Blessed Are The Obsessed: Enter Shikari – It Has To Be Real.

Most bands that have been around as long as Enter Shikari are finding themselves struggling to remain buzzworthy. Not these cats. Cruising comfortably at the top, and have been for some time, Enter Shikari have just released A Flash Flood Of Colour: a perfect testament to their ability to transcend genres in a way most bands only dream of. Though many try and try and try, Enter Shikari did it better, and they did it first, stealing our hearts with their on-stage shenanigans, as well as our minds with their middle finger to the system. I had a chat with lead singer and visionary Roughton ‘Rou’ Reynolds to pick the brain of one of the masterminds behind the band that’s caused us all to take a deeper look at the world.

Blessed Are The Obessed: Hey Rou dude, what’s happening?

Rou: Not too much! Just at home making myself some crumpets actually.

BATO: Very nice, I actually spoke with Chris [Bass] late last year while you guys where in America; is it good to be back in the UK?

Rou:  Yeah, very much so, we’ve had like most of Christmas and New Years off, which is great, well I mean, we got back from America about the…22nd of December, so a few nights of crazy Christmas shopping and chilling out. Now we’re about to start playing some shows here.

BATO: So straight back into it I see?

Rou: Ha ha, very much so.

BATO: So Rou, Enter Shikari’s latest release A Flash Flood of Colour is such a complex album, so much texture in the songs and so much depth; are you guys happy with the final product?

Rou: Yeah, we really are! We probably by far got the best representation of who we are as a band through this album; we spent the most amount of time on it out of all of our albums. We were lucky enough to record in Thailand in a state-of-the-art studio also, so yeah, we were very fortunate with this one.

BATO: You’ve always experimented with electronica, drum and bass with your previous releases, though on this one I’d say those elements are more prominent. Being predominantly a metal band, how has this gone down with all your fans?

Rou: Really well actually! Ha ha, we’re actually sitting at #1 in the charts.

BATO: I saw that! Congratulations man!

Rou: Ha ha, thanks man! It’s so surreal. The feedback has been, you know, 99% positive. The fans seem to be absolutely loving it; guess we’ve done something right with it.

BATO: Well, I’m sue you don’t need to hear it from me, but it’s an unreal album; every song has replay value

Rou: Well, it’s funny you say that because it’s the first album where we really treated each individual song as an entity in and of itself. We paid a lot of attention to how the album flowed, so yeah, we really made sure the songs were spot on.

BATO: So many metalcore bands now are adding elements of electronic genres into their music these days, very, very few of them pull it off. What’s it like for you guys to see people trying to emulate a sound which Enter Shikari really did pioneer? 

Rou: Ha Ha Ha, there’s loads of different people doing it really. It’s great when we meet them backstage though and they tell us that we are one of their major influences, or we’re the reason they started a band, it’s really humbling! It’s crazy to hear, especially when you know exactly what they’re thinking; I was there once too you know? As long as people are enjoying themselves, it doesn’t really piss me off, they aren’t really ripping us off, ha ha. Most bands these days are very quick to settle for the middle of the road sound, seeing a band they like and try to copy them in every way they can. We were very lucky to get into this at an age where we had a whole range of influences; we were very open and had a really wide spectrum, that’s the important part.

BATO: Transcending genres, however, isn’t really the only Enter Shikari motif; in a lot of your songs you take a really political stance. What’s motivated you to speak out on all these socioeconomic and anthropologic topics?

Rou: I think it’s just a natural progression for us really. We first had our run with authority when we were 18. Back when Enter Shikari was just kicking off and we were promoting our own shows locally, our local council would just stunt ant growth, they’d stop us putting on shows for no reason, and literally they had no argument. This happened really early on and it gave us a real disrespect for authority. I think that grew with us as the band grew and we started to think about bigger, more global issues and I think with the very early punk / hardcore bands, it was all about standing up for what you believe in, and the way I see it, if you’re going to be running around like a headless chicken it has to be about something passionate. It has to be worth it. You could be standing on stage talking about a girl on a dance floor, that kind of shit. But no, it has to be real.

BATO: I’d love to hear your thoughts on the SOPA debacle … What’s the view on piracy from an artist’s perspective?

Rou: As soon as I got into day, I thought I’ve got to catch up with the news, we’ve been in that typical tour bubble so I haven’t been able to keep up with it, but just in general it just shows another utter failure of capitalism. In my view, everything should be open book. I was thinking the other day that the internet is one of the most incredible communal achievements of our species, and the way they protested online was brilliant. So instead of trying to stop growth in those areas we should be absolutely embracing it, it’s progression.

BATO: So you’re not really effected by people downloading your music?

Rou: It’s difficult; it depends how deep you want to go. Obviously we are very much a live band and the way music is going now, playing live is really the only way to make a career out of it. So it doesn’t bother us too much. Obviously, it’s amazing that people buy your records. I still buy records, I mean, obviously I illegally download as well but things are really getting deep. When you look into the heart of it, what you’re really saying when you put a price on your music, you limit the type of people, or the scope of people that can listen to your music and appreciate it. It’s really, really thin ice for us. I feel very uncomfortable about that. I don’t think people should be limited by their purchasing power. Hopefully we’ll grow out of this economic monetary system and art can be free for everyone as it should be.

BATO: So the next time we will be seeing you guys is going to be Soundwave 2012! You’ve been here so much you’ve got to be part Aussie by now; do you enjoy it?

Rou: Ha ha ha! Yeah, we really enjoy it. I guess I’ll say all the cliché things that most bands say about touring Australia.  We’re doing that normal cheeky British band thing of touring there only in your summer, you know, getting the sun on our pasty white flesh … ha ha… but yeah, it’s a really great festival to play, and all the people are always really friendly and welcoming and yeah, we just have a really good time.

BATO: That’s all we’ve got time for today Rou dude, thanks heaps for chatting! The album’s amazing, can’t wait to see it live at Soundwave

Rou: Cheers, Mike!

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