It's the best of Enemies


Dublin-based band Enemies have come a long way from their humble origins playing to ‘anarchist punk friends in a Kilcoole scout den’

ENEMIES HAVE been discovering the perils of being a touring band. Ruddy-cheeked and flustered, Mark O’Brien and Lewis Jackson, of the Dublin-based post-rockers, are fresh off a ferry from France, having made the crossing by the skin of their teeth after their van broke down along a stretch of Normandy motorway.

They’re not quite famous enough to pull the “Do you know who we are?” card when it comes to Stena Line just yet, but with the stellar reviews that their excellent, groove-laden debut We’ve Been Talkinghas been pulling in, that day may not be too far down the line.

The Enemies’ adventures have already taken them farther than France, in any case. Formed in the Wicklow village of Kilcoole in 2007, the foursome initially began playing in hard-core punk bands at the age of 14 as an antidote to small-town living.

“It was through lack of anything else to do,” explains Jackson. “For a long time, Kilcoole had this DIY scene. A lot of the people in bands were too young to be playing in pubs in Dublin, so there were these all-ages gigs held in the Scout Den. You’d pay €3 in, and anyone could go.

“It’s weird how it’s snowballed through the years – everyone from that period has remained friends,” adds O’Brien. “This punk scene in tiny little Kilcoole spawned bands like Heathers and Adebisi Shank. A lot of my friends at the time would say ‘It’s not gonna go anywhere. What are you doing, putting on these stupid little gigs with your anarchist punk friends in the scout den?’ But it’s great now to be able to travel around the world and to be like, ‘Well, screw you, it actually did blossom into something great!’”

They’ve certainly had the last laugh on that front; a chance correspondence with Japanese rockers Toe in 2008 led to the band being picked up by Tokyo-based label Machupicchu Industrias for their debut EP Alpha Waves. A successful two-week tour of the country followed, and they’ll return this September to promote their full-length offering and build on their already ardent Japanese fan base.

“At the time in Ireland, we’d be playing gigs to like, 30 people, who were mostly our friends,” says Jackson, shaking his head disbelievingly. “So to go to Japan and play sold-out gigs to 600 people was just . . . wow! Autographs, photographs, bizarre stuff!”

We’ve Been Talkingis out now on Richter Collective. For tour dates and to hear more, see enemiestheband