Enderie & Call Compatible on their split EP, ‘Valued Mutuals’ & the importance of local scenes

ENDERIE (aka Sydney-via-Brisbane Andrew McLellan) and CALL COMPATIBLE (aka Sydney’s Del Lumanta) are long-time instigators of the Australian electronic music scene, involved in a slew of different projects over the 2010s. Firmly DIY, genuine and nuanced, both artists have invested more than a decade into their practices, content to develop slowly over time, with a particular focus on live performance.

Under the Enderie alias, McLellan mines the functionality of hardware dance music for slippery, loping new sounds. His past excursions under the moniker Cured Pink, however, were far more raw and industrial. Lumanta, on the other hand, positively squelches and gurgles as Call Compatible, assembling glossy collages of deranged synths and drum machine sounds. Other projects of theirs include GASSteam VentCutleryVideo EzyBasic Human, and Honey 2 Honey.

Together, they’ve put out a record on Meatspin Records called Valued Mutuals, a split EP exploring off-kilter electronics with a playful, exploratory approach. They’ve contributed a few tracks each, including a remix of each other’s work. I sat down with the two of them earlier this week to explore their history as friends and collaborators, and to dive deep into the new release.

I know this split EP is partly inspired by the fact of your friendship, that you’ve been operating in the same scene for a while. How did you two meet?

Call Compatible (CC): I lived in a share-house in Ultimo, and the people who lived there were in bands, and we’d all go to gigs together. Andrew knocked on my door one morning and said “Hey! I’m staying here!” and I had no idea who he was.

Did you live in Sydney at the time, Andrew?

Enderie (EN): No, I was living in Brisbane at that time. The year was 2011, I was down for the first time playing a gig in Sydney, at Lucas Abela’s International Noise Conference. I was performing under Cured Pink that night and had come down a few days earlier to hang out. I was staying on the couch and Del’s three other housemates all had band practice that night. I was kind of sitting by myself on the couch in the dark, and Del popped her head around the corner and said “Hello. Do you want to come see a movie?” So, we walked down the street and went to see Samurai Cop.

Great movie! Terrifying movie. 

EN: And that’s how we met!

In classic Del fashion, without any pretence – “Do you wanna see…Samurai Cop with me, stranger I’ve never met?”

CC: He was just sitting in the living room on the couch that smelled like BO!

EN: It did, too. It smelled like a lot of bad cooking. And some good cooking.

CC: I would always stay in my room at that house. There were amps everywhere, and cats.

Amps and cats… That’s punk.

EN: I don’t think I’ve visited a residence in Ultimo since.

CC: That block was completely knocked down.

Where did you get the idea for a split EP from?

EN: I had finished the song ‘Be Me’ and had sent it around to a lot of people, and Del came back with an unsolicited remix with Jikuroux and The Prodigy mixed in. And then Max [of Meatspin Records] said “If you two ever want to put something out, let me know”.

CC: He saw us play at Mahamudra [the monthly night held in Enmore for live, experimental, alternative electronic music and video synthesis]. That was me trying out really new Call Compatible stuff. It had taken many forms before that show, and that one was pretty dirge-y and loose.

EN: I think I even played non-Enderie that night.

CC: You had the bell!

EN: Vocal samples and the bell! Heady days, 2018…

Messing with the formula, huh. Did Max propose it? 

EN: We had the idea that we would remix each other’s material, envisioning a release and supplementing it with our own tracks. But then the original versions of both songs didn’t end up on the release itself. So, it’s two remixes of unreferenced tracks.

I noticed that. It’s always interesting to put a remix on without a reference track, so you can’t hear what it’s been abstracted from. Was that a purposeful decision or more of an accident?

CC: I think it was more of an accident. When I was coming close to finishing, I’d worked on all this new material and then the original song that Andrew remixed didn’t feel like a good fit anymore. And then I was kind of like, “Fuck it, who cares.” And then when I saw Andrew’s side, he had also done that.

EN: I had these three tracks that weren’t really part of this other stuff I was working on, which were much more suited. You’re not offered too many releases where the format is kind of given. It would be a very different thing if we did a 12-inch maxi-single each or something like that.

You have to consider how your tracks are going to interact, not just in terms of a listen-through but also in terms of shuffling and so on. It needs to be considered.

EN: I think so. The title came last, but it made a lot of sense, and we understood it to be a conversation between each other. Not just in terms of the remixing of each other’s material, too. We’ve shared countless line-ups together and have a lot of conversations about the particular challenges of a given scene, how people are representing themselves and their music, how it’s developed and delivered.

