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ENUMA ELISH

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW WIGAN ARTIST ENUMA ELISH

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

(LM) How I feel whilst singing. It’s such an alleviating therapeutic release for me! Especially when the music is live & loud! If I’m sad I’ll sing it out, if I’m happy I’ll sing it out, if I’m angry I’ll sing it out, no matter what’s going on, it’s a healthy release for me without even speaking about what’s going on for me. When I’m singing my attention is fully captured by it & I’m not stuck in my own head, I’m releasing what’s pent up in there.

It’s like I’m freeing myself from the ongoing buzz of anxiety. Joining Enuma Elish has only enhanced this feeling, I think being able to create my own melodies over the unique & genre hopping style that is Enuma Elish has helped me to embrace myself more as a singer, my sometimes pretty odd style & also challenged some of the self-limiting beliefs I hold not just about singing but about who I am too. I’ll always encourage those who find music therapeutic or just really enjoy doing it to make time for it! Even if it’s belting a song out once a day whilst having a shower or something & no matter what anyone says or sometimes what you might think about your playing/singing don’t be discouraged & make that be a barrier for you, remind yourself how you feel whilst playing/singing & why you picked it up in the first place.

Introduce us you / all to the members and your musical history?

Lish: Vocals

John White: Guitar

John Daily: Bass

Spen: Drums

(JW) The band formed in 2014 after I needed some excellent musicians to collaborate with. I had a style and sound I wanted to create, with both female and male characteristics to it. There have been a few line-up changes over the years, but this interestingly mixes up the flavour each time. Me being the only constant permanent member in the group keeps the original vision central to the music though.

What was life like for you before music?

(LM) Music has always been a major interest for me ever since being a child, however, before joining Enuma Elish, music went on the back burner as I was expecting my first child & then the lockdown hit. I spent the majority of lockdown either pregnant or spending time with my beautiful newborn baby boy. As the months passed, I massively missed singing & being surrounded by live music, but I also felt quite anxious about getting back out into the world, even once lockdown had lifted.

I felt pretty stuck in a rut musically, I didn’t want to go back to running the open mics & sing someone else’s songs. I loved hearing & supporting everyone else taking part in the open mics & will always be grateful for their support & have lots of amazing memories, but I began to feel tired of singing the same songs & I felt something missing personally when I got up to sing; it just didn’t feel as fulfilling anymore. I also don’t play an instrument & would really struggle to write my own music. I was just kind of floating between really wanting to do something new with music & feeling pretty lost with no idea of how or where to begin.

That’s when I received a message from John White (guitarist) asking if I wanted to join Enuma Elish. The timing was unbelievably perfect! I remember feeling nervous though I’m not great at meeting new people never mind go & sing for them but was intrigued & surprised at the band name “Enuma Elish” with my own first full name being so similar (Eilish) It was an opportunity I’d been waiting for & one I didn’t want to pass up, despite the nerves. 

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

(JW) Definitely Cream, Spoonful live taken off the Wheels of Fire album. I literally got introduced to this in the womb, it was on constantly at home when I was a nipper. And the super long, almost inhuman improvisations blew me away and still do. The only band that still give me them orgasmic shivers down the arms and neck when listening!

ENUMA ELISH

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

(JW) We pride ourselves on our musical freedom and deep creativity on a soulful level. We are very grateful to have had nothing but positive responses and kind words so far. And that’s all that matters to us. Although we tend to Genre-hop quite a bit, people either really love us or just don’t get it. So, we find it hard to fit into any scene. But again, we aren’t really trying to fit in or be liked. We just do our thing.

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?

(JD) The biggest thing I have learned is to learn to appreciate the rough and the smooth. Sometimes everything is going fine but when it’s not try to learn something from it.

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

(JD) My first live music experience was watching McFly in Liverpool.

I currently have 15 guitars.

In university, I was in 7 different bands at the same time.

(LM) I used to cover my face with a lyrics sheet so no one could see my face whilst I sang.

The first song I sang when I went to college to study music was “Creep – Radiohead”.

I’ve sung in many choirs as a child.

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career, what would it be?

