#PaulJones (Enchantment) 🇬🇧  #Interview

11 min read

Enchantment is a Death/Doom Metal band from the United Kingdom that was founded in 1991. They released a demo in 1993, a full-length album in 1994 (“Dance the Marble Naked”) and then, from 1995 until 2019… only silence. But they have reborn in an impressive way, releasing on June 24th this year their second album, “Cold Soul Embrace”. Just let me tell you, if you listened to their debut and think it’s very good, their second work is even better (in my opinion, of course). Well… to be honest, I think that “Cold Soul Embrace” is a GREAT album from its genre. 

But enough talking on my part. Paul Jones, vocalist in Enchantment, was so kind answering my questions about the band, their new album and some other things.

Hi Paul, thank you for your time answering this interview. First of all, how happy are you with your new album and its reception by the public?

Paul: Hey Silvia, firstly thank you for arranging and taking the time to write this interview. 

Honestly, I’ve been blown away by the reception, support and interest since the release of CSE. I don’t think any of us could ever have imagined that we’d receive anywhere near such a warm welcome back after so many years away. It would appear people have not forgotten us and for that we are eternally grateful.

How was it that you and the other members of the band reunited after almost 25 years of silence? Who had the idea of getting together again?

Paul: You know, it was pretty surreal at first and more a case of rekindling old friendships and to see where things would take us. If you’d told us that we’d finally get to record the ‘lost’ album that we’d written all them years ago, we’d say you were crazy… yet here we are ha!

The reunion came about by chance really! I had spotted the Cosmic Key Creations (CKC) release of ‘Dance…’ on vinyl when flicking through Amazon of all places. As you probably know ‘Dance…’ was only ever released on cassette and CD so I was surprised to see it pop up as a reissue on vinyl. Even though I had not spoken to some of the guys for some years I managed to reach out to them, and just like that we all got back in contact and chatting like we’d only spoken the day before. 

If I remember right we had all put orders in with CKC for the reissue of ‘Dance…’ on vinyl and I had emailed them directly to explain who we all were and why all the recent orders were coming in haha. Wouter (the owner of CKC) replied and instantly refunded us all and sent us out copies of every variant, including the test presses for free. That kind of tells you everything you need to know about him and the label he runs. Wouter is a great guy, he has a true passion for the scene and I’m lucky enough to consider him a good friend. So to sum it all up… it was all Wouter’s doing 😉

Were any of you involved in other musical projects meanwhile?

Paul: Personally no, but both Marc G and Mark T did venture out and join another band after Enchantment split, but it wasn’t a Death or Death/Doom metal band, or anything like that. 

For me, the months leading up to our decision to disband back in 1995 had left a very sour taste in my mouth. It left me disillusioned with the way the scene was heading at that time, and for some years after I lost the interest in listening to music. Luckily, that did not last forever!

How was the process until “Cold Soul Embrace” was released? It was a natural thing for you guys to sit together and create music again, as in the old times?

Paul: Neither the demoing or recording processes were ideal really, it all happened right in the middle of a global pandemic and we had to improvise accordingly. Of all the times to regroup we had to choose it then , let’s call it the Enchantment curse!

Once restrictions eased though we managed to get together for numerous recording sessions, but because only myself and Mark T now live locally, we had to utilise the time as best as we could so it was mostly frantic but hopefully worth all the pain.

How important is the visuals of the album for the band? Because the cover is a very impressive image, not a painting but a photo, its meaning is breathtaking… Can you tell us a bit about the process to get that photo, and what does it represent for your music?

Paul: Yeah, for us the cover images were very important and something we took our time on to make sure we got right. Back in the day I had numerous titles for the second album and ‘Cold Soul Embrace’ was just one of them and probably the most fitting to the theme. Once I had found the harrowing image by Mark Mawson and added the title below the concrete weight, it all just sat together perfectly. I honestly don’t think we could have found any better image. The fact it features Ingrid Kleinig of Marvel fame was just the icing on the cake… but hey we’re part of the Marvel Universe now you know, capes and costumes are on the way!

You signed with Transcending Records (USA) for the CD and vinyl releases, and with Cosmic Key Creations (Netherlands) for the cassette edition. Was it easy to find labels in order to put your music in physical format?

Paul: Yeah it’s a bit of a strange one but we actually signed up with both labels for a co-release on CD and vinyl with the cassette version being a CKC exclusive.

As regards to us finding a label, they kind of found us really. CKC had previously released ‘Dance…’ on vinyl for the first time ever and Transcending had recently reissued our demo ‘A Tear For Young Eloquence’ on both cassette and as bonus tracks on their CD reissue of ‘Dance…’. As we already had a great relationship with both labels, as soon as we mentioned we had started demo’ing for CSE there was instant interest. We already felt at home with both labels so it all made perfect sense to finally release CSE on these labels.

Talking about Enchantment early years, how was starting that project together with your bandmates? In which way the experience of founding a band affected or changed your lives, if so?

Paul: I guess we started out very differently back in the day as we changed name on numerous occasions before finally settling on ‘Enchantment’. At first we were mostly a cover band playing classic tracks by Massacre, Death and Cancer and the like. The band was formed by both myself and Marc G and later Mark T joined us,  we then ‘stole’ both Chris and Steve from another band. 

We were all very young back then and it was more about enjoying the experience of being in a band, learning the songs, rehearsals and ultimately gigging. It was only when we started to write our own material in the early 90’s that things started to get a little more serious!

How was the underground metal scene in the early 90s in the UK, when you started your musical path? Was it easy for the band finding support, rehearsal place, venues for doing gigs?

