Although The Enemy have been somewhat elusive the last couple of years, you can rest assured, they have been hard at work on the labour of love that is to be their fourth studio album “It’s Automatic”. Proud of a huge following of dedicated fans acquired since they steam rolled onto the UK Indie scene back in 2007 with debut album “We’ll Live and Die in These Towns” – Front Man Tom Clarke gives us an insight into where the band are right now and why playing live is still enormously important to them. Having just announced a UK tour for Autumn, Tom explains how ‘spine tingling’ it still feels to perform live, how the band carefully select the tour venues and recalls some early memories of stand out gigs…
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the new album? What can we expect?
It’s an evolution for us. We went into it only looking forwards, listening to the most current production techniques from loads of different genres and bringing them together on one record, whilst always focusing on writing songs which pushed us further into original and new territory.
Q: Did you feel it was important to progress the sound and style of your songs from previous Enemy Albums? Why now?
Absolutely, we didn’t want to cover old ground. There will always be people for whom a previous Enemy album is “the one” and that’s great for them, but it’s important to all of us to keep pushing ourselves to break new ground. We reached a point where we all wanted to take the same leap forward and met a producer who was on exactly the right page. Once we’d committed it was obvious that this was going to be a special record.
Q: You’ve said the album took a long time to finish. What were the main reasons for this?
It’s taken over a year. There have been so many learning curves and there is so much fine detail in this record that it wouldn’t of been possible to make it any quicker. The process has been complex and challenging and our drive for perfection has meant some finished tracks were completely scrapped and started again. Everybody involved in the making of this record knew what we were trying to make, and as such nobody was willing to compromise no matter how long it took to finish.
Q: Things have moved on quite a bit since your debut album in 2007, how do you feel about current bands and the music scene in general?
I think music is a hugely exciting place right now. There are so many new artists coming through with new sounds and styles, and radio seems to be picking up on it. Every week I feel like another artist releases an album that inspires me. In many ways I haven’t enjoyed the music scene this much since we first formed The Enemy.
Q: You have a string of UK gigs coming up in November – How important is it to keep playing live as a band?
Hugely important. We may well of spent over a year in a studio making a record, but where we really excel and take things to another level is live. We have a number of shows in the autumn where we’ll be playing the new material for the first time and some hugely exciting plans for next year too. The Enemy has always been about live, we’ve always sold tickets even when other artists have struggled because the live show is always strong, now we have a new record which will allow us to flex a bit more and up the live show too.
Q: Which UK gig venues hold a little place in The Enemy’s heart?
So many! I have to say on this tour I’m most excited about playing The Empire in Coventry, not just because it’s a home town show but because it’s a new venue which I’m helping to build and I think it’s going to be incredible. I always adore playing in Scotland too, I feel like we get a home town reception every time we play there, to be honest all the dates on this tour were carefully selected so I’m looking forward to all of them! One venue I’ll always miss dearly is The Astoria in London. We played seven consecutive nights there once and it’ll always have a place in my heart.
Q: What do you consider are the most important ingredients to a successful ‘Enemy’ gig?
I think all you need is a bunch of people who’ve come to have a good time, who are all on the same page and want to share a moment and enjoy the music. I always feel honoured to hear a crowd sing our songs back to us, it’s spine tingling and I’ll never get tired of it ever.
Q: Do you have any festivals lined up for the summer?
This summer we’ll be busy mixing and mastering the new record and preparing for the tour, however next year once the album has been released we expect to be playing some of the larger UK festivals as well as some elsewhere in the world and we can’t wait!
Q: Lastly, we’ve been asking artists to recall the first gig they remember going to, or that stands out. Could you enlighten us?
The first gig that really stands out was The Verve, but since then Florence & The Machine in a tent at a festival one year blew me away, as did MGMT, and recently watching Jaws play live was a real stand out moment as was seeing the Libertines in London! It’s hard to choose just one!