Enter Shikari

author TL date 15/04/07

For some time now, the British trance/hardcore fusionist in Enter Shikari have been ravaging their homecountry with relentless touring and lately with the release of their much hyped debut album "Take To The Skies", and with all the attention being paid to these guys it was of course only natural for us to get a hold of frontman Rou and guitarist Rory for a chat, before the bands first ever show on Danish soil. Here's what we got from spending half an hour on a lazy friday afternoon with the guys:

RF.net: So, first off, please introduce your band and your music
Rou: Erhmm, I guess.. primarily.. we're a kind of hardcore influenced melodic.. rock.. punk.. band, with layers of different dance influences, trance, drum'n bass, jungle.. Something a bit different and we've being going on for 4 years now, touring our asses off and this is our first time in Denmark

RF.net: So how do you think this tour is going so far?
Rou: Wicked!

Rory: It's only like our third show

Rou: Yeah, we played two shows in Germany. In England we're playing a lot of very big shows in like 1000 people size venues so it's really good to come over to another country and play small shows where there are no barriers

RF.net: You’re being perceived as pioneers of your genre or perhaps more precisely of your particular fusion of genres, what influenced you to come up with this concept of “trancecore” if you can call it that?
Rou: I guess just through boredom and a certain kind of almost annoyance of people having one track minds. When it comes to music you got like the metalheads and the punks and so on, and they only listen to that, and they don't listen to anything else, and we've always had all sorts of influences around us, like being near London with all the clubs and the dance scene, and then there's also been a thriving hardcore punk scene around us as well, so we just decided to.. Like.. It was obvious to us what to do, it was like "meant to be". *laughter*. It sounded really well so we just sort of went with it.

RF.net: Having gathered more than considerable hype from your extensive touring and use of myspace, expectations for “Take To The Skies” were large to say the least. How did this affect you? Did you feel pressured?
Rou: Not really. You see we didn't make the hype we were just playing the same songs and the same shows that we did four years ago, when noone knew us and we had no media attention at all. I don't know, it just felt like eventually people would start to get us and start to get into what we were doing and that's wicked, but we never really had any big expectations for anything, so we never thought that if we didn't make that or if we didn't sell this amount of cd's then it's all gone downhill. It didn't really affect us all that much, it was just really cool that everyone was starting to pay attention.

RF.net: You could say the world was finally ready for Enter Shikari?

Rou: Haha.. Yeah!

RF.net: By now numerous sources have flocked to nominate your liveshow as some of the best stuff anyone can go see these days. What would you say makes your live performances so special?
Rory: I think it's got a lot to do with the fusion of all these things, like you got the people who like their dance and the people who like their rock, and the whole atmosphere that creates is very sort of passionate and energetic and I think that this really gets expressed though both us on stage as well as the crowd.

Rou: Yeah it's like with hardcore you've got this very passionate genre, and then there's the whole euforic feel you get from dance and trance and that's also quite an emotion, and then when you put the whole thing together it becomes very kind of in your face in the liveshow, and it's just wicked that everyone wants to get involved as well. We always consider the audience to be kind of a collective 5th member of the band, because we've got the gang vocals you know, and we always try to get into the audience and get them up with us, and it's just always really good fun.

RF.net: So do have you seen any signs of your music unifying these different crowds, like virtually make people get along better?

Rou: Yeah well, at our shows there are always all these different sorts of people, dancing in different ways and we do see some kinds of conflict, but we'd like for it to become as hardcore's supposed to be unifying, and we hate it when there are fights at shows, so we really go to great lengths to try and make people accept each other. Like we want them to remember that we're all just here to enjoy music and celebrate life, and that's actually where the whole human pyramid thing came from, like, we would encourage people to build a human pyramid in the crowd and get them working together you know almost like a team building exercise. laughs

RF.net: It seems your road to success has been a lot shorter than that of a whole lot of other bands. How does it make you feel thinking about your quite sudden rise to the spotlights? How do you handle this?
Rory: Well I'm quite happy with the way it's happened, as it hasn't been intimidating or anything like that, because it's all been done more or less through us, so it's kind of a very dignifying way to enter the publics eye.

RF.net: Yeah, speaking of that, I know that you've chosen to remain unsigned and work with your own DIY label, but could you explain your motivations for doing this?
Rory: Well, basically we just toured for ourselves for three years, making our own tshirts and cd's and stuff like that, and then, when we sold out The Astoria which is like a 2000 capacity venue, like, before that we'd have no press or anything interested in us, and then when we sold that out, everybody just realized that they couldn't really ignore us anymore. Then we started getting loads of offers from different recordlabels, but during that time we kind of realized that there wasn't really anything any of them could offer us, that we didn't already have ourselves or were able to do ourselves with the experience we'd gained from doing everything by ourselves for those three years. So we just didn't feel like giving away our copyrights for a load of money that we'd eventually have to pay back anyway.

RF.net: Critical voices might claim that your style might have served as a gimmick to give you all this attention. Are you afraid of becoming perceived as a ‘gimmick’ band, and how do you think you can avoid it?
Rou: I think that with us, we actually sort of encourage it with the fingerlights and all that stuff, but if you've seen us or listened to our music, I think you'll know that we're not 'just' a gimmick band, but we're also not afraid to make little gimmicks out of things, because for us it's just another way to involve the audience, like give them a for instance giving them a lightshow that they're actually part of, and there's no deeper meaning behind it, it just looks cool. So we're not afraid to use gimmicks but I don't think we're a gimmick band.

RF.net: What do you guys listen to in your spare-time right now?
Rou: In the moment I'm listening to a lot of chilled out stuff, because when you're on tour, you're playing with a lot of.. Is there support band tonight?

