When sitting down for a music listening session, you’ve got to be conscious of Session Killers. A Session Killer is a band or record that you save until the end because it’s so good that it’ll ruin anything you try to listen to afterwards. Cardiff, Wales’ Enouement have crafted two tapes of session killing emocore. The tapes have a timelessness to them. Enouement would fit nicely on a tour with Swervedriver circa Raise, randomly inserted into the Anti-Matter comp, or on a tour with Fiddlehead. They show a reverence for the genre without being a novelty act.
Their debut release, the Composure tape, was initially a bit of a bummer because it’s only two songs and I immediately wanted more. As I went back and played those two songs over and over again, they stuck with me. They demanded to be heard again. Call it underselling, call it quality control, the fact is that they came out of the gate with a concise tape filled with earworms.
There’s a skillful depth to the songwriting that helped to build anticipation for their next step.
The follow up tape, Lie, sounds slightly bigger, but it’s a subtle change. Its three songs are the perfect continuation of the adept jangle of the previous tape. Only five songs across two cassettes, but damn, they’re some great songs. Picking a favorite is a tall task. Just go listen to all of them.
How did the band come together? How long have you been a band?
We've been a band for just over a year, and although we've played a few shows in that time, most of it has been song writing and practising. Jonny, Dom and Neil had previously played in a band called Bicycle Thieves that ended up winding down a few years ago due to real-life commitments getting in the way. When their time became a bit less constrained they started a new project and Jonny suggested me as I’d played with him before in Natural Order and Ark of the Covenant.
Is it a full-time band?
No, we all have proper jobs and outside commitments that would make that extremely difficult, plus trying to be a full time band in Europe is nigh on impossible until you get to a pretty high level. We are just enjoying being able to create music, hang out together at practice once a week and hopefully continuing to play some cool and interesting shows.
So far, you've released five songs across two tapes. Is there a reason you've done shorter tapes versus all five songs on one EP?
The majority of the songs on the two EPs were written and then recorded together with our friend Tom Avon (who had also played in Natural Order and AOTC with me and Jon), but the vocals, leads and a few changes were then done over the course of last year.
We put the first tape out quickly so that we could get some music out there (it's hard to book shows when you have nothing to play to people), and then took a little bit more time with the second tape, including getting it mastered with Bob Cooper in Leeds who has done a lot of great sounding recordings. I think it shows and resulted in a positive development in our sound.
Lie has a more aggressive edge to the songs, is that how the band has progressed, or did you separate the songs stylistically?
I think it's more that the songs had been a lot more honed by that point, so snap a bit tighter and have a greater sense of urgency in the playing, which I think is such an important quality for music like ours to have, and that naturally leads to things sounding a bit more aggressive.
Did you have any particular inspiration for the layout of the tapes? Are you going to continue with the theme on future releases?
The layouts were done by myself, trying to evoke the feel of late '90s Jade Tree and Rev bands, e.g. the covers done by Jason Gnewikow from The Promise Ring and others. There is a loose theme in the art, going from summer to autumn with the colours and photos, and we are hoping to continue this to complete a set for the seasons. I've always been a fan of companion releases/series etc. and with releasing records on tape/digital having a quick turnaround and low cost it’s easy to play with that format.
How is the scene in Wales? Do touring bands come through often?
Cardiff/Newport has always had a fairly vibrant and varied music scene, but different genres and sounds can ebb and flow over time. We do get some bands through on tour, but Bristol (a much bigger city about 45 minutes drive closer to London) gets a lot more, which has always been an issue. Although Cardiff and Newport both draw people in from the surrounding valley communities, promoting shows can be an unpredictable and often financially troubling endeavour.
We've also had, like so many other cities, a long running decline in the amount of available venues as creeping gentrification replaces them with unnecessary luxury student flats.
Amongst the DIY scene in Wales there is currently an eclectic mix of great and engaging bands, from indie rock stalwarts Bedford Falls, violent hardcore from Rancour, powerful emo from Fallow, gruff punk from Human Heat, queer noise punk from Salt Bath, and poppy math rock like Live, Do Nothing.
How does the scene in Cardiff differ from a larger city like London?
The whole touring model for US and even Euro bands has changed over the last 5-10 years, where in the past hardcore and punk bands used to do a lot of dates in the UK that took in smaller cities, it's become a lot more common for bands to come over and do one or two "event" shows in Leeds and London. While this has definitely led to scenes like Cardiff being more self-sufficient and looking to other local scenes for show swaps, it also perhaps removes some of the "glamour" that can be needed to get younger kids through the door and into the scene in the first place.
As I said, everything ebbs and flows though and as long as people are creating music and playing shows, it'll be ok.
What are some notable Welsh bands—past and/or present—No Echo readers need to check out?
Outside of DIY punk and hardcore, the most notable and relevant band to us would be the Manic Street Preachers, who's 1994 album, The Holy Bible, is completely essential. Within punk and hardcore over the years, bands like The Oppressed, No Choice, Four Letter Word have all been important, not just to Wales, but the UK and beyond. More recently, on top of the current bands listed, Harbour, State Run, Twisted, and Saturday's Kids have all put out some brilliant records that are worth tracking down.
What are your future plans?
On top of continuing the tapes, we've been writing songs towards an LP, although that still has a considerable amount of work to go into it and we haven't spoken to any labels about it. We are hoping to do some small weekenders with some of our friends’ bands around the UK and Ireland over the next few months as well as the odd one off show as they crop up.
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