Son of Sam or some cult leader who sees himself as a sort of Christ figure, just to navigate this current climate we are experiencing in this country. But ultimately, I was willing to survive, regardless of what I had to do to make it and that was the point of the song.
Can you speak about any upcoming projects?
Upcoming most immediately there are some really cool DJs doing some remixes of tracks from the album. They should pop up soon. I am writing some more country-styled rock songs that are very inspired by the Flying Burrito Brothers’ Gilded Palace of Sin. But the most exciting thing we have in the works, set for immediate release, is a video series we are shooting at my house with a slew of great musicians, visual artists and cinematographers. It’s called The Chateau Del Endelouz and it is so good. It is sort of a surreal comedy about being a musician, with an all-star cast. The first episode should air before the end of the year. I am so proud of it and can’t wait for people to get to experience it.
Paul Wolfle, the publisher of musicinterviewmagazine.com, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.