‘Keeping The Sound Diverse’
An Interview with Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari
Words by Brett Bodner
Photo by Tom Martin
For over twelve years, Enter Shikari has been treating ears across the world with a unique combination of metal with electronic music in a unique blend not found anywhere else.
Lead singer Rou Reynolds and the rest of the band (guitarist Rory Clewlow, bassist Chris Batten and drummer Rob Rolfe) found even more ways to expand their sound and add more texture to their music on their latest release, The Mindsweep, released on January 20th.
“We didn’t really have a plan. I think each song on this album is very much its own entity. There wasn’t really a specific direction that we wanted to take and I think the only thing we spoke about and made a conscious decision on were things like texture, the timbre, the tones on the album and making sure we had a really wide variety of instrumentation,” Reynolds said.
The album featured each member playing more instruments than usual. They also added a string quartet, featured on “The One True Colour,” “Torn Apart” and “There’s a Price on Your Head.”
Usually, Reynolds takes a demo to the band and they work together to give the song structure. Rou then works on the lyrics, letting the music dictate them.
On The Mindsweep, Reynolds wanted the band to push themselves vocally and musically.
“There’s so many different emotions and feelings we’re trying to convey on the album. We really wanted a wide pallet of sounds to be able to reveal those emotions in a sort of genuine, realistic way,” Reynolds said.
As they have in the past, many of the lyrics focus on political issues (such as financial crisis) but much of the album was also based on the idea of standing up for what you believe in.
“I think music is a great platform,” Reynolds said. “It’s this tool people coming together to listen and play music for millennia. It’s one of the oldest hallmarks of our species.”
The Mindsweep features a love song in “Dear Future Historians…” which is a first for the band.
“It’s a letter to the historians of the future. If we can offer any sort of advice to them it would be that we still hope love is a prominent thing — that it is still given precedence and importance in people’s lives,” Reynolds said.
Even though the band introduced some new sounds and ideas to the album, some vintage Enter Shikari can still be found throughout the album — for instance, in their heavy breakdowns.
“When you’re creating music you kind of get into a flow state, it’s almost like a drug where everything becomes a blur,” he explains. “For instance, I can get up in the morning and just be working on a tune and then it will be 5 p.m. and the whole day is gone, and I haven’t moved or even eaten anything and then you kind of awaken from this stupor,” Reynolds said. “It’s the flowing of the process and I think you can feel when there needs to be a real outpouring of passion and aggression in the music and obviously that’s what breakdowns are for, it’s just about doing them with a certain amount of class.”
Reynolds’ spoken word performance can be heard on the album’s first track, “The Appeal & the Mindsweep I.” The song opens with Rou reading a soliloquy that sets out the band’s goal with the album.
“Because the rhythm and wording is so poetic, I think it sounds better when it’s spoken, there’s this sort of honesty with that,” Reynolds said. “Often when people are shouting or singing you can’t always tell what they’re saying right away, you have to listen harder. When you’re just speaking on the front of an album into people’s ears, there’s something very honest about that, it kind of levels the playing field. Hopefully it gets across that we’re just people and this is what we think, it is just me speaking to you and creating this discourse has been really important to us.”
Enter Shikari finished their North American tour on Tuesday, and is preparing for a summer in Europe on the festival circuit. Reynolds said he hopes to be back in the United States by the end of the year or early 2016.
Enter Shikari certainly won’t stop finding ways to create new music. “We’re not ones to shy away and stay in one little corner of the musical spectrum,” Reynolds said. “It’s like only eating one kind of food. Keeping the sound diverse is something we’ve always tried to do and will continue to do.”
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