Is it dance-able music for rock fans or rock music for fans of dance? Enter Shikari’s unique blend of trance and screamo has been making waves in the UK for the last few years and come January, we will bear witness to their storming live shows as part of the Big Day Out.
Bass player Chris caught up for a chat…
of Enter Shikari
By Cameron Chambers
Hey Chris, how are you today?
I’m good thanks Cameron, how
Doing well mate. Where are
you guys at the moment?
At the moment I’m in Anaheim,
in Los Angeles, in Orange County… I think, ha ha.
Enter Shikari are obviously
doing very well in Europe, how have the US audiences been responding
It’s been pretty good actually.
It’s a step back down again with us doing club shows again, so there’s
anything from 20 to 300 people coming out each night.
The people who are there are
digging it though and they’ve been great shows for us!
How did you feel about having
to win a crowd over again? I’m sure it’s been a
while since you’ve had to do that.
Yeah, yeah. We were actually
quite excited about it! We’ve been really looking forward to it because
we did it for so long in the UK.
We’d travel to venues where
no one had heard of us and do our best to make an impression… and
the first impression counts. We just set about doing that so we remembered
techniques on how we used to that do that.
It was all about getting in
their faces and we enjoyed the challenge!
Who are some bands you’ve
enjoyed playing with while in the US?
Well, we didn’t take any supports
on this tour so it’s just been a lot of local bands from around the
areas we were in. We played with a band last night called Dear Life
who were great… they’re from California.
2007 has obviously been
a great year for you guys, did you ever think you’d be at the point
where your record was getting released all over the world?
To be honest, no… no we didn’t.
It was definitely a shock. We always wanted to do well but we never
expected that we’d be able to tour the wold on the back of our first
We thought we’d maybe hit Europe
but we’ve ended up in the States, Japan and now we’re heading to Australia
with the Big Day Out, so we’re just chuffed about it.
Enter Shikari’s success
is testament to the fact that a band doesn’t need a manager or an agent
and loads of cash to make a go of things. Is sticking to the independent
or DIY route something that you guys pride yourselves on?
Yeah… I guess the early days
in particular. In the last year or so we have had to start working with
an agent and once we got into the industry we’ve had to pick up a couple
of those things.
We spent the first 2 years
touring in a van though and all our shows were booked by us. We made
our own merch and we had a CD copier in our house that would let us
put in one CD and burn five at a time… so we’d spend hours burning
our songs in a basement, ha ha. We’d print all our artwork which was
bought from merch money and the occasional fifty quid that we’d make
It was a tough few years but
we thoroughly enjoyed it!
The band’s mixture of electro
and modern hardcore has attracted as many nay sayers as it has fans.
Were you guys always looking to incorporate the dance element into your
music or did you simply stumble across your sound during the band’s
We didn’t start off with the
idea. We actually started off as more of an alternative rock band and
we began edging towards hardcore and punk… after that we started getting
into heavier hardcore and punk stuff and then we started going out to
clubs when we were 16 and 17 and saw DJ’s as well as live bands.
I remember one night where
we saw The Dillinger Escape Plan and then we went to Fabric (which
is a club in the UK) to catch some DJ’s. It was two completely different
ends of the spectrum but we noticed that we got a lot of the same feelings
from both styles of music… they both made us feel very passionately.
There was always the passion
in hardcore but we found the same feeling in trance… it was able to
lift your soul out of your body, and we wanted our music to portray
both those feelings.
What have been some of the
highlights for the year?
I guess the festival stretch
we did was a lot of fun. We went into summer being festival virgins
but we went off and by the end of it we’d done around thirty or forty
festivals around the world! We did the Reading and Leeds weekend but
I’d say my favourite was Download in Donnington.
We also did Summersonic in
Japan… we’ve actually been there twice and the first time there was
300 people and the second time round there was around 12,000 people.
It was such a jump, we were just like, “what’s going on here”?!
Asides from that I’d say our
own show at the Brixton Academy was the most fun for me. It was our
last tour and everything was building towards that being our biggest
headline show so far and it was just a hell of a lot of fun!
“Take To The Skies”
came out in March of this year, but it’s effectively a compilation of
all your previously recorded material When can we expect a new Enter
It’s going to be… basically
once we get back from Australia in February we’ll write a new album,
so we’ll be aiming to release it mid next year.
Have you guys started writing
for your next release and if so, how are the new songs turning out?
We’ve got a lot of ideas but
nothing’s recorded or down yet… mainly because we’ve had such a hectic
touring schedule. Now we’re itching to get back into the studio!
With our first album we didn’t
have much time coz we didn’t have any money to spend on it because we
expected it to be a low key release… so we didn’t have much time in
the studio to experiment with ideas and sounds. We just had to get it
down and get it mixed!
Hopefully next time we can
experiment a bit more!
You guys are lucky enough
to be hitting Australia as part of the Big Day Out in January. Who are
some of the bands on the lineup that you’re excited to see?
I haven’t checked the line
up too much… Rage obviously but I’ll need to properly plan it.
It’s going to be one of those
festivals where I’m not going to be in a bus at all so I’ll just walking
around and watching bands and hopefully surfing mid week if I get the
Do you think Enter Shikari’s
live shows are going to translate well in the arena or festival environment?
Yeah… well, with the festivals
we’ve done in the past we always thought it would be a challenge for
us because we’d done more intimate shows and we’d been billed as an
intimate bands. There’s more… what’s the word I’m looking for? There’s
more emotion in smaller shows!
But once we’d played the festivals
we found a whole other side to ourselves. The side which does perform
got used to the bigger shows. We are able to change our show slightly
to fit our environment but the bigger shows are just as much fun, if
not more so.
Do you think the fans who
get to see you in a more intimate setting will get the complete Enter
I’d hope so! There’s two shows
in Melbourne I think… and underage and an over 18’s show, which is
cool for us coz back in England and Europe a lot of the older fans feel
a bit deserted at times coz the younger kids are so quick to buy their
They’re not quite the walk
up shows we used to play.
It’s great that we’re able
to do that! It’s a slightly smaller venue but still bigger than what
we expected down there… it’s something like a 900 capacity place?
But with a place that size we’ll make it feel intimate and bangin!
It’s been a great year for
music. What have been your top 5 records of 2007?
Umm… god, that’s a tough
Biffy Clyro’s album
Puzzle. I just started listening to the new Radiohead which is
fast growing on me. Brand New’s “The Devil And God Are Raging
You know that Brand New
are playing the Big Day Out?
Well, there you go… there’s
one band I’ll be watching! We played with them at Reading and Leeds
and they’re just a great band!
Pendulum and one more… Piesto’s “Elements Of Life”. He’s a really great DJ.
Who are some bands – local
or otherwise – that you think kids should be checking out?
Yeah… well, there’s a band
from around our area called Gallows who are doing very well.
Yeah, I saw them last month,
they were great.
They’ve got a really raw punk
rock show! They’re a great band and they’re from around our area…
literally a ten minute walk from my house.
Who else, who else?
There’s a band we toured with
a while back… a Scottish band called Flood Of Red. They put
on a great live show and they’ve haven’t really got the credit they
deserve. They’ve just been touring the UK and really working hard on
getting their record released.
Keep an eye out for them in
the next year or two.
That’s about all we have
time for mate, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Umm… I guess just tell people
that we’re a live band! A lot of people listen to the album and may
not get it or enjoy it but then they see us live and it all clicks and
falls into place. Just encourage people to come and see!