Enter Shikari: „A straw hat was the worst“

Rou and Rory from Enter Shikari talk about their weirdest shows, special photo faces, their worst injuries and who they would collaborate with if they had the choice

Enter Shikari from St. Albans, England, are best known for their permanent playing with genre boundaries. They  fuse post-hardcore with drum’n’bass, dubstep, trance – anything that comes to their minds. Their fans love them for their unique shows; you will hardly find another band that seeks contact with the crowd as much as they do. On 19 January Enter Shikari released their fourth studio album „The Mindsweep“. At the moment, they are touring through European mainland. We met them before their show in Vienna at Arena.

Foto: (c) Georg Marlovics

Rou Reynolds
(c) Georg Marlovics

mokant.at: Let’s pretend that I’ve never heard your new album and you’d have to sell it to me. What would tell me to make me buy it?
Rou: „Selling“ it to you goes like against everything we’re about. If you like music that tries to evoke all sorts of emotion, using all sorts of instruments, give it a listen. If you like the album … maybe buy it. (laughs)

mokant.at: Is there a song on the album that’s kind of the heart – a song the album wouldn’t work without?
Rory: I would say that every song is kind of needed for the album as a whole. Because when we sat down to pick all the songs, we had about forty different tracks. We had to whittle down to about ten tracks. The way we did it was to make a graph with categories like heaviness on one end and lightness on the other. Then we put the songs where we think they could fit. So there were clumps of songs and we picked the best ones out of these clumps. It’s hard to explain, but if there are any two songs on an album that provoke a similar kind of emotion, then we will get rid of one. So we ended up with an album which is the most well rounded. I would say, it is impossible to pick one song that the album needs.

mokant.at: What happens to the ones that drop out? Are they never heard again or do you use them for later albums?
Rory: We have like a few hard drives that are absolutely packed with ideas of songs that didn’t quite make it. When we’re going to write a new album, we sit down and listen to the old ideas and sometimes we’re like “Oh, that one was amazing”. But that doesn’t happen that often… Does it?
Rou: No… By the time we have come to recording a new album, we have usually got enough new material that we are completely exited about. But sometimes we do go back.

mokant.at: If each of you had to pick one song of the new album, which one would be your personal favorite?
Rou: We’re playing about half of the songs live at the moment. We’re really enjoying all of them because they are fresh. I’d probably go with “Myopia”.
Rory:Anaesthetist”. But last week it was “Torn Apart”. Maybe it will be something different next week.

mokant.at: What was the weirdest thing one of you has ever done during a show?
Rory: That’s hard to say. Probably it was on the Warped Tour. All the stages there are trucks that convert into stages and the stage we were playing had something like an inflatable top with ropes coming down. One of us… Was it you?
Rou: I did it…
Rory: He grabbed onto the rope and tried to swing into the crowd. But he pulled the roof down in front of us instead. Later the whole roof deflated. We got a lot of trouble for that.


mokant.at: Do you get troubles often? And if so, is it more like “It’s ok, they are Enter Shikari” or do the securities want to kill you?
Rory: You’d be amazed how often we get away with such things. (laughs) Quite often the tour manager, Rou’s dad, gets shouted at – we feel quite bad about that. (laughs)
Rou: My dad is the one who gets in fights before we do. Because he is the one the securities come to. He is like the point of contact. So you often see him shouting in an office. (laughs)

mokant.at: If something happens, is he like “Not again” or “Yeah, go on!”?
Rou: As long as we don’t break anything and as long as we don’t hurt anyone, I don’t think anyone should tell us not to do anything. He is probably more punk than us. (laughs) So he kind of agrees.

Foto: (c) Georg Marlovics

Rory Clewlow and Rou Reynolds
(c) Georg Marlovics 

mokant.at: Has one of you ever hurt himself during a show?
Rory: One time someone crowdsurfed and fell into my microphone stand and it smacked on my teeth. This one is fake. (Points at this front tooth)
Rou: But we have been fairly lucky. No broken bones or anything.
Rory: Yes. Just little things you get over.
mokant.at: I’m asking because I’ve seen a show where Rou was in the middle of the crowd and people were already pulling of his shirt. Are you always certain that you’ll survive such situations?
Rou: I think, when people get over the immediate shock like “Oh my god, it’s him!”, especially if you speak to them, then it’s fine. I’ve never really bothered going out into the crowd.
Rory: By the way I’ve just remembered the worst injury I’ve had during a gig. It was when I went into the crowd. Someone was dancing and waving a straw hat around and the straw hat was spiky at the edge. I flew into my eye and cut my eyeball. That took about months to heal.
Rou: For the weeks after, he was playing shows with an eye patch. (laughs)
Rory: So a straw hat is the worst that has ever happened. (laughs)
Rou: After all these years of climbing stages. (laughs)

Foto: (c) Georg Marlovics

Rory Clewlow
(c) Georg Marlovics

mokant.at: Let’s go back to your music. If I’m not mistaken, you’ve never featured another band or singer on any of your studio albums. Why not?
Rou: I don’t think it’s anything that we are against. I mean we are friends with many bands. So it’s not that we are unsocial or something. I think in this day and age perhaps it got a bit too much. We know lots of bands who have done it and who are not even friends. It’s basically the label who wants that because it would promote the whole album a lot better. That just doesn’t feel right for us. As well, we have been the same four band members forever. This isn’t a band that gets a new drummer every week. We are just one entity, one family. You know, I grew up with The Beatles. And the Beatles were the Beatles. They didn’t need someone else to come and do vocals with them… As long as comparing ourselves to the Beatles doesn’t sound too pompous. (laughs)
Rory: I would say that, if you listened to the new album, there are so many different styles of vocals on it. Rou could do almost any style that anyone else could. So we don’t really need to get someone for a singing part or a screaming part on.
mokant.at: But if everything fit and you had the choice, who would be on your album?
Rou: You know Seal? (laughs)
mokant.at: Seal? Why Seal?
Rou: He’s smooth and he’s a soul singer. That’s something I’m not good at. (laughs)

mokant.at: My next question would have gone to Rob, but I’ll ask it anyway. In 90% of all photos he looks completely annoyed. Is this a personal hobby or does he simply hate photos?
(both laugh)
Rou: He’s definitely the angriest and hardest member of the band. (laughs)
mokant.at: But on the other side his tweets are all funny.
Rou: Oh, yes. He is totally that as well.
Rory: I think it’s just his photo face. Whenever there’s a camera he makes the same face.
mokant.at: So he’s aware of that?
Rou: Probably, yes. (laughs)
Rory: He is by far the funniest person I have ever met in my life. He still makes me laugh more than anyone else. He’s just a hilarious person.

"The Rob-Face"  Foto: (c) Georg Marlovics

„The Rob-Face“
(c) Georg Marlovics

mokant.at: My last questions concern supporting acts. First, why have you chosen Arcane Roots to be your supporting act for this tour?
Rou: We did a show with them in Paris about a year ago. We just really enjoyed their music; great songwriting, really good hooks.
mokant.at: How important is it in general for a young band to be a supporting act?
Rory: We already had like 300 headline shows in the UK before we performed as a supporting act for the first time. I think it was for Billy Talent. But before that we took like the long hard road to get any sort of recognition. But it definitely does help a lot. Many people remember us because they’ve seen us with Billy Talent or Linkin Park. It definitely is important, but it’s not the only option.

Titelbild: (c) Georg Marlovics

Michael Nowak ist als Chef vom Dienst und stv. Chefredakteur für mokant.at tätig. Er studierte Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft sowie Geschichte an der Universität Wien. Kontakt: michael.nowak[at]mokant.at

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