Who are Enter Shikari’s fans?

We head to the O2 Victoria Warehouse in Manchester for the second of Enter Shikari’s two-night run to find out who their fans actually are, and what they love about the homegrown electro noisemakers…

Who are Enter Shikari’s fans?
Words and photos:
Chris Bethell

For the past seven days, Enter Shikari have been tearing across the UK on their biggest-ever headline tour, performing at some of the biggest rooms our country has to offer with their mates in FEVER 333 and NOAHFINNCE. With thousands of fans pouring into arenas each night, we decided to head to Manchester's O2 Victoria Warehouse to find out who these people actually are, what they love about St Albans' finest, and whether they think politics has a place in music…

Renee, 22

How long have you been an Enter Shikari fan?
"My fiancée introduced me to them! The first song I listened to was Airfields, and I listened to it with him, so we call it our song. We're going to have our first dance to it and it's going to be really cute. I've loved them ever since. The Sights is one of my favourite songs too – it's just sick!"

What is it about their music that keeps you listening?
"It's just something that you can really dance to. I love to dance, I've danced all my life, but the way Enter Shikari make their music is something that brings me out of my shell. We're from Liverpool, so if they come on at Teddy's [Dive Bar] then we'll just dance and dance, not caring about anything else."

What other music are you into?
"Well, I'm a bit of a mix, I like Doja Cat and all of that. She's sick. But my favourite artist would definitely be Ashnikko – especially Deal With It, that's one of my favourite songs. I used to listen to Black Veil Brides, and I was a proper emo when I was younger. I listen to Paramore, all that kind of jazz. I love it."

What do you think about the argument to keep politics out of music?
"That's a difficult question because it's what someone believes in. If they want to show what they believe in through a song, they should have the freedom to do so. People should have free speech – if they want to sing about something then they should have the right to do so."

Can you walk me through your outfit?
"I like colour! I've only just started dressing like this in the past few years. I was always afraid of coming out in normal society, I used to wear a lot of jumpers. But watching things on TikTok really brought me out of my shell, and I love fashion now. And the alternative e-girl kind of fashion is my go-to. It makes me confident and just makes me who I am. I really like skirts because they show off my tattoos."

Euan, 27

How long have you been listening to Enter Shikari?
"Well, when I was younger I had a big sister who was into heavy metal and watched a lot of Kerrang! – she introduced me to Enter Shikari and a lot of other bands I still really love. Probably like 10 or 15 years ago."

What is it about their music that you love so much?
"They make really happy and positive-sounding music. It's really different to hear that in a genre which is usually quite down and heavy."

What other music do you like?
"All sorts really, like Dream Theater and Coheed And Cambria. I do like a lot of pop music as well, a bit of everything."

Do you think politics has a home in music?
"I think it's impossible to have any apolitical art. I think any art has a piece of the artist in, whether intentional or not. It's impossible to separate the two."

What are you wearing tonight?
"This shirt was part of my Download outfit; I was with a group of friends who wore Hawaiian shirts for Download. Otherwise, a typical gig outfit. Shorts so I don't get too hot in the pit, and a bag for my valuables."

Chris, 34

How long have you been an Enter Shikari fan?
"Since I was about 15 – not sure how may years that's been now. It did change today…"

Oh, happy birthday! What's kept you listening to them?
"I wasn't that into them when I was younger, but I got more and more into them recently. They were playing in HMV, they did a free gig when I was dead-young. It was the one by the Arndale [shopping centre in Manchester]. I went to see them last year and they were dead good, so I gave them another shot. I'm still very into the clap-clap-clap era of their music, but the new stuff is pretty decent."

What other music are you into?
"I'm generally a bit heavier than this – a Bloodstock, Opeth vibe. I've been trying to see Lamb Of God again for 20 years, but somehow managed to miss them four times. And Mastodon are always up there."

Do you think politics should be kept out of music?
"Nah, definitely not. I'm very much the same as these Enter Shikari boys. That's possibly part of the attraction."

What are you wearing tonight?
"I was supposed to be wearing a new T-shirt, but the shop I went to was shut. I drove up four hours early. Didn't want to wear a long-sleeve because I'd roast, but here we are!"

Phoxx, 33

How long have you been a fan?
"Since I was 14 or 15, maybe? So, like, 19 years."

