Enchant
A Blueprint Of The World
01/09/2014
Gatefold black 2LP+CD, Gatefold transp. blue 2LP+CD
Time can sometimes play tricks on us. So, when the facts state that it’s been a decade since the last studio album from Enchant, 2003’s ‘Tug Of War’, you could be forgiven the thought that fate, as mischievous and misleading as ever, has been messing with our memory. But it has indeed been a little over 10 years since ‘Tug…’. So, what on earth has kept the Bay Area prog rock masters off the scene for so long?

“Well, it’s been a combination of circumstances,” shrugs guitarist/vocalist Douglas A. Ott. “A couple of the guys got married and had kids, jobs etc… and before we knew it, we’d been away for a long time. Also, Ted Leonard (vocals/guitar) was involved with Spock’s Beard, Affector and Thought Chamber, and Bill Jenkins (keyboards) has toured with Sound Of Contact, so it’s not as if we’ve had nothing to do with music.”

Ott himself has been producing local bands in the California area, but it was always the lure and allure of a new album from Enchant that kept him focused. “I will admit that I did have moments where I wondered if there would ever be another album from the band. But thankfully, we’ve gotten through that problem, and I feel now this is a revitalised and refreshed band.”

The new, 8th album is titled ‘The Great Divide’, which is a comment on the way the band have overcome the problems of their lengthy time away, and come back better than ever. “It’s as if we’ve crossed a desert, and are now in a strong position. That’s kind of what the song is about, and given what we’ve been through this seemed to be the right title for the album as well. But there’s no overall concept linking the songs here. It’s really a collection of individual tracks. ‘The Great Divide’ itself is the longest song we have, being around 9 minutes long. But, as with everything Enchant have always done, a lot of the tracks come in at around 7 to 8 minutes long, while the shortest one we have is about 5 minutes in length.”

While Ott, as has always been the case, is very much the principle songwriter and producer on the new album, there has been a greater emphasis this time on input from the other four members – Enchant also features the rhythm section of bassist Ed Platt and drummer Sean Flanegan, the smoking keyboard player Bill Jenkins and the multi-talented Ted Leonard on vocals and guitar.

“I like to think we have matured as a band, for better or worse!”, Ott laughs, “But I have involved the guys a lot more in the writing process, and actively encouraged them to come up with ideas. It’s made for a more collective album, and one that reflects their input as
European Release Date: September 29th, 2014!

much as anything else. I like to think this has given Enchant a new cohesion. The other four members were also more ‘hands on’ in the studio as well, although it was still me slaving away at the console at 3am!”

The result is an album that doesn’t simply carry on from where ‘Tug Of War’ left off, but sees Enchant boldly striking out in a new direction, “If you’re an Enchant fan from the past, then you will certainly recognise some of the stuff we’re doing. But we’ve also brought in other musical attitudes and approaches, which means this is definitely a record for 2014, and not just a nostalgia trip.”

Most of the material on the album has come from new writing sessions. However, there’s one riff on the title track that represents Ott’s own faith on what he was capable of achieving. “I came up with the opening riff when I was 17 years old, and I tried to get it recorded by every band I’ve ever been in. But none of them really got it. Then I happened to play it one day for a couple of the guys in Enchant, and they immediately got it, and wanted to use this on the album. So, after all these years, it has finally found a home. All of which proves that you should never give up on any musical notion you have – if it’s good enough, then one day it will find a suitable location to make an impact.”

Most of the new album was recorded at Ott’s “Ottotorium” Studio, where he has worked consistently since 1997. “We have everything there that we need, in terms of equipment and space. It’s also where the band rehearses. Financially, it also makes sense to work at the Ottotorium. Why should we spend money elsewhere when we have everything needed right here? A few little bits were done in other studios, but this is our home base.”

Enchant’s touring plans have yet to be finalised. But for Ott, what matters at the moment is ‘The Great Divide’. “In some ways, this is a different band to the one people remember from the past. But that’s inevitable after such a long delay. However, I honestly do feel that we are better than ever. We are more in tune with one another, and the dynamic in Enchant now is very exciting. I feel when you hear ‘The Great Divide’ you’ll understand why we’ve come back musically stronger than we’ve ever been. It’s the start of a great new era for us.”