Chris Enriquez of On The Might of Princes Talks about Past, Present, Future and NYHC

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On the Might of Princes played Irving Plaza for the Revelation Record Anniversary along with Texas is the Reason. What was the preparation leading up to the reunion? Did they just call you and say what’s up? Or was it a Blues Brothers getting the band back together mission?

Surprisingly this was the least complicated process for us. Revelation called and once they said the words “Irving Plaza,” we were all sold.  Even though some of us had not seen each other in quite some time, I had a gut feeling that no one would pass up an opportunity like that.  We’ve all grown up seeing our favorite bands play there so it was a dream come true.  It definitely will always be one of my best memories.  Not to mention, we played with Texas is the Reason and Underdog.  We did some other shows surrounding that w/ Texas is the Reason, Garrison (reunion) and others at Saint Vitus Bar, which were also amazing.

Revelation a big step for you back in the day that garnered positive and negative responses. What were your feelings during that whole process? How do you feel about it now looking back on your experiences? Was that the moment you were like this is a job now?

We grew up on Rev bands and between the late 80’s to early 2000’s, a significant number of their bands were dominating the hardcore, punk and indie circuits.  Some of which went on to majors. Some people forget that a good majority of the early Warped Tour bands were all Revelation bands. For us, joining that roster was a big deal. That record deal certainly introduced our music to people in other states and countries that we wouldn’t have reached otherwise.  We played with bigger bands in front of larger audiences and toured internationally after “Sirens” came out.  In my opinion, it was totally worth it just for that alone.

Being in OTMOP never felt like a job and honestly, I wouldn’t have minded if it did.  I wanted it to be my job.  I was bummed when we broke up.

Because we were associated with the DIY punk scene, we were criticized for making that jump. Ironically, we never got big enough to warrant that kind of criticism and many of the people who were pointing fingers are currently in bands today that ended up signing to bigger labels, going on bigger tours, making music videos, etc.  In any case, the people at Revelation were always supportive and kind to us.  I owe them a lot.  Especially cause I went on to put out more records on that label when I played in the band, Gracer.

Speaking of labels you went on to work with Saddle Creek and Prosthetic how does the experience differ from label to label? (either specific to each label or just generally)

I wasn’t actually on Saddle Creek Records officially.  I was only a touring drummer for Criteria (ex Cursive/White Octave/Bright Eyes) very briefly, which was an incredible experience for me.  Stylistically, I would say that I had more in common with Saddle-Creek.  I would’ve loved to be signed to that label when I was active.  I love Cursive, Bright Eyes, Criteria, Desperacidos and others that I’m probably forgetting.  When I was with Criteria, we actually toured with The Smoking Popes, who are legendary.  So many bands rip them off that are big now.

Regarding Prosthetic Records, I was no longer with Primitive Weapons when they had started touring in support of that release. That being said, I didn’t really get to experience what it was like to be on that label.  Making that record, “The Shadow Gallery” was great though and I’m still very proud of it.

Q: What’s your main gig right now ? Since I’ve known you, a fairly short period of time, you’ve played with No Way, filled in for drums on Primitive Weapons and On the Might of Princes.
 How do you work all that out and piece it together with a life outside of music?
My main band is No Way.  We have a digital EP coming out called “Meeting.”  People can find us on Facebook . We mostly do local shows but plan on doing some out of state gigs occasionally on the weekends.  If an opportunity to tour with a bigger band comes along, I’m sure we’d try to fit that into our lives.  It might sound cheesy but the bands purpose is for us to create unique music that helps us channel our emotions.  The fact that we have this opportunity to do so makes the entire project successful in my eyes.

Regarding Primitive Weapons, I was actually a full-time member and contributing songwriter for about two years and still fill in occasionally.  Those guys are still my buds and I see their band play all the time.

What’s going with On The Might of Princes currently? You’ve mentioned certain possibilities. Would you mind sharing some of the details? Possible reunion or new album?

As far as the future of OTMOP is concerned, there’s nothing foreseeable aside from playing occasional shows every few years.  We still do it cause it’s fun and there’s a demand for it.  We’ve been offered national and international shows/tours, etc. but haven’t been able to swing anything due to our personal lives.  Most of us don’t live close to each other anymore either so it’s tough to get together and write.  We are playing Long Island Fest and possibly some Brooklyn shows this June 2013 and are going to try our best to squeeze in some time to write a new song or two, but it’s tough to tell if we’ll have time at the moment.  I know that we all definitely would like to, but we’re all just so busy.

