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Pixel Panda

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On The Beat with Josh Enyart

(Photo by Jorge Arana)
Josh Enyart has played with some of the most eclectic bands in Kansas City, and isn’t afraid to tackle any genre of music. From his work as a former member of chaotic dance rock outfit Pixel Panda to the heavy rock styles of Maps for Travelers, to his current work in the jazzy and heavy rock bands Jorge Arana Trio and Various Blonde, Enyart is an unstoppable rhythmic force in this city. Find out more about him and catch the beat right here!
--Michelle Bacon
On The Beat is an exclusive feature from The Deli Magazine-Kansas City that showcases many of the talented drummers in the Kansas City area. 

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On The Beat with Josh Enyart


Josh Enyart is one of the most eclectic drummers in Kansas City, proven by his time with bands like Pixel Panda, Maps for Travelers, and currently, Jorge Arana Trio and Various Blonde. We catch up with Josh to learn more about him and his massive collection of drums (see photo).

The Deli: How did the drums find you?

Josh EnyartWell, back in ‘95 at Hocker Grove Middle School (Brett Southard and Justin Tricomi were also in the same grade as me), a friend of mine would play guitar by himself all the time and I would just hang out and watch. so I got a job as a carny for fun services, saved up enough money to buy a drum set in ‘96 and I started my life as a habitual worker/drummer. That is pretty much all I have been doing since. Work and drums!

The Deli: What type of kit(s) do you use?

JE: I have a couple, and each one has had a pretty specific role in each band it was used for. In Jorge Arana Trio, I use a Mapex Saturn series (Manhattan sizes) with an auxiliary Sonor Rosewood 16" floor tom. This is one of my favorite setups!

The DeliBiggest influences?

JEThat question has an odd answer; I missed out on a lot of music culture. Until 1993 we lived overseas (my parents were missionaries) so we got back to the States and I was introduced to Nirvana and Pantera—talk about culture shock! Spirit Fest and The Gadjits were how I was introduced to the live music scene.

How about this, the bands i saw in concert most: Fear Factory, The Urge, Primus, 311, Lake Trout, Drums and Tuba, anything Mike Dillon! Tons of heavy shit back when Adam Mitchell in The Esoteric (love that guy)! In all actuality I would say all the people I have played with have been some of the biggest influences on my drum style. Yeah, definitely! I've had the pleasure of playing with a lot of great musicians. These are the people who helped shape my playing style.

The Deli: Tell us about some of the bands you’ve been in.

JEThat is a long list, so I will name a few. Nocturne Noir, kind of a black metal meets J-Rock heavy sound. Savitar: Middle Eastern-based Mars Volta sound. Pixel Panda: anxiety-driving chaos dance rock. Latin: vocal-driven modern alt rock. Maps for Travelers: heavy indie rock. Capture the Flag: electronic bass dance indie. My current groups are Various Blonde: vintage expressive rock, and Jorge Arana Trio: punk jazz, as described by Jorge.

The Deli: Wow, that’s quite an eclectic list. Is there any style you wouldn’t play?

JEI have also played in country and pop bands. There isn't anything someone could put in front of me that I wouldn't try because you can learn from every style, and that keeps me growing as a musician.

The Deli: Okay, let’s say you get to pick a group of KC/Lawrence drummers to make a drum circle with. Who would they be?

JEThat’s a long list! Separating by genre? Style? Taught or rough on the edges? It would totally depend on what was trying to be accomplished. But one of my top configurations would most likely be Sam Sartorious, Blair Greens, Nick Organ, Justin Tricomi, Drew Little, and Alex Thomas. This is a group I am trying to get in my basement!

The Deli: Anything else you want to share with us about your technique?

JE: I would like to become a jazz drummer. That means I have work to do.

The Deli: What other plans do you have for the bands this year?

JEI bought a van, and this year, and the Jorge Arana Trio is planning on spreading our Gospel throughout the land. We and Various Blonde will be playing the MidCoast Takeover in Austin for SXSW. As far as other projects are concerned, I do have an idea I might start working on, but the trio is my top for sure!

Enyart will join Jorge Arana Trio on stage tomorrow, Friday, February 1 for the second MidCoast Takeover fundraiser at Czar. Then, go to Riot Room on Saturday, February 2, where he’ll be with Various Blonde for the third fundraiser.

--Michelle Bacon  

Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli - Kansas City. She plays with Deco AutoDrew Black and Dirty Electric, and Dolls on Fire. She owns an Australian cattle dog and a Corgi. The Corgi is the dumbest (but also quite possibly the most adorable) animal she has ever owned.


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Josh Enyart

Photos by Jorge Arana





 Jorge Arana Trio








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Album review: Jorge Arana Trio - Mapache

Mapache, the debut full-length release from the Jorge Arana Trio, is both a throwback and forward-gazing: its simple blue-and-black-washed cover art hearkens to classic Blue Note albums of yore and its narrative thematic structure pays homage to the great concept albums of the past. The trio’s modern influences and distinctive voice carves out new territory of its own.

Leading the expedition are erstwhile members of Kansas City’s beloved experimental rockers Pixel Panda: Jorge Arana (guitar/keys) and Joshua Enyart (drums), joined by Jason Nash (bass).

These three adventurous fellows use their musical wanderlust to carve up twelve short sketches that cover free jazz, fusion, prog-jazz, metal, noise rock, and pretty much anything they deem necessary to move the story forward. Mapache, like its Spanish namesake, is a musical raccoon with its paws all over a number of genres, filching whatever and whenever it pleases.

“Bitter Era” opens the album demonstrating just this, embarking on a jazz odyssey with frenetic rhythms, dissonant plunking on the keys, and a grungy guitar before settling into a staccato groove that turns aggressive in the driving “Snake in the Grass.” A chorus of tribal voices lends a sinister air of foreboding before erupting in a hard rock finale.

Tracks such as “Nightly Stroll,” “Confrontation!”, and the playfully sinister “Short & Evil” make up a trilogy that heightens the sense of high stakes drama. The bulk of the album is packed densely with similar battle-music suites, highlighted by the aptly-titled “Catching Bullets with Your Teeth” and the bendy buzz-saw guitars propelling “Thieves Among Us.”

Early track “I’m an Omnivore” and the penultimate “Baptize Your Dinner” provide nice, contemplative free jazz reprieves from the cacophony. The album finale, “Ether,” returns us to the loose, improvisational spirit of the album’s opener before settling into an ambling, drunken strut, littered with loose keys, scratchy guitar strings and scattershot percussive asides.

There’s a strong sense of storytelling throughout Mapache, an orchestrated chaos. Stanley Kubrick’s Apocalypse Now didn’t improve upon Joseph Campbell’s Heart of Darkness so much as tweak its slow-burn descent into madness with psychedelia, machine gunfire, and stylistic bursts of dramatic flair. Jorge Arana Trio does the same here for the experimental jazz canon.

The clever and calculated Mapache stops just short of an uncontrolled acid jazz freak-out. Instead, it’s an invitation to embark upon a cinematic romp through a treacherous sonic wilderness, just beyond the safety of civilization--one that doesn’t promise to show you the way home.
Tomorrow marks the album release for Mapache. Join the Trio along with Quirk and Ruckus, Ambulants, and Mr.Marco's V7 at Coda tomorrow, October 26, at 9:00 pm. Facebook event pageMapache will be available in cassette or download form. 
--Vi Tran 

Vi Tran is currently acting in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at the Unicorn Theatre through November 4. He's also in Vi Tran Band and Hot Caution.


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