One-on-One with Blake Enemark (Snoqualmie)

Photo by Peter Gardner

by Laura Stanley 

Recently married and fresh off a move from Victoria to Toronto, Blake Enemark, otherwise known as Snoqualmie, is in a state of transition right now.

Musically, Enemark’s most recent album skyland mtn., steps away from the “indie-rock” sound of his first Snoqualmie record and, taking his cues from Brian Eno among others, explores ambient soundscapes. Personally, Enemark has been working hard and followed his dream to work in a brewery, supporting his new wife while she does her master’s degree in the city, and after a bus crash in June of this year when touring with Northcote, everyone escaped with only minor injuries, reevaluating touring life and what he wants from music.

Introduced to many through his short stint, following David Menzel’s temporary departure, in the Kelowna band We Are The City during their High School EP days, Enemark considers himself really lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of such a great band.

“I was basically just the biggest We Are The City fan,” Enemark says. “When that ended, I didn’t know what to do. I thought my career had already come and gone. When that was over, I knew that I still had something to say. Snoqualmie became something after that. I left the band August 2010 and then by January 2011, the album [what would be his debut self-titled album] was done.”

Released in 2012, Snoqualmie offered quick “indie,” and “folk-rock” type songs with easy to love melodies, citing inspiration from Aidan Knight, Aidan Knight and The Friendly Friends member Colin Nealis actually played bass on Snoqualmie, and his shameless love for Attack in Black as major influences.

“Stylistically, I think I wanted to be Aidan for a long time especially when that first Snoqualmie record was being done because I look up to Aidan and he’s a huge hero of mine. But I’m not capable of doing that,” explains Enemark.

When asked to describe his love for Attack in Black, who, if you are at all aware of Blake Enemark you know that he is a big fan, he simple states: “Infinite. Dirty. Unapologetic.” (After, of course, we launch into a ten minute long conversation about what is the nerdiest piece of AIB merch we own.)

So what drove him to create previously unexplored style of music for Snoqualmie? “I think it was the difficulties I was having writing actual songs (laughs)”. Creatively, Enemark states that, “the emotion that the sounds can convey, sometimes there’s so much more you can say without words.”

What was available, it’s now sold out, in black and white cassette tape, Enemark says that the ambient recording skyland mtn. is simply presented best in that format.

“skyland mtn. was recorded to cassette tape and I’ve just never been a fan of working with computers,” he explains.

“Because it was recorded on tape and we mastered it to quarter inch tape, I wanted to present it to people in the same format it we recorded it in. There’s something really cool about a piece of music that’s never touched a computer. If you listen to the difference between putting out an LP or putting out an MP3, there’s a depth and a warmth and a clarity that you don’t get with digital and when you slip into that especially with something like ambient music, it’s a real luxury in today’s digital world. ”

Besides finding the physical time to sit down and write new Snoqualmie songs, Enemark sites the difficulties he has had forming a permanent lineup for the band, often relying on whoever was around at the time. 

Since Enemark’s move to Toronto though, Enemark is hoping to capitalize on the opportunities in the city with a new, hopefully permanent, lineup.

“I would really like to push Snoqualmie now that I’m in Toronto. We have Adrian [Vieni](Wood & Wires) on guitar, Ted Turner on bass who plays drums for The Maladies of Adam Stokes,  and Dave Joseph who used to play drums in By Divine Right.”

“It has always been my biggest dream for Snoqualmie to be a permanent lineup,” he says. “And I’m really hoping that that is going to work out with the dudes I’m jamming with now.”

See Snoqualmie, along with Delta Will and Christian Hansen at Handlebar on Sunday, September 29 as part of the latest Crosswires/Grayowl Point collaboration. For more information, check out the Facebook event.

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