Interviews

ON THE MIGHT OF PRINCES reflect on the past, discuss new reissue, other projects, and more

On The Might Of Princes
Former ON THE MIGHT OF PRINCES drummer, Chris Enriquez is raising money to release a full-length documentary to tell the full story of the iconic emotive post hardcore band and of course to honor the legacy of his fallen bandmate, Jason Rosenthal. This effort comes around the same time of the re-release of ‘Where You Are and Where You Want To Be’ on Dead Broke Rekerds, a completely new remastered deluxe edition of Long Island’s quintessential album, remastered by Carl Saff and featuring 6 bonus tracks, 3 of which have never been released until now (order directly from the label or buy through Bandcamp below).

To celebrate, we have teamed up with Chris to give you some more insights about the new release, the recent unreleased track “Water vs. The Anchor”, and reflect on the band’s past, as well as unveil some possible plans for the future. Go through a brief history of the band and dive into more exciting insights and details from our special guest, Chris Enriquez.

On The Might Of Princes formed on Long Island, New York in 1997, emerging from an heterogenous but cooperative community of independent bands and labels. First releasing material on Rok Lok (‘The Making of a Conversation’) and Creep Records/Traffic Violation Records (‘Where You Are and Where You Want to Be.’).

Christopher A. Enriquez recalls:

The peak of the band artistically and our relationship was in the 1999-2002 time period when we wrote, recorded and toured on “Where You Are and Where You Want To Be.” I was relatively new, we found an immediate artistic chemistry, Jason was more together and had a vision that agreed with everyone and without having a pre-conceived notion of any kind of notoriety, we felt the love from our local scene, which grew to be international years later. That was when we realized we could connect with people on a real level and experiencing that together for the most part was a huge blessing.

On The Might Of Princes

I think it had an effect on Jason’s frame of mind and I don’t mean that in a malicious way. But we were young and when you get a taste of even local fame, it can change how you act, behave and it separated us from him in a strange way where I think we were mostly on the same page and he was somewhere else, which sadly remained that way until our final days. When I think back to the real early days though, it’s nothing but genuine interest in each other, getting to know one another and creating music. Jason made me mix tapes and turned me on to so much cool music. He loved everything from mellow music like Ida to metal bands like Opeth to alternative bands like Jane’s Addiction and Nirvana. Plus, we both loved Bad Brains, which had a bit of an influence on the middle dub part in “Water vs. The Anchor.”  Anyway, those early days were the peak for me. Touring, not knowing what to expect, slumming it in random people’s houses, driving across the country with no cell phones, barely any money and just a map. Sleeping on beaches, stages, wherever we could find a floor.

ON THE MIGHT OF PRINCES eventually signed to the legendary hardcore punk label, Revelation Records and released what would be their third and final record, ‘Sirens‘, in 2003. After a follow-up tour of Europe, On The Might Of Princes disbanded in May 2004.

You’d think a peak would be signing to a bigger label like Revelation and getting to tour Europe or play huge festivals, open or bigger bands, but it wasn’t. Sure, it was fun moments too, but ultimately that was all a very problematic, traumatic and disastrous time that we somehow managed to get through until it became unbearable.

During the bands initial existence, they performed with a laundry list of successful bands such as Coheed and Cambria, Kill Your Idols, Indecision, Latterman, Taking Back Sunday to name a few. Many artists that grew up listening to the band went on to form bands like Bridge and Tunnel, Caspian, Incendiary, Iron Chic, Regulate, Slingshot Dakota, This is Hell and The Saddest Landscape to name a few.

After a two-year split, they reunited in late 2006 to play three sold out shows in Long Island, Brooklyn and Connecticut. Soon afterward, expanded re-releases of their first two albums were released on Rok Lok Records.

In August 2008, they temporarily reunited once again for a few more shows. In 2012, Revelation Records announced that the group would reunite yet again for the label’s 25th anniversary festival at New York’s iconic Irving Plaza, followed by two sold out nights at Brooklyn’s premiere rock club, Saint Vitus Bar.

