Enemy at the Gates


Moving from strength to strength, The Enemy are fast becoming the self-proclaimed prophets of another angst ridden-generation. Jake O’Brien talks to drummer Liam Watts about the band’s success, and discusses the ongoing third-level fees debate.

IT’S BEEN A short time coming and the loud arrival of Coventry band, The Enemy, has set the industry alight. Hot on the heels of their last album, 2007’s We’ll Live and Die in These Towns, The Enemy will release their latest endeavour, Music for the People, later this month.


However, it is hard to deny the overt difference between the premier effort of the band and their striking follow-up. Living in certain towns holds with it a bleak atmosphere, cradling itself in an angst ridden, autocratic, indie world. However, with the new album, The Enemy fl ip the angst to anger, casting aside their morose image.

Speaking to Liam Watts, The Enemy’s drummer, it is evident that the band is aware of this dramatic volta in tone. “As an album, it’s defi nitely a step forward from the fi rst. I think it’ll appeal to more people; it’s not just like an indie record, which is how the fi rst one was received.”

In analysing this change, it becomes clear that the band really has moved to one side of the indie music scene, allowing their somewhat generic contemporaries to storm past to see how green the grass of celebrity is from the other side. Now, staring from the banks of integrity, The Enemy await the impending reception of their rock and roll shift.

That being said, they feel that this departure was an inevitable event. “I think it’s just a natural progression from where we were.” Combining these attitudes with the very mood and tone of the new single, ‘No Time For Tears’, one sees an increasing maturity in not only the music, but also the philosophy behind it.

Upon engaging in a “scrap” with a random bouncer, the lead singer Tom Clarke revived an archived tune and attached fresh and vibrant lyrics that thrash wildly at the boundaries of the indie genre. “’No time for tears when you live in the real world’… [is] a statement which I think you’ve got to sort of live your life by.”

Denying it the title of ‘infl uence’ and listing it simply as their communally favourite album, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon fi nds a curious home in The Enemy’s trigger happy single and subsequent album. Under infl uences, Liam lists stereotypes such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, and most predictably The Jam, with front man Tom Clarke bearing both the aesthetic and tonal remedies of a young Paul Weller.

Rebuttal is found, however, with the presence of Liam. Inspired by a father who played jazz fusion drums, the young percussionist constantly injects The Enemy’s musical accomplishments with a plate of talent, and a side order of innovation. “I think if people actually knew the extent of music we listen to, I think they’d be quite surprised.”

With this, The Enemy offers up a plate brim full of colloquialisms, while deterring themselves from the “tamed”, albeit aggressive nature of their fi rst album. “You can’t opt out of all the crap that’s going on.” The solution to this problem, however, may not be perceived as intellectually as one would wish; “Just get through all the shit really.”

Solutions aside, the group’s success defi es modern belief, as a small Coventry based band erupts into stadiums and onto festival stages this coming summer. Moreover, the simplistic perspective of the band members adds greatly to the transition from small venues to startlingly large performances. “We play exactly the same, whether it’s to 100 capacity or a 60,000 capacity. Our sound translates quite well to big and small venues.”

But what does such a speedily successful band think about our third-level fees situation? Does their revolutionary sound cross all boundaries, does it surge beyond the restrictions of fi ghts with club bouncers and St Patrick’s Day golf games in Scotland? “I don’t actually agree with it to be honest – the people in suits. I’m not sure what we can do to actually change it; we can only make a stand, stick together and say we’re not havin’ it!”

The Enemy have carved out their niche on the periphery of a fading, idealistic genre. Contorting powerful rhythms and pumping out a veritable smorgasbord of guitar melodies, they have become the enemy at the rotting gates of the indie scene.

The Enemy play The Academy on 17th April