There’s no way to perfectly place England’s Enter Shikari within the constraints of a genre, but this didn’t stop their new album, A Flash Flood Of Colour, hitting the top spot in the official UK charts. The electronica-infused hardcore band was just one of many surprised and excited over the achievement. Just add this to the list of refreshing things in the schedule for Enter Shikari, who took to a new land for recording their third full-length album and adding tour dates they haven’t seen in some time.
Catching up with the members of Enter Shikari, it sounded as though vocalist Roughton “Rou” Reynolds had just woken up. On an off day in their short European tour before starting their headlining tour in America, Reynolds and guitarist Rory Clewlow, bassist Chris Batten and drummer Rob Rolfe were recovering from quite the party. Reynolds commented on how they were “looking like death” from their after-party on tour that also saw a DJ set from them.
With stardust still sounding in his voice and coming over from across the Atlantic, Reynolds talks below about a heavy upcoming tour schedule, the new album and their takeover of America.
You just finished the Soundwave Festival and a couple other tour dates in Australia…
Yeah, it was amazing. All the shows were just wicked. We didn’t know what to expect because we haven’t been to Australia in a few years now and it was incredible and we had a really good time.
The tour coming up in the States is going to be your first headliner in a while. How are you guys feeling about that?
It feels awesome. We’ve done countless tours in the U.S. and this is kind of the first real headlining tour ever in America for us really and in a sense, it’s going to be the full Shikari experience. We’ve just been talking about what kind of light show we’re going to bring with us and we had to design that. So yeah, it’s going to be really exciting, it’s going to be great playing a longer set than just like a half an hour.
Are there any plans to do DJ sets along with this tour?
I think so, yeah. I think we’re going to sort of feel it out and see if we can get any big nights planned. It’s obviously a really long tour, so I’m not sure how many we’ll be able to manage. But I think we’re going to try and do some after shows.
How did the lineup come about for this tour?
Yeah, I mean letlive. are really good friends of ours. We just brought them with us when we did our Europe and UK tour and they are really amazing guys, so that was a no-brainer. As for At The Skylines, I actually don’t know too much about them, so it’s going to be good to see them and check them out live.
You have tour dates booked through the summer. How do you stay busy and keep your sanity while out on the road?
Obviously, especially in the U.S., they’re always real long ones—it gets kind of hard here and there, but there’s so much to do when we’re not on stage or sound checking. We’re just chilling, watching films, reading, video editing and making new music. We’re always kind of writing continuously.
So a day off is never really a day off?
(Laughs) Yeah, not really.
What new songs from the new album have you guys been most excited playing live?
I mean there’s definitely a kind of zeal to just play all of the new songs really. I think we’ve been touring for so many years and just an injection of fresh tunes always makes it feel a lot more sincere when we’re on stage. I don’t know, I can’t pick any individual ones, it’s kind of tough. I mean, “System…” and “…Meltdown,” we’re playing that first and that just really amps everyone up and gets the energy levels up, so it’s been really fun to play live.
Did any of them take a bit longer to perfect for the live show?
Oh God, yeah, very much so. We spent most of our time off on Christmas in the studio working out how we’re going to translate the songs from the record to live. When we were recording this album, we really didn’t pay attention to how these songs would sound live and how we would go about creating the same sounds live. Which I think is a good thing because it enabled us to be really creative and not have to limit ourselves or have to think about anything. It certainly was a bit of work afterwards. We just had to get around a lot of programming involved, but it’s sounding really good now.
So A Flash Flood Of Colour hit number one on the charts in the UK…
Yeah, it was incredible, pretty surreal seeing a band like us on the charts. It’s not every day you see a kind of an alternative band, whatever you want to describe us as, I guess a punk band primarily in terms of our music and our lyrics, in the charts. It was surreal looking at who was beneath us in that week that we managed to stomp.
Why did you do recording for this album over in Thailand? That’s not a place you hear bands going to record.
No, yeah, it was basically our producer had a friend of a friend who just built a studio out there and was trying to get western bands over and make a name for himself. It was absolutely incredible. The studio was jaw-dropping. And they offered us an amazing deal—it cost basically the same [amount] as if we carried on doing it in London, so we snatched his hand off really and it was great. It’s a state-of-the-art studio right in the middle of the jungle pretty much and it just allowed us to be completely dedicated to the music. It was awesome.
Were you inspired by the surroundings or in sightseeing?
Yeah, in a sense of like the vibe in the studio, it was great. They call Thailand the “land of the smiles” and it was so relaxing being around the people and the atmosphere. The nearest kind of village we had was this fishing village that was really untouched by tourism and it was kind of incredible to see everyone how they live their life there. It just enabled us to just be really creative I suppose.
What was your approach in the writing process for the album?
Well as with most things in this band, we really didn’t think about the record we’re making too consciously. We didn’t sit down and make a plan. We didn’t really have any ambitions or aspirations from it, we just kind of wrote throughout a year like on tour and then when we were at home and then it just developed quite organically I suppose. The only kind of rules, if you can even call them that, we set for ourselves is that the music has to [be] dynamic and it has to be passionate and that’s about it really.
What themes run throughout in the lyrics?
I guess the whole album, the songs are all very different and cover different things, but the album as a whole is really trying to encourage people to step out of what they perceive as normality and sort of really think about how things can be different and how things can be better. Yeah, it’s just about questioning perceptions I suppose, coming at it from a much more psychological point of view. It’s just supposed to be an injection of kind of positivity and empowerment ideas.
Was there anything in particular that you were drawing inspiration from?
Nothing in particular. We listen to such a diverse range of music all the time, so it ranges from Stravinsky to Regina Spektor to Radiohead to Sick Of It, just all sorts of stuff.
Enter Shikari will be playing at The Loft in Poughkeepsie, NY, on April 4, the Theatre Of Living Arts in Philadelphia on April 5 and at Irving Plaza in NYC on April 6. For more information, go to entershikari.com.