A fourth reunion was planned for June 2013 to headline a music festival in Long Island, but was cancelled for undisclosed reasons. Soon after, the band formally declared that there would be no more shows or new material and they had officially broken up.

I went on to start a band called Gracer, who ended up on Revelation also. Our sound was somewhere in between Sunny Day Real Estate and Death Cab For Cutie.

After that I played in a progressive rock band called Villa Vina with Tommy Orza, bassist of On the Might of Princes. It was like King Crimson had a lovechild with Queens of the Stone Age. Then I filled in on drums for Criteria, who are an Omaha, NE band on Saddle Creek Records, featuring ex members of Cursive. I played in some straight forward indie-rock bands and tried out for a lot of major acts like Coheed and Cambria, Ra Ra Riot, Glassjaw, Jesse Malin, etc. and eventually ended up in a heavy post hardcore band called Primitive Weapons (see IDIOTEQ features HERE) who released a bunch of records, then a noise rock band called HAAN (see IDIOTEQ feature HERE) who released a full-length that I’m pretty stoked on. I briefly filled in on drums for older Revelation Records hardcore bands such as Beyond, Supertouch and Shai Hulud. Today, I am full-time in a band called Spotlights that is kind of space rock mixed with doom and some shoegaze.

It’s hard to peg but that’s kind of how people have described us I guess. It’s going really well, and we’ve done some big tours over the years.

Recently, I also started a hardcore band called Total Meltdown, which I play guitar in. It is cool to try different things and challenge myself as a player.

Jason Rosenthal passed away in Austin, Texas of a heart attack on August 12, 2013. He was 35.

Chris Enriquez is raising money to release a full-length documentary to tell the bands full story and history and of course to honor the legacy of his fallen bandmate, Jason Rosenthal. Video Editor, Mario Quintero (of the band Spotlights) will be handling the technical aspects of production while Chris will be handling all of the interviews from former band members and artists who were inspired by the band.

The goal is to raise the money needed to produce the film by 6/1/20 so that the film can be completed for a Fall 2020 release. No profits will be made, all funds will go towards production. The film will be premiered at a music venue initially, followed by a Q&A with the band and then available for free online streaming for all to enjoy.

All the support you can provide that will make it possible to tell the the story of On the Might of Princes will help cement their legacy. GO HERE TO DONATE.

“Where You Are and Where You Want To Be” reissue

Where You Are and Where You Want To Be” has been out of print for many years but remains to be an album people hold to a high regard. The initial pressings in total probably amounted to like 5,000 copies top I’m guessing, between CD’s and albums since it came out in 2001.  It’s never been available through streaming or digital purchase, so people have been forced to listen to it on YouTube, which has roughly 16,000 views over the past six years and still gets comments. I get asked about the album often through social media, run in’s, all with random people but we’re all so busy with our lives now, no one has ever dedicated the time to doing something about it. Our friend, Mike Bruno from the amazing band, Iron Chic has a record label called Dead Broke Rekerds. They put out lots of Long Island bands, where we’re originally from along with re-issues of old bands that there’s still a bit of a demand for like Samiam, Fifteen, Sleepasaurus and more. I guess somehow we fit into that category, which means I guess we have some kind of legacy, so that’s an honor because it was in high demand and we were approached about it, vs. doing it for our own ego’s, etc. Anyhow, each re-issue has been different and this one has six bonus tracks, which are five older versions of songs from the album and a track from an out of print compilation, which we’ve premiered our first ever music video for on Brooklyn Vegan this past Friday, 4/10 (scroll up to watch it, too).

Water vs. the Anchor

The unreleased track is an early of “Water vs. the Anchor,” one of our more popular songs from when we were a band.

Lyrically, Jason Rosenthal was a genius.

I don’t use that term lightly and am also not saying that because I was in the band. On the first two LP’s, he managed to wear his heart on his sleeve and sing about desperate feelings, nostalgia in such a way that didn’t make you cringe like other bands in our genre, who often wrote songs about ex-girlfriends and things of that nature. We also didn’t write in a typical pop structure and had songs with no repeating parts but he seemed to find ways to write memorable lyrics that were easy to remember and sing along too, which ended up being proven through the amount of people that you see singing along in all our old show footage. This particular song is a trip, literally.

