My Enemies & I
It could be anywhere. A non-descript cookie cutter American suburb where life is linear…You’re born, you go to high school, you get a job, you go to church, you get married, you have kids, you retire, and you die. That’s it. Opinions come by osmosis. Thinking for oneself isn’t customary or common. Rather, you simply fall in line with everyone else as another meaningless drone in the rat race.
On their 2017 full-length debut The Beast Inside [Fearless Records], My Enemies & I insist upon another way. The Richmond, VA quintet—Jeff Hill [vocals], Zach Jones [guitar], Brandon Sellitti [guitar], Cameron Perry [bass], and Ryan Ganster [drums]—encode provocative messages inside of throat-slashing guitars, eerie electronic touches, guttural grooves, and haunting, hypnotic, and heartfelt vocals.
The Beast Inside represents a natural progression from the 2015 EP, Sick World, which earned features from Alternative Press, Loudwire, and The PRP, spawned fan favorites such as "Reborn,” "Toxic,” and "Fragile Bones,” and generated over 1 million cumulative streams. At the same time, it marks an aesthetic and creative shift. Not only did the boys forego their signature outward appearance, but they ostensibly tightened the songcraft and honed the vocals.
"We wanted this to be more about the music,” affirms Zach. "Everything is a little more down-to-earth. We’re confronting real topics, and the image reflects that. Musically, we didn’t want to draw influences from anything that sounded remotely like us. We were listening to Silverchair, Our Lady Peace, and Alanis Morissette. Jeff is doing a lot more singing. There’s more melody. The tone choices are more distinct. It’s a big change from the EP.”
"We’ve grown a lot as musicians and artists, and we aren’t the same band we were when we wrote the EP,” agrees Jeff. "This time, I wrote about what I was feeling in the moment. I wanted to express my thoughts through the lyrics and music. You can write a million love songs. At the time, I wanted to convey my frustration with society, religion, the music industry, politics, friends, and family. It’s where my head was at.”
My Enemies & I teamed up with producer Johnny K [Disturbed, Megadeth, Staind] to sonically capture that frustration. He assumed the role of a "sixth member” in the studio, augmenting and amplifying the vision.
"Working with Johnny was a great experience,” Jeff goes on. "We could go to him with ideas, and he’d give us honest and helpful feedback. He cares about every little detail and is so meticulous. He really put in work until everything was right.”
The title track sees Jeff’s voice reach impressive heights over a wall of distortion and a searing lead worthy of a horror flick soundtrack.
"Lyrically, it’s about the part of me that acts on instinct without really thinking,” he admits. "You end up doing things that you wouldn’t normally do. The Beast Inside is that ugly part of yourself that never goes away, the other half no one sees that is stalking just around the corner. The song dives into that struggle.”
Fueled by a guillotine sharp riff and arena-size beat, the single "Perfect” kicks the ride into high gear with its menacing snarl, "Say your goodbyes, I’m not worth it. You’re so perfect. I don’t deserve this; I’m worthless.”
"That one came about while thinking of a conversation I had,” the frontman elaborates. "It was about shitty people and folks from my past who impacted me negatively. They were bad friends. The relationships were negative all-around. I started revisiting those feelings. Some people think they’re perfect when they definitely aren’t. You’re constantly trying to please this person when nothing is good enough for them. Moreover, they wouldn’t do the same thing in return. It’s a waste of your time.”
"We’re pushing people to think for themselves and be independent,” Zach leaves off. "We put a lot of time and energy into writing a record with real songs that can speak on a deeper level.”
"The music just isn’t about being brutal or scaring anyone,” concludes Jeff. "I want people to take away a message that another way exists. Just don’t be satisfied with what you’ve been told.”