Rou pictured performing at Leeds festival wearing the boohooMAN utility pocket smart twin set. Credit – Tom Pullen
We caught up with Enter Shikari‘s lead vocalist and keyboardist Roughton “Rou” Reynolds to catch up on all things music, fashion and festivals. Shortly after this interview, Enter Shikari performed on the Main Stage at Leeds festival 2019.
What’s your favourite song that you have written together?
Favourite gig location, city?
What bands do you listen to that have inspired your music style?
In chronological order from when I got into them: The Beatles. A whole host of motown and northern soul. Queen. Joy division and the whole Factory Records scene, The prodigy. Blur. Sick of it All and loads of hardcore punk. Noisa and loads of drum and bass.
Tell us about your new single, Stop The Clocks. What’s it about and what inspired that amazing video?
It’s an ode to human connection. It’s about sharing vulnerabilities and being open and understanding with people. It’s one of the most positive songs we’ve done I think. It’s like a nice happy ending to The Spark era. We did the video in Paris with this amazing lighting installation. We just wanted the performance to capture the passion and positivity of the song.
If you could perform alongside any band/ artist in the world dead or alive who would it be?
Igor Stravinsky & David Bowie.
How did you get into music and form the band?
Well my first foray into music was influenced by the big band jazz that my Nan got me into as a nipper. I picked the trumpet at 9 because of her love of Glenn Miller. I moved onto the guitar and me, Chris and Rob made our first band when we were 12. Pretty mad that we’re still together really!
Which festival would you dream of headlining?
I think our music is too varied and idiosyncratic to headline a major festival really. But I always used to dream of playing Reading Festival when I’d go there as a kid. I still get butterflies playing Reading even now.
What do you think you would be doing if you didn’t get into music?
What’s the best part of being in a band?
Getting to visit to places all over the world I’d never dreamed I’d get a chance to visit and connecting with so many different people.
Dream girl to go on a date with?
Someone creative, curious and empathic.
Describe your fashion style?
At the moment, mixture of the utilitarianism of post punk and the flamboyance of 60s soul.
What is your favourite album you have written so far?
The Spark. It’s always the most recent one. I wouldn’t put out an album if it wasn’t my favourite.
What was you first ever festival you went to?
Baby wipes, spare shoes, energy bars, a cheeky smile.
What advice would you give to someone who’s never been to a festival?
Festivals are really the only scenario left in modernity where we come together indiscriminately and celebrate life, creativity and community. So try and soak up as much of the unifying and fun atmosphere and take it with you back into the outside world – it really needs it right now.
What was it like growing up in Hertfordshire where you formed the band?
We were really lucky to be spoilt with an amazing and thriving music scene. All sorts of music influenced is from our local hardcore punk scene to the drum and bass nights that were put on at our local venue. St. Albans had the most pubs per square mile in the UK at the time I grew up there so was always a thriving town.
Who is your biggest style inspiration, if you could have anyone’s wardrobe who would it be?
David Bowie – it has to be. Though it would need to be a walk in wardrobe the size of a small aircraft hanger.
Rou, we’ve seen that you’re going to be playing a special acoustic set Omera in London on 18th July, with all proceeds going to mental health organisation, what inspired you to get involved with this?
That was a really fun night with some great musicians. It was the 70 year birthday of the Mental health Association so was real honour. Mental health is still a huge issue in our country, the worst statistic being that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45. There’s still so much work to do not only to normalise previously stigmatised conditions but also to lobby the government to start taking mental health seriously instead of tragically underfunding the NHS.
Tell us a bit about the book you published recently, Dear Future Historians?
It’s all my lyrics collated together long with essays about the songs and a whole host of amazing photography from over the years. It’s for any fan who wants to know the meaning of the songs and the influences and reasoning behind the lyrics.
New video for Stop the clocks – https://youtu.be/wGXf3M0tXLw