RF.net: Seems noone knows actually

Rou: I don't think there is so.. But when you're playing shows it's usually like there three metal bands or something like that and it's all very "WRAAARHH", and then you just really like to get on your bus and listen to something chilled out, stuff like Minus The Bear and Get Cape Wear Cape Fly.

RF.net: And how about you Rory?

Rory: Well over the last couple of weeks I've been listening to a lot of UK hiphop, as well as a bit of The Roots, and right now it's the first bit of hot weather we've seen for a while, so we've just been enjoying sitting on the top of the bus chilling out really.

RF.net: Getting a bit more specific, who would you say is like "the best band in the world"? Who would be a band that everyone should really look up to?
Rou: Hmmm! I'm trying to think of something recent here..

RF.net: Well if what comes to mind is something older or more classic, that's alright even if it is kind of the boring way to go.

Rou: Yeah.. Hmmmmmmmmmm...............................

Rory: *whispers* Just namedrop Biffy's..

Rou: Yeah? Biffy Clyro? I mean they're just starting to get like real mainstream attention, and they just deserve it so much because they've made some really good albums with really good melodic things on them. It's nothing like, there's nothing particularly different about them as with us, because when we started out we did feel pressured to do something different, because today it's much like if there's nothing different about a band people will go kind of "what's the point", and with Biffy Clyro I think that they've just got the tunes, the melody and the catchyness, and in that way, they're a big influence to us.

Rory: We could say Pendulum as well..

Rou: Oh we could say Pendulum as well? Hahaha!

Rory: Haha.. yeah.. (The interviewer feels like something terribly internal just went way over his head)

RF.net: So if you could be anywhere in the world, on tour with any band you’d like, where and with whom would you be, and would you be headlining or supporting?
Rou: Well, we'd probably play a normal rock gig with a couple of good supportbands, and then after we'd been on, we'd probably have Pendulum on playing through the hours of the morning, and then have DJ sets in between, so it would start out like a rock night and then end up more like a clubbing night..

RF.net: Kind of like the "Return To Energizer" song?

Rou: Yeah

Rory: Exactly

RF.net: What would you say is the hugest encouragement about being in a band and making music today? And how about the worst DIScouragement?
Rou: The best is just when you're on tour and waking up each morning and being in a different place, like this morning, we got here at like 2am, 3am or something, and we'd heard so much about Christiania, so it was just a really weird experience to find ourselves walking through these streets at 3am last night where people where like.. Making fires in the streets.. So it's just being able to go around the world, doing things you like and are passionate about instead of being in an office or whatever we'd be doing otherwise. Hmm.. The discouragement...

Rory: Actually to me it's like.. Sometimes when you're on tour you'll spend so much time being so happy and excited, and then all the suddenly, usually in the morning like when you're doing a soundcheck, you'll just suddenly dip down because it all has to even itself out somehow..

Rou: Yeah kinda of like you run out of adrenaline and have absolutely no more energy, because it's very much like you're always running on adrenaline, and when it happens you just feel like death you know, because it's all still hard work.

RF.net: Yeah, but you're getting warmed up for tonight right?

Rou: Hahah, yeah sure..

RF.net: Yeah, you better be *all laugh*

RF.net: I know it’s kind of early but have you begun thinking about an eventual next album yet?
Rou: Yeah, we hope to start working on it at the end of this year, and just I mean, with the first album we only spent two weeks in the studio and it was so ridiculous because it was just crammed in between two tours, so we're actually looking forward to getting back into the studio and hopefully have time to experiment a bit more and just get down to doing new stuff. There's already a few tunes in the works.

RF.net: Okay, but you're not planning any major changes then?

Rou: No, I mean we'll of course still be kind of branching out, like we always have been, but it'll still definetely be Enter Shikari.

RF.net: About "Take To The Skies", you have a lot of untitled interludes on it, and I for one would like to know what you were aiming to do with those?
Rory: Well, we just wanted the album to flow like it was a DJ set. There's only about three seconds of silence in the whole album, and we even toyed with the idea of having only one track but it would have been really annoying to have to sit and skip forward to songs. But we did it just to keep it flowing, so all these little electronic interludes are there to sort of bring it down and chill it out a bit, and we've got one of them kind of hiphop style and there's a jungle-inspired one, and it's just slipping in a little of everything really.

RF.net: Okay so, time for the last question. We usually like to include bands in this poll thing where we ask bands about the this whole topic on downloading music illegally of the internet, so what's your opinion on it?
Rory: Personally I used to do it a lot but I kind of stopped, because I couldn't really be bothered to try and find stuff in a good quality, so I just started paying for it really. But if anyone downloaded our album illegally, then I guess it would be hypocritical to say that I was against it.

RF.net: Well, you're allowed to be hypocrite

Rory: Well, personally, and this is my opinion and not the one of the whole band, but I don't really mind it.

Rou: I only buy bands that are my favourite band, and if you really like a band then you should want to buy it because you want the artwork and you want the cd, and I don't think digital downloads and stuff could ever completely overtake music, because you always want to have this cd in your collection, and you want it to be proud of it and to have something to look back on. So I always think that if you really like the band then you should buy the cd. But if it's a couple of songs here and there or if you want to check out a new band for the first time, then that's cool.

Rory: Yeah, personally I'm just happy that people are listening to the music and appreciating it, because that's the most important thing.

RF.net: Well, that was all I had for you guys, so now, if you have anything extra you'd like to add, then now's your chance, and if you don't, then just forget I asked and I won't put it in the interview.
Rou: Then it would be just that this is a crazy and absolutely amazing place, and we can't wait to come back even though we haven't even left yet.

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