Enter Shikari first raced onto the British music scene in 2007 with their debut album, Take to the Skies, which introduced the world to their unique and influential blend of electronica and metalcore.
They have released four albums in the intervening years, while undergoing many stylistic changes. Their latest album, The Spark, has been lauded as a great new direction for the one-time nu-rave band and sees Enter Shikari combine softer rhythms with more personal songwriting.
They will land in Guangzhou this Monday for the only Chinese date on their Asian Tour in support of The Spark. We caught up with singer and songwriter Rou Reynolds to discuss nu-rave, anxiety and their new musical direction.
The Spark, is a much softer album for you guys. For example, the music involves more synthesizers than previous offerings. Is this a new direction for Enter Shikari?
Yes, the music I had begun writing felt very different and we all felt that it was time for a bolder step forward. It really feels like Enter Shikari Mach 2. I feel like our 10 years releasing music has been training for this album and what is to come.
Rou, you had a tough 2015 and became more open with your struggles with anxiety on social media; how important is it to be open about something like that for fans who look up to your music?
I think it’s important to be open especially when you’re in a position of perceived strength. It’s important to remind people that we’re all human and we all go through similar struggles. For me, the album [The Spark] is about not being afraid to reveal and discuss one’s vulnerabilities. I think this is a huge problem in society especially for men who are brought up to think that showing certain emotions translate as a weakness.
What did you guys think about the nu-rave tag? Enter Shikari were at the forefront of that movement in Britain. Do you see that as something that helped the band or something that ultimately hindered your progress making music?
I thought nu-rave was a silly tag. At the time we just shrugged it off as another futile attempt by the media to describe us. This particular tag seemed to have more persistence than others that had came before but ultimately it died out within a year or two along with many of the bands who they lumped in with us.
Your songwriting is very direct. Generally it seems like, if you are berating someone or something, you will go right for the throat. Is that something you consciously try to do?
I have strong opinions, but the crucial thing here is that one must constantly analyze them, it’s important when you have convictions to test them in order to not get caught up in dogmatic thinking.
What is your experience of playing music and shows in Asia? What sort of vibe do you get from the crowd?
We seem to be lucky to have a passionate crowd wherever we play. I suppose this is due to the nature of the music and the emotion in the lyrics.
Why did you guys decide to come to Guangzhou only and not tour to any other cities around China?
We’re currently on a small Asian tour playing many countries for the first time ever. It’s very difficult to organize these tours and often results in losing money but hopefully this little dipping of the toes in the water will open up possibilities to come back in the future and play a larger tour!