Jason Hollis aka Endif aka DJ Cephalopod
The industrial scene in Reno is experiencing a surge of talent. There are now three bands, each exploring different aspects of the genre, performing consistently: Kill Kelly, Eroded Pride and Endif. While the first two make a guitar-oriented form of industrial, Jason Hollis, who performs as Endif, is the sole practitioner of the synth-heavy, hard electronic that you would hear spun at a good gothic-industrial night.
“I make the music I wish others made, but no one does, leaving me with no choice but to do it myself,” explains Hollis. “That’s actually why I wind up promoting events, really; no one else here is making the type of event I want to see happen, so I make them myself.”
Hollis has been organizing events in Reno since ‘93, making him the city’s most persistent popularizer of industrial music and its variants.
“I get kind of obnoxious and aggressive about it, too. I’ll make these handbills, and I’ll just go up to people who look vaguely freaky and go, ‘Hey, you go to shows? Here, come to this. You over 21? Cool.’ I’ll just pimp it at them.”
A recent show organized by Hollis at the Blue Lamp confirmed that an aggressive approach is probably best. Although the turnout was decent, it was sparse considering that for $5 you got three out-of-town bands and two DJs (including Hollis, who spins as DJ Cephalopod).
“I think it’s just an apathy thing,” Hollis complains. “I think people are just getting tired and sloppy and don’t really look for anything new. ‘Yeah, the ‘80s were the pinnacle of alternative culture, fuck it.’ This is part of why I pursue alternative events here so tenaciously; I’d like to see Reno flower. In many areas, it has always been in bloom. The punk scene here is just amazing, but punk is easy.”
What would someone steeped in punk get out of an Endif show?
“I guarantee they would get a new perspective on hard music,” says Hollis.
The show itself went well. Black Snake Moan opened with a set of Ministry-inspired industrial rock, at much slower than Ministry speed. Only Flesh, whose seven members combine theatrics and body modification with their music, followed with a convergence of old-school gothic and get-your-hands-dirty industrial: affected guitars, the sound of breaking glass and the vocalist taking an electric saw to his boot. Mankind Is Obsolete brought catchy, melodic synth groves—accentuated by Natasha Cox’s surging vocals—to the forefront to close out the live show.
Hollis himself didn’t perform, but he did spin some of his Endif songs between sets. Endif songs are aggressive, structurally fluid, with abrasive experimental sounds sequenced in such a way as to be highly danceable. If ever the label “intelligent dance music” were true, it would be in this case. “Secondskin” pulses forward with a hard beat and elliptical pockets of noise dispersed with an occasional bit of Korg synth. “Sleeper Cell” is a fast, rhythmic blend of white noise blasts and distorted vocals.
“I listen to as many different kinds of electronic music as possible," says Hollis. "If it exists, I want to know about it. And I’m going to analyze it, and I’m going to take all the tricks out of what they do. That’s what I listen for in music in general: ‘How did they do that?' That’s the best compliment somebody could ever give me: ‘How the hell did he do that?'"