Have you been listening to them ever since?
"It's a constant thing – I have one song on my playlist and it never leaves. The clap-clap-clap one, obviously."

Do you like their new music, too?
"I do! I work in a metal bar, The Rigger in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and whenever they come on there it's great."

Should politics be kept out of music?
"I'm not a big politics person anyway; I try and keep myself out of it as much as I can. But no, there's stuff that needs to be said. I agree with it being in music, it's one of the easiest ways to get messages out there."

Walk us through what you're wearing.
"I'm just wearing the same crap I used to wear when I was 17! I never fully grew up, but I just got cooler hair. My make-up is inspired by anime, which I'm a big fan of."

Keira, 18

How long have you been listening to Shikari?
"Only a few years, really. I've loved Asking Alexandria and other bands like that for ages, but Sorry, You're Not A Winner came up on a playlist and I just fell in love with it. I loved the vibe and energy of it."

Do you listen to their new music?
"I've not heard a lot of it, but thought it'd be great to come along tonight to get into more of it. I love Arguing With Thermometers."

What is it you like so much about them?
"I love the variation, it goes from dance to rock and back. It's exciting, and it keeps you wanting more."

What other music do you like?
"I'm into a range of stuff, I love heavy metal, grunge, Pearl Jam. I'm in a band myself and we play all that stuff – we're The Barflys, please add us on Instagram!"

What do you think about politics in music? Does it belong?
"Of course! If you have a voice then speak up. You can put it in music and people like that, they'll listen to it more. It resonates with me a lot more than someone just doing a massive speech. It educates me better, really."

And what are you wearing today?
"A black skirt with a slit in and a black crop-top – I thought I'd keep it plain. But now I've seen everyone is wearing colourful things and I'm kind of jealous!"

Matthew, 19

How long have you been an Enter Shikari fan?
"Well, I've heard of them for years and years through friends and stuff, but I'd never really listened to them until I met my girlfriend Keira [above] and she roped me into them. The tickets for this gig were actually a Christmas present from her mum and dad, so I'm getting to check them out for the first time tonight."

Merry Christmas! What are your favourite Shikari songs?
"Arguing With Thermometers is my favourite, I love the groove it has and the looseness of it. I love the dance side of things – I'm a huge metalhead, but it's my favourite bit about them. It puts you on a different planet."

What other music are you into?
"I love anything, really, but my main thing at the moment is death metal, tech-death. Things like Blood Incantation and Cryptopsy. The kind of music you find at Bloodstock."
Keira: "He's played at Bloodstock!"
"Yeah I think it was 2022 Bloodstock, the New Blood stage. I'm sadly no longer with the band but they're called Hellfekted, I am representing them now, though! I'm wearing their T-shirt."

Awesome! What else are you wearing?
"I've got Dr. Martens tacticals on, some cargos I got from Primark – cheap and cheerful – and this leather I got from my dad's mate. It's 50 or 60 years old, still alive!"

What do you think about politics in music?
"I'm more than happy to hear people's opinions in music. I think the whole point of music is to send messages. It's super-important to keep true to your roots and stick to what you believe in. If you have a voice to do that then utilise it, it's there for a reason. Well, as long as it's a good voice! I think it should be used."

Nads, 27

How long have you liked Enter Shikari?
"Since I was about 13. They were on Lava TV, which I don't think exists anymore. The first song I saw was Sorry, You're Not A Winner and it had just come out. I saw it and thought, 'This is a bit of me!' I showed it to my little sister and we were just hooked since then."

What's kept you listening to them?
"They've stayed true to themselves from the start. Even with the sound changing and the times changing, they've not. And even where they have changed it's still nostalgic for me. That's how I feel."

What other music are you into?
"Right now I'm into a lot of hardcore. Listening to a lot of Movements, Turnstile, Hot Mulligan, Skunk Anansie. I'm going to Outbreak later this year! The line-up is great."

What do you think about the argument that politics doesn't belong in music?
"Enter Shikari have always been political so I don't think they can or should change their views on it now. Especially with the song Anaesthetist – that got me into politics. I hadn't thought about politics before that. It had a big influence on me."

What are you wearing today?
"Vans! They match my headband. I always wear yellow. It's my favourite colour so I have to incorporate it wherever I can."