It spoke to me of having regard for each other. I think there’s something very valuable about camaraderie. Andrew, you just spoke about not being given a format very often. Not to slot into, necessarily, but to function within. What was the process of working on the record? Did you bounce ideas back and forth, did you work in isolation and then schlap things together?

EN: It was pretty straight forward because we’ve heard each other’s material develop over a long period of time. It was just a case of “Oh you’ve decided to add that one, okay!”

CC: We definitely have seen a lot of each other’s music, and so it made sense that we didn’t need to check in in that way. We would just tinker away, then show each other.

EN: We were just interested to see what the other person would bring to the table. Were you surprised by the ones I put in at all?

CC: No.

EN: Were you familiar with them?

CC: Yeah, definitely – from the last live sets you did. When Max asked us, you were playing a lot.

You [Andrew] didn’t play heaps of shows in the second half of last year.

EN: No, not the first half of this year either. Of course, when you’ve got a release out, you’ve got something to talk about and I’ve got a few coming up now, which is exciting. I went slow with a lot of it, focusing on other things.

That sounds to me like a further extension of this mutuality, where you implicitly understand what you’re both doing. You have this more instinctual understanding of each other’s tastes, and production decisions. That’s really valuable.

EN: I think we have very different styles.

And a respect for that.

CC: Our relationship is a microcosm of the scene we feel connected to.

And have come out of.

CC: Yeah, where everyone is making really different stuff, but listens with respect, and it’s not just because it’s fashionable. They stick with someone’s practice over a number of years. When I first started going to gigs in the city, I could feel that, that people navigated it that way.

EN: Those are always the experiences I try and hold onto, and in retrospect were the most magical. You’re watching someone develop over time and you feel you’re part of a dialogue in some respects. If you’re sharing that lineup and frequenting those gigs, there’s a lot more friction and grit that’s held onto, and you get more residue from that kind of repeated experience. It’s a very different sensibility seeing a touring band at a one-off show, the resonance is not the same at all.

That’s the really rewarding thing about local music. You can actually have a relationship with it, you don’t have this – 

CC: Mystique.

Yeah, and there isn’t this distance factor that you get with touring acts. Seeing really big artists is of course really nice, and they’re great shows, but it’s not in the same ballpark. Seeing someone you’re friends with take their practice to the next level through hard work and investment… That’s so special.

EN: When you see an artist come through, you see their refined practice. It’s a huge amount of pressure. That set needs to hold up the weight of expectation, all those relative associations. Often when you’re seeing those artists, you’re not really in a sea of peers, you’re in a sea of consumers who have paid the same ticket price. Whereas even if you’re seeing something [local] that may not hold up well, there’s something to be said for the combination of who you’re standing in the crowd with, the conversations that are flowing around you, and any of the other cosmic, intrinsic qualities which are in the air. The performance on stage can, at the very least, be a vehicle for that degree of social cohesion and wonder. At least within a suspended amount of time.

Hence that distancing feeling, right, when you’re in a crowd of people watching, say, FKA twigs. You’re just surrounded by everyone in fucking Sydney, in Carriageworks, struggling to see this incredible artist.

EN: And you wonder who those people are.

And what their relationship to the artist is, the quality of their relationship…

EN: For me, I first had those experiences when I moved to Brisbane – I was young and suddenly I’m in a city where all these huge acts are touring through. But then I’m going to really incredible small gigs on the weekend, and you just see the same faces at these smaller places all the time. Then you go into a large concert and you wonder who all these people are, where they’ve come from, where that engagement was. I think after paying three days’ worth of work in a crappy café to see an artist who just delivers a pretty mediocre experience, you quickly realise what you’re happy to spend money on.

Absolutely. You’re both quite prolific in terms of output, with lots of different projects and engagements. I often think that people who have lots of projects have their own little cosmology, where things have different weights, different functionalities. Where does a release like this sit in terms of the rest of your practices?  

EN: Well, I knew that there’d be songs that were more raw and unrefined, where the weight of doing this as functional club music wasn’t there at all. Even though some of it could be, maybe. I’ve heard people try to do it, with mixed success.

I know some people.

EN: The feedback you usually get is that they’re not functional in terms of club music, which is fine, but then you begin to ask what that means. You know what makes a club record, it needs to have so many bars of lead-up, an outro, a certain amount of emotional engagement without being too frenetic in many cases. It’s fun to learn the rules, see how you can deploy them and then upset them, but I don’t think that’s our game. Max gave us a certain amount of room to manoeuvre.

I mean, if he’s coming up to you and saying “You two! Make a split!”, he’s not going to prescribe too much, right?

