Enumclaw: “We’re making music that people can see themselves in”
The wildly ambitious Washington quartet aiming to shake up the grunge-rock landscape with a scintillating combination of bangers and bravado.
Not every new band has the wholehearted confidence to label themselves the best thing since Oasis, even before they’ve dropped a song. But it’s not often that you find a band like Enumclaw.
Hailing from Tacoma, Washington, the quartet quickly garnered substantial buzz due to their infectious live shows and you-should-have-been-there sets at various festivals across the US. Last year’s scuzzy first single ‘Fast N All’ helped propel the word over the Atlantic, and now, with the announcement of debut LP ‘Save The Baby’ (due 14th October), the buzz is reaching boiling point. But the increased interest doesn’t seem to be phasing the band themselves.
“I don’t think it’s unjustified and I definitely don’t feel impostor syndrome,” vocalist Aramis Johnson shrugs over Zoom. “Like, I think we’ve made a really good record and when you listen to it, it’s pretty obvious.”
Channelling the same nonchalant cool - and slight knowingness - of the aforementioned Gallaghers, Enumclaw (completed by guitarist Nathan Cornell, drummer LaDaniel Gipson, and bassist Eli Edwards) aren’t shying away from their own hyperbole. If anything, they’re driving it and thriving on it, adamant that they’ve come just at the right time to shake things up in their scene.
“For the most part in the last couple years, there’s not been any bands that I’m impressed with,” Aramis continues. “There’s a lot of bands nowadays that just kind of suck. And it’s like, what the fuck is this band doing, you know? I think that’s kinda where music is at the moment, that you’ve got people that are hot and look cool but then it sounds like they’re three monkeys banging on tin cans.”
“At the moment, you’ve got [bands] that are hot and look cool but then it sounds like they’re three monkeys banging on tin cans.”
— Aramis Johnson
Bold words, but it’s this world view that’s encouraging them to deliver something different. “We’re making music that people can see themselves in,” Aramis argues. “I think a lot of bands are more concerned with a vibe than creating a space for people.”
Via thrilling, rock-tinged bangers, the group fuse influences, pulling on pop and hip hop inspirations with Aramis shouting out his recent rotations of ‘Rid Of Me’ by PJ Harvey, and Drake. “This man loves Drake, [but] fuck that motherfucker,” LaDaniel smiles, to which Aramis retorts: “We actually kind of got into an argument about this at the bar last night. But he’s got some bangers!”
Differing Drizzy takes aside, it was at the same renowned Tacoma dive bar Bob’s Java Jive (a venue actually shaped like a coffee pot) that the band first bonded over late-night karaoke. After Aramis suggested they form a band, it’s been - in LaDaniel’s words - like “peaches and cream” ever since.
Enumclaw have already shaken off what they call the “Tacoma curse”: the tendency for local talent to remain confined to their hometown. Now they’re ready for ‘Save The Baby’ to blow things up even bigger. Pulled from stories about relationships, home, friends, and various aspects of life over the last few years (alongside some “easter eggs” from Aramis), the record comes in as 11 tracks of nostalgia-tinged, grunged-up goodness. “I hope there’s songs that people can live with and relate to, but also have a good time to,” Aramais smiles. “There are times that songs have made me feel very seen and I hope that we can have the same impact on somebody else.”
Enumclaw look set to solidify themselves as one of the most exciting new artists of the year, and no one’s more ready for that than the band themselves. “I want it to be our break-out record,” Aramis enthuses. “I want it to put us in a place where I don’t have to work my dumbass part time job anymore.
“I want to fucking play Glastonbury. I want to play Japan,” he continues, getting on a roll. “I want to be friends with cooler people and I want to date cooler girls. I want it to be like The Strokes’ ‘Is This It’ or [Oasis’] ‘Definitely Maybe’, and be that album that bursts onto the scene.”
It might seem like a bold plan right now, but with the talent and drive to back it up, nothing seems quite out of Enumclaw’s reach.
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