Harrisonbug, VA’s Gifts from Enola are in a difficult position. They are a post rock instrumental group that needs to set themselves apart from instrumental giants like Explosions in the Sky, Mono, and Mogwai and raising stars like Caspian and God is an Astronaut. The good news: they are doing very well at keeping afloat in a over-saturated genre filled with wannabees and copycats. The very good news: Gifts will be releasing their second full length, From Fathoms on Mylene Sheath Records on June 9th on CD and double LP. Gifts from Enola slowly became a respected member of the instrumental rock movement with their cinematic and mountainous album, Loyal Eyes Betrayed The Mind. An album as epic as it is emotional. Raw in production yet beautiful in execution, the album towers with a genuine emotive power. You can purchase the double LP of Loyal Eyes Betrayed The Mind (recommended) here.
Gifts from Enola will be doing a short 4 date tour in their home state of Virginia before heading to Rubbles in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to open for the always amazing Appleseed Cast.
Guitarist Andrew Barnes was ever so nice to swing by the Kata Rokkar and answer the world famous Kuestionnaire.
1. Of all the bands/artists in your CD/record collection, which one is your most cherished?
My Dad had me grow up on “The Band” (bob dylan’s old backing band), and I’ve realized lately that I’ve been constantly influenced or inspired by their music in some shape or form for all 22 years of my life. So I’d have to say The Band’s 1969 self-titled album.
2. What have you been listening to lately?
Lots of Tortoise, Rob Crow projects, Talk Talk, Botch, Early Day Miners Hieroglyphics and American Football.
3. What’s your favorite local band?
I’d have to say “A Cosmonaut’s Ruin” from Charlottesville, Va.
4. What was the last show you attended?
I saw my friends in Nervous Habits play right down the street in Harrisonburg, Va. Punk rock done right.
5. What was the greatest show you’ve ever been to?
That’s really hard to say. I’ve came out of lots of shows thinking they were the best I’ve seen, but they are all for different reasons. I don’t think I can choose just one.
6. What show are you looking forward to?
We’re playing with our friends in Constants and Caspian in a couple weeks and I’m really excited to see them again. Del The Funky Homosapien is coming close in May…that man puts on a hell of a show. I think Mogwai is touring the states sometime soon. I might have to check that out, I’ve never seen them live. I’m really bad at keeping up with shows in the area.
7. What musician would you like to hang out/work with for a day?
This question would be answered wayyy differently by everyone in the band. I don’t know if I could pick just one. For me; I would love to hang out with Rob Crow. He’s such a strange and unassuming guy that writes some of the simplest and most amazing songs I’ve ever listened to. I’d want to hang out with Dave Knudson so that he can teach me his ridiculous guitar techniques. I feel like Mike Patton or Tom Waits would have some great stories and be really interesting dudes to hang out with too. Like I said though, this would be wayyy different if you asked any of the other guys.
8. What four albums you would bring to a deserted island?
Really hard. I’d probably change my mind about this in 5 minutes.
Tim And Eric- “Awesome Record, Great Songs”
Botch- “We Are The Romans”
Pink Floyd- “Meddle”
Mr. Bungle- “California”
9. Would you call yourself a music geek?
I’d say so. I don’t know what that defines exactly, but I’m constantly searching for new, interesting music to keep my ears and brain content.
10. Any favorite music-related videos/DVDs you own?
Our bass player (and roomate) Nate has the “Refused are Fucking Dead” DVD that documents the career of Refused. That one is put together amazingly. Botch’s “061502” is a great raw dvd of their final show. And of course, Sigur Ros’s “Heima” is pretty breathtaking.
11. What’s the last book you read?
The last book I read was “The Plot Against America” by Philip Roth. Right now, I’m in the middle of “Cracking India” by Bapsi Sidhwa.
12. Do you prefer live performances or recording in the studio?
They are two totally different worlds for us. The amount of fun and instant gratification of playing a live show is irreplaceable by any other kind of musical experience. On the other hand, having a record in your hands of something you put months or years into and feel proud of, is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
13. Any embarrassing moments on stage you’d like to share?
The first that comes to mind is a show we played about 2 years ago. I think it was maybe like the 9th or 10th show we had ever played. Nate, CJ, and I all live in Harrisonburg, Va and our show was about an hour and a half away. We packed up our gear and drove to the venue. We get there and CJ realized he forgot his guitar. This usually wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but he’s left-handed and there weren’t any lefties there that night. So, we tried to play the show as a three piece doing terrible improv versions of our songs as CJ scrambled to string a guitar backwards on the side of the stage, which ended with no luck. A lot of my friends were there to see us for the first time and their reactions were priceless. “Umm……that was….um….unique?”
14. Any favorite tour locations?
Boston, LA and Austin have all been incredible for us. There are so many other great towns we’ve played in too. All of the shows get better and better each time we go out on tour, so the list of favorite places quickly gets larger. I’m really excited to play in Montreal this summer.
15. Lastly, what have you done today?
It was just a boring ‘ol collegiate day. Went to class. Had a midterm. Had to give a presentation. Had a cold. Decided against going to a show right down the street because it’s like 9 degrees outside. Looked at the pile of clothes on my floor. Decided against doing laundry. Took a bunch of mushrooms and made snow angels on the top of city hall. Normal day.
I wish I answered this on a weekend, the stories would be wayyy better.