Our Last Enemy's Oliver is His Own Demon

Australia's Our Last Enemy has only been around for a few years, but they as any other band, has dealt with band changes, playing shows, and releasing music. They have in fact released two albums a remix "Engineering the Enemy" (2013) and most recent release "Pariah" (2014).  Frontman vocalist Oliver Fogwell discusses the band's past, present, and future.

1. What type of band are you?

Oliver: We get the tag ‘industrial metal’ but that seems too limiting. Most of the reviews we are getting have say how we are much more than that. We have been getting ‘Modern Metal’ lately,  and an interesting one "Progressive Industrial Metalcore" hahaha.

2. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Oliver: Its interesting as most of us have known each other or played with each other from other bands. Our current drummer Zot was in my old band, and Jeff and Matt were a band we used to play with at the time. All the bands fell apart at the same time and we got in touch to do something new. Matt Jeff and I started the band, and we ended up with Zot in years after I played with him. Full circle! Bizz we met through mutual friends when he moved to Australia and we needed a new guitarist. We hit it off instantly!

3. What makes you guys Our Last Enemy?

Oliver: I think it’s the 5 of us, and by that our mean our different personalities and tastes in music. Its really come across in the music we make (although it can resulted in some butting of heads!) as we reviews often talk about our blend of genres, done well of course! It not just ideas thrown together for the sake of it.

4. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

Oliver: We are so wide and varied. Obviously we all like metal! Bizz loves all things Japanese and listens to some crazy shit, I can relate as I really like experimental type music and I’m a Mike Patton aficionado. Zot is a drum and bass DJ at big clubs here on the side, so his electronic tastes come into play. I think one band we all agree on in the bus is Faith No More!

5. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Oliver: This record "Pariah" is a loose concept album I guess, revolving around a character that pops up at times of crisis and chaos. Whether he causes it, is merely a witness or just plain unlucky is up for debate. He certainly plays different roles in different songs. As well as these big macroscopic perspectives, there is of course room for a more interior perspective with elements of songs that do relate to my personal feelings on things and situations. I think it’s a nice way to be able to frame those feelings rather than be WOE IS ME FUCK DA WORLD BITCH all the time.

6. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Oliver: Yes, all of our songs are original. We do play a few covers live from time to time, but nothing is recorded as yet. We try a few different methods as we are always looking for ways to make the writing process easier and more time efficient without loosing creativity. We jam in the room a lot, bouncing ideas off each other, and we also record a lot of stuff at home and share a Dropbox. Its definitely something we are trying to do more these days as everyone’s getting busier and living all over the place! But ultimately its a democracy in the band, and if an idea is liked or disliked by the majority, we move forth as such.

7. Why did you want "10,000 Headless Horses" to be one of your singles off the new album and why make it into a video? Can you tell me about the song and video?

Oliver: This is one of oldest songs as a band, and has always been one of our most popular with fans here in Australia. It’s a live staple of ours and we thought it would be a good introduction for the North American market. When we were thinking of what video to do that was a no brainer. It was voted No.2 Best Heavy Song in Australia for a big magazine here and was also picked up by Rock Band 3 for Xbox. Play along at home! Funnily enough our next single and video (out this month) is one of newest songs, so you get the full spectrum of our career so far with those two tracks.

8. How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?

Oliver: Recording was a few months pre-production here in Australia, then almost 3 months in LA with Christian. I wish it could have been longer! A few of the tracks are from an EP we self released here as well, and they took a month or 2 to do here at a local studio with Clayton Segelov at The Brain Studios. We also included some remixes from a remix album we did here recently, with some cool guys like Mortiis, Angel (Dope) and Travis Neal (Divine Heresy). So really this CD has been years in the making, and really is a "best of " for us, which we think will be a perfect entry into North America.

9. What kind of "sound" production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?

Oliver: We wanted that cold and calculating industrial feel, and the precision machine gun like drums. We also wanted to include as many samples and effects to add atmosphere. I like how a lot of reviewers have said it has a cinematic quality. I’m a huge cinema buff.

10. What kind of input did the producer have during the process?

Oliver: In terms of song structure, we had sent the pre-production demos and he was pretty much happy with all our choices. For me, he added a lot of great vocal tracking ideas. I threw in whispers and spoken takes, doubled a few things here and pulled back on a few things there. Christian considers himself best at producing vocals so I was really lucky.

11. Are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)

Oliver: Yes! The world class quality has been spoken about a lot and its definitely something that will help us stand above the millions of garage bands that can so easily put a release out in this technological age. No that I'm against that at all, I like a lot of down and dirty stuff, but for us and our sound it was essential to have a high quality product.

12. Did the producer use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?

Oliver: I can’t think of anything particularly weird for my parts, but beer was involved!

13. How did you go on about capturing your "live sound" in the studio, or perhaps you didn't?

Oliver: We pride ourselves on our live show, its rawer and more in your face, and I don’t think a recording could ever catch that. And I like them being two separate beasts. Who likes to go see a band play the CD note for note? I want to have a visceral experience that involves spontaneity and chaos!

14. Please inform us about your favorite songs and lyrical highlights and why?

Oliver: What comes to mind is the track ‘Ants In The Palm’ because funnily enough my girlfriend asked me what this song was about the other night haha I got the title from a phrase in Salvador Dali and Luis Brunel's surrealist short film Un Chien Andalou. It's symbolism represents an itching desire to kill. The character in the song starts off as a bit of a wannabe bad ass, someone who thinks he is capable of these acts but never acts on the impulses. As he gets deeper into his delusions he becomes haunted by memories of acts he didn't commit, but they seem real to him. Whether it’s a past life or just insanity is debatable. It’s kind of like the way you walk out of American Psycho, did he really do all that or was it a madman’s fantasy. Is the character Pariah yet again caught in another twisted life cycle? Some mysteries are better left unsolved.

15. Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?

Oliver: Definitely dark and intense, it hits you in the face while still creating an intriguing atmospheric vibe. We all love horror movies so I’m sure that comes across in the mood of many of the songs. 

16. Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?

Oliver: Its constantly evolving, that’s for sure. As we get exposed to new influences and have new experiences, our perspective on things change. But ultimately I think our vision has stayed true since the start, it just gets bigger!

17. Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?

Oliver: No not at all, as we had recorded all these tracks before we signed the deal. It was the quality of the songs that drew the label to us in the first place, so they didn't want to change a thing.

18. Are there any "crazy" behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?

Oliver: When we were recording drums at Temple Studios Xzibit came in (as b-real from cypress hill owns the studio with Raymond from fear factory) to do some recording which was a trip. We also got picked up by some cops as we were walking home from buying beer at 2AM, they heard our accents and said get in the car we will drive you. They knew we were walking targets! Haha! They ended up being metal fans and we had a BBQ at there place later that week. Who woulda thunk it?

19. How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?

Oliver: Its hard and dark, textured and atmospheric while still leaving you feeling like a brick to face by the end! If you like heavy music with depth yet still makes you want to hurl things across the room, this record is for you.

20. What are the plans that you guys have for the future, shows, and touring that we should know about?

Oliver: We are doing a lot of press and promo for this record atm and really looking forward to seeing what happens, the feedback so far has been amazing! If all goes to plan we would love to be seeing you in person up the front later this year.

21. Anything else you'd like to say or would like to add?

Oliver: Thanks so much for taking your time out to do this; we appreciate all the support as we head in North America. Everyone check out our record "Pariah" out now via Eclipse Records at www.eclipserecords.com/our-last-enemy . Hope to see you all soon! \m/

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