Take punk, drum ’n’ bass, electronica, hardcore, dubstep and rock, then mash it all up into one sound… Sure, once you’ve spelt it out like that, in theory it may sound like a mess… but in practice Enter Shikari are far from mere noise, as vocalist Roughton ‘Rou’ Reynolds insists.
“It might sound stupid to some people, but it’s stupid to me that people can’t understand where we’re coming from,” argues Reynolds.
“You can tell when music is fake and when it’s only being written to appeal to a fickle fan-base – trust me, you can tell,” he emphasises. “It sounds a lot different when it’s got heart and soul and meaning. We see music as an art-form, and in art there should be no restrictions.
“Yeah,” he concedes, “it’s aggressive and it might sound all over the place, but we are passionate about it and we love it. We wouldn’t be running around the stage like mad –shouting our lungs out and stuff – if this wasn’t something we believed in!” he laughs. “If you’re not into it, you’re not going to shout about it, are you?”
It’s a fair point, especially when considering the reputation the UK four-piece have garnered for their schizophrenic, riot-inducing live shows and pure, raw on-stage energy. Fresh off this year’s Van’s Warped Tour in California, Reynolds says he’s pumped to bring the chaos back to Australia for the third time when they hit this month.
“Warped was like a foreign festival that always looked good on TV when I was a kid,” recalls the frontman. “America and Australia – it always felt like a complete other world out there somewhere when I was growing up. The farthest I’d ever traveled to was France! Lots of the American bands on Warped were fairly generic, but we’re huge fans of Dillinger [Escape Plan] so it was enough for us just to get to watch them every day.”
It’s the band’s upcoming American support slots for 30 Seconds To Mars in November and December that inspires some mixed feelings in Reynolds, however.
“Well, yeah it’s for the Into The Wild Tour,” he admits. “Uh, well we’ve got a few arena shows with 30 Seconds To Mars… Which should be interesting. I’m not really sure how that’s going to go down!” he chuckles. “I don’t see a lot that our music might have in common, but we’ll give anything a try, really.”
As for Australia, Reynolds points out our country is fast becoming a second home thanks to the band’s ever-growing army of fans. As a result, Enter Shikari are about to undertake their first ever headlining Australian tour, making a comeback to our shores, as mentioned, for the third time in just two years.
“I had so much fun at the Big Day Out especially,” recalls Reynolds. “To be honest, I never expected that. It was such a big party everywhere we played and I totally can’t believe that this will be our third time now,” he grins. “I think a lot of bands can only dream about something like that; it feels good that we will actually be able to say we’ve done it now.
“I’m really keen to show the fans some of the new stuff that we’ve been putting together too because we’ve been playing Common Dreads (the band’s 2009 album) for a little while. At the moment we’re pretty much wrapping up the tour for that album anyway.”
Hopefully Australia will serve as some inspiration for Enter Shikari’s next album, adds Reynolds. Not that the band has put too much thought into the idea in the first place – it’s just not the way these scattered lads work.
“Yeah, we’re too scattered to even come up with a proper plan,” laughs Reynolds. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to record some demos while we’re on tour in Australia and America… We’re going to have to search around for the right gear and I know we’ll end up doing it all in the back of the bus or something. It’s not like we even think about it, really.
“I guess,” he adds, “it’s because we started this band as a hobby and we’re still in that mindset. That’s why we’re so un-organised and don’t think anything through properly. I think that’s a positive thing because you can’t ever take yourself seriously that way,” he grins.
And while Reynolds describes the band’s general attitude as “pretty loose” and generally “grounded,” he takes a very different stance when it comes to the quality of Enter Shikari’s overall sound. After all, they’re doin’ it for the fans as much as themselves… “Every band wants to get better at what they do and we’re not much different in that regard,” confesses Reynolds.
“As much as we liked the first album we did (Take To The Skies from 2007), we know that the production techniques were a bit naïve and the music technology that we were using was really basic. You’ve got to remember, though, we were just out of uni and we didn’t have as much confidence and Common Dreads was a big step for us,” he points out.
“It was nice to be able to take it (production on Common Dreads) into our own hands and really get the time to experiment with what we could do in the studio. We wished we could to it with …’Skies but we couldn’t afford to. And we had such a wicked producer (that would be Andy Gray – who’s worked with U2, Tori Amos and Korn) working with us, which was something we never could’ve even imagined when we started out. It would be great to work again with someone who is as open to experimenting and causing trouble in the studio as Andy was!
“But the main thing with the next album will be to outdo Common Dreads technically,” he nods sagely.
ENTER SHIKARI play two massive shows in Melbourne this week, they’re at The Hi-Fi Bar on Saturday September 25 (18+) and then again at The Hi-Fi Bar on Sunday September 26 (Under 18 – 12pm) – supported by House Vs Hurricane. Common Dreads is out now through Warner.