It’s been 10 years since their inception in Pittsburgh and almost 8 years since their last record, a split joint with Brooklyn heavyweights LINE OF CRIMMAGE, and now they’re finally back! “No Safe Place”, the newest offering from death metal tinged beatdown hardcore mob ENEMY MIND is not just a blast of extreme nostalgia, but it’s a cry of unity wrapped up in a typhoon of energetic, impassioned and dangerous music. These guys bring in a brutal clash of styles, a 9 track exercise in dynamic flexibility and heavy, groovy experimentation. We sat down with the band’s guitarist Andrew Kichi to learn more about it, as well as the band’s story and their outlook for the future.
ENEMY MIND‘s latest release before “No Safe Place” was the self-titled compilation of the band’s first selft-titled album and four songs from the LINE OF SCRIMMAGE split (2008). The band’s newest effort is called “No Safe Place” and is available now via German heavy hardcore/metal label Beatdown Hardwear.
Beatdown Hardwear label commented:
Keywords like groove-drive-hardcore-passion come to mind 110% ! It has those touches of bands like DYING FETUS and they bring it and back it up to the fullest ! We were all waiting for this kinda band: That type of groovy influences with more of a technical guitar style which they bring to a very great end. This unique anger, this aggression level upgrade is ready to crush skulls, bones and stages all over the world. The song structures they present are made to be different and constantly shifting. Their lyrics have themes of overall hopelessness of life, rather different than your regular beatdown style themes. The vocal approach is the most aggressive sound that they’ve ever done, which gives the whole album an upgrade of variety. Refreshing the aggression we all have & breathe. An outlet we all can understand. Release the inner demon. ENEMY MIND rises!
Hey Andrew! How are you? How’s Pittsburgh?
I am doing well, how are you? I actually moved to Ohio a couple years back, but drive to Pittsburgh almost every weekend for band stuff. Definitely miss living there though.
Thanks, I’m good, too. Incredibly swamped with this little zine of mine, day job, family stuff, etc., but I guess busy is good.
Are there rest of the guys still located in Pennsylvania? Also, personally apeaking, what’s there to miss about Pittsburgh? Were you a Golden Triangle resident? Tell us more about your perspective of the city.
Yes, actually everyone else still lives in Pittsburgh.
Where I live now is more of a rural area. I miss living in my hometown of Greenfield, which is located 10 mins from downtown Pittsburgh, mainly because I spent my whole life there. Moving to Ohio was a hard decision but it is still close enough to drive back when i need to. Other than that, I liked having everything close by in the city. If you needed anything it wasnt far to drive there.
What prompted you to move?
My fiancé is an occupational therapist and was offered a position in Ohio so we moved out this way. I decided to go back to school and thats what I am doing now. I also work full time as a quality control inspector. Lets just say im a busy dude haha
Alright, so let’s break down your new work with ENEMY MIND, shall we?
You’ve finally unveiled your new record, a powerful, well-thought blend of metal and hardcore. What took you so long? What kept you busy since the release of your debut record and split with LINE OF SCRIMMAGE in 2009?
We appreciate that. Yea, we wanted to do something different than what people were doing in our scene. I have always been a fan of death metal and faster styles of music. Our singer Mike has always been the hardcore influence in the band, and we feel like it has the perfect mix on this album.
We actually broke up for a little while a couple years back, and in the meantime I joined the band No Reason to Live, which is also a Pgh based metal band. I kept writing stuff for Enemy Mind, which most of that is on this new record.
Photo by Hannah Altman
What caused the split? Also, how were the spirits after regrouping?
Me and Mike started this band back in 2007 together, and I think we got to a point where we weren’t agreeing on most things musically, and we decided to just stop doing EM.
When we got back together, me and Mike still argued as usual haha, but we felt like people still wanted to hear ENEMY MIND live and there was still some interest there for new material. That’s basically where we are now. We are the only original 2 from the beginning of the band, and that’s ok with us, because we mainly write all the music and vocals anyway. This is probably the best place EM has been in for a long time.
Haha, so how much of a struggle was the recording process? Also, production wise, who did you collaborate with?
Man, it was rough in spots haha. I pretty much had a lot of the material for the record already written, and it wasnt exactly what Mike had in mind at the time, but in the end it came out good I think. There is one perticular riff that we still argue about to this day, but in the past year its kind of become a joke within the band, so i think we’re ok on it now.
We worked with Dave Piatek, which is the same person we collaborated with on the previous recordings. He knows us well and also knows what to expect working with us. He has his own studio in Cleveland Heights now, so it wasnt far of a drive for everyone.
How are you personal tastes reflected in the final effect? How have you evolved when it comes to certain styles preferences?
I think our tastes in music stand out in their own way on this one. I wrote all the music by myself pretty much, that’s why its more metal focused than the older recordings. Mikes lyric and vocal approach are different too. The vocal patters have a rhythm of their own over top the guitar riffs which makes it interesting on their own. I feel like there is something for every type of metal fan on this record. Its definetly evolved into something that sets it apart from what everyone else is doing in our scene.
And how about the lyrics? Content-wise, what message are you trying to get across?
I dont think there is one distinct overall “message” on this album. Mike writes all the lyrics, so i dont know whats going on in his head when he thinks these up. The songs used to be about getting revenge on someone and shit like that. The new album definitely has a darker feel to the lyrics than before.
Is there a plan to take these tracks on the road and play some shows?
Of course! We have been playing It Just Gets Worse & Giving Up live recently off of the new album. We are currently setting up a small European tour, just 8 days, but its too early to announce which cities and which dates. All I can say is that it will be in May and June, and we’ll be touring with another BDHW band.
Awesome! First time in Europe?
Yes it will be! We are pretty excited and cant wait to get out there and have a good time with everyone out there. I’m not entirely sure, but there might be a show or 2 in Poland. I hope so, because I have always been a fan of some Polish bands like DECAPITATED, and BEHEMOTH.
Great! Hopefully we’ll meet then! How much do you know about European hardcore? What are some of the first associations?
Yea! You’ll have to try and make it out to a show!
Honestly, I dont know the first band that we started associating with out there. We know of a buch of European bands, but me and Mike listened to a lot of BUN DEM OUT back in the day, and we were really into their style. I listen to a lot of different stuff besides hardcore. I love bands like ENSLAVED, DECAPITATED, IHSAHN, VADER, and ENSIFERUM. I’m kind of all over the place with music haha
Not a BEHEMOTH fan? ;)
I love BEHEMOTH actually! Also a big fan of HATE…… which is pretty similar in Sound.
So what are your biggest guilty pleasures in music?
Well, on top of playing death metal and beatdown hardcore style music, I play classical guitar. I feel like that music composed all those years ago was true mysical talent to the fullest. I cant get into rap, or hip-hop, or anything like that…. its just not my style, although i do respect it…… and im a big fan of 80’s pop, like TEARS FOR FEARS and bands from that era. It’s strange, I know haha
Oh, I don’t think so. The wider range of your listening and performing experience, the more you know and the smarter you get!
Alright buddy, so I guess we’re good here. Any additional thoughts or messages you’d like to share before we go?
I just wanna say thanks to anyone who ever supported us. Stay tuned for more announcements from our Facebook page, and BDHW Rec. Also, pick up our latest record “No Safe Place” either at BDHW, or on our store button on Facebook.
Great! Thanks for the chat! Take care!