Ted, 27

How long have you been listening to Shikari?
"Since 2006, when my sister went to see them in Liverpool. She's about six years older than me, she was a scene kid back in the day! They were touring and I don't think they'd even brought out their first album yet. She was listening to them constantly, I must have been about 10. I didn't really understand their politics at that age, but the sound drew me in."

So did they introduce you to politics?
"Absolutely, they guided me into it. I mean, I'm depressed now but I'm aware! My politics definitely align with theirs."

What other music are you into?
"I go all over the place – we've got an Amazon Alexa at home but it's connected to Nads' [above] Spotify so sometimes I get told off for playing my music. But mostly our tastes align. I really like Hot Mulligan, Basement and Architects."

Walk us through what you're wearing – we love the adidas tracksuit top.
"Thanks! I got it in Camden market a few years ago. The guy was asking £50 for it but I bartered it down to £25. The shoes are a Christmas present from Nads and are from Temu, which is surprisingly good quality. Pink is my favourite colour, I love wearing pink and it's in a lot of my outfits. Together we look a bit like a Drumstick sweet."

Corinne, 28

How long have you been an Enter Shikari fan?
"I wanna say around age 13 I heard Sorry, You're Not A Winner and I was like, 'Oh gosh, what is this?' They're still my favourite. Enter Shikari and Mothership are very close to my heart. On a night out, as soon as I hear anything like that I'm straight there."

What is it about that song that really grabbed you?
"It's just very nostalgic of those times, being a little dirty emo. It's the mix of the electronics with the heaviness. I just love them. I listen to a lot of their new music, too. As they've got older they've progressed more – some people didn't like that they got into politics but I disagree, people need to talk more about this stuff. When it gets delivered in this way then it gets people listening. It's really important!"

What other music are you into?
"Bits of everything really, from Megan Thee Stallion to Chelsea Grin! But Enter Shikari have been the most consistent."

And what are you wearing today?
"This top is from the charity shop, and my skirt is also from the charity shop. My tights have been snagged so have a hole in them, I've got some creepers on which have broken my toes but are great."

Yelena, 26 and Toju, 29

When did you both get into Enter Shikari?
"About 10 months ago for me! Quite recent."
"Since I was about 13 or so. A friend gave me a massive stack of albums, which I was very blessed to receive. This got me into metal as a kid, and one of them was Enter Shikari's [2007 debut] Take To The Skies."
"Toju introduced them to me; we're in a band together so he's been showing me loads of different artists I've never come across before. We're called Third Kulture!"
"Enter Shikari have been a big influence to us to be honest, especially me as the guitarist."

What is it about Shikari that's kept you listening to them?
"They've stayed true to themselves, that's what inspired me as a musician. To span different genres, even deviating from what's popular at the time, they've always stuck to being themselves."
"The fusion of different vibes, incorporating dance music is great. I come more from that world so for them to blend the two is so sick to see, and a great way of getting into heavier music for me."

What other music do you both like?
"I love a bunch: hip-hop, grime, afrobeat, a big mixture. But mainly metal and hip-hop."
"I'm more of an electronic babe myself: funky house, afro house and all the different sectors that come off them. I grew up listening to a lot of R&B and soulful music, so that too. Metal is very much a new direction."

What do you think about the argument that politics should be removed from music?
"Absolutely not, I want to swear but I won't. No. Definitely not. That's part of what inspires a lot of music and life is political. Music is life. Art should be political."
"Yeah, I just feel like there's a time and place for everything. You're going to have the political realms, the pop and commercial world, distraction realms and whatnot. I don't really see it as an argument. Just let people choose what they want to make and choose what they want to listen to."

Tell us about what you're both wearing!
"I've got this synthetic wig from my local Asian shop. I've got an adidas jacket. How much detail do you want? I'm going with the double denim – a corset-type top, denim mini skirt. Fishnets because you know, sexy, and I'm in the metal scene. Then my amazing new Dr. Martens, which are literally my favourite boots."
"I've got Third Kulture merch on! Wearing my own merch! Got my battle jacket, Enter Shikari are on here somewhere. Then some ripped skinnies and some Docs, of course!"

Enter Shikari play the OVO Arena Wembley on February 17 and Download Festival this June – get your tickets now

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