EN: Well, we’ve hardly had any conversations about how many tracks, when’s it coming. It’s mostly like “What did you lot have for dinner?”

Talk to me about the launch. Are you planning on doing anything special at the launch?

CC: There’s going to be an installation.

EN: There’s lots of people in the city who put on big parties with lots of decorations and themes, but we’re pretty minimal. Maybe we should talk about the concert we went to that inspired the artwork?

CC: We went to see The Prodigy at Qudos Bank Arena. I used to work there, frying chips.

I just had war flashbacks.

CC: So, we went to this gig together, we were in the mosh-pit, and it was quite a weird experience, right? Old mate ravers, so many white dreadlocks…

Juggalos, buffoons, witch-boys…

EN: There was a lot of that. It was also the last Prodigy gig, because then Keith passed away.

I feel like acts that were big in rave circles now have the most interesting, weirdly diverse fanbases. Watching 90’s ravers grow old is not for the faint-hearted.

CC: That’s the same as any subculture though. Look at old punks and goths.

I feel like the ones who have really aged well are…

CC: The vampires!

You got me there!

EN: There’s not many spaces in Sydney where you see something truly intergenerational, where you have five or even six decades of people appearing in one location and it’s the default for that scene or that party or that group/community.

The only one I can think of is Club Kooky.

CC: Yeah.

EN: And then you realise how much of a purchase the idea of youth culture has on what’s relevant.

Youth culture as a phrase makes me…

CC: *vomit sound*

EN: But you should call it what it is though!

It brings to mind some interesting ideas in developmental psychology, how children deserve to be treated as full agents in their lives with complex agendas and feelings. And the idea of youth culture to me isn’t so much upsetting because youth culture is upsetting, it’s more that categorising it so broadly means you rob young people of their innate complexity. It works in the colloquial, but it’s a term that deserves critique.

CC: Totally. The way I define it is that I call it “youth culture” when it centres this importance on itself.

EN: That’s how I meant it.

CC: It’s when you see groups of people who are quite attached to an aesthetic, and then they make these grand statements like “We’re the only ones doing it”. If you look a little harder, you can easily see previous generations who might not look the same but were still organising in clubs and so on. That’s how I see it. They’ve used this language that’s narrowed the experience.

At the end of the day, the thing that really hurts communities is this lack of historical awareness. Talk to me about the two supports for the night – D-Grade and Stone Fruit.

CC: D-Grade is Maria [Wang]. She’s a new friend, and an amazing DJ. I knew she was gigging around but the first time I saw her, she played the first slot for the Boiler Room x Discwoman. They have a good critique going, too. In terms of the scenes they were involved in [in Montréal] and the scene here, there’s an alignment to how people operate in a space. Stone Fruit is Sol, who I met through All Girl Electronic/New Age Noise, and Sim [aka Seayams] as well. They played their first set at Soft Centre last year.

They sound a bit like old M.I.A., with these chopped, rabid samples. Very keen. What’s next for both of you?

EN: I think I’ll have what I may title ‘Enderie 3’ out later in the year, and I’m playing a show with Maria in a few weeks, on the 25th August. I’m really excited to support Nazira from Kazakhstan on the 7th September, too.

No more European headliners! Central Asia only!

EN: A friend sent me her Discwoman mix last year, and I was so blown away.

The way she conducts herself in written material and interviews is really switched on. 

EN: Oh, I’ve also got a band called Witness K! We’ve got two gigs coming up, one on Friday at Petersham Bowling Club, and then one the night of the Nazira gig, playing earlier at Join The Dots with Knitted Abyss.

CC: I have a release coming out with Meatspin for my band Basic Human, a 7-inch. Andrew recorded that. I also have one coming out as Del Lumanta on A Guide To Saints, Laurence English’s label. I’ve got three new projects in the works.

So just working on material at the moment.

CC: Yeah, I’ve got all this new Call Compatible stuff I want to keep plugging away at. And I don’t know what format it will take, but then I’ve got a project called D Island.

EN: I thought it was Disland?

CC: No. D, space, Island. Del’s Island.

EN: An Island of D?

CC: No. Also, when I was in Hobart for Dark MOFO, the family we stayed with were really into playing Magic The Gathering, and there was this one card called ‘Leechridden Swamp.’ So that’s a new project too.

Was it a Black mana Land card?

CC: Yeah.

Sick.

Photo of Call Compatible by Lucy White

Photo of Enderie by Etang Chen

Words by MICHAEL STRATFORD HUTCH

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One-time cellist, ballroom dance champion, youth cult leader, Cocteau Twins superfan, and karate kid, now bringing you the best in new Australian music (at least until I get into clown school).