Photo by Jordan Curtis Hughes
Being in the alternative scene for a few years now, I have avidly followed Enter Shikari‘s career. Whether I was there for their highly energetic shows, their well-thought lyrics or simply for the funny interview answers I would get, they have never failed to amaze me. Following the release of Redshift, their most recent single and ode to the outerspace, I had the chance to chat with Rou about the consequences of the Paris attack, the festival season and the idea behind Redshift.
CONFRONT: First of all thanks for answering our questions! Last time we spoke, you had just released your album “The Mindsweep”; what has happened since for Enter Shikari?
ROU: No problem. Lots of sweating, dancing, hollering, gallivanting. The highlight would definitely be our surround sound arena tour in the UK last month. That was truly surreal.
CONFRONT: Later in the same year you re released The Mindsweep but this time, all in covers from artists of Hospital Records. What was the idea behind this?
ROU: As it was such a diverse sounding album we thought it’d be nice to get every track re-imagined but some of our favourite producers. Drum & Bass is a really diverse genre musically and it’s still high energy so it seemed like the right choice. Hospital records has been one of my favourite drum & bass labels for a long time and they have a really varied roster, from the more classically influenced new school of artists making more melodic D&B, like Keeno & Etherwood; to the more dance floor orientated bangers of Reso and Danny Byrd.
CONFRONT: On April 20th, Deezer released the live recording of your album in their studio. Recorded only a few months after the horrifying attacks at Le Bataclan, was it some kind of answer to the violence?
ROU: Not really, not in any conscious planned sense anyway. I think it was important for us to carry on just doing what we do. After such a horrific event, the city and is inhabitants will thirst for any sense normality, any opportunity to come together in peaceful unity, and music is perfect for that. We’re all vulnerable to it, it’s indiscriminate, it’s naturally unifying.
CONFRONT: When we spoke last time, you mentioned that the one thing he’d die for is the liberty of expression. With this kind of attack, how do you feel about the fact people – musicians – are actually dying because of their liberty of expression?
ROU: It’s utterly heart breaking of course. It really exemplifies the complete cowardly and disgusting nature of the people implementing these attacks. Catching people off guard at an event that celebrates art, community and expression. It’s barbaric. Unfortunately due to a vicious cocktail of archaic religious scripture, lack of education, poverty and the disasters of western interventionism we have people who are willing to commit such acts.
CONFRONT: How do you think that this attack, directed on music/music fans, impacted the alternative scene?
ROU: Clearly for a while people were frightened and anxious, rightly so. But hopefully it won’t have a long term impact. Obviously we should remember and mourn those that lost their lives, I’m not saying any event like this should be forgotten, but hopefully it won’t have any impact on the future and power of live music.
CONFRONT: Talking about releases, you’ve recently released Redshift, described as to be about goodluck on the grandest scale. Where is the name Redshift from?
ROU: It’s a useful concept in astronomy. As light travels from distant objects in space, the wavelengths get stretched or compacted depending on which way the object is travelling. If an object is moving away from you it’s light stretches towards the red end of the spectrum. Alright, geek-out over.
CONFRONT: Upon reading the lyrics, I felt like it was an hymn to how lucky we are to be alive in such a huge, magnificent space. Am I far off?
ROU: Yeh man that’s pretty spot on. Our species is really lucky – I think – to have evolved at this point in the universe’s lifespan. Right now we can look out and observe the billions of other galaxies out there and hope to discover other lifeforms. But in a few trillion years from now any civilisation that looks out will see nothing but empty space. This is because our universe is expanding, but not only expanding, it’s accelerating in it’s expansion. So all galaxies are be accelerating outwards away from each other and eventually they will be travelling at the speed of light, and it is at that point, that they will become invisible. Any lifeforms flourishing at that point in the universes lifespan will deduce, with all available scientific rigour, that they are alone in a vast empty universe. A far more lonely and gloomy perspective to have to endure.
CONFRONT: Your spring/summer tour is a mix of regular venues and festival tours. What kind of setting do you prefer?
ROU: Festivals I think. I just love playing outdoors, the only roof being the sky. There’s something raw and primitive and so fulfilling about playing out in nature. Plus fresh air beats the smell of sweaty beer sodden youths.
CONFRONT: With the festival season coming up, what would be your dream line up to attend?
ROU: Igor Stravinsky, John Lennon, Louis Armstrong.
CONFRONT: Can we expect new material soon?
ROU: A few things in the pipeline we may release this year but won’t start working on the next album till early next year.
CONFRONT: Thank you for your time! Can’t wait to see you in Montreal!
About The Band:
LISTEN TO: Redshift