As I have previously written, Take To The Skies (2007), the debut album by St Albans four-piece Enter Shikari will be reaching its tenth birthday this year (on March 19 in fact).
With a handful of shows taking place in Europe, America and the UK, Enter Shikari are gearing up for a nostalgic powerhouse performance to celebrate the birth of their career and the first steps they would take in becoming global stars, delivering messages of unity. With the combined forces of the equally talented Chris Batten (bass), Rory Clewlow (guitar), Rob Rolfe (drums) and Rou Reynolds (vocals, synth, guitar), Shikari blasted forth into the music world and have created one hell of a discography and sound along the way.
Mr Reynolds kindly took the time out of his hectic schedule to answer some of my questions about the band and its tenth anniversary.
When you released TTTS did you have any idea that it would spark such a successful career?
After three years of touring the UK we knew things were beginning to accelerate for us as we released the album.
But no, I can’t say I had any idea we’d still be going (and growing) 10 years later.
What is your favourite song on the album?
I’m really looking forward to playing Today Wont Go Down In History live. We’ve never played it live before which makes it feel like it sort of got forgotten looking back now.
I feel like it’s one of the tracks that wouldn’t be out of place on our next album, it’s aged well.
How does it feel that you are ten years down the line, with a number of albums and such a fantastic fan base?
I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to play music for so long, it’s still absolutely what I live for. And I’m hugely grateful for our fanbase too. They’re so energetic, passionate, friendly and inclusive.
How did it feel for your debut album to reach Number 4 in the UK album charts?
I remember feeling a plethora of emotions, many conflicting. It was a shock first of all, I mean, a band from our scene and of our ilk to be in the charts after making such a varied and dynamic album was quite something. I did feel a sense of disconnect from it, as the charts are something I’d never cared about, so it felt kind of arbitrary.
I can’t say I wasn’t ecstatic too, though, seeing our little band up there with the biggest acts around.
Do you ever think back to the style you guys were playing at the time and wish to go back that way? Or are you happy with the progression in your sound?
Not really, I think that sound just sums up that era, and any attempt to replicate it now with new music would have none of the honesty or urgency it had then. I’m happy to look back into the past for little shots of inspiration but not to try to replicate it totally, I fail to see the point in that.
Enter Shikari have always been progressive, I see us as part of – or at least attempting to be part of – the modern vanguard.
The first album isn’t as political as the others, was that a direction you were always going to take?
Yes, I think growing up in a punk scene (and by this I mean real punk, i.e. music of a communal and liberal mindset, not pop punk or whatever) had a big influence on us. We also had battle after battle with our local council regarding live gigs and youth services so we had a political upbringing (albeit locally) as soon as getting into music really. There’s all the common themes for Shikari there, unity is the main theme of the album and then tracks like Mothership (climate change), No Sssweat (exploitation of workers, child labour and sweatshop slavery) get more specific thematically.
Personally, I just booked a ticket for Slam Dunk in Birmingham just so I could catch these guys playing one of my favourite albums. I cannot wait!