As the band gear up to head back into the studio before headlining Slam Dunk to celebrate their debut album, we talk to frontman Rou Reynolds about their legacy, their future, Brexit and Donald Trump...
So you’re headlining Slam Dunk next year. What kind of experience have you had at the festival before?
“We’ve DJ’d it twice, and because the southern one Is in Hatfield where I went to uni, it’s a festival we’ve been to a lot as punters. It will be amazing to finally play it properly. It has such a great line-up, and it’s very much within the heart of the alternative scene. It’s mad what a staple festival it is now and it’s obscene. The settings are really cool – especially the Leeds one right in the city centre. I love the setting, I love the vibe, it should be a good time.”
Music video by Enter Shikari performing Sorry You’re Not A Winner News / Tour dates / Merch : //www.entershikari.com/ ⬇⬇⬇ New album “The Mindsweep” out NOW: iTunes – //po.st/mindsweepitunes CD – //po.st/themindsweepcd Vinyl – //po.st/themindsweepvinyl Let’s be friends on Facebook: //www.facebook.com/entershikari Follow us on Twitter: //twitter.com/entershikari Instagram: //instagram.com/entershikariofficial Add us on Snapchat if you feel like it, we post stuff: ‘entershikarisc’ Directed and filmed by Alex Smith at a house party / BBQ round at Chris’s.
And I understand you’ll be marking the 10 year anniversary of your debut album?
“It’s going to be the celebration of ‘Take To The Skies’. We’re not quite sure that will translate as; I don’t think we’re going to play it from start to finish. That will be a bit too boring and clichéd. It’s going to be a sort of taking the nostalgia but keeping it modern – but there are going to be songs that we haven’t played for about nine or ten years. There’s even going to be a song that we never got to play off of that album called ‘Today Won’t Go Down In History’. We’re really excited for that.
“I listened to the album for probably the first time since we made it recently. The nostalgia was flooding back, hopefully it’s going to be a real celebration.”
And it’s nearly two years since ‘The Mindsweep’. Can we expect new material on the tour next year?
“I’ve been writing for the last few months, so it’s an organisational period really of getting stuff together. I can’t really not write or have down time. Even if I’m on holiday there’ll be something going on. We’ll be recording in January – February time, so we’ve got a few months to get everything prepared.”
Stream ‘Hoodwinker’ on Spotify: //found.ee/hoodwinkerspotify Stream/Buy from Apple Music/iTunes here: //found.ee/hoodwinkerdigital – – – – Visit our website: //www.entershikari.com Let’s be friends on Facebook: //www.facebook.com/entershikari Follow us on Twitter: //twitter.com/entershikari Instagram: //instagram.com/entershikariofficial Add us on Snapchat if you feel like it, we post stuff: ‘entershikarisc’ – – – – Director – Matt Farman & Rou Reynolds Editor – Oleg Rooz Producer – Everyone!
Is your surprise single ‘Hoodwinker’ a sign of things to come or more of an anomaly?
“It’s definitely an anomaly. We recorded it at the same time as our previous single, ‘Redshift’ and it’s a completely different sound and vibe from that. It’s just a track that’s a bit of fun, every now and then it’s good to throw these one off tracks out there that don’t have to represent anything larger and can push the boat out a bit more.”
Where do you think your likely to take the Enter Shikari sound from here?
“The biggest thing that’s inspired us was the arena tour last year. We’ve never been the most ambitious band – success-hungry or however you define success, but I think that because it opened so many doors creatively. You know, with the quadraphonic surround sound and visuals synced up with the music. Production-wise there were things that we’d never been able to do before. When you go into a venue that size and it’s a big empty room you can bring in stuff and make the whole space your own, make it an environment, and that’s something we’ve never really shied away from really. We’re edging towards the more sort of, not theatrical but a bigger. Something more grandiose than punk I suppose. So yeah, I think that gave us a taste of what we can sort of be, and grow into hopefully.
“I think that’s the only thing that we’re thinking of at the moment, just kind of, as we’re writing, trying to figure out not a complete direction change or departure but just trying to make things sound bigger. It’s always the classic cliché of, the heavier bits are going to be heavier, the melodies are going to be more melodious.”
And lyrically, what’s been inspiring you?
“I’ve been writing lyrics not to music, just poetry I guess. Some of that might be used, Some of it’s I guess not more personal but I guess philosophical rather than frank direct politics. I’m sure there’ll be a wide range of subjects, but I always like to let the music do the dictating. Whatever each song conjures up and makes me feel that directs the lyrical topics.”
Being such a political band, the current state of general universal turmoil must be leading you down a certain path?
“There’s certainly an end of the world outcome with Trump. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel with a happy ending, it’s pretty depressing. With this and Brexit, I think it’s the domino effect that people are scared of. There’s the National front in France, Golden Dawn in Greece. Austria, Germany and beyond – they all have has their far right movements on the up, nationalism is becoming more than acceptable again, it’s becoming the main thrust of how you build a movement. You have to keep bigging up your nation and anything against immigrants is completely in the mainstream now, it’s a very strange and a very frightening time.”
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And finally, what other music are you listening to at the moment?
“I’m just listening to anything and everything at the moment to absorb inspiration for the next album. I’ve been listening to a lot of ’80s soundtracks. Obviously it’s impossible to ignore the ’80s revival going on at the moment so I’ve been trying to get into that. I’ve never been into vintage synths I guess, because I got into synths when software was becoming cheap enough to use that and you didn’t have to fork out for hardware. I used a lot of the cheaper range Korg stuff so I’m now delving back into the roots of all the electronic artists that I would be listening to when we first started. You know, going back to John Fox, John Carpenter, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, all these sort of huge electronic artists from that era. That’s been fun and a bit of a journey. I’ve been listening to a lot of avant-garde minimal weird music as well. And then the normal stuff that I would listen to – so anything from Hospital Records, drum n bass, to this amazing new producer called Frederic Robinson. I’ve been listening to a lot of his new stuff, he’s got a new album.”
Slam Dunk Festival 2017 takes place across multiple venues in Birmingham on 27 May, Leeds on 28 May and Hatfield on 29 May. Tickets are on sale from 9am on Friday 11 November.
‘Live From Alexandra Palace’ is out now. Enter Shikari’s full upcoming tour dates are below.
Tuesday May 23 2017 – DUBLIN Academy
Wednesday May 24 2017 – BELFAST Limelight
Thursday May 25 2017 – GLASGOW Barrowland
Saturday May 27 2017 – BIRMINGHAM NEC
Sunday May 28 2017 – LEEDS Millennium Square
Monday May 29 2017 – HATFIELD Forum