Q&A: Enter Shikari
By Andy Malt | Published on Wednesday 18 January 2012
Formed in 2003, Enter Shikari drew somewhat unprecedented hype with their hard-touring reputation and 2007 debut ‘Take To The Skies’, a searing meld of breakbeat, post-hardcore punk and techno elements that defined their signature style.
Having released its sequel ‘Common Dreads’ in 2009, the band recorded their third full-length ‘A Flash Flood Of Colour’ between London and Bang Saray, Thailand with co-producer Dan Weller (Gallows, Young Guns). Mixing expertise came courtesy of a Canada-based Mike Fraser (Metallica, Biffy Clyro), with the LP thereby readied for release earlier this week via the band’s own label, Ambush Reality Records.
With ‘Flash Flood’ on a direct trajectory with a topmost position in the weekend charts, CMU Editor Andy Malt questioned frontman Rou Reynolds on the band’s career to date, and what it’s like to face the very real prospect of their first number one album.
AM: You’re on track to have your first number one album this Sunday. How does that feel?
RR: Very surreal indeed. I think in a few days time Adele and Bruno Mars will have caught us up again and we’ll back into the underground oblivion from whence we came, ha! But we’re not too fussed, the reception of the album has been great so far, reviews have been great and fans all seem really happy so we’re happy.
AM: When did you start working on ‘A Flash Flood Of Colour’?
RR: In the womb. Ha. Well some little bits here and there are years and years old but the bulk of the actual material started taking shape about a year ago.
AM: Some of your lyrics touched on ‘Common Dreads’ touched on political and social issues and seem to more on ‘A Flash Flood Of Colour’. Since ‘Common Dreads’ was released the coalition government has come into power, how has that changed your political outlook?
RR: It hasn’t whatsoever. It has once again proved that politics will not solve today’s problems. All Politicians basically do, is sit around bickering like schoolgirls. The only reason we still have ‘governments’ is because they work to compensate for the inefficiency of our economic system. The problems we face today are symptoms of a faulty system. Sorry to use the cliché but we need to start thinking outside the box. Way outside the box. We need to go back to the factory that produced the box, analyse it and redesign the box.
AM: Do you see yourselves as a ‘political band’?
RR: Not at all. I’ve grown to utterly detest the word. The word ‘politics’ itself derives from a Greek word meaning ‘of, for or relating to citizens’. It is now very clear that politics does nothing to help unite us as human beings and is neither ‘of or for’ the people. Real change and societal progress will come from the people, not from politics.
AM: Recently there’s been a lot of discussion in the music media about the death of ‘guitar music’, but both The Maccabees and now you have had considerable chart success as this has been going on. What’s your view on the state of guitar music?
RR: I don’t think guitar driven music is any less healthy than it ever has been. I’d argue the opposite. Metal, hardcore, punk, rock seem to be thriving, especially in the underground scenes. Rock bands that we started out playing with have risen loads recently, like Lower Than Atlantis and Twin Atlantic. Bring Me The Horizon must be bringing metal to new and younger and bigger audiences everywhere. Punk bands like Gallows and Letlive are getting bigger and bigger.
AM: You’ve always been very forward looking with your sound and quick to incorporate sounds from other genres into your music. Do you think more bands should be experimenting in that way? What, for example, do you think of Korn’s dubstep album?
RR: A few people have been asking me about this so I really need to check it out. But as yet I haven’t heard it. I’ve heard one track they did with Skrillex which seemed to mix really well. I would suspect though that that is the style of dubstep they’ll use, the hyper, fit as many loud piercing synths as you can in a minute kind of dubstep for the rest of that album, which isn’t really my thing.
AM: How has your own sound developed on your latest album?
RR: We’ve again built up more confidence to explore every nook and cranny of our spectrum of musical influences. So it really is rather vast in it’s emotions, textures and instrumentation.
AM: You’re in the position of having released music independently and (in the US) through a major label. What have been the pros and cons of each system?
RR: Well our first two albums didn’t really get any support over there. And that was when we were on a major. They literally didn’t know what to do with us so just gave the releases zero support, no marketing, no press, no tour support. We were a small fish in a big pond. I think with the benefit of hindsight now we can take some positives out of that experience though because what did end up happening was we carried on touring the US by ourselves and ended up building up everything slowly and organically over there just as we did in Europe. We’re now on [US indie label] Hopeless Records, and we’re happy with everything that’s happened so far. Everyone there is awesome and really into us.
AM: What are your plans for promoting the new album in the States?
RR: A load of touring, including our first proper headliner which we’re really excited about.
AM: What other artists are you listening to at the moment?
RR: A lot of progressive classical guitar music, Jon Gomm and Erik Mongrain; some of the techniques these dudes use when they play are totally incredible! Noisia, the kings of electronic music production, always been a big influence on us. And Scroobius Pip’s new album is awesome, I’ve been spinning that a fair bit too.
AM: What are your future ambitions for Enter Shikari?
RR: Just to continue our journey as a band, be able to play our music to as many people as possible and keep creating music.