It’s definitely tough to pursue music as much as I used to because I’m so busy with my day job, freelance work and basic responsibilities.  However, it also makes the time I spend on music more special cause it’s limited.  Music is now a part of my life and as opposed to actually being the main focus of my entire life.  There are other aspects to what I do now which are as important, if not more important in my life such as the time I devote to my girlfriend, my dog and my family.  It feels great to have so many things to cherish and I feel very fortunate for that.

You and the guys are pretty entwined with the long island punk scene that developed in the late 90’s what was it like seeing its growth into a national thing?
 I’m also going to include the Jersey bands in this question cause there was definitely some crossing over and shared time.

It was interesting to watch. I think that I saw the potential for our scene to eventually enter the mainstream because of how much more melodic, poppy and accessible our local bands were compared to other places. Most Long Island bands just tried to be like Silent Majority or Mind Over Matter who are my local heroes.  I also looked up to a band called Garden Variety who eventually turned into Radio4.  When On the Might of Princes were active, bands like Taking Back Sunday, Brand New and From Autumn to Ashes all opened up for us and eventually went on to bigger things.  I booked Taking Back Sundays first show.  I also did the same for Brand New when they were called Rookie Lot.  I also booked the first Movielife show.  We also used to hang and play with bands that eventually turned into Latterman, Bridge and Tunnel, Iron Chic.  Those bands were all buddies who went on to gain popularity outside of our scene.  The same goes for Jersey bands.  When I was booking shows, I booked Thursday and My Chemical Romance before they were widely known.  I remember seeing all of these bands when no one knew who they were.  It was interesting seeing some of these bands gain the attention they eventually received.  I can say the same for bands that weren’t from the area.  Coheed and Cambria used to open for us and I never knew they’d get as big as they are now.  This was typical and I am so fortunate to have been around back then.  Outside of my band and booking shows, I got to see so many bands before they got big such as At The Drive In, Jimmy Eat World, Saves The Day, Lifetime, The Bronx, The Refused, The Promise Ring, Boy Sets Fire, Dillinger Escape Plan, Poison The Well.  It was a really fun and interesting time.  Almost like a 90’s version of whatever people older than me like to brag about seeing in the 80’s (Black Flag, Fear, Bad Brains, Minor Threat, etc.)  Of course, my stories aren’t nearly as cool or impressive as someone who got to see all that stuff.  Although, once I did get to briefly roadie for Sparta and we all partied at the Viper Room in Los Angeles with members of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Scream and Bad Religion.  Now THAT was pretty fucking cool.  Okay that has nothing to do with the Long Island scene but I thought I’d share that interesting story anyway haha.

My Facebook feed gets a new picture of Madball everyday thanks to you. How much Madball are you listening to man? You ever blast any other DMS bands? I gotta say that for me it’s all about AF although my favorite HC band is Gorilla Biscuits. Also, I know you’re into Minor Threat, what are your thoughts on Ian’s post projects?

Hahaha.  I know some of the guys in Madball.  I don’t know them well but they’re always nice when I see them.  I worked at a bar where a bunch of DMS guys used to hang out at work at.  Every encounter I had with dudes involved with that scene have always been nice to me.  One of the guys in Madball was one of my neighbors once and OTMOP actually did some festivals with them believe it or not.  It’s probably hard to draw that connection because we’re more akin to bands like Cursive, Fugazi, Engine Down, etc.  But I actually grew up on NYHC.  My first show was Helmet w/ Sick of it All, who are one of my favorite bands.  I also LOVE Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front.  I’m casual buds with some of the guys in AF and Murphy’s Law.  I’m also friendly with some of the guys that were in Crown of Thornz and thought their first record was awesome.  Obviously I was a huge fan of the entire youth crew scene (Gorilla Biscuits, Judge, Youth of Today, etc).  Who’s involved in hardcore that wasn’t? hahaha.  All that shit is classic and I still listen to all of the above.  It’s hard to grow up around NYC and not be around those guys and those bands.  I lived around the corner from CBGB’s for a few years and worked by NYHC tattoos so I was always sort of around a lot of these dudes growing up.