“I wish I could take back every drunken night…” elaborates on something many of us can relate to and interpret in many ways. And of course the lines, “It’s a foolish attempt to hold on to a time when idiocy had no consequence” is also so relatable but open for interpretation. I loved that about his lyrics and the way he made words work within songs.

This album is by far his best work musically and lyrically. I love the other albums but there was something magical about this one and this biggest part was his contribution. The next album still sounds unfinished to me and the first one is great but it’s also the band finding their identity still.

On The Might Of Princes band!

Will you be releasing more unreleased tracks in the nearest future? Is there more unreleased music hidden in your secret stash?

We have some unreleased stuff dating back to the demo, which I wasn’t on. That’s with the original drummer, Nicole Keiper but there are songs they recorded back then that ended up on the first full length, “The Making of a Conversation” and some that I believe did not. In addition, there are early version of two songs from “Sirens” so it’s possible for us to do re-releases of our other albums with bonus material, which I think we’ll eventually look into.

Are there any chances for some new music along the way?

No, Jason passed away in 2013 and we would never continue as On the Might of Princes without him. It’s possible we could play music together under a different moniker one day. I wouldn’t say no, but some of us live in different places and have very different lives now between families and other bands, etc. But who knows. We toyed around with the idea of a tribute to Jason with different singers, but our last show was so good, which you can find on YouTube from 2012 at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn and it would be hard to top that. I wish it were different. We started jamming towards the end and discussed new music but similar tensions took place and we broke up then and there and then Jason passed a few months later.

If we were even able to be a band again, which we are not, I would be on Dead Broke Rekerds, a label run by someone we can trust that knows what they’re doing for the niche scene we were attached to.

On The Might Of Princes!

Brooklyn music scene nowadays

The Brooklyn music scene and NY in general is fantastic. It always has been and always will be. We are melting pot of everything and live in a concrete jungle. The entire atmosphere influences the art that comes out of it. I think the more people who have moved here from other cities along with the internet and streaming has taken sway from regional sounds because everyone has so much access to everything and can imitate and mix styles from everywhere, which is cool but there was also something very cool about a NY sound that was very unique to what surrounds us on a more primal level. There are still bands that sound very NY like Show Me The Body and Constant Elevation, but in their own unique way.  As a whole, we’re in a renaissance period because there are a million bands, the scene is huge, and we have more venues that we’ve ever had between Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Long Island combined. So, I’d say yes, it’s absolutely thriving. I don’t think it ever won’t. It just evolves into different things. The bands I mentioned don’t sound like Cro-Mags, Run DMC, Beastie Boys or Agnostic Front but they still represent a NY sound and are songs made by New Yorkers, which you can tell immediately when you hit play on either/or. Another NY band that deserves recognition for a similar thing is Incendiary, an amazing hardcore band from Long Island and Brooklyn.

Check out Show Me the Body, Somnuri, Spylacopa, Confines, Husbandry, Constant Elevation, Rule Them All, Perfect World, Ageist. All are friends’ bands from Brooklyn/NY area.

Coronavirus situation

I work for Revolver Magazine full-time selling ads, sponsorships and other types of marketing opportunities. Handling this at home is just fine. I hate not having physical contact with people and miss it because I haven’t even hugged a person since 3/15 or even shaken anyone’s hand, etc. I can’t tour, practice, travel, play shows, perform and do what I do, so that sucks. But I’ve learned to get creative and started a web-series on the @SaintVitusBar Instagram called ‘Age of Quarantine’ where we’ve spoken to lots of popular artists like Dillinger Escape Plan, Power Trip and Russian Circles. I do it from my couch at home on my phone and it managed to get written about in Billboard yesterday, which is wild. That’s keeping me busy and I made a make-shift drumset out of random pieces, so I can practice on the roof until neighbors start yelling.

What else? Staying in touch with friends/family, making sure they’re safe, rekindling old friendships and trying to stay healthy. That’s about it. Hopefully we’ll all see each other in a somewhat normal situation sooner than later!

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