(LM) There’s a lot that I could improve on & I have a lot of goals to reach. I think learning to play an instrument such as the keyboard would really add to some of our more atmospheric tracks, maybe a touch at the end of Ahura Mazda very minimal & to learn more about content creation to engage & entertain more people.

I do most of the online content for FB, TikTok and so on. I feel I have lots of ideas for content but struggle to bring them together. With all the social media platforms available to us & all the amazing things we can do with them, I feel like there’s so much more to learn there! 

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture?

(JD) Cancel culture is something that is very much in the music industry and in modern media, but it doesn’t worry me. If somebody takes something the wrong way, then that’s their opinion and it’s fine but I will always try to do what’s right and keep my metaphorical slate clean.

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If no, why not?

(JD) Ihave heard some bizarre conspiracy theories, but I don’t think I sign up to any of them due to how unbelievable they are.

What was the worst experience on stage?

(JD) I can’t say that I’ve had the worst experience on stage as I take positives from everything I do. In the future that may change if I fall off a stage or have an accident as it’s difficult to find a positive spin on that, but I feel I’m very lucky.

Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.

(LM) I’ve barely written any lyrics for Enuma Elish! I think people expect the lead singer to be the one to write the lyrics for the songs. All credit to our guitarist John & our drummer Spen for not getting annoyed with me when I take their lyrics away chop them down, and rephrase them.

What makes you stand out as a band?

(SH) We’re hard to classify – some people describe us as ‘genre hopping’. You can hear the diversity in influences, but we don’t sound like any other band. Everyone in the band is incredibly talented and brings their own perspective to the collective vision. The personality of each member can be heard in their playing but still creates a cohesive whole and the Enuma Elish sound.

It’s both a blessing and a curse – a blessing because it gives us a unique sound and a curse because it can be hard to place with similar bands because there aren’t any! That said we work with some amazing promoters and have played some fantastic gigs with a lot of very talented bands. We’ve played a lot in Manchester and the audience reaction is amazing.

We’re based in blues and rock at our heart but present it in a very individual way that captures audience’s imagination and engages quickly. The shows are really intense and immersive in sound on some numbers, others are more subdued and reflective. 

I hear you have new music, single out what can you tell us about it?

(JW) Yes! Entitled Ahura Mazda, bits of that song have been flying around for a while now. It’s been great to compile it with the band and get it out there, we are really happy with it. We currently open the set with it live. And it always seems to go down well.

What was the recording process like?

(LM) Exciting! We experimented with different ways of playing each instrument & played around with layering the guitar to get a bigger, noisier & fuller sound! Spirit Studios is a great place to record that I would highly recommend! Massive thanks to Haydn McCabe for his support on “Ahura Mazda” & for creating a relaxed and accommodating environment!

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

(JW) I’d say trying to get the new songs as good or better than the older ones. I think the quality needs to be an upward trajectory rather than a lull or spiral. The rest of the band always amaze me and dig deep to come up with fresh ideas to compliment my songs, so I’m sure the writing process will be pleasant and smooth at least for the time being!

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

(SH) The single? Ahura Mazda? No, we worked very hard on the sound. We record quickly and mostly in one or two takes but know what sound we’re after and how to get it. John the guitarist came up with the tune and arrangement, but we all added various pieces that are interwoven into it. We’ve been using a great studio in Manchester, Spirit Studios. Lovely relaxing space to record. We did our last single there too.

We used some traditional instruments on the track – there’s a dholak, tingsha cymbals, and a singing bowl in the intro with Lish’s haunting vocal, which contribute to the mystic meditative quality of the finished song. This was a conscious thing; it wasn’t spur of the moment in the studio – we took them with us to do it. Ahura Mazda is a beautiful piece of music that travels through several movements and takes you on a musical and lyrical journey of sorts. Get on board – dig it.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

(JW) The world is an illusion, only Brahman exists. The world IS Brahman.

(LM) Enuma Elish will soon be taking a break from gigging over the New Year, but we have lots of plans & exciting ideas to work on in our short but productive gig break! We can’t wait for you to see & hear what we have in store! 

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