Back in 2007, musician Zander Ness, operating under the name Hennes Siste Høst, and then eventually just Høst, was the main force behind one of the most exciting black metal albums of the year. Hailing from Fargo, North Dakota, Høst went on to make the pages of Decibel magazine the following year, they also released a split in 2009, but soon after, Høst disappeared. It wasn’t until late last year that we heard from Zander Ness again.
Zander contacted us about his latest band, Enditall, and their debut album, never feel again. We were eager to hear what Zander had been up to in the past decade plus, but when we were greeted with heavy-hitting and darkly charged grunge packed with plenty of that same atmosphere that made Zander’s work in Høst so memorable and extraordinary, we arranged for an immediate interview.
First of all, man, how have you been doing lately, out there in Fargo?
Well, since March 2020 things have been interesting to say the least. I have been trying to stay productive and busy with music. It gets a bit tiresome at times without concerts to plan for and so on but overall, I have been trying to stay motivated [and] optimistic for the future.
So back in 2007, you wrote and released some really killer black metal under the name Høst. What was it about expressing yourself through black metal that you once found appealing?
Yes, thank you. I was big into black metal throughout high school, and there weren’t really any bands in Fargo at the time in the genre. I wanted to make something that was my own sound and tried to kind of mash up different sounds/characteristics from my favorite genres, including black metal and grunge rock. Even though black metal was virtually unknown in Fargo at the time, I still wanted to make something that would be relevant and possibly new to the world, not just to where I live. I think it ended up being pretty unique and was fairly well-received overall.
What happened? Why did you quit making black metal?
Around early 2009 I was heading in a different direction musically. I was hardly listening to metal at all anymore and kind of reverted back to my alternative rock roots along with having new sounds in mind. I didn’t think the new material I was working on belonged under the Høst name, and dissolved the band entirely in late 2009 which was unfortunate because Høst was on the verge of some major opportunities at that time. In 2009 I had also moved from Fargo around to a few different cities trying to form new projects and even recorded an album in Chicago with a group of people which was never released. That material was somewhat similar to current Enditall but more atmospheric and spaced out. It was also probably just a matter of me growing and maturing musically, as I was 18 when the Høst album was recorded.
What’s cool is that Høst stuff is hard to find now. You’re the creator of some cult/kvlt history. How does it feel, looking back on Høst?
Well, not sure that I would necessarily consider Høst in that category but I am still very proud of the record and had countless amazing experiences during the band’s time. I still receive a lot of good feedback about that album to this day and I love reminiscing on old tour memories and good times (some bad too, of course).
Have you always been interested in a variety of genres?
Yes, for sure. I have been a huge Nirvana fan since I was probably 9 years old or so (still my favorite band to this day). I got big into metal as I began playing drums (and eventually guitar/bass) in bands but I still always loved alternative and noise rock stuff. Nowadays I honestly really only listen to old Nirvana and underground bands, with a few nostalgic albums and new surprises in rotation from time to time.
What else were you up to during the years in-between, musically speaking?
After my time moving around and traveling in 2009/early 2010, I ended up moving back to Fargo pretty sick of everything and everyone. I didn’t play an instrument or write any music for a number of years—that’s how discouraged I was with how everything had gone. Of course, there are some personal matters that go along with this too but music has always been my identity for myself and a lot of people so not doing anything for so long was really unhealthy for me mentally. There was a huge void in my life during what became almost a decade. After another major personal trauma in early 2019, I decided it was time to start something again. I didn’t know what exactly or where I wanted to take it but I had a new sound in mind and as soon as I picked up the guitar again it took off like I never put it down. I started writing for what would become Enditall around March 2019.
never feel again
So what inspired Enditall? One gets the feeling you’ve had this band inside of you for a long time. What was it about 2019 – 2020 that brought out never feel again?
That’s actually interesting it comes across that way because there are ideas and even guitar parts on the record that date as far back as 2008. So yes, it has been a long time coming but, in a way, I am happy it wasn’t until now and had time to really come together in a natural and more mature manner. As I said, I started writing for the album back in March 2019 and it just worked really well. I think between the excitement of playing/writing again and the need to get it out of me [the album] almost wrote itself. Once writing was finished, I contacted my old friend Neal Stein about recording an album and was so excited when he came on board. He and I worked together for about 6 or 7 months completing what became never feel again and it is, in my opinion, the best music I have ever recorded.
Some really great tracks on this album, man. “L7” has been a favorite lately. What can you tell us about this one?
Thanks a lot! “L7” is interesting because it is actually a reworked version of a song that I originally recorded with Neal back in 2008 or early 2009 but was never released publicly. The original track was over 8 or 9 minutes, so it’s quite different now but the guitar parts are virtually the same, just cut/shortened some parts and changed the vocal style to fit. I think it turned out far better than the original and definitely compliments the record. The track “Boddah” is another reworked song from that same session with Neal.
What’s the strongest track on the album in your own opinion?
It’s hard for me to say which I would consider the strongest but I think the title track “Never Feel Again” best represents the band’s sound overall. “Give Me Nothing” is probably my personal favorite, but I tend to look at the album as a whole so it’s kind of a tough call. I have had mixed feedback from listeners as far as which track(s) stood out to them so it’s kind of in the air.
Do you prefer to work alone when it comes to making music?
For sure, yes. I have written by myself since the Høst days so that’s just what is natural for me and what I feel produces my best songwriting. As far as recording, I have kind of just done that over the years for convenience sake. Since I can play the other instruments it just kind of moves the process along faster and I can get what’s in my head out more easily, not that I necessarily prefer that to recording with a band.
What song surprised you the most with its final version and how come?
By far that would be the final track “Momo” which I had some pretty weird ideas for and Neal just nailed it. The ending movement has this cool mirrored guitar line that just gets nastier and more spacey as the song fades out. Neal really did an amazing job on the whole album but that particular part really turned out great in my opinion. “Momo” is also the only Enditall song that hasn’t been performed live.
You’ve always had such an incredible knack for atmosphere. Whether it’s your black metal or your new band, Enditall, you really know how to immerse the listener. Is creating an atmosphere important to you?
Thanks a lot, yeah, I think atmosphere is just ingrained in my personal guitar playing and writing since early on. I love dynamics and suspense in songs and with the emotional subject matter that I am partial to, I don’t think it could be represented without that atmospheric aspect. The album features two interlude pieces, “K” and “Nya Bye” which are short, soft, guitar-driven instrumentals that I think add to the darkness and emotion of the record. I didn’t want to go for anything too droned out or long-winded, just little pieces to help set the mood.
What about this new single “over me bright.” What is this song a preamble for?
“Over Me Bright” was written right after the never feel again album was finished. I wanted to have something to throw out there in a timely manner that would also have a slightly different vibe to it, which i think translated pretty well. A cool thing with the new single is that it features the Enditall live members Matthew Johnson and Jake Martin on the recording so it was done as a band unlike the album. I think it has a bit more of an upbeat feel and traditional structure which is something I would like to continue as I think it makes for more memorable songs.
What can we expect from Zander Ness next? Have you been working on anything else?
Definitely expect more from Enditall. I am currently writing for the second album and have a lot of plans for the future including split releases with two other singles that were recorded during the “Never Feel Again” sessions. We are currently planning to shoot some music videos this winter and will hopefully be able to do more live performances this year.
* Credit to Ben Hoos for the main picture of Zander.