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Enabler: Shifting The Redemption

Ahh, the maiden voyage Down Under. Contrary to the band’s “The world is fucked, and this is the soundtrack to its demise” stance on things, just quietly Milwaukee quartet Enabler seem a little bit stoked to be bringing their blend of punk, metal and hardcore to our shores. The band’s eloquent guitarist and frontman Jeff Lohrber schools BLUNT in all things Enabler, including how they’re trumping the macho stigma of the hardcore genre and why a Dead Kennedys show sans Jello ain’t really a Dead Kennedys show at all. The boys will be touring here this July with support from heavy hitters Urns, so check out the tour dates below!

As this is your first trip to Australia, we’d like to introduce you to our readers. Can you run us through a brief history of Enabler?
I had been playing drums in bands for a few years, my main band Harlots had just broken up, and in a few year period of time I was in Trap Them, Today Is The Day, and Shai Hulud among others. I had been working on the songs for Enabler in my free time for a while, and after the last tour I did with Trap Them and the last shows with Harlots, it was just time for a huge change in my musical career. It was hard to have a few months off playing music altogether, but once things got rolling with this band, it was fast. We were playing our first shows within three weeks of the initial line-up first jamming together. Some early influences on the band were Sepultura, Rotten Sound, From Ashes Rise, etc. but I’ve always been good about not ripping off the shit I love and putting my own weird twist on the music I write. There are hidden influences from a lot of early heavy metal acts as well, like Def Leppard or Judas Priest, but we sound nothing like that. It’s fast, loud, abrasive, pissed, but there is a heart underneath all of the grime.

Since 2009, you’ve put out two albums and a bunch of EPs and splits, which is a pretty steady output. How does your most recent effort, Shift Of Redemption, differ from your past releases?
I feel like with each release there is a new element added into the songwriting, just new ideas to sink your teeth into, and there is also usually a new face on every recording. The Shift Of Redemption EP is a continuation of All Hail The Void (2012) in the sense that the songs were written during the mixing/editing process of the record, and also right after half the band left smack in the middle of the touring cycle on All Hail The Void. There’s no bad blood; they had other commitments with their bands Misery Signals and Fall Out Boy, but it was still frustrating to deal with at the time. It’s like, “Hey we just put out a fucking record, now I have to replace half the band?!?” These were some frustrating periods of time for myself, and instead of letting myself get overwhelmed, I chose to pour my frustrations into my art.

Interestingly, the band combines metal, punk and hardcore, which are all quite macho and aggressive sorts of genres (stereotypically speaking). Do you think having Amanda on bass sets the band apart from that side of the scene?
One of my biggest complaints with metal and hardcore is definitely the macho-ism that comes along with the music and the scene. So much testosterone fuels this music, and that’s something we try to stay away from. I believe that music is for ALL people, not just some guys who feel like they have something to prove. Like I said earlier, yes our band is heavy, fast, pissed, and aggressive, but there is a heart underneath all of the grime. Amanda does a great job playing bass in this band and brings it harder than most guys do in a live setting, and is also more dedicated to her craft than most bass players are. She has worked super hard to get where she is as a musician. She deals with being the only girl in a room with a bunch of raunchy dudes pretty well in my opinion. One of my complaints with a lot of female musicians is that they try to use their sex as a selling point, and that is something she doesn’t do whatsoever. She picks up her instrument like the rest of us and gives 110% when she plays live.

Most modern hardcore bands seem to vanish as quickly as they appear. Do you think it’s more difficult to have staying power in the modern scene?
Definitely this day in age, there is just an overwhelming amount of bands, and in addition to that people have to keep up real lives. It’s hard to manage having a job, family, or any kind of home life while keeping up the insanity that the industry pushes on you like constant touring, recording schedules, interviews, etc. I feel that some people think they really want to do this, but then find out a year or two in that it can be really overwhelming and it’s just easier to stay at home and live a “normal” life. I am a lover of music and couldn’t see myself not staying active. This band stays active because I want to stay active, because I believe in the songs I’m writing, and I’m always thinking about what comes next.

