Enforced unleashed their brutal EP Kill Grid earlier this year. We caught up with Knox Colby and Will Wagstaff of the band to find out how it all came together and signing to Century Media.
First of all, how are you? How are you coping with the pandemic? Any message for your fans?
Knox: Doing great! I do apartment and building maintenance for work, so I’ve been working full time and non stop throughout the pandemic, and I also work alone, so My personal and work life hasn’t changed much. I moved to a nicer spot in June 2020, and have spent my down time improving the place and working on record being released. So nothing terribly exciting.
To our fans, I’d hope everyone is happy and healthy, along with their families.
Will: Doing well. We are doing the best we can, still grinding, working, writing, etc. I hope
everyone is safe and having as good of a time as they can – Kill Grid will be out in a month!!!!!
The new album – Kill Grid set to be released this month. How are you feeling about the album? Was it it an easy album to write and record? Are there any surprises to look forward to? Hod do you feel about releasing it during the pandemic?
Knox: I am beyond thrilled for the release of Kill Grid. It’s the kind of album I’ve always wanted to make. It would be a lie and bury-the-lead on a lot of hard work to say it was easy; it wasn’t. A lot of blood and sweat went into it and every second was considered. In terms of surprises, no I don’t really think so, at least in terms of the album. If, let’s say, you’re a fan of the singles that have already been released, then yes, there are surprises. There are some fantastic tracks that we consciously scratched from being singles or released early. We didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag and withheld as much as we could, while also satisfying a want.
Will: I am so ready for it to be out, we just wish we could tour right after! It was a fun record to write – low stress and we just write well together so it’s always fun and everyone is involved in the songwriting and recording. We have a sick music video coming out we are excited about!
I’ve read that Kill Grid album has had a long gestational period? Did many of the songs get much of a rewrite or did you swap about tracks? How did you go about getting a trackless together for the album?
We’ve been consistently writing since day one. Some songs or ideas get mutated and rewritten over and over, because we know there’s potential. Other ideas get the same treatment but we hit a wall and it becomes moot and ultimately scrapped. I think the original idea was to write an EP, but then the At The Walls LP with WAR Records became an option. So we used two songs we had finished to put onto that (“Reckoning Force” and “Skinned Alive”). In retrospect, I’m so happy we did that, because while those tracks are great, they don’t fit Kill Grid at all. It was a perfect outlet to have a proper release, but to allow us to continue working on what we wanted to have as a truly proper piece.
Will: We have been writing this record since before At The Walls had come out. There are no re-recorded tracks on this record. For trackslist we actually didn’t come up with it until the record was recorded then we all sat down and ran through what we felt was appropriate.
How did you feel about signing to Century Media? Did it create any extra pressure? How did you guys find getting into the music industry over the years?
Knox: Signing to Century Media was great mostly because there was a lack of pressure. We talked about it amongst ourselves, a lot, and talked to the label, really making more of a considerate relationship, rather than signing blindly right away.
In regards to your last question, I’m confused about what you mean. “How did we physically find relationships with labels” or “How do we feel about getting into the music industry (being a relatively smaller band).” I can boil down both pretty quickly. We spoke to WAR Records about At The Walls mid 2019, released and toured off of it as much as we could, throughout the fall and winter, ending in January 2020. WAR, and their reach is honestly the first time I’ve worked with any label with extensive reach or press, so that was jaw dropping. Working with Century Media has only furthered my knowledge on how the bigger music industry works and operates, and I find it fascinating. It’s very intricate and specific at times; the attention to detail is not lost on me, I love it.
Will: Century is a pretty legendary label a lot of my favorite bands were on Century Media at one point. It’s humbling and we are so fortunate and lucky to be on their team. No extra pressure – it’s exactly what I’ve always wanted to do – we were prepared. I want to have a team that takes the music and us as a band as seriously as possible.
After forming from various other bands, did it take you long to find your sound? Where you aware of each other through Richmonds metal scene?
Knox: I personally believe that Kill Grid is the sound we’ve been looking for. The demo tape, Retaliation and At The Walls all served their purpose to get us in the right mindset and working with the right people to make Kill Grid.
The Richmond underground music scene is pretty fluid, with punk, hardcore and metal bands playing together pretty regularly. As people who frequented all three kinds of shows and had similar tastes, we were all either close friends or at the very least aware of one another.
Will: Yes we all met from playing in other bands together. Mostly we knew each other from hardcore.
How do you feel about the art of the album cover in todays music industry and the use of streaming as the main way to consume music. Is the use of black and white art work on your two full length albums something of a theme you will be carrying on with.
Knox: Yes, that is something we’ve consciously wanted to do. Monochromatic, stark and dark. I absolutely love colors and big bright artwork, but I think we’d all agree that doesn’t fit or apply to Enforced. It has been black and white since day one, and will probably stay that way.
I was stunned and astonished by the work Joe Petagno produced. From my understanding, we asked very little. “Think of what your idea of utter destruction is, then go darker from there.” Or something along those lines. The first sketch was phenomenal, and he asked if we wanted color; we said “no” and he said “good.” hahaha. So it was awesome to be in agreement with the artist about how it should ultimately be presented.
Will: Nice question! We actually had discussed that and kind of like it too. Joe wanted to do it in black and white and we thought it was consistent and appropriate. It is BLEAK. Another thing is that it’s just not a very modern metal thing to do.
What songs are you looking forward to playing live when you get the chance?
Knox: The Doctrine, UXO, Curtain Fire, and Kill Grid are the first ones that I listen to and think “Damn, I want to play this live.”
Will: UXO, Doctrine, Curtain Fire, Malignance, basically all of them.
Are there any bands past or present you would love to have played with or even been part of?
Knox: I’m halfway through Paul Stanley’s autobiography, So i’m super excited and biased to say that I’d love to have played with KISS. Any era, any tour, I love KISS.
Will: anyone or anytime in the 1980s – Early obituary, devastation, wasp
Difficult to talk about future plans, but what does the future look like for you guys?
Knox: Let’s see how the next few months shake out. Earliest ideas for anything are in the Fall. If that’s the target, then that’s the goal.
Will: We just want to tour as soon as possible. We will be getting the album out, then trying to maybe do some additional videos.
What music are you digging right now? How do you see the metal scene right now, are there any particular Norwegian artists you would love to see make it?
Knox: As I said earlier, I’m in the thick of Stanley’s autobiography, but I’m also starting
Rob Halford’s Confess. I’m listening to a lot of both bands, hearing what was recorded while reading the trials and tribulations of specific records. I’m picking up on things I never would have noticed or heard before and I find a lot of joy out of that.
As far as Norwegian metal, I’ve always been a big Darkthrone fan. I love and appreciate where they started and what they’ve become; what a body of work. I think Norwegian metal, as a whole, is in a really healthy and coveted position. That said, I do like the DGAF release by Cadaver from early last year.
Will: Always digging the classic. Lots of good thras/crossover, dead heat, foreseen high command. Foreseen is from your neck of the woods, also the band Paranoid are super cool.
Check out the bands track Hemorrhage, below
Find out more the band via their Facebook
Purchase the album here