One phrase always comes up with an Enter Shikari live set, “Abusing music genres and worthless boundaries since 2003”. This is exactly what Electric Banana witnessed when we caught them on their Return To Energiser tour.
After setting the world record for crowd surfing in 2009, the four lads from humble St Albans have been creating worldwide turbulence ever since. This time round however the band subjected the UK’s more obscure venues to their mind warping carnage in support of their third album A Flash Flood Of Colour.
Shikari’s Rob Rolfe took some time out in the sleepy town of Sailsbury at the City Hall for a chat with Electric Banana’s Rebecca Rayner to discuss the ideologies behind their music, human pyramids and why exactly is their new song ‘Paddington Frisk’ so damn short all before giving Sailsbury their unruly wake up!
What was the idea behind playing smaller and more obscure venues on the Return To Energiser Tour?
Well this tour celebrates our existence as a band for 10 years. We thought it would be nice to do a tour more in the style of the way we used to tour when we first got gigging. We didn’t have any contacts to get proper big shows in big cities, so we owe a lot to smaller cities and towns who gave us a chance and allowed us to build up a fan base.
What is your experience like playing the tour so far?
Every show so far has been great! The nicest part of a tour like this is that each place we play seems to be a real occasion for that town/city, an occasion that the whole town seems to be aware of. There’s a real vibe buzzing around and we can sense it and it makes us really excited for the performance.
Your new song ‘Paddington Frisk’ is only 1:16 long but is completely epic. Why did you decide to make it so short and is this a taste of what the next album might be like?
Well we don’t really know ourselves what the next album is going to sound like. To be honest the only thing we’ve been reliable with is being unreliable with the direction of our music. We hope to continue progressing and will aim to do so in any direction that feels fresh and exciting to us. This new single is of the same mindset. We grew up on local bands all inspired on hardcore bands. It’s not an unusual thing to release a short track in the hardcore world. We did consider extending the song and making it longer, but to be honest we thought it was perfect just how it was.
How did you feel about the great reception Flash Flood Of Colour Received? Were you surprised at the reaction to the album?
We were over the moon. I don’t think any of us were really surprised, as we were all really happy with it and we thought it sounded great. That’s the thing though, you can never be sure. When you’re so attached and so involved in every stage of the writing, recording, and mixing, It’s impossible to not completely attached. What is amazing, and completely humbling, is when every one agrees. We have a feeling we’ve done a good job, but to have critics and fans agree just makes it all worthwhile.
You are very political and thought provoking in all your songs. Where do your ideas come from and what is your ideological viewpoint on the world?
Our ideas come from obvious places really; books, documentaries, discussions, and people we meet, cultures we experience. We have the benefit of a lot of free time with all the travelling we do so it’s easy to surround yourself with things to assimilate or absorb. I think one of our strengths is exactly that we DON’T have an ideology; we’re free of any rigid belief or indoctrinated affiliations. I believe in the scientific method for the benefit of all humanity. That way there are no absolutes and one can always be striving to improve and to sustain without trying to desperately hold on to a crippling status quo.
Are their any Philosophers or books you would suggest to your fans to read/ explore?
Bertrand Russell is probably my favourite philosopher and can thoroughly recommend. Been reading a lot of Daniel Dennett recently too.
What is your Favourite Enter Shikari song and your favourite Enter Shikari Lyrics and why?
I think personally my favourite song would be ‘Constellations’, mainly because of the lyrics. It’s a real spine tingler, and it really makes you think. It’s a great analogy explaining that we as a society need to be aware that we need to make a change towards making our culture more sustainable, or we’ll eventually be in trouble. Only there seems to be nobody really acknowledging this, or leading the way.
When you walk out onto a stage and see the thousands of people in the audience who have come to see you perform what do you think in that moment?
I think we all think this is pretty damn awesome! It’s an indescribable feeling to be honest. It just fills us with adrenaline and we feel very proud to have written music that can appeal and bring so many people together.
You currently hold the world record for the most crowd surfers. Do you feel sorry for the crowd and if you were in the crowd at one of your own shows would you crowd surf, mosh and make human pyramids?
Um it’s always horrible if we see someone get hurt. That’s never what anyone wants. Unfortunately in such big crowds it can sometimes be unavoidable. It’s something we used to do more, but now days I think we all prefer being near the sound desk where it sounds great and we can stand with a pint. The human pyramid thing was an idea we had to promote unity and teamwork. It’s fun and we’ve never seen any get injured from making one.
What would the wisest piece of advice you could give another person?
Be kind. Don’t hold onto hate, it’s extra just baggage.
Interview by Rebecca Rayner