Enter Shikari have announced new album ‘A Kiss For The Whole World’, shared new single ‘(Pls) Set Me On Fire’ and confirmed residencies in five UK cities. Get all the details below, alongside our interview with frontman Rou Reynolds.
‘A Kiss For The Whole World’ is out in April and “feels like the second coming of Enter Shikari,” according to Reynolds. The first song written for the record was lead single ‘(Pls) Set Me On Fire’.
“It was this explosive thing,” Reynolds told NME. “That song encompasses the experience of the last few years. It’s the yearning for transcendency, creativity and being able to connect with people.
“There’s an intensity to it. It’s got full verses of shouting or pitched screaming. It’s one of the most anguish-filled songs we’ve done for a long time. It’s got that original Shikari essence to it, really.”
The band’s previous album ‘Nothing Is True And Everything Is Possible’ was released weeks into the first lockdown, with Enter Shikari having to wait over a year to play any of the songs live. At the same time, Reynolds was going through an excruciating bout of writer’s block.
“I can’t really put into words just how disorientating and scary that time was,” he told NME. “My brain was basically saying, ‘What’s the point in writing music if you can’t share it in a live experience with others?’ My sense of purpose had disappeared. It was very surreal because we were essentially witnessing the death of the band, and we couldn’t do anything about it.”
Things thankfully shifted after the band headlined the Download Pilot test event in the summer of 2021. “It was just a cocktail of emotions,” said Reynolds who began writing music for the first time in over 20 months shortly afterwards.
The resulting album ‘A Kiss For The Whole World’ captures the “jubilation and euphoria” that came from playing live again. “There’s a lot of high tempo stuff on the record,” Reynolds said.
Early in 2022, the band rented out a dilapidated farmhouse to create a temporary studio to record what would become the new album. “The whole thing was run by solar power,” said Reynolds. “It was just us and our engineer George Perks, no in-house engineers, no assistant producers and no set way of doing things. It felt like making music in Chris [Batten’s] garage as kids again. It had that same sense of naïve, endearing excitement.”
He continued: “There was a real sense of urgency. There was never a point where we sat down and really discussed what the album was going to be about, and there was no sense of organisation. It was just manic.”
The result is an album “as varied as ever,” according to Reynolds. “Maybe it’s more intense than anything we’ve done before,” he went on. “Hopefully people can hear the exasperation and the jubilation. I think what makes it better is that it was all just natural. It’s not finessed, it’s quite raw.
“The only thing we spoke about amidst all the disorganised ideas was that we wanted to make a high energy album of bangers. Millennials and Gen Z – we don’t like to wait for anything. We want our dessert before our main course. We’re not interested in delayed gratification but as a band, we can be quite proggy when we want to; but this album has no six-minute song that tells some wild story as it winds its way through different genres. It’s a lot more focused.”
‘A Kiss For The Whole World’ is Enter Shikari’s seventh album, with their previous four all reaching the Top Ten of the UK album chart. “Normally when people get to this stage in their career, the big-name songwriters and producers come in to help you take things to the next level,” said Reynolds. “There’s that pressure to get a Number One album and to play bigger venues. You lose all the reasoning to why you started making music in the first place.”
He continued: “I’ve always said this band is a hobby that got out of hand. We never had ambitions to be the size we’ve got to. Of course, I don’t want to crumble into the backs of people’s minds or be forgotten about but at the same time; I don’t want to get sucked into that rat race of needing to get bigger for the sake of getting bigger.”
“After playing the Download Pilot, it really underlined that human connection is the thing that makes me happy, and I just want to increase that with this album. I’m thirsty for the sweat, the tears and everything that comes from playing live.”
While their first few albums were angsty and aggressive, latter records have seen the band shift to something more uplifting – and ‘A Kiss For The Whole World’ is no different. The album’s title track was even inspired by Beethoven’s ‘Ode To Joy’.
“We should be celebrating moments of joy more than ever right now, because they feel so fragile and it doesn’t look like things are going to get any easier either,” said Reynolds. “There’s a lot of soul-searching and there’s certainly a lot of dark themes on the record, to use a really broad term. You can’t be an activist all the time because you’ll burn out, but I don’t want our music to be a cheap sedative either. It’s maybe not a positive album, but it’s an active one.”
He added: “I like to think our music is energising. Having something that is motivating is a really important thing, especially in a world where everyone is constantly barraged with tribalism, hatred and incivility. It’s really difficult out there, so you need that reminder that you’re not alone.”
Before the release of ‘A Kiss For The Whole World’, Enter Shikari will “become a local band to five cities in the UK” with residencies. Starting in February, the band will play gigs in London, Manchester, Bristol, Glasgow and Wolverhampton. They’ll return in March and again in April.
“We wanted to do something different basically,” said Reynolds. “It’s going back to that raw sense of what Shikari was at the beginning. We didn’t do tours, we just played shows constantly. There’s something endearing about constantly going back to the same city and seeing how the shows change and progress.”
He continued: “We also wanted to make up for lost time. With ‘Nothing Is True’, we weren’t able to play those songs for over a year. With these shows, we’re going to release a new song the week before each run kicks off, then play it live almost immediately. We’re really spoiling ourselves.”
Beyond that, Enter Shikari are set to headline Slam Dunk Festival 2023 alongside The Offspring.
“Slam Dunk is bigger than when we last headlined, so it does feel like ambition is there,” said Reynolds. “When you don’t quite feel comfortable on any bill or in any scene, there’s always a sense of needing to prove ourselves constantly. This is why we spend all our money on production. There’s a sense of imposter syndrome and you want to make sure everyone knows that you’re grateful. You do put a lot of pressure on yourself, but I think Slam Dunk is going to the best show we’ve ever put on.”
As for the Pendulum remix of ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’ that debuted at Reading Festival 2022, Reynolds said a recorded release still in the works. “At one point, we were going to release it as a Christmas thing but it just didn’t get finished in time,” he revealed. “We’ve both been too busy, basically.”
“We’ll get to it though, and hopefully something else as well. I’m just grateful we got to properly touch base and hang out after all these years of missing each other at festivals.”
‘A Kiss For The Whole World’ is out April 21.
Enter Shikari’s upcoming tour dates are below. Tickets for the shows go on sale January 26 and will be available here.
Feb 15 – HERE at Outernet, London, UK
Feb 16 – New Century Hall, Manchester, UK
Feb 17 – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, UK
Feb 19 – SWX, Bristol, UK
Feb 20 – St Luke’s, Glasgow, UK
Mar 14 – New Century Hall, Manchester, UK
Mar 15 – St Luke’s, Glasgow, UK
Mar 16 – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, UK
Mar 17 – HERE at Outernet, London, UK
Mar 18 – SWX, Bristol, UK
Apr 05 – Knust, Hamburg, DE
Apr 07 – Botanique, Brussels, BE
Apr 08 – Luxor, Koln, DE
Apr 13 – St Luke’s, Glasgow, UK
Apr 14 – New Century Hall, Manchester, UK
Apr 15 – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, UK
Apr 16 – SWX, Bristol, UK
Apr 17 – HERE at Outernet, London, UK
May 03 – Echoplex, Los Angeles, USA
May 05 – Bottom Lounge, Chicago, USA
May 10 – Bowery Ballroom, New York, USA