To answer your other question, I love Ian Mackaye and everything he does musically and politically.  He’s like the Jesus Christ of Punk Rock.  What can I say about him that hasn’t been said already?  Minor Threat? Legends, Fugazi? Best band ever besides Nirvana and Bad Brains, Embrace? Amazing! The Events? Also fucking awesome! Dude started a revolution that is still alive, influenced everyone musically and personally plus put out legendary records that cover so many genres.

No Way definitely seems a lot more like the bands in that last question than OTMOP or similar era bands. Any reason for the switch up?
 

With No Way, we are sort of still finding our sound. Our demo is more akin to Black Flag. Our upcoming EP is still in that vein but as we progress, we’re starting to delve into more of the Jesus Lizard territory while including some Sonic Youth elements. I suppose the reason we’re heavy is because we’re still angry and pissed off about injustices in the world or just basic struggles we deal with everyday. I mean it’s not like we’re dirt poor and homeless or anything but for anything anger, stress or negative energy we experience on a daily basis, this band seems to be the healthiest way to let out those feelings.  Adding a sense of melody helps keep things more interesting and not too redundant.  I also wanted to be in a band that was heavy but not typical. We don’t play typical metal, punk or hardcore but you can tell we grew up around it and are influenced by it.

How about the change up in sound from On The Might of Princes to Primitive Weapons?

In regards to Primitive Weapons, the idea was to start a heavy band that had a NY sound. We wanted a NY sound that wasn’t typical though. We all came from NY and played in artsy NY bands like OTMOP, Mind Over Matter, Bad Trip, Error Type 11, Milhouse and World’s Fastest Car which turned into Rival Schools. Our sound is a product of all of that and I think we wanted people to have that same feeling from hearing/seeing us that they did from seeing bands like Die116, Quicksand, Helmet and Unsane at CBGB’s, Wetlands or Coney Island High.  I know our main songwriter Artie Shephard was incorporating influence from bands like Godflesh and Rorschach which you can really hear in the music.

Jade Tree [Records] were doing really similar things back in the day did you guys ever get anything going with those bands? I think our site (Dead Dear) and Jade Tree are like the only two things to ever come out of Delaware so I hope you showed our neighbors some love.
I loved Jade Tree bands and saw Lifetime and Kid Dynamite so many times when I was younger.  The same goes for Promise Ring and probably tons of others I’m forgetting.  Sadly, OTMOP unfortunately got a rejection letter from them when we tried to get signed.  I always heard they were a great label to work with.

What’s the new stuff that you’re into? I’m talking young bloods that are breaking on to the scene.
I like tons of stuff.  Some include Torche, Baroness, Beach House, Battles, Obits, Night Marchers, Metz, Silversun Pickups, Joy Formidable, So So Glos, Balene, Death Grips, Sanhet and The Netherlands to name a few.  I have eclectic taste and am always trying to keep up with big and small bands.

Are their any bands that you felt didn’t get enough recognition from the 00’s/90’s punk/emo/screamo scene? (I always put OTMOP, Ink and Dagger, and Dan Yemin’s bands (Kid Dynamite, Lifetime, Paint it Black) in that successful but should have been way bigger category)

Thanks for the kind words.  One band that comes to mind is Kill Your Idols.  They are hailed as one of the greatest punk bands of all time to some people, especially where I’m from.  However, they are not as widely hailed on an international level in the way that bands like Sick of it All, Madball or H20 are.  I think they are totally on that level and should be just as popular in the hardcore world.  Explosivo! was another great band that should have gotten way bigger.  However, the singer is in Iron Chic now and they are pretty popular.  In punk, I think almost every big contemporary band owes a lot to Lifetime.  So many bands ripped them off and now so many bands rip off bands that ripped off Lifetime without even realizing it.

I think things happen for a reason though and that bands recognition is a reflection of how hard they worked to get out there.  Music isn’t about recognition.  It’s about sincerity, passion, creativity and energy.  There are so many bands that only got so far but at least carved out a nice little place in punk history.  That’s how I feel about the bands you mentioned, including my own.  We exist in history and are easy to find on Spotify, Pandora, etc.  People still seem to care and always hit us up about the band even though we’ve been inactive for so long.  Recognition in any sense is just an added bonus.  But at the end of the day, the feeling from the music is what counts whether it’s one or two people that get it or thousands.

Thanks for the interview.  It’s been awhile and felt good to talk about this stuff.  You rule!

Make sure to see On The Might Princes at Long Island Fest you can get tickets at https://ticketrink.com/front/event/9702x

-Cameron Patton

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