Below is an attempt at an interview with Richard Johnson from D.C. grinders ENEMY SOIL. This guy has been at it for years, and deserves a lot of credit for keeping Enemy Soil going at all costs through quite a number of obstacles and in/out bandmembers. Along with fellow Virgina grindcore bands SUPPRESSION, AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED, & PIG DESTROYER, Enemy Soil is one of the best grind bands the East Coast has to offer.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF BANDS WHO START OUT SINCERELY POLITICAL AND GO ON TO TRY AND "EXPAND", OFTEN LEAVING BEHIND THE ORIGINAL INTENTIONS, ALONG WITH ORIGINAL MEMBERS WHO OFTEN IN MANY WAYS DEFINED THE BANDS (Napalm, ENT) WHO ARE MAYBE MORE INTERESTED IN "KEEPING IT GOING"' AT ANY COST THAN HAVING THE INTEGRITY TO KNOW WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?
R-It depends. Sometimes in their own minds I'm sure they honestly think that they are still valid, however deluded thoughts are, and in that case they're still true to themselves and that's what's important. You also have to take into consideration where "expansion" is leading, if it's going into a worthwhile direction or not, if the new stuff sucks, then they suck, depending.
OBVIOUSLY THAT WAS KIND OF A POINTED QUESTION, AS ENEMY SOIL HAS BEEN AROUND NEARLY NINE YEARS , HAS SEEN A MILLION MEMBER CHANGES, NOT TO MENTION ABRUPT CHANGES IN LYRICAL DIRECTION AND THE APPARENT PURPOSE OF THE BAND, MESSAGE WISE .... DO YOU FEEL IT'S STILL VITAL? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH HERE THAT YOU ALREADY HAVEN'T?
R-Enemy Soil was the first thing that came to mind with the last question! There are some people that still like us from since the beginning, and some people that prefer our older material. Actually,I hear a lot more comments about the music than the lyrics, as far as changes are concerned. Me personally, I think it's still vital. I'd sound like an asshole if I didn't. As long as we're writing honest lyrics, then I'm ok with it. We still have things to do, like another full length, a tour.
A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE HEAPED TONS OF CRITICISM UPON RELAPSE RECORDS (RIGHTFULLY SO, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION), WHOM YOU WORKED WITH AT ONE POINT ... WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS? E.S. MANAGED TO ESCAPE THE TYPE OF CRITICISM THAT MOST PUNK BANDS WHO DEALT WITH RELAPSE ENDED UP TAKING....
R-A lot of people hate Relapse for a variety of reasons, but if you don't like them, don't deal with them and don't order records from them. We get along with them great and have gone far with them.We did incur some bitching from the punk scene, like the MRR types and others, but that's ok. Those are just opinions formed without all of the facts available.Maybe we escaped criticism because people make us out to be incredibly beyond reproach kinda guys.
YOU'RE 27 YEARS OLD ... MAKING YOU ONE OF THE OLDER GUYS TO STILL BE DOING THIS GRINDCORE JUVENILE SILLINESS. DOES THAT PRESENT ANY KINDA CHALLENGE TO YOU, CONSIDERING YOUR TYPICAL PUNK KID WAS JUST POPPING OUT OF HIS/HER MOM WHILE YOU WERE ALREADY TOOLING WITH YOUR PEE-PEE?
R-What's that, sonny? Can ya speak up? I feel old, but not relative to the length of time I've been involved with the punk scene.
That concluded our mostly if not completely inane conversation. Forthcoming from Enemy Soil is a new album on Profane Existance (on one of those nifty lil' 3"' CDs). They've once again lost a band member, this time another vocalist but will hopefully re-emerge soon with a new one. In the meantime, E.S. continues to play shows w/Richard on vocals, and expect to have the new LP out later this year.