Saturday 22 December 2012

Interview with ENOS

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing the excellent UK Psych/Stoner/Sludge Rock Band – ENOS – who have just released their brilliant 2nd new album – All Too Human

ENOS are named after a Chimp that was blasted into Space. ENOS have made this into a character of their very own. A Time Travelling Space Chimp.

I stated this about their excellent new album - “ENOS have matched the Stoner Rock intensity of Monster Magnet with the Progressive Rock creative brilliance of Pink Floyd and Mastodon into something you don't hear much of these days.”

Well the guys have taken time out from their intergalactic space travels to talk to us here at Sludgelord. And Houston – We Don't Have a Fucking Problem.

So let’s get down to it.

Q1 – Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today? 

All good, cheers. Things are going really well at the moment so we’re all pretty chuffed with the how the band’s getting on.

Q2 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about.

We first got going in 2008 after the band me and Sparky were in split up. We’d been going for years and we didn’t want to just give up so we formed Enos with Gaz White who was standing in on our previous band’s last tour. Gaz wasn’t with us for long, he left around Christmas that year so we got George in on bass, Sparky knew him from when he was at collage. We played as a three piece for about a year before we recruited Sean. We put out our first record, Chapter One in August 2010 and gigged pretty solidly until we started recording All Too Human in August 2012. 

Q3 – How did you come up with the idea for a Time Travelling Space Chimp. Very Space Rock and I must say highly original.

Haha, cheers! It originally came about as a bit of a joke. When we were trying to come up with a name for the band I started listing all the animals I could remember who’d been in space. The first chimp the US sent up was called Ham (the US sent up chimps because they’re so close to humans where as the Russians sent up dogs as they thought they’d deal with the cramped capsules better and are generally more docile) whereas the last one was called Enos. 

Other than the fact that Ham isn’t a very good name for a band Enos’ mission was a lot more interesting as there were quite a few glitches while he was in orbit. Anyway, I was sat in the pub with a mate who asked me why we were named after a chimp and why all our songs were about time travel etc. I drunkenly came up with the story and it kind of spiraled from there.

Q4 – How would you describe your sound as you cover a lot of genres in your music.

Personally I think we’re more akin to classic rock and prog than metal. There are a lot of influences in there so rather than write music to fit in with a genre we just write tunes that we enjoy playing. There’s a massive amount of blues in there. I don’t think we’d be out of place in the 70s.

Q5 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.

Well, there’s no way I can deny that Pink Floyd are a massive influence, we’re all big fans. I grew up in Cambridge so they’re kind of like hometown heroes to me! Hawkwind are obviously a massive influence as are Led Zeppelin. Black Sabbath, Kyuss all the usual suspects get a look in but we’ve got a pretty wide range of influences that pretty much all get harvested for ideas!

Q6 – Now your first release Chapter 1 was acclaimed from the Stoner Rock crowd for its high content of riffs and creativity on show. Was that an easy album to write for. A lot of ideas involved. Plus I loved the fact you give away a free comic book.

Chapter One came together while we were gigging, we basically churned out a load of tracks, tinkered with them and gigged them for a while and then put them to tape. What you hear there is essentially our live set from the time with the exception of Back To Earth which was actually written in the final practice the day before we started recording! The same is true, more or less, with All Too Human. It’s an album made up of tracks that we played live hundreds of times before laying them down. 

The only tracks that weren’t regulars in the set were Obscured which Sean wrote at home and Who Knew? which was, oddly enough, written in the last practice before we started recording. The comic was written before the album. I used to run a ‘zine called Thee Big Black and was serializing the comic monthly in that. The comic was more of an aside to start with but I kind of got a little bit dragged into it.

Q7 – Is there going to be a comic book with All Too Human. Or was that just for Chapter 1.

There will be, yes. The new comic will be coming out later in the year as it’s going to be a much bigger thing than the last one, the first comic is actually just an intro to the full story. I’ve written a full graphic novel which seems to be an ongoing thing. Recording the album and touring has taken up most of my spare time and energy recently but I’m back on the comic now.

Q8 – I must say congrats on your new album. As it's brilliant. It is totally different from Chapter 1. While Chapter 1 had some great tongue in cheek moments. This album is a more serious affair. Better produced as well. It seems like ENOS became a proper and well thought out band. Was this an even harder album to write and record for.

Cheers, we’re really happy with how the new album came out. We’re genuinely stunned by the response we got. The main difference between Chapter One and All Too Human is where they sit with regards to the ongoing story. Chapter One has a more manic story line whereas All Too Human has a much darker theme, that will be a lot clearer when the new comic is out. Strangely All Too Human was a lot easier to write than Chapter One, having the comic script laid out made life a lot easier for a start. We’ve played a lot since the first album came out and have really settled into the band. If anything we had too many ideas, we must have thrown out at least another album’s worth of other material!

Q9 – Where do you get your ideas for All Too Human. It's an epic sounding album that literally does transcend time and space. Are you all science geeks at heart.

