With their unique mix of hardcore and danceable electronica, Enter Shikari is one of the most exciting bands releasing music right now. Their sound draws influence from a wide variety of musical genres, including industrial and digital hardcore as well as seriously passionate hardcore, making a politically-motivated force that is angry and aggressive, while remaining blissfully danceable.
With the release of the band's latest, A Flash Flood of Colour, out now on Hopeless Records, the band is taking a headlining tour of the US. We caught up with Enter Shikari guitarist Rory Clewlow at the beginning of the tour to find out more about the motivation behind the band's unique sound.
APM: So, wherein lies the early days of Enter Shikari? Where did you come together and say "we're going to take all these relevant musical styles kicking around and mash them into something new?"
RC: We have never thought consciously about our sound. Individually, we listen to so many different styles of music. We were lucky enough to grow up surrounded by a really thriving, diverse music scene. There were ska bands, punk bands, hardcore bands, acoustic bands, metal bands etc., then 20 minutes on the train into London and we had loads of clubs playing all kinds of dance music. So when we started writing music, it just felt natural to use all the different genres we love in our songs.
APM: Where do you guys draw your musical influences from? I may be dating myself here, but I hear elements of like these old Wax Trax and Digital Hardcore bands.
RC: We draw inspiration from soooo many different types of music it would be impossible to name them all, but to name a few - Refused, The Prodigy, At The Drive In, Sick Of It All, Rage Against The Machine, The Beatles, Stravinsky, Dillinger Escape Plan, etc. etc. etc.... but I'd say most of our sound was originally developed through going to see local acts in and around our home town.
APM: Old stuff out of the way, let's talk about the latest for you guys - Flash Flood of Colour. I think it's fitting that Common Dreads has a single called "Juggernauts", because it seems like that's what you guys are becoming, getting bigger and faster and more unstoppable every day. Do you guys feel like you're rolling faster and faster as well?
RC: From my point of view, the progression of the band seems more like a steady climb than a roller coaster, but it's only when i really think about what my life was like five or so years ago that I realize how far we've come.
APM: Musically, Flash Flood is so much more varied, with seriously intense blasts like "Sssnakepit," and then you have these big majestic feeling tracks like "Constellations," and also, like with "Stalemate," there is this sort of radio-friendly hook. It's all over the place, but it feels well thought out - plotted. What's the strategy there?
RC: We don't really think about things like that too consciously, we made the track "System..." with the intention of it being the first track on the album, and when Rou made "Constellations," we decided that would be a good track to finish the album with, but apart from that we didn't strategize about what the album would sound like at all. we just wrote a load of songs and recorded our favorites.
APM: Looking at the lyrics of Flash Flood of Colour - well, they're deep and they're thick, and you go for the jugular on so many issues. But if you could sum up the message of the album, or even of the band, into one thing, what would it be?
RC: It's hard to put in a sentence but essentially, we want to provoke thought about the fact that our species is not going to be able to live and survive on this planet forever, and could very easily self destruct in the near future for a number of different reasons if we don't do something about it now. We want people to think about why this might be happening, and we suggest that the issue is that our system (based on continual economic growth, in a world of finite resources) is the main problem. so in a nutshell, our system is fundamentally flawed.
APM: On this tour through the states, you're heading out as a headliner of just a three-band bill, promising to give more Enter Shikari to the crowds. What can concert goers expect with the full deal that they haven't seen before?
RC: Well, this will be the first time we have played a full one-and-a-half-hour set in the states, and the first time we have brought production and lighting. Also, when people have seen us doing support slots, the atmosphere is never as good as headline shows where the whole crowd is there for us. If the first show we played in Atlanta yesterday is anything to go by, this tour is going to be out of control.
APM: Looking ahead, what's next for this band? There are a lot of folks who view you as the future of hardcore, and if not, at least very exciting? What do you see?
RC: We are just doing what we have been doing for the last seven to eight years. If you start to try to consider your "place" in music, you will probably end up drifting off course and trying to be something that you would naturally be.