Friday, May 22, 2009

Interview with John Schmersal of Enon

As previously mentioned Enon is playing the Smiling Moose on Saturday. This is a interview with lead John Schmersal. If you happen to attend mention the interview and I will buy you a beer.

What was your favorite touring experience, what other bands did you really enjoy spending time or playing with while on the road?

Most of the tours we do with bands that we have known already and are friends so it is hard to pick favorites. I think we all collectively would say w/ Gogogoairheart and Love as Laughter. Those guys are such crack ups, and we'd pow wow to a lot of eateries along the way. I think that is the best part of tour is being in a random city and eating food with friends, good or bad food... it's still memorable and often so very funny.

How do you enjoy living in the Philly area compared to Brooklyn?

They don't really compare although I smell a lot of things happening in Philly that taste like New York style change. Still, we don't live in center city and we didn't move from one city environment just to be in another. The best stuff is having a yard with a serious garden, apple tree and mulberry tree in the yard BBQ. Ample parking on our street that is legal, and a basement style practice space, old houses favored over new construction. I do miss NYC restaurants, friends, and the drinking water. Also, Philadelphia has the most expensive and inefficient mass transit system probably in the world. Really a travesty. And the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits "control" thing is some old school crap that needs to be done away with. I'm sure you can relate. Otherwise Philly wins.

When you are on tour you always tend to hit the smaller markets instead of just the major. Is there any reason for this? (I always appreciated it since I lived in smaller markets most of my life)

Well, we will really play about anywhere that makes sense. Most of the more memorable stuff through out the years often happens in the smaller cities and towns though. The whole global homogenization with the internet has made small town shows more viable too. The average town kids are way more informed now and chances are even if they don't get a lot of the big acts through town that they have seen footage of them on the internet etc. It just makes sense to play smaller towns.

Your videos have some interesting visuals. How do you like the process of working on music videos? What was your favorite experiencein the process? I heard that Juan Monastario (a former bandmate of Schmersal from brainiac ) was involved in directing some of your music videos, can you describe that experience? What did you think about the idea of releasing a DVD and how did that differ from the regular album recording process?

Videos are fun and it's fun to visualize the songs. We have been lucky to work with some talented video people. It seems like because we have made a bunch of videos in the past that people approach us to make new ones in the future which is nice. when it rains it pours I guess. The last video we made for paperweights was the most fun to collaborate. We did our own blue screen video footage and sent it to Paul Wilm, who has made many videos for us. That was the most fun but, seems the least number of people have seen. The DVD was a fun endeavor but, I don't know if I would do it again. It was a lot of work + time, and it was an expensive project but, we feel like that DVD was sort of treated like a 2nd class citized of a release or something. Really proud of that DVD but, bands are supposed to release records... I guess that 's the way people look at it.

Your last album, Grass Geyers…Carbon Clouds, came out about 2 years ago? Are you planning to go back to the studio to record a new album soon?


How are you trying to promote your band now and going forward? How has the internet affected the distribution of your music and accessibility to fans?

We are barely trying to promote our band and I like to spend as little time on a computer doing things like that as possible. Guess we still prefer the physical world and interactions, getting out and playing shows. The model is changing and no one knows what that means...yet. Labels, studios, and budgets are down/out. Looking bleak. People will always want to listen to music but, I guess they just don't think it's worth paying for anymore. Hopefully food and gas will acheive this kind of status in the next few years.

How has the band's sound evolved since it's evolution and eventual relocation to philly? What effort was made to reconcile the sound on the album with playability in a live setting?

Well, we made an effort to be concise on Grass Geysers more as an exercise. I don't know if philly has changed our sound as much as it has allowed us to reflect and manage things a little better. We have a clear idea about why and how we want to do things before we are done with them so, having the brain space to execute has been the most precious thing about being in Philly.

Are you doing a lot of touring this summer? What are your plans for upcoming shows?

Well we have a little tour in June at the end through the midwest mostly. We don't really have any objectives, we have been working on new material and changing up how we are doing things live... it's a bit more electronic again so we are going out and flexing those muscles for people 'round.


  1. Great interview! Enon has been my favorite band since 2001 when I was just an awkward teen following them around the mid-west with my friends. I've really seen this band evolve and evolve, for the better over the years and John is way ahead of his time. To be in the presence of this kind of songwriting is a privilege.

    The small intimate shows over the years and the fact John, Toko and Matt have been so approachable has touched a lot of people's lives. Mine especially. They have defined this past decade for me and when I look back they will forever be the biggest highlight.