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A Dirty Dozen with ALEX BISHOP and WILL WAGSTAFF from ENFORCED – March 2021

| 4 March 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Virginia based crossover maniacs ENFORCED release their new track and visualizer video for “Curtain Fire” today via Century Media Records. Watch the music video for the banger, which is off the band’s forthcoming blistering new album and Century Media debut, Kill Grid. Formed in Richmond in 2017 out of shreds of disbanded hardcore and punk bands, ENFORCED quickly found their calling between the undying support of regional punk/hardcore scenes and their respective record collections. Whether it’s Sacred Reich and Integrity or Bolt Thrower and Amebix, “Pure Crossover Death,” as ENFORCED call their devastating din, speared its way through two demos (“Demo 2017” and “Retaliation”) and their no-holds-barred debut, At the Walls. ENFORCED is Ethan Gensurowsky (bass), Zach Monahan (guitar), Knox Colby (vocals), Alex Bishop (drums), and Will Wagstaff (guitar).” We get guitarist Will and drummer Alex to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Will: It’s been a long time coming – we had most stuff arranged and demo’d in 2019. I think are steps up in musicianship and stuff people will hear when they listen over and over. Not really any Easter eggs though haha.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Alex: For me it was my older cousin who lived 1000 miles away from me in Iowa. He was an extremely talented black metal drummer, so when I would visit as a kid I would watch him play his drums and it just completely blew my mind. He would let me bing and bong around the kit as a little 5 year old and I begged my mom to get me one every single year until she finally caved in and bought one from him 5 or 6 years later. Would have never played the drums if it wasn’t for him. Shout out Jesse Stika!!

Will: I have always loved performing and I think ever since I did like jazz band as a drummer and could do drum solos and play like drum line competition stuff in front of people I never felt nervous and I always loved doing it. I think I first realized metal and punk were going to be my thing when I started coming to Richmond in my late teens like 2009-2010 and I just saw that it was so vibrant and thriving.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Alex: For drumming specifically, I’d say Dave Lombardo on Seasons in the Abyss. Discovering that record kind of opened my eyes to a whole new world of music. I had never realized that older metal could be so hard. It was such a good blend of metal riffing and hardcore drumming that I didn’t wanna learn to play any other style.

Will: I love Bill Steer and Barry Thomson – Bill Steer is just as cool as they come and he is an amazing performer. Barry Thomson and Gavin from Bolt Thrower just have the ULTIMATE look and style too. Just kicking fucking ass every second they’re on the stage.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Alex: Dave Lombardo – Slayer, Witchhunter – Sodom, Charlie Claeson – Anti-Cimex, Marco Foddis – Pestilence, and Vinnie Paul – Pantera.

Will: Bill Steer, Jeff Hanneman, Trevor Peres, Phil Collins, and Prince.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Alex: John Brannon from Negative Approach. His vocals are still so good live that I think they would be sick over a metal track.

Will: Max Cavalera, he is still a punk and will always have a unique and interesting style to me. I think it’s realistic.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Will: I get this all the time from like ‘adults’. I just say “hey you ever heard “Enter Sandman” – yeah it’s kind like that!”

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Alex: Zach cooks the spaghetti and picks out the wine, Knox brings the Miller High Life, Ethan brings the herbals, and Will DJ’s with the Night at the Roxbury soundtrack.

Will: Alex is exactly right. There’s no acoustic guitars in Enforced… yet.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Alex: I think it was when we toured with Sacred Reich. That was a thrash band I got really into early on so getting to actually hang out with them was pretty big for me.

Will: Red Death played Tuska Festival in Finland. Connor and I kind of were just walking around in the artist area then realized we were like in the “A-tier” musician lounge haha. We were just eating like fruit and bread and cheese and whatever else they had that. We were sitting at a table soaking up the Wifi then bam Dave Lombardo walks in – Dead Cross was playing, he sits down like 1 table away from us. Then later that same night we were stage side for Body Count, right after we got to chill with Ice T. Fuckin’ crazy.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Alex: Definitely getting to tour the country and really learning all of these different cities more and more every time we go. As for a dream job, I have always wanted to get into the art of building drum shells and drum sets. Just being able to fully understand everything about something I love so much and already spend so much time with would be incredible.

Will: I agree with Alex, touring and playing shows is the best part. That’s a great hobby and I actually did build a snare out of a Keller maple shell once in high school. I would definitely continue to do what I do now, which is contracting. I would probably start my own company rather than work for someone.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Will: I have always wanted an interview to ask me how much money I need to retire, and then just cut me a check for that amount. Haha the second questions is easier, ‘what r u gonna do cause of COVID’ – which I get it it’s a relevant question but like it’s always the same answer, “IDK KEEP FUCKIN WORKING SO WHEN EVERYTHING COMES BACK WE ARE GONNA HIT THE ROAD!!!!!”

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Alex: Absolutely not. Even the incredibly cringey metal band I fronted in high school was super fun and I learned a lot from doing it.

Will: I don’t think so – I feel like everything we’ve done so far has led us to a point. There is really no huge point in dwelling on stuff in the past. It’s more productive to keep your head to the grindstone and grind for what you want. Stuff just doesn’t happen frequently, typically people are searching and seeking out what they want. The people who do that more often than not are the ones that get it.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Will: I would’ve loved to sit in on Reign In Blood sessions. That was prime Rick Rubin was still coming up and doing his shit. That was his heyday IMO. I think that record is just pinnacle Slayer and is one of the most raw and brutal records ever produced. I think Rick had a lot to do with that.




Category: Interviews

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ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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