A Little Help from My Friends

Photo Credit: Adam Degross Photo Credit: Adam Degross

New Label and Lineup Enables All Hail The Void

By Tim Anderl

Ohio lost a huge asset to the heavy music scene when Jeff Lohrber, formerly of Eyes Upon Separation, Harlots, Trap Them and Shai Hulud packed his bags and relocated from Greenville, Ohio to Milwaukee.  Thankfully, his latest band, Enabler, will launch a massive spring and summer tour in May that returns them to the heart-shaped state for a couple of dates. Dayton City Paper recently caught up with Lohrber, guitarist of the punk/metal/grind/hardcore quartet, to ask him about Enabler’s origins, the band’s current lineup, their forthcoming record, All Hail The Void, their new label, and his friends in Dayton’s Neon Warship.  This is what he told us:

So in 2009 you started doing Enabler?

Yeah.  I’d been working on writing songs for Enabler for a long time.  It wasn’t really called Enabler at the time.  It was just sort of a project of mine.  I started a band with Kevin Schindel and Shane Shook from Twelve Tribes.  When I was hanging out with Kevin a lot he really showed me how to demo out songs.  From there I began writing my own songs. During that time I began playing a lot of hired drummer gigs.  I just got really fed up with that.  I got back from drumming with Trap Them and had a really horrible experience with those guys.  Harlots played our last show a month after that and it felt like it was time for me to go back to guitar and focus on these songs that I’d been working on for years.  Within a couple months we had our first lineup and I’ve been writing more and more material ever since.  There are years of songs to pick from.  For our next record, there are songs that are 12 years old and I just never had a band to play them.  Those songs have been rewritten, and rewritten, and rewritten … until they finally felt like Enabler songs.  [Jeffrey Lohrber]

Your upcoming record, All Hail The Void, was recorded with Shane Hotchstetler, who you’d worked with before, correct?

Almost every recording we’ve done, aside from one split, was done with Shane at Howl Street Recordings here in Milwaukee, where I currently live.  For this record we did the drums with him.  But our new guitar player, Greg Thomas, is doing everything else.  When I have one person writing everything the material can get a little dry.  When I have someone else saying, “Hey this is cool, but maybe you should change things up like this,” and pushing me to do that, I feel like I got a lot of good advice and ideas.  [JL]

It is great that you have that kind of working relationship with your new bandmates.  Do you think that this will be the Enabler lineup for the foreseeable future?

I sure hope so.  There may be fill in guitar players here and there because Greg is also in Misery Signals and they are going to be recording a new record at some point, but Andy Hurley and Amanda Daniels are definitely in the band.  My girlfriend, Amanda, plays bass and then Andy played in Fall Out Boy.  He’s an awesome drummer; maybe the best I’ve ever played with. [JL]

I actually met Andy in the ‘90s when my old band played with Race Traitor.  Is he enjoying getting back to his roots?

Absolutely.  This is what he loves.  This is what he listens to.  Andy’s past with Fall Out Boy never weirded me out because of my past with Eyes Upon Separation and the fact that some of those guys went on to do Hawthorne Heights.  Not very many people want to play metal or hardcore forever, and it is fully acceptable to go do other stuff.  I don’t think I could write anything but heavy music.  I could probably play drums in a rock band, but I don’t think I could write anything that wasn’t obnoxiously heavy and fast and pissed. [JL]

It seems like metal is becoming more widely accepted as a legitimate output.  Southern Lord is leading the charge there.  How pumped are you to be working with them?

I got the e-mail from them the day before Christmas.  What better Christmas present could I have asked for?  I was stoked that Southern Lord was going to have a hand in our next record.  I think when you are looking for a label, one of the most important things is signing to a label run by people who play in bands.  They are able to understand what it really means to be in a band.  A lot of bigger metal labels will sign ten bands, put out all their records all at once, and then hope that one of them sells … and they quit giving a fuck about the rest.  We could have signed to another label and crossed our fingers that we sold 10,000 copies of our record, just so someone gives a shit about us.  We don’t sell that many records.  But the people that do buy our records are listening to them from front to back and really like what we’re doing.  I would rather have 1,000 people purchase the album, and have every single one of them give a shit about it. [JL]

How many dates are you doing on your tour with Neon Warship?

We’re doing four dates with them. [JL]

And those guys are your tight bros?

Kevin basically taught me how to write music the way that I write music.  He taught me how to write for a four or five piece band by myself.  I remember him showing me the Twelve Tribes Midwest Pandemic demos, and they were almost the exact same thing as the finished record was.  It totally fucking blew my mind and let me know that I could do that too. [JL]

After you do these dates, you head out on the Southern Lord tour?

The dates with Neon Warship are just a small part of the entire tour we’re doing.  We weren’t originally supposed to release our new record until August, so we were going to do this tour and go back out in August.  But then we got offered the Southern Lord tour at the last minute.  So then I was like “Cool, let’s do this,” and the label decided to push up the release date for that tour. [JL]

When is the record coming out then? 

We’re looking at June.  It isn’t actually finished yet.  We are still mixing it.  It sounds really good right now.  Sort of like … And Justice For All, where everything is really tight.  But once things are mixed it will probably sound like your speakers are going to blow while you listen to it. [JL]

(Enabler performs at Blind Bob’s with Neon Warship, Grenades!? And Drose on May 5.  They return to Dayton on July 8 for the Southern Lord Summer tour with Burning Love, Martyrdod and Black Breath.  For more information about Enabler, visit their website at www.enablermke.blogspot.com.)

Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at TimAnderl@DaytonCityPaper.com

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