Ending People, a dreamy pop quartet from Denver, Colorado, create new-wave songs that journey through a post-utopian maze of nostalgia and mystery. The apparent bleakness of their name masks a contrarian playfulness echoed through sleek songwriting and production that is danceable yet haunting. Imagine Lionel Richie’s infectious melodies and Metric’s modern sensibility and you’re in setting foot in the kingdom where these kids hold court. Recorded in their hometown and mastered by Bob Weston, Fill Your Lungs, becomes available on vinyl and digitally October 30 via Cash Cow Productions.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Ending People vocalist and keymaster Erin Roberts (who has been a touring member of Castanets and Phosphorescent and was in Porolo and D. Biddle as well) to discuss her favored events and destinations, and to tell stories about how flammable she is and offensive hillbilly bears. Check it…
What’s your town’s nickname?
I think it’s the Mile High City, which is different than the Mile High Club. That club is much smaller and smells of urinal pucks, and maybe more exclusive.
Why do you live there?
If I were one of the hundreds of thousands of residents with ‘terrible chronic pain,’ I would say I live in Denver for the medical marijuana. But I’m a model of middle-aged health and vigor. Denver is awesome. There isn’t enough room for me to list all the reasons why. It’s perfect.
Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?
I grew up all over the place, mostly in the Midwest, which I love. God, I really love Indiana. I moved to Colorado to snowboard. I had this fishtailed Kemper snowboard back in the late ‘80s when most resorts didn’t allow snowboarding, and Colorado seemed like the right place. And once I had this houseguest in Indiana who was in love with John Denver and picked blackberries on his property every summer, and when she came to stay with us she’d just had TMJ surgery and her head was all bandaged up like a mummy, and it was just really memorable. So, Colorado.
What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?
I caught on fire at a wedding once. During the vows. My dress was dangerous, and the wedding planners loved candles. The most unexpected wedding guest came to my rescue and patted me out. We didn’t date or anything after that – this isn’t that kind of story. I had to leave immediately because my dress burnt all the way off up to my waist and my pantyhose melted to my legs.
What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
Eldorado Springs Pool.
What is your favorite local event or festival?
What is the best time of year to be there?
Whenever the golf courses have a few inches of snow to cross country ski on.
Who is your favorite local celebrity?
Duh, John Elway.
Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
The best place to drink is my front porch. This week’s specialty was watermelon water. That’s like an anagram or something.
Where is your favorite place to play?
I’m in a phase where I like to practice and write more than play live, so my basement is looking pretty good right now. Sounds terrible down there though. Just terrible.
Does where you live influence your music?
I just watched this movie last night called “Song of the Untouchables” about a guy who goes to India on some sort of spiritual and musical quest to find inspiration. There’s a scene where he meets an Indian flutist who talks about the necessity of space in the creative processes. I’m totally and completely reliant on trips into the wilderness of Colorado to help clear the incessant internal chatter and find the space to create melody and meaning. Colorado is incredibly beautiful, with incredibly diverse landscapes. Mountains, red-rocked deserts, sand dunes, plains. Even though it’s a crappy place to live if you like to tour as a band, I would never move to a ‘music epicenter’ if it would confine me to a major urban center.
What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
There is a tiny little room underneath the Thin Man bar called Ubisububi. Holds around 25 people. I saw Crooked Fingers play an acoustic show there. It was just Eric Bachmann and Liz Durrett, and holy smokes, what a powerful show. Every time Liz sang it really rattled me. Her voice is otherworldly.
What is your favorite local band?
I love Land Lines. And when their record comes out in a month or so, you will too.
What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
Pho 555: Pho with rare steak. And the Wendy’s Frosty.
What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
Denver is awesome because it has a number of independent record stores that are really cool to Denver musicians, especially Twist and Shout and Wax Tracks. How about the weirdest find? I’ve been trying to get my nieces into records, and they are little innocent kids so I’ve been looking in some weird sections. I found a how-to record on ventriloquism recently, and a record based on some animatronic bears that lived exclusively inside the walls of Walt Disney World in Florida in the late ‘70s. They are supposed to be hillbilly bears, so you can imagine how offensive the songs are.
What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
I run a site dedicated to Colorado music called Audiovore. www.audiovore.us. Every mommy likes her kid the best.
What is your favorite local shop?
Crema. Little miracles, every cup of coffee. Wheeeee.
If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
I’d like to try out our second bedroom for a couple months, see how it feels.