High-flying Enemy Planes

Kristine Stresman and Shön Troth of Enemy Planes sit in their practice space on September 3, 2015. The band recently won an international battle of the bands in Barcelona.

Maddy Fox

Kristine Stresman and Shön Troth of Enemy Planes sit in their practice space on September 3, 2015. The band recently won an international battle of the bands in Barcelona.

by Isabella Romano

A studio in the works, mass amounts of tequila and a charming sense of modesty — Enemy Planes has all the staples of a band on the rise.  
“Sometimes when people hit success, they just want more,” Shön Troth, the lap steel player said. “But I remember our first big success — we were opening for the Psychedelic Furs. I called my dad and was like, ‘If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, just know that I made it.’ They were one of my favorite bands, the first album I ever bought.” 
Kristine Stresman, the band’s keyboardist and vocalist, was quick to respond, “Well if we’re going off the first album we ever bought as a measure of success, we’re going to have to open for Brandy.” 
Enemy Planes released their debut album, “Beta Lowdown,” in February 2015. The 10 tracks are notable for their drowsy melodies, contrasted by droning guitar and ominous subject matter. They describe themselves as Pink Floyd meets The Weeknd. 
The band feels surprised by their success, especially following an unexpected win at the Hard Rock Cafe’s global battle of the bands, hosted in Barcelona. 
“When I got the call that we were going, I listened to the message three times just to make sure I heard it right,” Stresman said. 
What seemed like a free vacation to Spain quickly proved to be a stressful endeavor. 
“It was kind of surreal,” Casey Call, the lead vocalist said. “We were so busy going from one thing to the next … Finally, on the very last day, after we had won and played the big festival, we had one day left. We were like, ‘Let’s go do some sight-seeing,’ but we were so exhausted that about three hours in we found ourselves sitting at a bar drinking tequila.” 
In fact, the band was a little shocked by their reception with the public. 
Before their set, Troth found himself in a bar where he managed to find agave tequila, a rarity in Spain. To his surprise, the bartender wouldn’t let him pay his tab, but insisted on taking a picture with him instead. 
“I was just thinking to myself that they have to think I’m the drummer from Kings of Leon,” Troth said. “And I knew I had to correct them, but just as I was opening my mouth, they were like, ‘We all took off work for the show tonight. Enemy Planes, right?’ I almost died.”
The band claims their success at the competition was due mostly to sheer marketability as well as their eclectic style. 
“The judges commented to me about how we played like nine different genres, and we only played three songs,” Troth said. “That’s what they were looking for.” 
Following their return from Spain, the band tacked onto the Go Fest line up, where they played with bands like Matt and Kim and Cold War Kids. 
Parallel to their success in Barcelona, the band has been renovating a big, new loft into a recording space. The studio boasts plenty of room for the band to be creative and a stage for practice. 
“It’s been really cool to act as a sort of curator here,” Stresman said. “It’s an awesome responsibility.”
Because of their recent successes, the band found confidence to release a new record. 
“Any amount of exposure you can get in this day and age counts,” said Call. “There’s so much noise out there, and there are so many bands and so many artists. And then there’s us … We do it because we love it. And we hope that doors will continue to open for us. That will allow us to share the art that we make with people who are out there to discover it. And hopefully we make their lives better somehow with what we do.” 


Enemy Planes will be on tour later this year and into January, following the release of the album currently in progress.