Yeah, we’re all pretty bug science and sci-fi geeks. Both me and Sean are heavily into astronomy and could happily talk about sci-fi all day. Sparky’s knowledge is pretty terrifying! I think that we had to make an epic sounding album, we set ourselves a pretty hefty challenge with the concept we started with Chapter One.

Q10 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.

None of us are full time musicians, I don’t think that’s likely to happen any time soon to be honest. We’ve all got day jobs, music is an expensive hobby!

Q11 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.

Yeah, everyone is very supportive. My dad was a musician, as was my granddad so I think my family would be more surprised if I hadn’t become a musician. Everyone’s been great and offered a lot of encouragement and it is greatly appreciated.

Q12 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.

It’s very much a collaborative effort. Someone will generally bring an idea to practice but it won’t really form into anything until we’ve jammed it out a few times. When we’ve got something that we’re happy with we’ll drop it into the set to see how it goes down and then tinker with it after that. It’s rare that anything gets put to tape before it’s been through a few mutations. 

Tracks like Collisions on All Too Human and In Space from Chapter One are written with big production in mind, it’s an odd thing to describe. Me and Sean jammed out Obscured (All Too Human) in my living room and had kind of come up with the basic production ideas before we got to the studio, there’s a video of the demo version we did in my flat up on YouTube. Me and Sean work together so it means we get to bounce ideas around pretty much as we think of them.

Q13 – Has BandCamp been a big help in getting your music across.

Totally. We gave Chapter One away free on BandCamp. BandCamp is one of the best sites out there for underground bands.

Q14 – You have signed to Stargun Music to release your new album. Looks a great label to sign for. How did you get involved with those guys.

Stargun approached us about putting a track on a compilation they were doing earlier in 2012. I got stabbed in June and was laid up and couldn’t work for a while so decided, thanks to pain killer induced cockiness, to ask them if they would be interested in putting out All Too Human once it was recorded. They said yes, we met, got on and decided to work together. Stargun look set to be a great label, we’re really happy to be working with them. 

Q15 - What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world?

Blogs are great, I used to run a zine/online blog (the band and comic have pretty much eaten all my time these days), they’re a great way of finding out about new bands. Blogs tend not to have an agenda as they’re run by fans who just want to share the music they love. It’s definitely one of the best things the internet has to offer, it strikes me as a much more egalitarian press. As far as I know we’ve not had much mainstream press but it doesn’t really seem to be a big issue. The mainstream mags have to keep their readership up and keep advertisers buying adverts so it’s rare they take risks. It makes sense to me, the mainstream press is for the mainstream music industry.

Q16 – Is there a scene for a band like your own to perform in your home town on a regular basis. Or do you have to travel further afield to do regular gigs. Do you think there are enough places in the UK to feature amazing Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal bands.

Believe it or not we really struggle to get gigs in our hometown. Brighton can be very cliquey, the last show we had booked here was cancelled and replaced with an electro night, the venue didn’t even tell us or the promoter. We found out when we read the local listings magazine!! It would be nice to play in our hometown from time to time and I’m sure we’ll get something lined up in 2013. We play in London a fair bit and are in the process of booking up a load of shows around the UK.

Q17 – The UK Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal scene seems to be on the rise again. Some brilliant bands around that we have featured on here. Do you think this will continue or has it reached its peak.

There’s so many great bands in the UK at the moment. Gurt, Sea Bastard, Steak, Caravan of Whores, Grifter and a whole load of other top bands, we’re lucky to have played with loads of them. There seems to be more and more great bands coming out all the time over here, almost too many to keep up with. I think we’ve got a long way to go before we hit saturation point or reach a peak. Most of the bands that have been around for a while are just hitting their stride. It’s a good time for music.

Q18 – What are your favorite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal.

Most of the stuff I listen too tends to be 70s prog/rock, I was born about thirty years too late. I love bands like King Crimson, Atomic Rooster, The Groundhogs, Pink Fairies and Jethro Tull. I can easily go months without listening to anything recorded after 1976! There are a lot of really good bands around at the moment. I’m a huge fan of Ancestors, Pontiak, White Hills, Astra Baroness and Torche. Bands like Yob and Zoroaster get pretty regular plays at my place to. There are too many good bands around to mention.

Q19 – What were your original intentions when you started the band and have they been met yet.

We never really set out with a plan other than to write music we enjoy playing so I think we’ve done that, yeah, haha!

Q20 - What are your future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.

Well, as I mentioned there will be an Enos graphic novel at some point in the next twelve months. We’re currently booking up a European and UK tour, we’ll be filming a promo video in the new year and there’s plans to film one of our shows. We’re kicking the idea of doing a couple of EPs but that might be a fair bit later in the year.

Q21 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band?

Getting to go around with your mates shouting about space chimps and sci-fi never gets boring. We having a lot of fun at the moment.

Q22 – Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

Thanks, seriously, massive thanks. We’ve been blown away by the response we’ve had. It’s very much appreciated. If you come to a gig make sure you come and say hello.

Well guys thanks for doing this interview. All the best from ourselves at Sludgelord.

Check This Amazing Band from the links below: