ENORMICON

Down in the Texan heat we find a band overheating on stoner rock. Enormicon take from the best and cook up a dish all their own. Clay was kind enough to answer my questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2011

I like it when bands think more than once before they come up with a band name. Enormicon sound like a superhero. Where did the idea for the name originate from?
-The Enormicon is a sentient tornado. According to my great grandfather’s writings, it is an elemental spirit that feeds upon emotional turmoil, the kind of energy you might encounter on a battlefield. Consequently it manifests in such places, slinging wreckage and pushing the level of chaos to insane heights. We thought that was a pretty cool concept/name for a metal band.

Your great-grandfather’s writings seem to have played a major role in forming the concept? What would the band be had you not found his writings?
-That’s a good question. I think instrumentally it would be the same, heavy dark and loud with a healthy dose of weird. Lyrically I don’t know. We’re all three of the opinion the U.S. government needs to be erased. We need to just start over. Maybe that would provide some inspiration. It wouldn’t be some screaming polemical rant. That’s pretty boring musically. I’m into the paranormal so maybe we would end up writing The Odyssey of Bigfoot or some kind of sci-fi metal.

Sweden’s Cult Of Luna shaped an entire album/book around a former mental patient’s writings, you’ve used Clay’s great grandfather’s scribbling. Are we as humans today not good enough taking care of the tales of yester told by our elders? Are we too focused on living here and now that we miss that which has been?
-Maybe. We just have a lot more access to “stories” now than just those of our elders. Younger people are all about dismissing history because they’re creating an identity for themselves. But once you get past all that you want to know. It’s like getting to know someone. You form a tighter bond with someone once you hear his or her story. I don’t know that it’s necessary to hold our elders’ stories in reverence as parables to live by, but once you do begin to learn your family’s history it causes you to want to take ownership of your place in the family line and take care of what they’ve built before you and given you. It also causes you to take ownership of your place as a citizen of your community and your country at least in mind-set. I love hearing my Dad’s stories of dirt farm life in Oklahoma. I love hearing the things he tells that contradict the generally accepted “facts”. It’s real history. Most of our friends have an awareness of family history and respect it, just not in an official or outward way. That’s an interesting question. I’d like to hear the Swedish take on it.

Texas ain’t traditionally thought of as laid back as California but you guys seem to have that same desert vibe to your music as Kyuss etc. have. How has growing up in Texas affected your music?
-Texas is a great state for music and I think, like it or not, blues and country are going to affect your music directly or at least through their vibe. Compared to say, East Coast frenetic noise rock, Texans have a swagger and pride that comes easily and it affects the way we write music. We like groove and it gets motherfuckin’ hot down here so if you move too fast you can over-heat. But there’s every style under the sun in this state. No matter what style you’re into, you can probably find somebody doing it well in Texas.

You don’t seem to shy away from being labeled stoner rock in 2011. Is there any relevance to this genre today?
-We call ourselves stoner rock because that label fits better than anything else. We’re not death metal, we’re not screamo, we’re not southern metal, maybe progressive-ish but personally I don’t have the chops to pull off any guitar wizardry you might call progressive. Relevance? Hell I don’t know. The strictly blues-based, sludgy-toned, long-winded stoner metal doesn’t hold any relevance for me. It makes me wanna take a nap. Bands that get labeled as stoner or sludge like High On Fire, Big Business, Orange Goblin, that stuff is relevant to me because they write good songs.

Even though I grew up in Sweden I knew of some pretty darn good Texan metal bands in the 80s. Is the Texan metal scene still as good as it used to be and how can you benefit from being part of strong metal scene?
-The Texas metal scene. We’re still trying to figure it out. In our area–Dallas/Fort Worth, death metal is king. Pantera influenced “southern metal” is pretty big too. There are a lot of bands doing the screamo thing. There also seems to be a fairly healthy drone/sludge scene but it’s more under the radar than the above-mentioned styles. There are a LOT of bands in this area. The thing is, on any given night, the crowd turnout is just not that big. There are plenty of bands who are tight, sound good and put on an energetic show but they don’t draw a good crowd. I wonder if seeing a band live is just not that “special” anymore. You can see pretty much anybody on the internet any time you want and the amount of choices we have as far as what media we’re going to consume is astounding. And it’s too easy to “change the channel” if you don’t like something right away. Consequently, people’s attention has become a mile wide but an inch deep. Maybe people have been conditioned out of being able to become absorbed into a live performance. That’s our theory anyway.
-We recently went to Austin as main support for Divine Eve. That was an interesting experience. When we got on stage, without even hearing us people just left the room and went outside. A guy from the San Antonio Heavy Metal Examiner reviewed the show and gave everyone but us a stellar review. He said he “missed” most of our set. I’m assuming he was in or around the building but like the rest of the crowd, wasn’t open to a band he wasn’t familiar with, much less actually listening to us and giving us a review.
-I’m bitchin’ a lot but it’s a challenge trying to figure out how we fit into the scene. We’ve been told we take a couple of listens to get used to and that’s great. Some of my all time favorite music had to grow on me. We do get folks who, when they see us, are pretty excited about what we’re doing so fuck it, we’ll keep banging people over the head with it one way or another and chip away at the stone.
-As far as the interaction between bands you couldn’t ask for a more supportive scene. Everybody we’ve played with has been professional and encouraging. I haven’t seen much superstar attitude at all. There’s a good camaraderie between just about everybody.

Texas as a state alone is pretty darn huge. How tough is it to go on tour, setting up dates, finding places to sleep and driving through the whole of the US?
-We haven’t gone on a proper “tour” as it were. The closest we’ve been is the Divine Eve show mentioned above. For the time being, I don’t think going on tour would make sense. I don’t think we would make enough money to cover expenses. It would make more sense in the future when people are more familiar with us. And of course with the internet, you can do that. I know, I’m saying this right after I got through bitchin’ about the internet. It’s a trade-off I guess.

Storm of Swords is just an EP. What was behind only releasing an EP?
-It was our first recording so we wanted to do something manageable, save money and keep our sanity as a band.

If you could predict the future where do you see Enormicon going?
-I’ve been thinking about this lately. Given the nature of the scene, we might be relying on stuff like the internet, licensing, soundtracks, etc. to gain exposure rather than slugging it out live and clawing our way to the top. The world we’ve created based on my Great Grandfather’s journal would be a great concept for a graphic novel or a film even. It needs to be explored visually at least. Maybe that’s in our future as well. Musically I want to develop a singular recognizable Enormicon sound without every song sounding the same. I want us to write solid, memorable songs. As far as the fans, I’d like a devoted, cultish following like, say, Converge has, with people breaking down and crying in the midst of ecstasy, or a psychotic break, at our live performances.

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