It’s been a rollercoaster ride on the UK music scene for indie rock band The Enemy.
Formed in Coventry in 2006, they came crashing into the charts and onto our radios when their debut album, We’ll Live and Die in These Towns, went straight to number one.
In the last six years they’ve toured with the likes of Stererphonics, Oasis and The Rolling Stones and their second album Music for the People went in at number two in 2008.
Now, with the release of their third album, Streets in the Sky, vocalist and guitarist Tom Clarke, bassist Andy Hopkins and drummer Liam Watts think they’ve finally found their perfect sound.
MM spoke to Liam about the new record, the upcoming tour and why they’re so loyal to the UK.
“This is the first album where we feel like we nailed the combination of sound and sonics,” said Liam.
“I don’t think the first album really represented us. I think when people actually came to see us live they were surprised how heavy we actually were.”
After the incredible success of the first record, the band felt under pressure to release that ever-difficult second album.
“It was a lot more rushed,” Liam admitted.
“The pressure meant that the sound was there but I don’t think the songs were necessarily as strong as they could have been. But we’ve taken our time and now we’re really happy.
“I think it’s the first Enemy album that really represents how we sound.”
As with The Streets and The Arctic Monkeys before them, the band have become known for their down-to-earth lyrics about ‘everyday’ British life.
But fame and fortune has not changed the band’s outlook.
“To be honest our lives haven’t changed much, we’re not the kind of people to be sucked in by all that. We’re still exactly the same people we were before the band and we hang out with the same people.
“It’s still quite easy to write about ‘normal ‘ life because we’re still connected with our normal lives.
“There’s pressure to move down to London but we’re not really interested in that sort of stuff to be honest!”
The Enemy are playing T in the Park this weekend as well as Somerset House, V Festival and Belsonic through the rest of summer.
Liam explained how different playing to a festival crowd can be.
“With your own tour you see your most loyal fans whereas with festivals you’re playing to people that might not have heard you before so you have to put on a show and win them over to a point.
“It’s just an enjoyable time of year. Everyone’s there for the same reason, because they love music and they want to have a great time.
“We have great fans and we do try to put 100% into our live shows so hopefully we can put on a great show for the people who aren’t aware of us.”
So what would the ideal band be for the Enemy to play with?
“It’s hard to say. We’ve supported The Rolling Stones and that’s a call you don’t get every day.
It’s nice just to take it as it comes to be honest because if you don’t get the call it’s a bit of a gutter but it’s nice when you get a call out of the blue like when we got the call from management asking if we wanted to play the Oasis tour.”
Their upbeat indie rock songs and Brit youth attitude mean The Enemy have always fit right into to the Manchester music scene.
Liam explained, “Our first gigs outside Coventry were in Manchester. We were playing places like Night and Day and the Star and Garter.
“We didn’t really want to go down to London because so many bands go down to London and pay to play – they’re essentially funding their own gigs down there and it’s not really on.
So did why didn’t they give in to the allure of the London music scene?
“I think the way the music industry is it’s a bit spoiled and we didn’t want to just bow down to all that so we did a lot more stuff up North.
“Manchester is like a home from home. On October 17 we’re back playing at the Manchester Apollo, which is probably one of our favourite venues in the whole world – it’s great.”
The Enemy have played so many sold out shows across Britain, is there a temptation to try and break America?
“We only did America once. It was great to do but it was at a time when we still felt we had work to do in the UK. The temptation for some bands when they get a bit of success over here is to try to go to America.
“But we never wanted to do that we wanted to stay loyal to the people who put us where we are and put in the groundwork here. Next to the UK Japan is probably our biggest territory.”
“We like being nearer home and playing gigs here. If we ever turn round and want to tour America we’ll do it, but we’re not just going to do it for no reason.”
The band have a refreshing outlook on the music industry and it is obvious that they are the down-to-earth everyday guys they sell themselves as.
The cornerstone of their success seems to be their genuine loyalty to the fans, which should continue to secure their status as one of the great UK rock bands.
“We’re really happy with the new album,” Liam added. “We just hope everyone gives it a chance and if they do like it, spread the word!”