Ennis Tola are a Melbourne five piece who possess a highly unique and distinct rock-fusion sound and, as a result, are making some serious waves in the Australian music industry. Combining world music influences with unusual instrumentation, and placing it all into a context of powerful alternative rock music, Ennis Tola are a musically heady mix, which has seen them become a force to be reckoned with, both creatively and commercially. Lead singer and acoustic guitarist Tomas Fitzgerald attempts to describe the band’s sound in his own words.
“We’ve just been playing more shows in the Melbourne scene,” he starts, “and hooking into a scene. We’ve been playing the Rock The Bay stuff, playing with bands like Xenograft, which has been good…
“Because we’re kind of a different-sounding band, it’s been hard to find bands that have a similarity, in that we’re not very easily categorised. So I think that’s the closest link with us and other bands in Melbourne; we fit well with purely in that we don’t fit well!” he laughs.
“It’s probably ‘middle eastern orchestral rock’” Tomas continues describing, “but it’s hard. I think at one stage people slotted us into the ‘world music’ category, but in the last year and a half to two years we’ve been put into the prog rock scene. And I think now it’s turning more into ‘post prog rock’! If you have to put it into a genre, but that’s apparently where it’s going.”
The world music influence remains quite a strong presence in their sound, whether or not you choose to place them specifically into that genre, or however you categorise them in this genre-obsessed musical world we live in, and Tomas agrees with this assessment.
“Yeah,” he concurs, “for me personally, I’ve gotten into a lot of world music. I don’t intentionally put that into the music, but that’s the sort of thing that’s come out of listening to a lot of it.
“A lot of it turns into a fusion of world music and contemporary rock. Which isn’t a very ‘rock’ thing to say, [in] contemporary rock, but that’s kind of where it is; it’s a fusion of a lot of different styles.
“Our latest stuff has been more of a collaborative effort with the band members. So it draws even more influences from different places, rather than just my own experience.
“An obvious one for Australian audiences would be The Tea Party,” he states, regarding the artists that have touched Ennis Tola’s music, “it’s funny, we’ve never had a reference to Tea Party overseas, it’s just been in Australia. Whether that’s a reflection of where Tea Party were popular, or not. But, Tea Party would be one of them, and I’m kinda reluctant to say to be honest. Because it kind of pigeonholes you a bit. We don’t just have that sound, we have a slight influence from that, but it’s more the world music influences that sort of lead to a similar sound.
“Personally,” he ponders, “[it’d be] John McLaughlin; I’ve got a jazz background. There’s not a lot of jazz in the music, but I think certainly John McLaughlin, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and random Greek music!” he chuckles, “that kind of music for me. I know the guitarist in our band is a massive Zappa fan.”
The band are set to release their brand new single, entitled Backbone, and they launch it this coming Saturday night at The East Brunswick Club, alongside the aforementioned Xenograft, plus Fenian and Firebird. It is the first single culled from their upcoming sophomore album, and this night is sure to be a highly interesting musical journey.
ENNIS TOLA launch their single Backbone at The East Brunswick Club this Saturday April 16 with Xenograft, Fenian and Firebird.