Believo you me
Enon get a grip on eccentric pop and eclectic gadgets
Enon (pronounced "enin") is something different to differing people. If, for example, you are a huge fan of quail and deer hunting, you may have found your way to www.enon.com and already started planning your trip to Alabama's Enon Plantation, "the home of the finest wingshooting and deerhunting in the Southeast."
However, if you're an Internet surfer of a different, dirtier sort, you may have heard Enon, the band, whose elastic falsetto sex-rock song "Rubber Car," from their debut Believo!, served as the theme song to early episodes of the short film series "The Bikini Bandits" (available at www.atomfilms.com). Unfortunately, though the bass-heavy song is perfect accompaniment for criminally fine jiggling babes (Enon are professed fans of the R&B programming of J.Lo and Destiny's Child), it's the Internet series creators who are the true bandits and tried to use the song without giving Enon due credit, let alone cash. (In an indirect way, these issues will be addressed on Enon's next album, a slightly more rock-oriented effort coming this fall, which includes tales of consumer woes partially inspired by New York.)
So, whether you wear camouflage or a bright purple velvet pimp suit, you may know of Enon. Or maybe you're just a fan of quirky, original guitar-lite junk-rock and ran across Enon through a recommendation from a fan of the bands Brainiac and Skeleton Key.
Enon was founded by former Brainiac guitarist John Schmersal, who recruited Skeleton Key's Rick Lee and Steve Calhoon. They all shared a love of the jerky tension of new wave and an approach to putting together oddball pop and instruments like something out of high school metal shop.
"I'm really into resoldering battery-powered things," says Schmersal, "making new connections and finding connections by trial and error and finding what sounds they can make."
"Mostly, however, it's really about Rick's suitcases of his gadgetry [which crowd the stage during Enon's shows]. Some of them have sound sources in them — battery-powered samplers and turntables. It's really about the regurgitation of sounds. Components are wired together. One thing could be a lo-fi source to sample from and to, then you save it to a sample bank on a different, better sampler. So it's about the regurgitation and regeneration of these samples."
While an unorthodox approach to everything from funk to Portishead-like noir on "Cruel" to organ-grinding Beck-ish '60s Mod rave-ups on "Come Into," to the kitschy indie-pop nugget "For the Sum of It," unites the group — which now, minus Calhoon, includes bassist Toko Yasuda (of The Lapse and Blonde Redhead) and drummer Matt Schultz — what really binds Enon's shows is something even more industrious: Velcro.
"There's so many uses for Velcro people don't appreciate," gushes Schmersal. "It helps us put things together, tidy and tucked away on our van."
The scratchy yet catchy attributes of Velcro could well be seen as a greater metaphor for Enon's approach to music. And on stage, despite their songs being complex collages of recontextualized sounds, Enon manage to more than adequately pull it off.
"We bring all our gear with us," says Schmersal. People are surprised. You will see a fiery show, filled with blinking LED lights, over 20 flapping speakers pumping out the jams, broken beer bottles and a desperate singer running frantically around, trying to shake hands and get some votes."
And you'll see suitcases. You can't forget suitcases. Like Weird Al Yankovic — another quirky performer fond of odd instruments who used only a suitcase for percussion on "Another One Rides the Bus" — Enon pack, pun intended, for one hell of a frantic show. However, they take their tunes very seriously.
"I like it when music can be fun and not take itself too seriously, but I don't like it when it's just about comedy. For instance, I don't think I've listened to any Ween album more than twice. But Weird Al is pure, clean fun."
So, however you learn of Enon, look for both music and pure clean fun at their show. But watch out for flying suitcases.
Enon play the Echo Lounge Sun., May 20. Tickets are $10. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, call 404-681-3600.??