When it comes to his music, Enabler's Jeff Lohrber does pretty much whatever he wants. That's one of the perks of being the band's only consistent member.
Lohrber started the metallic hardcore project in 2009 as a personal venture, devoting whatever free time he had from playing drums in other bands, including Harlots, a grind-core outfit from Dayton, Ohio, and Today Is the Day, an eclectic noise-core band out of Nashville.
"I decided I would like to play guitar and sing in a band, and make that band an actual reality. And since then," Lohrber says, with a slight hint of surprise, "it's gone pretty far."
Enabler's revolving-door lineup — which has featured members of Milwaukee hardcore band Abaddon and, to the misplaced chagrin of some, Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy — allows Lohber optimal creative control. It also makes room for an impressive level of productivity.
"The songs get written very fast," he says. "If I think something's a good idea, I just go for it." That's not to say that Lohrber is a tyrant; band members are invited to add their own special touches. But ultimately, the songs remain the songs.
"I just kind of work, like, ‘Well, I want to do this and if I [want to write] this kind of music, this is what I'm going to do. And if you don't want to be here, that's fine. If you want to be here, let's fucking do it,'" he explains.
Audiences, however, don't always seem to know what to make of the setup. "I think that it confuses people," he says. "Most times when people come see the band, there's a different face. My mentality is, if you don't like the band because someone isn't there, you didn't like the band in the first place, because it sounds exactly the same. When I eat, I like my food for how it tastes, not how it looks."
The current touring lineup includes Frank Godla of Meek Is Murder on drums and Error Records owner Nathan Landolt on bass. But for the next record, slated for a summer release, Lohrber jettisoned the band entirely, recording all of the instrumentation himself with the help of producer Greg Thomas. On this record, the songwriting was inspired by major life changes —like a move from Milwaukee to his home state of Ohio — and recent extensive tours with NOLA sludge legends Eyehategod: "That kind of kicked me in the ass, like, ‘I want to write some fucking heavy, heavy songs."
Lohrber also found new inspiration from bands like Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy and the Ramones. "I think it's going to be a really adventurous record for people who are into this band, who are into this kind of music," he says. "It's kind of a melting pot of everything I love about heavy music." While there might be a rock 'n' roll twist, he adds, "It's still fucking harsh. It's still as heavy as we can possibly be. It's never going to lose that edge."