Enemies are a math/prog rock outift that have released 3 albums to date, with the latest Embark, Embrace being released in 2013. Three years on, the band have welcomed a new drummer and an interesting change in direction.
We catch up with Eoin Whitfield (Guitar, Vocals & Drums) & Mark O’ Brien (Bass, Vocals) to discuss what’s next for the band.
To Mark: It’s been almost 3 years since the release of your last album ‘Embark, Embrace’. What have you guys been up to?
We spent the guts of 2013 touring Embark, Embrace throughout Europe, Asia and did our first-ever stint in America. Towards the end of that album campaign we parted ways with Oisín (drums), got Micheál trained in, played a few shows around Ireland and then got back into the practice room and started writing. It was around this time that we also allowed ourselves to go off and work on the parts of our lives that we couldn’t focus on while touring. Eoin started creating his own electronic music as MAU, Lewis started to expand his company Heavyweight PR and I took up a full-time job with a graphic design agency. My job lasted about a year before I realised that I was seriously missing music and needed it to be a primary focus in my life again. Around that time we wrote and released Play Fire; which is actually about struggling with where your life has ended up. I quit my job after that and we all started focusing more intently on this next album.
To Mark: Your meticulously structured blend of math and prog rock is a delight to listen to. Who would you cite as your biggest influences?
I think in the beginning we were all very much in awe of the big dogs of those genres; Don Caballero, American Football, Tortoise etc. What’s funny is that nowadays the music that we’re consuming and drawing inspiration from is pretty far removed from the whole math/post-rock world. We reached a point where we felt quite limited by only drawing from that pool, so we started trying to cast the inspiration net out further. On this album we’ve been listening to everything from electronica to hip hop and psychedelic rock. One of the most prominent influences for me at the moment is straight-up intelligent pop music; The Beach Boys have been hugely influential lately. I spent so long in complete ignorance of the groundbreaking work that Brian Wilson had created for the band in the late-60s.
To Eoin: ‘Play Fire’ has been received very well by your fans, and it clearly signifies a new direction for Enemies. What brought this about?
Well I guess we would see this as a constant development from our beginning until now rather than a sudden new direction. As mark said there, we started this band on our love of instrumental rock, but 9 years is long time and people and tastes change. We still base our approach on our roots but we’ve been continuously trying to re-imagine it to be something we can all share and love, which isn’t always easy… But we are very happy with where we’re at now and we’re extremely excited for people to hear more.
To Mark: When can we expect the new album?
That’s a question I’d love to have an answer for. We’ve been in the studio every day since Christmas working on it. It’s pretty ambitious in scope and sound compared to what we’ve put out before, so we’re respecting that and making sure not to take any shortcuts. We have the bulk of it completed at this stage, but this month-long tour of the US in March/April is going to slow down recording a bit. The goal is to release some more singles throughout Spring and Summer, and then release the album somewhere in the latter half of 2016.
To Eoin: Can we expect more of the same with the new album?
There are elements of Play Fire within the new album for sure, but we’ve always written across a broad spectrum of emotion. We would see Play Fire to be of the “Indian summer”/”Coco et moi” variey, which is quite jubilant in sound, but then we have songs like “beacher” and “Rob reid” which we would consider to be on the other end of the spectrum. The new album is similar in this way, it covers a broad spectrum and delivers a variety of tones.
To Eoin: I can expect that your existing fans will be very happy with your new sound. Have you got a message for any new fans looking to give the album a try?
Enjoy, tell your friends and if you’re going to go down the illegal download route make sure it’s high quality.
We look forward to seeing Enemies play the Lexington, London on March 3rd. For tickets, click here.