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Wat een vogel allemaal kan aanrichten… Mijn eerste afspraak met Ehnare viel in de soep omdat die papegaai op de bovenverdieping de hoorn er had afgegooid (althans, dat is de veronderstelling). Met veel heen en weer ge-email met veel excuses krijg ik DJ alsnog aan de lijn. Na een smakelijke lachsalvo over het voorval gaan we het hebben over het verpletterende debuut 'The Man Closing Up' van Ehnare.

Door: Erik | Archiveer onder doom metal

Tell me a bit more Ehnare, because if I'm right, eighty percent of you guys was Kayo Dot.
Ryan, John and I started Ehnare as a project if you will way back, but we got involved in different bands and parted ways, moving around and growing up. When we got back together, Ryan joined Kayo Dot in 2003. When they started to look for someone to do samples and loops and sound modulations during live shows, I joined the band. So we toured like a year with Kayo Dot, and when the guitarist Nick left, John entered the band. In that line up we recorded 'Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue'. We toured a lot in support of that album and in that tour I left the band, due to a lot of miscommunication and double booked gigs and money issues. Those guys stayed in the band, but the same stuff kept occurring and a lot of shows that were booked were done wrong and horribly. So then they left as well. The guys wanted to play again, so we decided to find a new drummer (the drummer of Kayo Dot as well) and start playing. We knew Andrew Hock and he knew Kayo Dot. He moved to Boston and he started playing with us. So Ehnare was born.

That's the full biography finally because I couldn't find one on the Internet. Anyway, to your new album 'The Man Closing Up'. Could you say it's a concept album because it's based on the poems of Donald Justice?
Well, the poem is called 'The Man Closing Up' by Donald Justice and Ryan, the main composer of the band, had a project at school where he had to find poetry or literature that was inspiring to write music on, and he started writing what became the album, from 'Part I' to 'Part V', just like the poem, where the music is written around the words of the poem. It's a dark poem about a man struggling with loneliness and just how he goes on day to day, things you do over and over, without thought.

…When life becomes dull because you do everything the same each day…
Exactly, but that's just one take on the translation of what the words could mean but that was pretty much our take on it, life like a life house keeper, going through day to day, with tides going in and tide going out each day.

Is there more inspiration musically or lyrically besides of Donald Justice?
Well, I guess Witch Metal because Ryan sounds like a witch sometimes on this recording. People call us doom metal with fast parts, or like, there are some death metal elements in so people dig that. I like to think it's something unique to any known genre. It probably is a mix of loads of stuff. You know, the stuff we listened to when we were young: death and thrash metal!

I found it a very difficult album to listen to, but the songs really took me…
Well, we are not really into that chorus verse chorus verse kind of songs, you are right about that. That can make it difficult to listen to I agree. But to be honest, the music really does follow the words in the poem. It's an ugly poem so it's not going to be pretty what you hear at all. There are elements in 'Part I' that get repeated in 'Part IV', and you will hear certain elements or chords in structures that are similar to others. You can go into it and try to analyze it when you have no time on your hands. It's a difficult listen for a reason.

band image

And Ryan wrote the entire album?
He wrote it entirely and there might be changes that Tom brought in, some fine tuning and mixing and post production in the studio that wasn't Ryan's, but I guess he wrote ninety five percent of the album.

I ask this because in the more noisy parts in the songs, I think I can hear a lot of improvisation going on…
Well, that's true too. Within the song structures there are written parts and parts where we had to improvise, so there are parts where that is going on yes!

A lot of people contributed to the album, with trumpets and violins and vocals and guitars. How are you gonna do that live on stage?
Our first live performance after the album was done, we actually performed with nine of the musicians that were on the album. That was awesome! We haven't since done that, but we played with Greg Kelly who sometimes appears at our shows and played in the improvised parts. We did like a dozen shows so far. To our live shows, we had some mixed responses. Like, we played in Brooklyn in New York on a metal night, and we played with Jonah Jenkins other band called Rawradarwar. He sang some vocals on the 'Part II' song (what he sings on the album as well), so that was a cool moment. In all honesty, the reviews we received are relatively more positive in Europe than they are over here… People got what the music was about, you know, dark ugly music. Even the bad reviews moan about what we do, but that is exactly what we do, so they are right and get what we are about, but just don't like it. But mainly the reviews are awesome.

How come so? Is the album too difficult for the US citizen?
Well, the scene here is more cliquey and very narrow minded. Everyone is stuck up but the majority of American are plain stupid and do not understand the music or the thing we are doing. So you are right!

But that must make booking gigs and getting deals very difficult...
Well, I rather play in front of a stupid audience than not play at all. But I rather not play in front of people who do not like us and waste theirs and ours time. I want my music to be heard by people who want to hear it and enjoy it, so we can enjoy them listening to it. We actually will come to the UK and Europe in April, so came and see us.

Will you do Holland as well?
I do not know if we will play in Holland. We would like to be over there when Roadburn Festival is going on. We will not play on Roadburn, but maybe some shows before and after that festival.

I am wondering: what will you do with the next album, because this one is based around one poem?
We have some new music ready that we have been writing and finishing up. It's not based around something. We are writing our own lyrics to the songs. Rest assure it will be good! We are shopping around, see what we want to do, whether we will make a new full length or a split with someone on vinyl. But it's definitely going to be ugly and definitely going to be something you have to put your thoughts in and have to think about.

OK, I have no more questions…
Thanks for the interview and the nice chat! See you live soon!

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