Since more than ten years, Enter Shikari are rocking the experimental post-hardcore scene. The band released last year their fifth album, The Spark. From the beginning of 2018 they are touring North America, promoting their constantly evolving sound. We caught up briefly with the leader of the St-Albans’ quartet, Rou Reynolds.
LC: The Spark is your 5th studio album and you worked on it with David Kosten as a producer. Was he the one who bring a little more experimental electronics in your sound or it came naturally?
R: “David Kosten is a fruitcake. And I like to have him with whipped cream. He certainly helped us realise and create the sound that I had in my head for this album. He had a wealth of knowledge about electronica and many of the influences that shaped this album from post punk to synth pop. I immediately knew he was the man for the job after we met him. I had a definitive vision of how I wanted this album to sound, and vintage hardware synths were a big part of that, and luckily David also had an amazing collection of synths to fulfil that dream!”
LC: On the album there is a track called Take My Country Back, we guess the actual political Brexit situation inspired you on this?
R: “Yes, absolutely but also about the broader swing to the right on a global scale. Nationalism seems to have become a driving force behind peoples worldview again, and we’ve forgotten what a dangerous and cowardly mindset that is. Retreating back behind perceived borders pointing a finger outwards and calling every else ‘the other’, the foreigner. It also analyses political debate in our modern era where most peoples views are made and cemented via social media, which is essentially a very divided maze of echo chambers. So everyone only see’s stuff that they already agree with that solidifies their current views and therefor emboldens them in debate and decreases their willingness to actually listen and understand other points of view.”
LC: Your videos for the album are quite in a futuristic universe or space-inspired. Who find the concept?
R: “We decided to put the album in a retro-futurist aesthetic inspired by minimalism and brutalism. The videos themselves were developed from these basic visual palettes by producer Bob Gallagher who had some great ideas to further build a real theme around the music.”
LC: If you have one favorite track from the album, which one will it be? Why?
R: “It changes a lot. At the moment I’m really loving playing The Sights live, it’s the song we open the set with and always fills me with energy.”
LC:You formed back in 2003. How would you describe your evolution in the music industry of today. Since there is new platforms to promote, do you think it’s helpful for a band like yours?
R:”The landscape has obviously changed vastly since the onset of social media. I think it’s a double edged sword really. In many ways it’s far easier to promote your band with the many sites that people frequent. But at the same time so many people use it they’re completely over saturated so I often ask myself is it any easier now for a new band to rise it’s head above the onslaught of mediocrity?”
LC: You are going to tour North America in the next days. You are doing shows in small or medium venues, is it a way to be closer to your fan crowds? Do you prefer this from big UK arenas?
R: “I love all size of shows to be honest. The thrill of walking out to thousands of people in arenas is an incredible feeling but the intensity of the smaller venues is just as satisfying. I feel lucky to be a band at different levels around the world so we get to experience both of those set ups.”
LC:Will the set list will be more focused on the brand new album or you will consider to play some old classics on your tour?
R:”We always play a mix of stuff, with material from every era of our band. We’re proud of our whole back catalogue so it’s nice to represent it all as much as we can.”
LC: You are currently touring with Milk Teeth and Single Mothers which are pretty new on the scene. Do you consider yourself as a mentor?
R: “Yes, they are my young padawans, my apprentices and I am the Jedi master. It’s great to have them out with us, both really exciting bands and a pleasure to watch every night.”
LC: Finally, your album The Spark was top 5 in the UK charts, it should have been quite a great feeling?
R:”It’s always good to have independent and interesting music infiltrate the mainstream, yeh. But we were still behind Ed Sheeran and his latest atrocity that the radio tries to convince us is the pinnacle of pop music… so that kind of renders the charts meaningless doesn’t it?”
The Spark is out now on Ambush Reality Records.
There is also only a few remaining dates to the current tour which you will find below.
2/2 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
2/3 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
2/5 – Montreal, QC @ Theatre Fairmount
2/6 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
2/8 – Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Hall
2/9 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
2/10 – St Paul, MN @ Amsterdam Hall
2/11 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Pyramid Cabaret