Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds: “It’s Wonderful To Feel A Shared Rage And Hope”
Rou is focusing on the positives to take from 2019 – and how it’s inspiring the next incarnation of Enter Shikari…
How would you sum up your 2019, Rou?
“It’s just flew by. We did a shedload of touring, a load of festivals – the usual business. It’s an especially crazy one, because we’ve been writing the whole time. Even in the quieter moments, it was about knuckling down.”
You released your second book last year, Dear Future Historians. How did the writing experience change from the first one?
“It was awesome, because now I’ve got this archive, not just of the lyrics, but the intent behind them. It’s a relief that it’s all out of my head and there for anyone who wants to know more about the lyrics. There’s sort of a cool mystique about wanting to be misunderstood, but in this current political climate I think being understood is something to strive for.”
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Last year you memorably performed five times across Reading & Leeds weekend. What were you thinking?!
“Because it was our first time back at Reading & Leeds for five years, we were like, ‘We’ve got to make up for it, we’ve got to play five times.’ There was a Reading & Leeds shaped hole in my heart for half a decade, so we thought we’d go in. Of course, by the end of it, I was thinking, ‘What the fuck? Why did we put ourselves through that?’ It was the craziest weekend of the year, for sure.”
You played under the Warming Stripes climate change chart. How important was it to spread that message in such a prominent manner?
“That kind of topic of conversation needs to be everywhere and at all points. We shouldn’t be able to get away from it – only then can you penetrate the whole of society. It’s more about pushing it out into the mainstream, to people who wouldn’t think about these things, then harness the pressure onto those in power.”
Over the past 12 months, do you think global consciousness has shifted toward actually trying to sort the planet out?
“Certainly in awareness. Apathy in the youth is decreasing, and that’s very exciting. But whether that translates into real change, I guess we’ll see next year when we’ve got the next climate summit. It’s looking doubtful, though, because a lot of the leaders of the biggest countries aren’t interested. It’s definitely much more consistent in the national conversation now, which is incredible. Politicians can’t avoid it, so we know where everyone’s allegiances are.”
You attended a number of Extinction Rebellion protests last autumn. How was that?
“It was a wonderful experience to feel the same frustration and rage, but also positivity and hope. Seeing that energy, atmosphere and zest throughout the world was really exciting. And it was fuel for us to get back into the studio, for us to keep fighting.”
What did it stir in you?
“In a broad sense, positivity. It’s easy to want to go away and make a doom metal album, there’s so much gloom everywhere – you only have to open Twitter or watch the news. If you lived in that world, you wouldn’t want to get out of bed, so you have to find balance. To see all that positivity dissolves the exasperation of not knowing what to do and being caught in the hell of the newsfeed.”
Common Dreads celebrated its 10th anniversary last year with a fancy vinyl reissue. How do you feel about the record now?
“I love that record. It was kind of our ‘Fuck off’ record. Everyone was talking about the difficult second album and we came out with something that was lyrically so assertive – plus, musically, it was the first time we had a proper studio experience. [2007 debut] Take To The Skies was songs that had been played live for years, so this was like, ‘Yeah, we’re a band.’ It wasn’t just about a live spectacle, [it was proof] we could write and record interesting music as well.”
So, 2020 then… We’re guessing it’s all going to be about a new Enter Shikari album?
“Absolutely. I was writing from early summer onwards and all sorts of stuff was coming out. I wasn’t really sure where to take things next, but there’s a real plan starting to form. There’ll be tracks on there that wouldn’t sound out of place on Take To The Skies or Common Dreads. There’s some heavy stuff, some euphoric things… the synths and guitars are bolder on this record. We’re trying to make the definitive Shikari record; the one that a fan would pass to their mate like, ‘You don’t know Shikari? This is where you start.’”
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