Enter Shikari are a british, St. Albans-based quartet of kinda electro, kinda rocky shouty loud music. Their new album, COMMON DREADS will be released shortly. Some say it will come to define the era into which it was born: one of recession, paranoia, state control and the fallout of decades of accelerated capitalism. But – and this is important – also an era of hope and creativity, humanity, hedonism, irreverence and fun. Just check out lead single ‘Juggernauts’.
Anyway, lead singer Rou Reynolds sat down for a brief Q&A about the new record.
Your first album Take To The Skies--released on your own Ambush Reality label--debuted at #4 on the U.K. chart, becoming one of the most successful self-released rock albums ever. With your choice of major label offers in the U.K., why did you decide to release it on your own and what did you learn from it?
At the time, we didn't really feel like we had a choice--we'd been touring for around two years properly without any press or label interest. We'd done everything along the way ourselves from the booking to the designing and printing of T-shirts to recording our demos. It was only as we released "Sorry You're Not A Winner" that the interest suddenly boomed and by that time we realized we could do it ourselves with the help of the family we had built up around us. I'm glad it happened just as it did as I'd hate to be tied up in a major label deal now in this current era of uncertainty.
On COMMON DREADS, you teamed with producer Andy Gray (U2, Tori Amos, Korn, Gary Numan) and holed yourselves up in the isolated Isle of Wight. How did this work for you? What did you feel the result was for COMMON DREADS?
It was superb-- it couldn't have been more of an opposite experience from the recording of our first album. That was rushed down in two weeks and I've never been happy with the way the vocals sound. This time around, it was a conscious decision to get away for a few months and experiment. Andy (Gray) was wicked as well--he was up for anything from burning pianos (“Havoc B”) to breaking into churches and recording organs (“Fanfare”) to singing outdoors in boxers whilst it was snowing at 1:00AM to get that real 'cold' vibe (‘’All Eyes On The Saint’’). It was a real fun experience and I'm really proud of the result! COMMON DREADS really captures the live feel of the band and our vision.
What would you describe as the most powerful song to you on this album? Which new song do you really enjoy performing right now?
That’s a tough one--I'd probably have to go with “Fanfare.” It was all done pretty last minute, so I guess it came out as a final outpouring of frustration with both our countries’ aggressive foreign policies this past decade. I'm loving performing “Havoc B” at the moment--Chris pulls down some vicious sub bass to get the ground shaking and at the end hearing the crowd join in with the chanting creates such an unbelievable sense of unity.
What was the inspiration behind the song “Juggernauts?”
We campaigned to stop a local superstore giant here in the U.K. from building a store right in the center of our town. It was just a nice quaint victory that was really inspiring to see everyone getting involved. The song itself is about how important it is to feel involved and to have a sense of belonging to your community and how our current economic and social system actively discourages this.
The name ENTER SHIKARI came from a boat that belonged to your uncle. Why did you choose it and what do you feel it means?
Shikari means “The Hunter” in many Indian languages. My uncle was a fisherman and back when I was a kid I used to go out onto the high seas with him and just thought it was an awesome word. When we made the band, it just kind of fitted into what we had to do. We knew to make changes in this world you have to get out there and hunt yourself. It just seemed apt for how we were working as a band (the whole DIY style) as well as our political outlook.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?