Before the The Ends hunkered down to create an album kick-starting their career as serious musicians, they divulged in some serious partying. Thus inspiring the name of their recently released album, “Guilty Sunrise,” which is also the title of one of their songs. Explaining the motivation behind the title, Keith Ingalls, the 32-year-old singer and guitar player, offers a simple explanation: “We thought it was good. The song itself is a phrase we’ve [used] after partying, and when you see the sunrise you don’t feel so great. You think, ‘Ehh … I need to go to bed.’”
The rest of the Burlington-native band trio consists of Josh Coe, 32-year-old bass player, and Ryan “Bunk” Burgess, a 35-year-old drummer, who also lends a hand to vocals. They got their start in 2009, yet, each musician has played for well over a decade, and formed his own career separately before forming their current lineup. According to Coe, they all met through previous bands and even played in a “multi-instrumentalist jam band” called Loop. When Coe left to play in a metal band for five years, Ingalls and Burgess founded Deep River in Elon. Once they reconvened in Burlington four years ago, they started playing weekly gigs at a local pool hall, Brewballs. Their natural progression came from each member’s departure of other projects, wherein they began to pursue The Ends seriously.
Titled after a Robert Frost poem, “Ends”— which Bunk found while skimming through a collection of Frost poems at his friend’s house—the group saw its parallel to their own formation of artistic expression. It’s “about the end of messing around and being a weekend warrior, and moving out to doing this full-time and putting as a first priority and as a career,” Bunk says.
Since, they have been able to turn their collaborative work into something concrete. Although their debut album was released in May, the material on it spans two years.
The Ends candidly acknowledges their previous fast-paced lifestyle frequently—something obvious in their music which falls nothing short of their self-proclaimed “original rock” sound. Consisting of jazz-like guitar and heavy percussion, “Guilty Sunrise” includes bluesy lyrics that sound akin to Rolling Stones or Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: “And my attention began to undress/And I lost my moral sins/And nothing in your face can make me want to do right/Or make me change my ways/As I crawl into another guilty sunrise.”
Coe says they write based off either experiences they’ve endured or from others. Few songs are fictitious.
“It’s usually very veiled and extremely vague,” Bunk sheepishly admits, before submitting to a nervous guffaw. “Yeah, I’ve definitely written about some people before. Without a doubt. There’s some stuff about my ex-wife, but that was a while ago.”
Honesty seems to be a consistent theme for the band, according to Bunk. Truth comes not only in constructing music but playing it live.
“That may sound weird, but I have to just feel what I’m feeling,” he states, “and enjoy the moment of the song. I think that will lend to people well, and they will vibe to it. I don’t like to be overwrought with the way I look but convey the emotion to the song as honest as possible, because that’s the way the song was written. I’ve definitely seen some shows where it’s been definitely been more concentrated on the look of the stage or the band and that tends to be a bummer for me.”
The Ends focuses on making memorable experiences nowadays, not only in the band but with their concert-goers. “You have to be involved in what the crowd is doing,” Coe says. “You’ve got to put every bit into it. It doesn’t matter if it’s two or 200 people. And adapt to it to make sure you’re having fun as well.”
This approach seemingly stems success, giving way to some of the best training they’ve had as a band. A specific moment comes to mind—a unanimously agreed upon performance at Brewballs: “When everything [was] just clicking,” Ingalls remembers, “[and] where everything [was] just on fire.
“That’s that whole cyclical thing when playing live music,” Ingalls adds. “When the energy is there it’s easier to play as a musician and you want to play better.”
Today, The Ends put practice before guilty sunrises, and forego sleep-deprived nights riddled with revelry. Bunk writes to chronicle this newly adapted outlook, putting this as a focus for their next album.
“A number of [songs] is about moving onto a next chapter of what we’re doing and pushing forward to music into a career,” Bunk says. “It’s definitely a very cathartic thing. It’s a way to take something I may have been dealing with emotionally and put them on a page and get them out of my head. When I write songs about it, that’s when I let my emotions run. It’s my relief.”
The Ends will put on a show with Marcus Horth on Thursday, September 5th, at 10 p.m. at Palm Room in Wrightsville Beach and on Friday, September 6th, at 10 p.m. at The Whiskey.
Thursday, September 5th • The Palm Room, Wrightsville Beach; 10 p.m.
Friday, September 6th • The Whiskey, downtown Wilmington; 10 p.m.
$8/night; $12/both nights
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