Virginia crossover thrash band Enforced is fresh off their spring run with Iron Reagan Sacred Reich and Leeway and are preparing to release their first full-length album, At the Walls, this July. Before the group's set at Reggies Rock Club in Chicago on May 15, vocalist Knox Colby took a moment to hang out at the venues rooftop bar and talk to No Echo about the band's most recent tour his lyrical influences and the Virginia Beach hardcore scene.
Do you have any expectations for tonight?
No. This tour's been great. The tour's been fantastic but in terms of expectations, there's none, really. For the most part at all of the shows weve played, no one knows who we are so were making a lot of fans in the first three songs. Weve been asked to give a couple encores
Whats it been like touring alongside Iron Reagan, Sacred Reich, and Leeway?
Oh, awesome. Iron Reagan is from the same town that we are (Richmond), so were homies with them. Wev'e never gotten the opportunity to tour and get stuck in the van with them, per se, so weve all gotten a lot of closer. Sacred Reich is a bunch of fucking angels. They're great guys; same with Leeway. Everyone is fucking fantastic.
Do you have a favorite show/city on this tour so far?
The reception and the amount of people have all been decent and equal Its like a good Groundhogs Day; imagine a really good fucking day over and over again.
Let's talk about your upcoming album, At the Walls. Do you have a release date yet?
It's going to be sometime early-to-mid July. It's gotten pushed back a few times.
And this LP will include all the songs from your previous EP, Retaliation, and your demo. Any new songs?
There’s two new songs. All the songs from the demo and the EP got remixed and remastered by Arthur Rizk, who’s done Power Trip, Magic Circle. We sent him all the old masters and he made everything sound just like the new tracks. So it all sounds completely different than it used to.
What were you looking for in the remastered versions? Consistency with the new songs?
Yeah. In terms of a consistent sound throughout the album, to make it not sound like three different recording sessions, it all sounds cohesive. We've added a few flairs here and there and Arthur [Rizk] put his own spin on all of it, so it's wildly different.
What differences are you hoping fans of your earlier music will notice in this new release?
It's, I don't want to say thumpier, but it's got this gritty drive throughout all of it. A lot of our noise samples that we used and a lot of the excess filler, Arthur took and spun and made it his own completely different stuff; it sounds nothing like it did.
If someone had never heard of Enforced, how would you describe your sound to them?
It sounds like Sepultura meets Metal Church meets, just for the energy of it, meets Hatebreed. I’m going all over the place, but mix those three up in a nasty metal stew and I would hope to god, that’s what you’ve got. I’ve been asked that before and I always fuck it up.
Who are your personal influences both lyrically and musically?
I honestly can't speak for musically, because I don't touch that. Lyrically, it's kind of all over the place. Joseph Campbell, who I guess in layman's [terms] you would call a historian. He was really big in the '40s to the '70s I want to say. He was a human philosopher. It's very humanistic and a lot of my lyrics are about basic instincts or the big picture rather than a specific situation.
My other huge influences are Harold Budd and Brian Eno. They have no lyrics. They've been ambient musicians since '70s, but they're heavy, heavy influences. They're massive lyrical influences one me solely because of what they make me think about and what they make me feel at that moment.
Then how do you meet the rest of the band lyrically?
I'll do probably 10 drafts per song until I've pinpointed it exactly where I want. We'll practice it a few times and if everyone's cool with it, that's fine. When we get to the recording studio, that's where everyone goes through the lyrics with a fine-tooth comb: "there's too many words in this part here, it sounds like you're running out of breath here, you should probably switch it up and make it easier for yourself, or you should go harder right there." It's all collective and cohesive in the long run, which is how it's always been. It's fascinating.
Do you have any favorite bands that you enjoy touring or playing shows with?
That's tough. We haven't gone on many tours and the pool's small so I don't want to leave anyone out. Homie-wise, Dead Heat for sure. They are straight up our brother band. We all get along so well and we all love and appreciate what each of us does. Honestly, this tour is stellar. It's blown all my expectations of what I thought this tour was going to be. I didn't think everyone would be so heartwarming and welcoming and nice. Everyone's an angel; I'm falling in love with these people and there's an end date in two days.
What expectations do you have for your Virginia Beach show at the end of tour? What's the Virginia Beach hardcore community like?
I'm originally from the Virginia Beach hardcore community. We're ending [tour] there with Semtex, Flatline, Bato, and this band Copperhead that I've helped work with in terms of production. In my head, that's a stacked show. I cannot wait. I think it's either Copperhead's first or second show. I haven't seen them live.
It's just homie hours. Everyone's there, there's no beef because everyone knows each other. No one's being stupid or ignorant or fighting. Everyone's friends, everyone's beating the shit out of each other, and no one cares.
Anyone you’d like to thank before we get out of here?
Tony Foresta from Iron Reagan for asking us to be a part of this tour. I can’t kiss him enough. Sacred Reich for being so hospitable. Leeway we share all our equipment with, so thanks to Leeway for being awesome guys. Everyone’s been fantastic. Bob Quirk back home—thanks so much for fixing the van and making it great. We’ve found some other things for you to fix, Bob. Everyone in the Virginia hardcore scene for being so supportive and well-wishers. We all appreciate it so much.