Enter Shikari are the rising stars of the experimental British music scene known for their eclectic sound with deep-rooted political and social musings. Following the release of their third album, A Flash Flood of Colour, Fused caught up with drummer Rob Rolfe (fresh from the shower) to talk touring, politics, social awareness and…classical music!
First off, congratulations on the success of the new album and getting to the top five you must be stoked?
Yeah absolutely – in the mid week when it was No1 we were all flabagasted and expected for it to get bumped down by the weekend by all the big market pop buyers but to stay in the top five was incredible…we couldn’t ask for any more really.
To achieve top 5 against some heavyweight mainstream opposition – is it a sign of a change in the acceptance of alternative music?
Yeah I think that it’s a great thing for alternative music and independent music to get that far in the charts. It’s also important for socially conscious music as, to be honest, the majority of music you get in the charts nowadays is about ex girlfriends or boyfriends or going to clubs, and doesn’t address any of the serious issues that affects our lives – so for us to have that success is something really special.
And a testament to the support of your fans no doubt?
Definitely, we have some of the most dedicated and loyal fans in the world and I truly believe that without their support we wouldn’t be here doing what we love.
What’s the ethos of the new album?
The new album is an evolution of the Enter Shikari sound…we have always tried to spread our wings and push boundaries as far as possible…reaching into as many different genres as we can. In this instance we have barged out so far out that it is almost unrecogniseable as Enter Shikari – but still has the inherent Shikari sound.
One of the most amazing aspects of the band is the ability, as you said, to draw on so many genres and seamlessly fuse them together. It’s something that other bands have tried and failed to do – so what makes Enter Shikari different?
We work really hard to put varying dynamics within our music and take chances. Because our fan base is so loyal, more solid and dedicated as opposed to mainstream acts whose fans are much more fickle…we are able to take chances and experiment and hopefully the fans appreciate that.
The lyrics are a massive part of the anthemic and empowering nature of the songs what is the writing process?
Well Rou writes most of the songs but we talk about the subjects that are important to us as individuals and a band turning them into songs as we go. We are all very driven to find a better world I guess and there are still a lot of apathetic people out there, but we are doing our part to get people to realise that there is so much more to this world.
Whether we like it or not we are on a podium and have a voice that people will listen to and it’s imperative that we make the best of use of that to empower our fans to take an interest in the world and become agents of change…it’s important for us to be open and honest about what we believe in.
You’ve had a bit of down time of late since the last tour and album launch-what do you like doing when not on the road?
We’ve just been chilling out seeing our friends, family and playing some X-box. When your on tour you get to the end and you’re desperate for a break but when you finally get it two days later you don’t know what to do with yourself. So we emailed a couple of guys and arranged to do an intimate gig at the Bull and Gate in London for 100 of our most hardcore fans and a load of friends and family. It was a chance for us to practice our new material and have an old school sweaty, dirty gig again.
You’re on tour for the next month or so – where is your favorite place you’re going/have been?
It’s between Tokyo and Russia as they are both insane. Tokyo is our first stop on tour and we’ll be there for a couple of days doing press and it’s always a mad time – a short sharpe shock to the system with hardly any sleep. It’s really surreal…the people are great and get really involved in the show…the last time we were there within 20 seconds they had stormed the stage!
Then we move onto Melbourne and Australia, which is a completely different atmosphere…everyone is so chilled out and relaxed it’s an amazing vibe – and chance to chill out a bit.
After Australia we are doing some shows in Europe before coming back to the UK for five shows in some of the biggest venues we have played in and we’re going to spend a lot of money on big production and lighting and play a mixture of the old and new material and show our home country what we can do…it should be pretty special.
How important are live shows to you?
Live shows are definitely important and something that we try to put as much into as possible. I remember when we sold out the Astoria and our management sat us down and said ‘You can either have big light or a big laser…if you have both you won’t make any money’ and we just said f**k it we’ll have both and put the money back into the show and make sure it’s good… I’ve been to shows before where you have got nothing for your money and we’ll never be one of those bands.
What types of music do you like listening to?
Being on tour so much you are always listening to loud music at shows…so when I am at home with my head phones on I like to listen to classical music and chill out, which is kind of weird for a rock drummer I suppose. But when I’m back home it’s pretty much all I like listening to.
Who are your favourite established or up and coming bands at the moment?
We take a lot of inspiration from bands like Sigur Ros who are a lot more delicate and melodic…all their music is really gorgeous and we all love it. And Letlive for classic punk as they do it so well and the passion they put into performing is amazing…having them as a support act recently really meant we had to up our game.
For tickets go to http://www.entershikari.com/shows/.
Words: Lee Hall