Enter Shikari sind seit 20 Jahren im Musikgeschäft unterwegs und präsentieren nun ihr mittlerweile siebtes Studioalbum, welches den Titel “A Kiss To The Whole World“ tragen und am Freitag, den 21.04.2023 erscheinen wird. Im Rahmen dessen absolvierten sie vier Shows in Deutschland und den Niederlanden, um die neuen Tracks vor Publikum auszutesten. In Hamburg bot sich unserer Redakteurin Jacky die Gelegenheit Sänger Rou Reynolds und Schlagzeuger Rob Rolfe zum persönlichen Interview zu treffen. Dabei sprachen sie ausgiebig über die Entstehung des neuen Albums in einer kleinen Hütte weit weg von allem, wie man Titel findet oder sich in der Musik selbst verwirklicht. Was ferner die Katze von Rou mit seiner Musik zu tun habt, erfahrt ihr auch in unserem Interview.
Frontstage Magazine: Did you had a nice day so far?
Rou: It’s been lovely. It’s obviously a very nice day in Hamburg. We flew in pretty early this morning.
Frontstage Magazine: Welcome to Hamburg. We hope you enjoyed your stay in Japan.
Rou: Yes, I did, it’s amazing. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in the world. It is so different, so interesting, so crazy, so very vibrant place. We only did one show, Knotfest, but it was good time.
Frontstage Magazine: Is there anything you like about Japan particularly?
(Rob joined after he was running down the road for his camera)
Rob: The food is amazing. Around the struggle of finding something vegan, it’s not the easiest place in the world, a lot of tofu; how clean the streets are is wonderful. From a band’s perspective, they’re meticulous about everything. The show is gonna be run like clockwork. They make sure everything is done and they seem to be a very respectful culture as well.
Frontstage Magazine: In another interview, Electric Callboy reported the same and they were confused about the polite waiting for them to finish their songs.
Rob: Japanese people clap, applaud and cheer when you finish the song with a dead silence focused on you or waiting to hear what you had to say. It could be quite intimidating if you don’t speak much Japanese as we don’t. We learned a few phrases which they seemed to appreciate a lot.
Frontstage Magazine: True. Coming from Japan to Europe, fans on the mainland have the chance to see you in three shows in Hamburg, Brussels and Cologne as well as the Paaspop Festival over Easter. Was there any specific reason for the selection of those cities or were they’re kind of on the way?
Rou: Pretty much, yeah. We will be playing throughout the rest of this year. These are just like test shows to play the tracks.
Rob: We did a fairly extensive tour in Germany last December with a lot of places. This is how it came out now and lots of it is promotional for the album. The shows are nice to pulling it all together and showcase some of the new music. There will be plenty more touring.
Frontstage Magazine: Good hint, let’s talk about your new album! To start easy, how was the title “A Kiss To The Whole World” created?
Rou: Pretty much the same way all of our titles are created; in a frenzied panicked rush right at the end. There were a few other options, but that just seemed perfect for the time that we’re in. The world needs more affection and community.
Frontstage Magazine: May I ask what the alternatives would have been?
Rou: “Fire Lily” was one and then we thought that should just be the artwork. “Leap Into the Lightning” was one choice as well.
Frontstage Magazine: Are you just going by your gut feeling then?
Rou: Yeah, it’s just an instinct what feels right or what can you see on an album cover.
Rob: What kind of represents the album… And every single person, like the management, has a different idea of what it should be, so that you never get one answer in the end, but that one just felt right.
Frontstage Magazine: That’s how it should be. For the recording of the album, you stayed at a farmyard cottage where you had to unplug your kettle to make the guitars work. How was the atmosphere in such a surrounding? Did you face more challenges, or did it help to stay focused on the music?
Rou: It wasn’t like a troublesome thing. The house was kind of old and not that isolated. It needed some work, let’s just say it that way. But we weren’t looking for somewhere that was like this (pointing around the new and fancy meeting room), we wanted somewhere that was far away from anything. There were no houses for like a mile radius around this house. You looked out the window in the morning and saw some deer coming across the horizon. It’s very picturesque and enabled us to completely focus on the music. If that meant that we needed chopping some wood for the wood burner in order to stay warm, cooking for each other, and just thinking a little bit about not using too many things at the same time, that was all just part of it. I’ve been reading „Walden“ by Henry David Thoreau, where he goes and lives off in the woods in Massachusetts, and it was just like that whole romanticise version just going off with our friend and engineer George to build our own temporary studio in the middle of nature.
Frontstage Magazine: That really sounds romanticised. So, you would do it again?
Rou: Ah, definitely!
Rob: I’ll do it again tomorrow.
Frontstage Magazine: Was it also a process that happened because of the pandemic?
