Long way back

Photo by Max Cooper
Photo by Max Cooper

In early July, the Facebook page of local indie-rock band The Enemy Lovers suddenly lit up with the message, “Hello! It has been a while.” It was the first post in more than a year and a half from the group led by songwriting team and brothers Tim and Steven Scroggs. Soon after, the Lovers announced a show: Thursday night of DIG Festival on The Orange Peel stage.

“We love music still,” says Tim. “We’ve been rehearsing for the show and it sounds like gold.”

It’s been just over two years since the Scoggs brothers left for Germany, where they had planned to record with producer Nicolas Balachandran of Elephantom Studios. It wasn’t that the Enemy Lovers wanted to go on an extended hiatus, says Tim, but not much went according to plan. The initial idea to stay in Germany with family while waiting out a contract with a former manager was upset by finances, a change in Balachandram’s setup and many other factors. The album was recorded, but is as-yet unmixed.

After five weeks, Steven returned to the U.S. to finalize the adoption of his daughter. Tim stayed in Germany for another two months. Both planned to return to Europe — “We had everything ready, we even had a marketing plan,” says Steven — but fate had other ideas.

“I wouldn’t give up where we are right now for a successful music career,” says Tim. It’s perhaps a surprising statement from a musician who, two years ago, was solely focused on his band’s rise to some semblance of fame. These days, both brothers are back in school — Tim wants to work on promoting other bands, “and Steven wants to make other bands sound the way he hears them sounding,” says Tim.

Eventually, Steven might mix the Enemy Lovers’ album, though plans for those German recordings are still up in the air. These days, funds go to the Scroggses’ growing clan (Tim just had a second child). And they’re OK with that. “We didn’t want to live in a 15-passenger van with our families,” says Tim.

And after years of doggedly pursuing the rock-star dream, Tim says, “I was at a point where I was tired of promoting myself.” Both brothers laugh at what they know now versus what they knew in July 2011, when they boarded that first flight to Europe. “After the doors close, creativity is forced,” says Tim. “When we had no money, we hit reality.”

But don’t count the Enemy Lovers out just yet. While rock star fantasies might be off the table, playing music isn’t. The former manager who would have taken a large chunk of the band’s earnings? “Ironically, his contract ran out right when we got the invite to play for DIG Fest,” says Tim.

“I’m super excited about the show,” says Steven. “Even if we can’t give people the new album we can play it for them live so it’s a chance for them to kind of hear where we were and what we were doing.”

He adds, “I think the stuff we did in Germany is the closest to our identity, music-wise, as we’ve gotten so far.”

And, while the brothers want to offer their fans an explanation for their disappearance, they’re also genuinely happy to be back with a new perspective on music. “It kind of feels like a greatest hits show, because we haven’t played our [debut self-titled] EP in two years or more,” says Tim. “This is a special part of us, still.” — A.M.

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