Paul: There was a definite scene in those days but at the time nobody actually recognised  just how strong it was as Death or Death/Doom Metal were relatively new genres. From a Death/Doom point there were so many greats out there already releasing  albums and gigging locally, bands like Paradise Lost, Anathema, My Dying Bride.

For the rest of the scene we were really lucky to have numerous promoters / venues in this country that would bring such great overseas bands here, the likes of Massacre, Obituary, Death, Autopsy, Deicide, Entombed etc. Looking back I’m still amazed at just how many bands we watched in their heyday!

As regards gigging, I became friends with a couple of guys who formed a promotion company called ‘The Syndicate’. They were responsible for a lot of the gigs I’ve just mentioned, especially at Wrexham Memorial Hall. Once they discovered we had a demo out and were available for gigs they kindly offered us slots to open up for bands such as Cradle Of Filth, Bolt Thrower, Cancer etc and we never looked back!

Finding decent rehearsal rooms was always hit and miss but there were plenty knocking around, as long as you could stomach a bit of mold and suspiciously stained carpets!

And how do you see that underground scene nowadays? 

Paul: You know after the lull of the late 90’s and naughties I honestly didn’t expect it to resurge in the way it has today. I see a lot of similarities now compared to when it all first started. There are so many new and upcoming bands that are not just adopting old styles, they are evolving them too, adding their own individual sounds.

Luckily the days of tape trading are a distant memory with everything being so much more accessible due to social media and the likes. The scene has never been stronger or my bank balance lower!

Your music is true dark poetry, gloomy and melancholic, yet at the same time I can perceive a few twists into some “triumphant” epic moments. Where does the inspiration come from, for writing this kind of music? Who is responsible for composing in the band? And congrats to him for achieving that level of beauty in your music.

Paul: There is a saying in England that “It’s grim up North”, so originating not far from Blackpool in the North West of England, sleepy seaside resorts where the elderly come to retire and where the average life expectancy of people born here is one of the lowest, if not lowest in England, you can see where all the melancholy comes from! Add that to the fact that we listened to a lot of Death and Doom Metal (and still do) and you have all the ingredients to inspire the making of such sorrowful and harrowing compositions.

The second part of your question though is hard for me to answer. Back in the day we would all listen to any new riffs or melodies the guys would have written and then set about arranging them to create a complete song. However, when we set about recording CSE most of these songs were pretty much written back in 94/95 and it was certainly a lot harder to do during Covid times where files would be dropping to our shared storage and we’d all have to listen to them and get back with our ideas via video band calls. It wasn’t ideal but hopefully all the hard work was worth it!

Now, talking about your work as a vocalist, Paul. Let me tell you, it’s not a lot of years since I first heard about Enchantment, but I remember getting knocked out by your deep and dark style at growling the first time I listened to your debut album, in strong contrast with your clean vocals. Was there any vocalist that inspired you at singing like that?

Paul: I was never really happy with the vocals on our debut ‘Dance…’ yet a lot of people state that they have a sorrowing and natural feel to them. Personally, I much prefer the vocal style I performed on both the demo and on the new album. 

I’m not really sure who inspired me to perform the clean vocal sections that I do on both ‘Dance…’ and CSE as when I came to map the lyrics to the music, to me it all just made perfect sense to arrange them the way I did. I think a lot of people will relate the style to say Aaron from My Dying Bride which I’ll gladly take; however I think that as a band in general we do have this unique style and sound. 

And now a few more personal questions: which bands were you listening to in your teens? Are you still listening to them nowadays?

Paul: Is it sad to say that would be most of them? In my early teens I would listen to Kiss, Twisted Sister, Van Halen, ACDC and even Pink Floyd before moving onto the likes of Forbidden, Kreator, Slayer, Sodom and the likes. All of which I still listen to today. Great music is great music… no matter how old it is!

Do you like “discovering” new Metal bands? Which genres do you enjoy the most?

Paul: Absolutely, as our guitarist Marc G has said on numerous times on his YouTube channel (Marc G with a C), “I have a massive problem buying new music”, and by that he means I buy way too much of it across multiple formats (says the man with a whole wall of CDs 😉 ). Seriously though I love discovering new bands or even taking a complete blind punt on an album by just going off the cover art, although that not always pays off.

I know I keep referring back to the old days but back in the late 80’s and early 90’s you would literally not of had the chance to listen to the majority of the albums you picked up from the record store and purchased blindly. Violence, Forbidden and Evil Dead come immediately to mind!

Besides doing vocals, can you play any instrument?

Paul: Before we regrouped I had picked up a second hand bass guitar and amp a but once things started to pick up with the band I’ve not really had much chance to get back into it. I poured my time and money into the vocal side and purchased a ton of equipment so I could start recording / demo’ing from home. Once I bought my Shure SM7b I kind of never looked back!

What does Metal music mean to you in your life?

Paul: Listening to Metal is now a huge part of my life. It picks me up, it drops me down, yet I love every twist and turn the journey takes me on. Life without it would be so dull!

Many thanks for your answers, Paul, wishing you and the band best things to come. Is there anything you want to add?

Paul: Thank you Silvia for writing this interview and for giving me the chance to answer your great questions. For the record this is the first interview I have done since we disbanded in 1995 and hopefully you’ve found it of some interest. Stay Doomy…  Paul 

Interview by Sílvia

Check out Enchantment for a great dose of Death/Doom Metal with a lot of melancholy, this band plays very emotional music and I’m sure it won’t leave you indifferent. Support the underground.

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Cosmic Key Creations
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Transcending Records
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