A small side note, your Facebook says that Dead Kennedys are an influence on you. Can Dead Kennedys exist without Jello Biafra in the band? Or is it no Jello, no go?
Dead Kennedys are not the Dead Kennedys without Jello, and as big of an influence as they are on me (they’re the first punk band that I ever really got into), I would never want to see them without Jello. His voice and lyrics are a very distinct aspect of that band, although I do love how fucking weird East Bay Ray’s guitar work is!

Much of the band’s music seems to stem from being pissed off at things, including the well-known “The world is fucked and this is the soundtrack to its demise.” Is it just social and political frustration that drives your music?
This kind of music isn’t supposed to be pretty, and although I don’t walk around with a chip on my shoulder, the world can be a very ugly place and it’s hard to not let it get to you. This music has and always will be an outlet to this frustration. There are a number of social and political issues, in addition to personal issues, that I write about. If it is personal, I try to write it in a way that I will be able to relate to years down the road when I’m not necessarily affected by that certain situation, but can relate it to something else in my life. As far as social and political issues, the main thing I have a problem with is equality and fairness with people, whether it be the government creating ridiculous laws, people not treating themselves with respect, people not treating the world we live in with respect, and so on. In America, there is definitely this mentality of “consume, consume, consume” without any thought of the consequences or what could happen due to our actions.

Are there any circumstances in particular that have led you to think the world is fucked? Do you think it’ll ever recover?
One thing I think about quite a bit is that the land that I live on was once covered by forest and inhabited by a race of a completely different culture, then the Europeans came here, stole the land, killed most of that race off, and industrialised a good chunk of the land here. It’s fucked to think this is where I came from and how wrong it is, but I’m here and there’s not a goddamn thing I can do about it, which is equally as frustrating. I also live next to a massive ghetto that is basically the aftermath of slavery. It’s frustrating that people choose to live like that, but at the same time, that’s all that they know. America is a very young nation and it shows in the weakness of our culture.

As this is the first time Aussie audiences will get to experience your live show, what can they expect? Are there certain things you’d love to see the crowd do?
We are a very down to earth band, there are no rockstar attitudes in this band. We love to hang out with the people that enjoy our music, and we are very approachable people. I love circle pits, and I love it when kids sing along! The harder the audience brings it, the harder we will play.

People from overseas tend to talk some crazy shit about Australia. What’s the one story you’ve heard that you hope is true?
Australia is full of venomous creatures and deadly animals that put us humans in our place. I love it when mother nature can put us in our place!

Enabler / Urns Tour Dates

Wed Jul 3rd – TBA, Byron Bay
with Shackled, The Fevered and Postal
Tickets: $15 on the door

Thu Jul 4th – Crowbar, Brisbane (18+)
with Fvck Mountain, Shortlife and Coffin Birth
Tickets: $15 on the door

Fri Jul 5th – Hermann’s Bar, Sydney (18+)
with Islands, The Fevered and Unknown To God
Tickets: $15 on the door

Sat Jul 6th – Black Wire Records, Sydney
with Snakes Get Bad Press, The Fevered and Ether Rag
Tickets: $15 on the door

Sun Jul 7th – Yours And Owls, Wollongong
with Totally Unicorn and The Fevered
Tickets: $15 on the door

Tue Jul 9th – Croatian Wickham Bowls Club, Newcastle (18+)
with Staunch, Dead Town Nothings and Head First
Tickets: $15 on the door

Wed Jul 10th – Pot Belly Bar, Canberra (18+)
with Reigner, Throat of Dirt and Machina Genova
Tickets: $15 on the door

Thu Jul 11th – Bendigo Hotel, Collingwood (18+)
with A Million Dead Birds Laughing, Party Vibez and Diploid
Tickets: $15 on the door

Fri Jul 12th – Black Goat Warehouse, Melbourne
with In Trenches, Join The Amish and Jurassic Penguin
Tickets: $15 on the door

Sat Jul 13th – Enigma Bar, Adelaide (18+)
with Life Pilot, Funeral Moon and Impasse
Tickets: $15 on the door

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