Arthur “Ace” Enders is the creative force behind not one, but three rock groups: The Early November, Ace Enders and A Million Different People, and I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business. These are part of a trifecta of bands that inhabit the mind of an indie rock icon. It is a music career that has been flying full force for 11 years now, and he has worked with labels such as Drive-Thru Records, Vagrant Records, Rise Records, and Regular Music. He also owns and operates his own studio in Hammonton, New Jersey, called, The Living Room. It was there that he recorded his newest addition to his ongoing catalog. On October 9, 2014, Enders released a new solo album entitled Growing In, under the recently shortened, I Can Make a Mess moniker. FDRMX had the pleasure of exchanging thoughts with Enders and discussing the unexpected release.
Growing In was an interesting choice for an album name, but what does it mean exactly? “It is basically about that change that we as artists need to make to stay current,” says Enders. “It is not that being current is the most important thing, but it is important if you want to make a career out of this. I need to keep myself busy, I have always been that way. Also, the words ‘growing in’ were a lyric towards the end of the record on the track “Growing Into What You’ll Grow Out Of.” Those words just kind of stuck with me. I have always really liked them a lot.”
With such tribulations, and expectations it is easy to understand why Enders stays so busy, but how does he make the decision when it comes to prioritizing which of his projects get a certain song? “Well, they all sort of start at the same place, I’ll start writing a song and depending on whether or not The Early November is going to use it, it may become a solo project song.” Enders says, “I never really write something, and think that it’s going to be specifically for one project or another, I just write the songs, and if it feels right for one of my projects then that’s the direction it tends to go towards. These songs specifically, were not going to be used for The Early November, so it made sense to use it for I Can Make a Mess.”
Enders wrote almost the entire album on the fly, he wasted no time constructing the chord changes and melodies. It was mostly composed in fifteen minutes, while also bouncing the tracks for another project that he was working on. Enders recorded the impromptu songs on his iPhone, and used them as layers in his final editions. An approach like this is interesting and must have some reasoning behind it. “I just felt like I have always been good at writing lots of material, it is just the way I have always been. With this album though, I was getting ready to sign another deal for a new solo album, but I had been having some major writers block for about a year. So, while I was doing the bounces for another band’s record, I decided to just stop thinking, and to just start working. It was more of a way to overcome this block that I was having.” Enders mentions, “Really, I just wanted this album to have that feeling, it needed the personality of just doing and not thinking. I don’t know if you can tell but the album has an overall theme of exhaustion to it. I was so tired, being in this music business is a hard thing to do, it is especially hard to stay current and to make it a career.”
We live in a dark world, and Ace’s music has had that essence to it for a long time. As the years went on, his music evolved. The sultry nature of his tunes changed from a sonically depressing sound to a more uplifting and fun sound over the years. Nevertheless, much of the words are as dark as they have ever been. “I’m not really sure why that is.” Enders replies, “I think that for the most part when I was writing For All of This and The Room’s Too Cold for The Early November, I wrote them from the perspective of a relationship with someone. Not all of the songs were about relationships, but they had that way about them. They were all written from that point of view, but I don’t really write from that perspective anymore.” Although that may be the case, it still leaves listeners intrigued and wondering more than ever where the artist’s mind is at, and what he hopes for with this release.
“I just wanted people to understand how bitter sweet life really is, there are so many ups and downs, and I don’t know if you know this but being in the music business is weird. I’ve got a family, we’ve all got obligations and things that are important to us. Sometimes it is hard, and sometimes it’s beautiful. I just really wanted this record to have that type of emotion about it. It’s a lot of fun to listen to and play, but it’s still got this dark undertone to it. Not that it’s a dark album, but it still has a darkness to it.”
The intrepid artist had some advice to share with anyone passionate enough about this kind of life. “Just keep doing it,” Enders says, “you’re going to see your peers, and kids ten years younger than you becoming more successful than you have ever been. I’ve been there, it’s not going to feel good, but you have to keep pushing through. I would say the most important thing to do, is to make music that you like, that you think is cool, and that you are proud of. You do not need to be validated by anyone for your music to matter, but as a career move you have to adapt to the way that things are changing.”
Ace Enders plans on releasing a new record with The Early November in the summer 2015. The band is currently finishing up the recording process in which Enders is handling all of the production. They will outsource the mixing, and mastering to another engineer. You can find out more about the new album here.