Endorphin: The sound of Seduction

Many people would be familiar with the work of Eric Chapus, albeit not by that name. As Endorphin, he skyrocketed to fame when he was discovered by Triple J’s Unearthed program in 1996. Since then he has moved strongly forward, supporting the likes of Massive Attack, Faithless and Portishead as well as the successful release of albums Embrace, Skin and AM/PM.

May the 5th heralds the next step for Chapus, this being the release date of his latest and much anticipated album, Seduction. We snaffled a moment of Mr. Chapus time to talk to him about such matters.

“I took the definite step last year of deciding to take six months off to write a good album. This is very different to what happened with the other albums, and I have put a lot more thought into it [Seduction]. AM/PM I felt was a “jilted” album, a little bit tortured? there was a lot of pressure, such as that from record companies to have singles for radio ready. I wanted to do something more passionate, romantic, more close to my heart.” (And just imagine all of this being said in a lilting French accent?) “I wanted it to be something that people could play in their car and listen to in their homes.”

One of the things immediately apparent upon listening to Seduction is the brilliant use of live instruments and vocals harmoniously woven into Endorphin’s signature beats. ” In the past I tended to treat vocals as too much like samples’ cutting and pasting. A scenario that is 60% music and 40% vox pleases me. I tend to switch off if I listen to an album with too much in the way of vocals.” One of the most notable uses of vocals on Seduction is ‘Free World’ featuring Iva Davies of Icehouse fame, giving consent for the first time to appear on another artist’s project. This is a very political song, Endorphin not being one to sidestep the big issues, as many a punter who has heard his opinion of John Howard would know. ”’Free World’ is a direct reflection [of the war in Iraq], it was written in September last year when the heads of state were getting together. We thought of giving it to radio during the war but it was a bit too sensitive so we decided to hold it back. I have also done two remixes for Icehouse, with their album coming out in six months or so. One of them, ‘Men of Colours’ is a favourite of mine, it is very fresh and involving.”

Those who have seen Endorphin’s stage shows will agree that they are not likely to be forgotten. Chapus laughs, “It frankly bores me to watch DJs perform, I prefer to see live bands more as there is the interaction between the people on stage. I’ve always seen dance music with drums as being a bit of a cop out. What we do is different, I’ve got a sewing machine and we all come up with ideas for the costumes and the show together. Guest musos join us in different cities, there is a violinist who plays with us when we go up to the snow who is just incredible. But, in the end it is all for the punters.”

So what is next on the agenda? “I will tour, beginning in June, for three months. After that I will score a major movie.” Details? “I can’t! Argh, I can’t! I am so sorry, it is still very up in the air, and I am hoping that it will fall into place. But already I am so excited, and I know that I am going to have to try to surpass myself in this. I think the reason I got picked out, that they approached me, is because it fits in with what I do; it is a very passionate and powerful story.”Viewers of National Geographic’s ‘New Wave’ series would be familiar with some of Endorphin’s previous fim-based work. “That was 26 half hour documentaries that all needed music. I had to write three albums worth of music in such a short time, it was good though in that it showed me to have discipline. I would wake up, have breakfast and then sit down to write three songs before midnight. And here I am hoping to do it all again!”

Endorphin’s new album Seduction is out now. To read ITM’s review click HERE.