I have been lucky enough…
to speak with James Creed of ENNOR about the band’s history and their new track, Farewell to Atlantis. Creed (their bass player) discusses Cornwall – where the band have played and were crafted - if Creed/the band have standout moments from their time in music – and, whether, down the line, they have some gigs booked.
Creed tells me about the band’s mix of British and American sounds; how important getting on stage and playing is; whether there are aims and goals established for the remainder of the year; wise words every new artist should adhere to – the guys each select a song to end the interview with.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Great, thanks; we’re all excited to have the new track out and are rehearsing for our launch show in a few weeks - so we’re working hard in the run-up to that.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We’re a Folk-Rock band originally from Cornwall, now based around London; comprised of Tom Elliott (Vocals/Guitar), Jack Rennie (Guitar); James Creed (Bass) and Adam Williams (Drums). I think one of our favourite descriptions about ENNOR was as being ‘salty surfboys’ (though we do suck at surfing, as much as we enjoy it) – another is ‘Californwall’ sounds.
We’ve tended to write our songs for the sun and the sea; picking up from folkier roots of the South-West and combining it with our broader influences across guitar music and the energy that comes with it.
Farewell to Atlantis is your current cut. Can you reveal the story behind the song?
It’s a song about going home after a long time and the nostalgia of that journey – but, it’s also about feelings of loss that can come with change. The places we grow up inevitably change in our absence, as we do, so it makes seeing these half-familiar sights a strange mix of welcoming and a bit foreign.
The places we grow up in form such strong memories, and for us, being in our early-twenties these still paint a vivid picture in our identities – not all has turned to nostalgia just yet but, with time, we see it increasingly become so. Atlantis, in a sense, forms a metaphor for this living; changing memory – “The kingdoms of our childhood have been sunken by the sea…”.
The melodies and lyrics are heartfelt and pure. Are there particular songwriters and artists who inspired that sound/direction?
We all came in with a love of Fleetwood Mac that I think is quite apparent in the way we write, but, when writing our last couple of singles, we were very much into the driving energy of Frank Turner and The Gaslight Anthem. Some of the latest music coming out of the South and West has been incredible, though. We’ve been really enjoying the latest stuff from A Blaze of Feather (with Ben Howard’s solo work being a big influence), William the Conqueror and Matthew & the Atlas to name a few.
Do you all have similar tastes? When did music come into your lives?
We’ve certainly got a lot in common, but we each bring something new to the process. Tom often writes from a more traditional Folk kind of direction and then the rest of us pull it around a bit until the arrangement starts to take shape. Jack and Adam still love blasting out Iron Maiden and Avenged Sevenfold when we’re on the road… but, we all crossover with the likes of Biffy Clyro, The War on Drugs and Kanye West – it’s pretty eclectic!
We’ve all been playing different styles and genres since we were very young; so we’ll throw a pretty broad range of approaches at a song before we settle on something.
I am interested in Cornwall and the music scene there. Is it quite a productive area for musicians?! Is it easy getting gigs?
Naturally, it’s a very different scene to what’s going on in London and the other cities...
There's a real sense of vibrancy and it feels more like a community; whether it’s gear-lending, co-headline tours or anything like that, it’s a very supportive and rewarding place to be making music. But, mainly the audiences you play to are so engaging. You can feel the energy in a room, the enjoyment and emotion that has a tendency to get lost in a city venue. We’ve gigged all around London but, heading back to Cornwall and as far as the Isles of Scilly has always been a natural fit for us and, frankly, we just jump at any chance to visit.
You have a love of West Coast sounds and American vibes. Is that a part of the world that resonated and speaks to you all?
Musically and culturally, the particular resonance for us is the similarities between the surf cultures around Cornwall and coastal California. A lot of the key figures in that scene, both currently and through the '60s and '70s when it was really blossoming for the first time, are big influences for us. I’m (James) actually a dual-national myself, as my mother is from Iowa, so it’s always been a big part of my life and Jack and I have been to L.A. - but not lucky enough to catch the coastal parts yet!
Sea air just has an infectious energy I guess!
How did ENNOR come together? When did you guys all find one another?
Tom established himself as a singer-songwriter growing up around Penzance before meeting Jack and Adam at Exeter University - but only started playing together a little after when they all ended up around London, where I also came into the fold having grown up with Jack. Everything glued very quickly and we’ve just been rolling from then ever since!
Are you planning more material? Is there going to be an E.P. later in the year?
We’ve got a few things that we’re very excited about coming up - but you’ll have to watch this space to find out more soon!
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
We’ve got our launch show at Tamesis Dock in London on 25th April; it’s a boat-bar near Lambeth Bridge and we’ve got our friends, P.F. Phillip & the Nightriders and Prima Queen supporting, which will be awesome – hopefully, not too rowdy! We’ve got a lot of plans this summer heading back onto the road which, again, we’ll be announcing very soon.
PHOTO CREDIT: @oli_pestell
Is the stage where the band really comes alive? What is the sensation like – getting up there and performing to hungry crowds?
The music we make is always written with the live environment in mind, so that’s definitely where we feel the most at home. We’ve been fortunate to have had some very welcoming audiences, particularly when we were first dipping our feet into new areas like the Isles of Scilly. Mainly, we just have a great time whenever we play and, if that energy infects the crowd, then all the better!
What do you all hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
We’re really pleased with how these latest tracks have been received and are looking forward to getting the chance to play them. It’s very much about getting out on the road as much as possible, then, to play these songs as much for us as for new audiences along the way.
PHOTO CREDIT: @oli_pestell
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Tom: For me, touring to the Isles of Scilly was just amazing. It's a place that I've always loved and the people out there really enjoy their music.
Jack: With ENNOR, probably being at Boardmasters – swimming in the sea in the morning, playing the festival in the afternoon. Definitely not the worst day I’ve had….
James: Our first show on the Isles of Scilly last summer at The Seven Stones on St. Marten’s.
Adam: Think we’re all in agreement: Scillies was amazing! Another one for me was probably when I depped on drums for my good mates, ISLAND, at British Summer Time festival. I didn’t suck (I’m pretty sure) and it was just a great day all round.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
It can seem pretty impenetrable at times - there are bits that we’re still working out too. But, if you just keep doing what you enjoy and still have that buzz from playing, then keep at it. Finding your right audience can be a pretty key part of that, though; the right promoters and venues etc. – but, also bear in mind there are so many awesome people and places outside London and the like.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Tom, Jack and Adam are all working full-time jobs in the arts and I’ve just started a Music degree, so we’re all pretty flat-out all the time…but we all get our moments here and there. I’m still enjoying exploring London having just moved here, but I know the others like to escape and make a break for the sea.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Tom: P.F. Phillip & the Night Riders – Your Lips Are for Kissing
Jack: ISLAND – Horizon
James: The Knock – Hop Along
Adam: TALMA – Out to Sea