Enter Shikari just keep pushing the envelope with each new album. The four-piece appear to have continued this pattern with their upcoming album, ‘The Mindsweep’, due out next January. Already, new songs like, ‘The Last Garrison’ and ‘Never Let Go Of The Microscope’ show that same old Shikari energy. But it’s not just their albums that shows that the group pour every ounce of creative energy into things. Their live shows are like watching four bunnies jump around on crack for an hour or so. Before the record drops, we spoke with lead singer Roughton ‘Rou’ Reynolds about the new album, the band’s plans to return to Australia, and his thoughts on our PM, Tony Abbott.
Hey there Rou, how are you man?
Hey dude, I’m good, how you doing?
I’m good thanks, what have you been up to recently?
Well we’re in Japan at the moment, which has been incredible. We’ve just been playing two shows in Tokyo and then we’re heading back. Obviously, before that we’ve just been focusing on the album really.
Sounds great. On the topic of the album, three new songs have been released so far and how have you been finding the reaction to them from the fans, critics and your peers?
It’s been going really well so far. We always get anxious to get the full actual album out because our music is diverse you can’t really judge it by the one track because there’s so many vibes, instrumentation and dynamics on the album.
I wanted to know if there were any cool locational recordings you might have done for the album? Like how you recorded some of the parts for ‘Constellations’ on the last album.
Well, we were basically in the middle of the countryside with rolling hills and meadows. There were a few times were we just took some mics and did some recordings of the nature. There are some really subtle, textured layers dotted through the album that you can sort of listen out for.
The last time you were out here in Australia was back in September of 2012, so are there any plans to make it out in 2015?
Absolutely. We’re trying to get the first half of the year sorted as we’re booking the stuff right now. We’re hoping to get out to you guys within the first half of 2015, hopefully.
Enter Shikari’s been a band for about twelve, thirteen years now and there’s been no line-up changes. What do you think it is that’s made the four of you sticking together all this time?
I never really know what it is to be honest. I guess its because we’re all friends. Me, and our bassist Chris [Batten] and our drummer, Rob [Rolfe] have been in bands since we were about 11, just doing covers of The Beatles and Oasis, and just worked our way through lots of different sounds. We all have a similar vision and mission for this band, we want to make music that says something and enables people to stand up with it, and there’s no sort of egos within the band either.
With the artwork of the album, you guys have again gone with the triangle symbol form the past two releases, so do you think will it appear on any future releases?
We’re not really sure yet. We just take each album as it comes. This album we were luckily enough to work with the same guy who works for The Prodigy and does their artwork and we are really happy with how it turned out.
You again worked with SikTh’s Dan Weller and I wanted to know if you’re all fans of SikTh? [Everyone should be a fan of that band].
Absolutely, SikTh are one of the key bands of our local scene as they come from the same areas as us. So we were all big fans from day one really.
…And obviously you guys like working with him and his sound?
Definitely, he’s a really awesome and laid back guy. We’re not really a band that needs a producer in the traditional sense. We get on really well with him, and I think that’s the most important thing – being comfortable in the studio so ideas can just flow out.
A few months ago you said that you thought it was wrong and exploitative of bands to charge their fan base to meet them before and after a show. Could you elaborate a bit more on that and do you still feel that way?
It just baffles me really. I don’t get out how they can do that, when they’re either hardcore bands or punk bands or bands that. I just don’t understand how they can be influenced by those ethics and out look on life and charge fans, charge the very thing that they grew out just to meet them. It’s just an absolutely baffling, soul-destroying thing.
I definitely agree with you on that man. Now, you’re a pretty outspoken band, and at times you’re very political, so I was wondering if you had any thoughts or comments on our government and our PM, Tony Abbott.
(Laughs) We keep on hearing a lot of things about him and how useless and awful he is. What’s quite interesting is that he’s making enemies on all political spectrums, no matter where you stand, you can see that the guy’s an idiot. For me, I think the most obvious or the most pressing issue is his views on climate change. I think it’s unbelievable that someone can hold power in this day with those views with science in the state that it is.
Absolutely, I fully agree with you man. With climate change, you guys spoke heavily of it on the last album and is that the case with ‘The Mindsweep’?
Yeah, there are a couple points on the album where it focuses on it. Especially with the song ‘Myopia’, which is about climate change and anthropomorphism where I replace people as animals and they complain about what the humans have done to the planet. It’s just so frustrating that there is so much profit in climate change denial, and with the remaining fossil fuels, it’s going to be so tough to make the changes that we need to make. It’s something that we all need to really stand up and shout about, get involved in protests in our community to build strength cause these people don’t give a shit about the future of the world and only on quick term profits.
It’s a pretty fucked up outlook for sure. Finally, I’ve seen you guys a few times live now and each time people chant for you to play ‘Johnny Sniper’, and I’ve always wondered why you stopped playing it?
I know that with ‘Johnny Sniper’, all of us except for Rob hates it and we don’t want to play it again. But I don’t know man, we may play it again at some point. It’s just so different from the rest of our stuff that it never seems to fit into a set list but I think we’re always open to mixing up what we play. As this is our forth studio album, it gets even harder to fit stuff into a set list.
(Laughs) I can imagine man. Well, that’s all we’ve got time for Rou, thanks a lot for your time today.
Hey, no worries, thanks for having me man.
‘Mindsweep’ is available January 16th via Ambush Reality/Hopeless Records.