Rou: It was also nice to just have the four of us in a house, be together, connect again, and remember that we are band, because we haven’t done anything for two years. That was an aspect including the decision to go somewhere in the middle of nowhere. We could just be together as a unit.
Rob: It is humbling getting back to that rustic communal vibe. There is something very natural and human about looking after each other, feeding each other, taking turns to build a fire and keeping each other warm. All around it was just this constant excited bubble of creativity. Working on this project was all what we were thinking about all day. It was about writing and creating music intensely pleasurable.
Frontstage Magazine: Was there any specific learning for you as a person or as a band when you were recording and producing this album?
Rob: I think there always is. The reason that we took ourselves away is because we’ve learnt so much over the previous six albums. We’ve learnt that we don’t need a big expensive studio. We’ve learned that we can do so much ourselves, even without a microphone. On top of that, all the experience that we built up and the hardware that we’ve collected over the years when we also brought George in. Specifically for the drums, we didn’t quite know how it was going to work until, we got there. We thought we were going to have the drums in the main house with everyone else and then we saw this crumbling barn with the vines growing through it. It had holes in the ceiling, and you could hear pigeons really loud, with leaves on the floor and everything. There was also a huge pool table right in the middle of it, and we thought that this will be way better for the drum room, then in the actual cottage with the rest of the staff. Not only for the sound of recording it, but also it meant that I was a bit more isolated, and I could be playing and working on stuff myself whilst they’re recording vocals and guitars in the main house. It took a few hours of me with the broom to make this place nice to me, and get rid of all the dusty surfaces, and installing fairy lights, which made it all look nice and presentable (wild gestures to underline his words). Although we could not move the pool table, I had still room for two drum kits and everything I needed. We had a long time figuring it out how we could made it all work when we first got there. After a couple of days, creativity started flowing and we really got into our strides.
Rou: The whole thing was just a really wholesome, gratifying experience. It was just a relief to be able to write and record music again. Plus, we got to do it in such a what we thought was going to be interesting but was actually just kind of perfect situation.
Frontstage Magazine: The way you are speaking about it, really brings a vivid to the mind which sounds very nice. You just mentioned your previous album, from which you took a long journey until now. How would you describe your progress?
Rou: Mammoth, mammoth journey. The first album was the introduction to the band. The second album was cementing the fact that we wear an experimental outfit that has a very diverse pallet. Third album was honing that pallet. Making it ours and feeling really comfortable with that breath was the fourth album “A Flash Flood of Colour”. “The Mindsweep” was going even wider and it was an album of complexity. The sixth album “The Spark” was the complete opposite about minimalism and an album about human vulnerability. The next album “Nothing is True & Everything is Possible” was all about human possibility, and this album is all about vitality. That’s the journey!
Frontstage Magazine: Okay, to make it even bigger, what changed in you as a person?
Rou: I mean what didn’t? We are like completely different persons ourselves. There are three songs that are all about personal discovery like who you are. I kind of got to the anti-conclusion that I don’t know who I am and I’ve yet to find anyone who confidently knows who they are. On the surface we all think we know who we are but then with a bit of thinking, we don`t really. We know what we wanna be or what we wanna be less of. There’s a lot of that soul-searching on the album.
Frontstage Magazine: For me, I could really feel these parts when listening to the lyrics. Did it feel like some kind of self-fulfilment or relief to you?
Rou: A sense of like agency and control over the fact that you can change yourself if you don’t like aspects of yourself to some degree. You can solve those problems, but then you notice there’s a lot on these indecision of all these things I don’t like about myself: are they problems or are they just things that I think of as problems? What needs solving and what needs accepting at the end of the day, which is I think one of the hardest kind of personal progress questions that there are, I suppose.
Frontstage Magazine: Thank you so much and I think I’m already over with my time. I just have a last question which we always try to have a bit more unusual than the music stuff: If you could be a Disney or Pixar character, who would you like to be?
Rob: I love the octopus in „Finding Dory„. That guy is so cool, I love him. I don’t know why. I don’t think it has anything to do with my personal characteristics, but I just like that character.
Frontstage Magazine: That’s perfect! For Rou, we absolutely adore your cat Frey, she is the cutest one ever. Hence, my question for you would be: Do you think your cat loves your music?
Rou: My cat doesn’t love anything apart from food. Do cats even have the ability to love? They have a dependency on me therefore they tolerate my music in order to keep the food source alive.
Rob: I’m a dog person!
Frontstage Magazine: Thank you so much for your time! It was a pleasure meeting you and good luck with your new album!
Both: Thank you as well, cheers!
Fotocredits: (im Text) Kevin Randy Emmers // (Titelbild) Jacky Dürkop (aufgenommen von Manager Ian)