Our Last Enemy: Building an Empire
31-Mar-2011 Words: Brian Fischer-Giffin
Latest release: Fallen Empires (Riot!/Warner)
“It all started with the magic of the Internet,” Our Last Enemy’s singer Oliver Fogwell says with a chuckle as he explains the band’s association with producer Christian Olde Wolbers. “It was back in the MySpace days, when that was big. Our bass player wrote up a list, a wish list, of potential producers and he was definitely up near the top. So we sent him a message through MySpace, and he didn’t reply for a couple of months so we thought nothing of it. Then we got a message in our inbox saying he liked our stuff.”
After some negotiations through the former Fear Factory man’s management, Our Last Enemy realised they were in the financial position to afford it and went ahead with hiring him to work on last year’s Fallen Empires album. To do so, the band lived with him in LA for several months, where shenanigans ensued.
“We actually lived at his house,” Fogwell says. “He put us up for the couple of months that we were there. It was a living and recording relationship with him. So we would wake up and he would make us coffee… one morning I woke up with him jumping on my bed with a ukulele, screaming in my ear to get up! So there was funny shit that happened in terms of that. We got some video of that which we’ll probably put up on YouTube, which will be pretty funny.”
Among all the fun and games, the band got an album completed and they all learned a great deal about the process of making records.
“Recording with him was great,” the singer says. “There was heaps of hints of tips and tricks that we didn’t know that he would impart to us, because he’s been doing it a long time. The songs themselves were written and structured. Before we got there we had done a lot of pre-production. He just added ideas about layering things and doing things in a different way. So we learned a lot from him.”
Fogwell believes it was he who got the most out of it, considering Wolbers’ preference for working with vocalists in particular. It’s a job he was hired specifically for by God Forbid on Earthsblood, and he gave Oliver plenty of advice.
“It’s kind of his forte. So with me, I got to try a lot of things I hadn’t done before and I got a lot of ideas about layering and whispered things here and redoing things. So it was good.”
Fallen Empires is about to see re-release in digital format, so the band is taking to the road in support. To make sure the fans see the same show regardless of where they’ll be playing, Our Last Enemy has invested in their own lighting rigs and is taking a lights and sound team with them, along with Viral Millenium, a similarly-aligned band from Newcastle. The first show was with The Amenta and seven other bands in Sydney at the launch of Whiplash, a touring festival type event they’ll also be playing in Newcastle.
“It’s going to be a really big show at every show. It will take touring to another level for us, which will be cool,” Fogwell promises. “With us taking our own crew, we have a dedicated lights crew, a dedicated sound guy, a lot of our own gear, all of our own lights. So we’re going to be able to add certain things that will be the same everywhere. They’ve all got there own run sheets so they know what to do, so we’ll be able to put on a travelling show that hopefully people will enjoy.”
There were plans to visit Japan after this run of dates, but that’s been put on the backburner now. Instead, Our Last Enemy will have more time to concentrate on an EP that will allow the band’s newest members to gel as songwriters with the rest of the group. How it is released is yet to be seen. Oliver suggests they might even do the same thing The Amenta just did for their latest release V01D.
“We’ve got a couple of new members and with our guitarist in particular we want him to write with us and see how his stamp feels on the music and release a little EP,” he explains. “We don’t even know if we’ll put it on the label. We might just do it ourselves, maybe as Internet only. We’re not even sure about that just yet. So we’ll see how we go with that and think about another full length next year.
While their overseas touring ambitions have been temporarily thwarted by mvements of the Earth’s crust, Our Last Enemy still has plenty in store to ensure they keep the momentum going, plans that could well seem them push into other corners of the globe sooner rather than later.
“We’re off to Melbourne in a couple of weeks to do a film clip down there with Sheri from Body Cage Media who did our album art,” Oliver says. “We got the iTunes coming out to coincide with the tour and we’ll do some select shows up and down the coast while we write this EP and then probably do another big Australian tour toward the end of the year. Then we’re looking at the US and Europe after that.”