We caught up with lead singer of Enter Shikari, Rou Reynolds, to talk about their new album, European tour, musical influences and new year’s resolutions.

How did Enter Shikari meet?

We’ve known each other since primary school. I think our friendships truly began after a game of rounders with another school that descended into an all-out brawl. Either that or at after school recorder class. You’ve never heard four guys make recorder’s squeal more pleasurably.

What does Enter Shikari mean/how did you come up with the name? 

Shikari means hunter in various Indian languages. I became aware of the word as a kid as my uncle had a boat of the same name. He’s lost at sea, never came back, but he died doing what he loved and that’s what we’re doing with this band. Getting lost (albeit in music) and slowly dying, (one onstage collision at a time), doing what we love.

Describe Enter Shikari’s sound?

Woke pop cuz. But to be more specific, we’re part of that long lineage of British music that spans back from The Beatles through to The Sex Pistols, New Order, Blur, The Prodigy, we sound like a mash up of all that with added influences from UK dance music, jungle; garage; drum & bass, it’s a pretty eclectic sound basically.

Who would you consider to be your biggest musical influence?

Bowie perhaps. Definitely philosophically at least. That thirst to progress, the need to evolve, it’s very important to me.

Name three artists you had on your playlist growing up?

I grow up on a lot of Motown and northern soul as my dad was a DJ and had boxes of the stuff on vinyl. The Four Tops, Edwin Starr, Chairman Of The Board.

Greatest album of all time? 

Christ on a crocodile, that’s a tough one mate. The Spark by Enter Shikari I’d say.

If Enter Shikari could collaborate with anyone, past or present, who would you want?

Igor Stravinsky. I’d love to get into his head.

You’ve released your latest album, The Spark, how long did it take to record? 

We did it on and off over a period of about 6 months.

Which is your favourite song from the album?

Changes all the time, I’d say at the moment it’s The Sights. We’ve finished touring the UK and that was our opener, it went off every night.

Which is your favourite song to perform live? 

Ah well I’ve kind of ruined this question now with my last one haven’t I. Another track I loved playing on the last tour was Undercover Agents, there’s something magical for me in that song, I felt possessed every time we played it.

You’re currently touring The Spark around Europe, what’s the best thing about being on tour? 

Hearing the crowd passionately sing the words back to you every night, you really can’t beat that feeling of exuberance and connection with such a large communion of people.

What’s the worst?

Missing my cat.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you on tour?

I was once putting on a jumper and couldn’t find the head hole, I was flapping about with the jumper over my head and upper body for a good 7 or 8 seconds. It was a harrowing time for me. Pretty full on I’m sure you’ll agree.

What’s been your career highlight so far?

Breaking the record for the crowd amount of crowd surfers over the barrier on the mainstage at reading festival a few years back. It was an incredible sight that’ll stay with me forever.

What has been your 2017 highlight? 

Successfully growing garlic, onions and spinach in my back garden.

Where and when is the most memorable performance you’ve ever played? 

Christ on a cracker with cheese that’s impossible to answer, there’s so many! One that springs to mind was a show we played at South By South West Festival in Texas a good few years back. It was at a ranch and had a swimming pool near the stage. It was such a hot day I decided to go for a dip mid way through the set, it was lovely. I now request a swimming pool on our rider for every show but unfortunately we haven’t had another venue like that since.

Where, when & who is the most memorable performance you’ve ever seen? 

Roger Waters at Coachella about 10 years ago was incredible. It’s what influenced to do surround sound for our live shows on this last tour. He’s the only person I’ve seen do it properly. It took us a decade but we got there too and I’m so happy we did cos it bring a whole new immersive atmosphere to the shows.

If I wasn’t in Enter Shikari I’d be…

Chancellor of the exchequer/a marine biologist/a town crier/a hi-vis jacket wearing jobsworth security wanker/a rusty combine harvester/your dad’s bit on the side.

How do you spend your down time? 

You know what, I’m so busy the only down time I get these days is when I have a shit. So I really treasure it. The time that is, not my faeces.

Drink of choice on a night out? 

Gin & tonic, always.

Favourite TV serious & film?

Just getting through the new Black Mirror, always great.

Watched The Imitation Game again over Christmas, bloody brilliant that, such a beautiful but also ultimately tragic story.

Give us your best joke?

How do you coax a cheese loving bear out of a cave? …Camembert.

Where can we see Enter Shikari heading next on their tour?

We head to North America next and travel around there making noise and a nuisance of ourselves until March.

What advice do you have to those wanting to make it in music? 

Write and perform banal, recycled, mainstream shite. Spend more time on what you wear than on your art. Fleece your fans, even charge them to meet you. Make stupid, grandiose and arrogant statements that are really rather trite but still somehow get the media’s attention. And of course, don’t ever sing about anything meaningful or political in any way, just recycle lyrics from older (better) songs. Or get incredibly lucky doing the opposite of all those things, like we did. (not advised, it’s a lot of work.)

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

Eat more cake. Read more books.

Cheers Rou! Make sure you check out Enter Shikari’s new album The Spark.

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