Interview: New Enemies

New Enemies recently released a self-titled EP full of indie pop goodness, which we absolutely loved. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can also find a stream at the end of this interview!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released an a self-titled EP, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the EP?

This EP really marks a new beginning for our band. All four of us played in a band together years ago (called Turning Violet Violet/TVV) and that band broke up due to some big life changes. But, we all found our way back to playing music again under the name New Enemies and these are songs that came from this stage of life. All of the songs on this EP deal with relationships and the pain of growing up in long-term relationships and reconciling what it means to grow and change while being tethered to another person, kind of like what our band has gone through. We’ve experimented with some different sound worlds on this EP and had a lot of fun doubling guitars and keyboards to get some cool sounds.

How has the reception been so far? Why did you decide to leave the EP as a self-titled release, rather than choose a new name?

The reception has been great! We’ve heard from some old TVV fans that they think this is our best music yet and it seems like people have really connected with the words and messages in the songs. We’ve gotten some good press and we can’t wait to keep playing these songs live. We wanted to call this album New Enemies because it’s the title track (and the reason we picked this new band name). The essence of the name is the desire to stop fighting the people in our lives that we love, and to band together to make new enemies.

Do you plan to release any singles from the EP?

Yeah, we released There’s a Way and If the Shoe Fits as our first two singles. Both of these songs explore a different range of sounds and genre influences and we’re excited to get them out there.

Have you started writing for another EP or an album or is it too soon?

We’re always writing! I personally am writing songs every week and have a huge backlog of songs that we’ve worked on as a band. Once we get through this season of shows, we’ll definitely buckle down and choose what we want to develop and record next.

Your music has a dreamy indie sound. What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

I think that our band is special because our influences are so varied. I lean towards a lot of early 2000’s alternative and folk music, Jeff (guitar) draws from 90’s guitar rock, Eric (bass) has metal and punk influences, and my husband Brandon (drums) has a punk and rock and roll soul. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Japanese Breakfast, Lucius, and Lizzo. I love dense harmonies and clever lyrics and all of those women inspire me to hone my songwriting craft.

You’re based in Philadelphia. What is the music scene like there at the moment?

It’s funny you should ask this! We are re-learning what the music scene is like since we’ve been out of the game for a bit of time. It seems that a lot of bands are coming up and finding sustainable careers in music. There are a lot of indie/rock acts that are just now re-emerging after the pandemic hiatus. We’ve been to quite a few shows this summer and the energy is palpable. Philly is a really fun live music town.

Did the pandemic hinder you much?

It really did. We were set to do our first comeback show in April of 2020, which was of course cancelled. Following that, our band collectively dealt with a lot: a cancer diagnosis and treatment, unemployment, multiple losses and a cross-country move. The fact that we were all able to come together this past spring to record and were healthy and whole was just incredible. Our time in the studio was emotional and healing. It feels like we’re all entering a phase of new beginnings and we’re so glad to be on the other side of the past two years.

What is the writing and recording process like?

Much of the part writing happens between Jeff and me, and Eric and Brandon help with the arrangement, rhythm and feel. I tend to write all of the lyrics except for New Enemies, which was written by Jeff. We tend to pass demos back and forth while we’re writing. Brandon and I are married and will head to our basement studio after our three kids are in bed to try new material. Once we get to the studio, we try to stay pretty open to new ideas. We have a road map and parts but like to experiment a lot with additional lead lines, harmonies etc.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

We’re playing a big show on Wednesday, August 3rd at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia. We’ll plan to do a mini-tour on the East Coast this year.

Any last words for the fans?

We are so grateful to be able to keep doing what we love and hope that we can do it for many years to come!