Excerpts from an interview on No Echo...

By the time Undertow was going to record At Both Ends, the band had already had a couple of splits and EPs under its belt. Did you guys write all of the material that ended up on the album specifically for it?

John Pettibone (vocals): Most of the material was written for the LP but a few songs were rerecorded that were off the Stalemate 7 inch. We were a five piece on that recording. Two of the members left and we got Damien in the band playing bass which help in the writing process. This was all in 1993 I believe. That year was a big progression for us.

Mark Holcolmb (guitars): There was a momentum building in us and in our surroundings from the Stalemate recording to the At Both Ends sessions. We were playing shows with The Accüsed, Poison Idea, Jawbreaker, Seaweed, and such, which pushed us to explore our song structure and sound.

Seaweed guitarist Clint Werner produced At Both Ends. As a huge fan of that band, I’m curious about how he became involved with the project.

Mark: Ron was the tour manager for Seaweed at the time. Ron, Ryan, Dave Larson, and I formed a band called Digh Down and Ron booked some time to record a demo with Clint. John and Damien came in and we recorded some Undertow songs to get a feel for his studio. I was a huge admirer of Clint’s playing in Seaweed and overall as a great band. They took a chance on having us playing with them, this local hardcore band that created some buzz. They are great people and we loved playing with them.

Did you guys ever discuss the lyrics in Undertow while you were writing and/or recording?

John: It wasn’t so much as themes but was more reality of what was go on around us in our lives and the current climate of the times. We had songs about passion, conflict, disappointments, anti-religion, fighting back against racism, sexism, homophobia. We as young people discovering love, confronting failure and loss. At times it felt innocent but other times were harsh realities of humanity. White power skins at our shows we would fight. Losing close friends to drug addiction. Broken families and relationships. Both Mark and I wrote lyrics from the heart and never wrote to appease a crowd. The lyrics Mark wrote were incredible and honest. What he penned I could understand.

Mark: The lyrics were just a collection of personal feelings sometimes exciting sometimes disappointing but always honest.

Once At Both Ends was released to the public, what do you remember the reaction being like?

Mark: It was pretty incredible since we had no expectations. We were taking off for a two-month tour that summer with no merch, no records and maybe some disto releases. And when we hit the Midwest and East Coast people knew most of our songs already. It was very humbling and we were so grateful that kids cared about us.

John: I was blown away by how many kids new our songs before the record even came out. The tour we did before the release had us going to a lot of places we had never been. Places with premade scenes dating back 10-15 years and we were embraced instantly and made incredible friendships that still last to this day.

How much touring did you do after the album came out?

John: A US tour with Unbroken in summer of '94, winter East coast Dates with Earth Crisis, Snapcase, and Stife. A few times down the West Coast then Europe with Ignite and Temperance in 1995.

How do you feel about the album today?

Ryan: I feel proud of what we did with that record for sure, but now I regret not going back to re-record. Still wish my drums sounded like Petey Hines’.

Mark: I’m very happy with what we did at the time. A lot of it was learning as we were going. We were young and it felt organic and I have a lot of gratitude for Clint.

John: I’m extremely happy with it. There was never any expectations and we just created it as we went. No rules or guidelines. We were building and making something really special. We four are still close friends, still creating in some form and talk often about those days that shaped us into who we became. Clint helped capture that.

If you had to pick your favorite song on the album, which one would it be and why?

Mark: "Pin," not just for content but how fast and aggressive it was. We would play it live it would feel so ferocious. We would open with it to set the tone for the rest of the set and keep up that energy.

John: "Taken" because the beginning with the high-hat, the build with bass and guitar, and then the punch of the riff. Unbroken stole that riff for "End of a Lifetime," by the way (we love you Steve). Lyrically, it is the character of how we started and ended as a band. I really like "Where Do We Go" also with it’s slowed tempo and has a sort of Burn vibe to it, in my opinion.