It's been one hell of a year for Enter Shikari. The Mindsweep is one of the most accomplished pieces of work they've ever made, the awards are coming in, their owning the summer and they're at the absolute peak of their powers.
Their headline set proved to be one of our ultimate highlights at Download Festival, so ahead of their sets for friend Billy Bragg on his Left Field Stage and in the John Peel tent at Glastonbury this weekend, we sat down with Rob Rolfe and Chris Batten to talk about politics, Muse, their fans and the future.
After headlining the second stage at Download and with a huge slot at Glastonbury coming up, what can fans expect from you at your current live show?
Chris: Well we’ve got a ridiculous amount of production - it’s basically just a huge wall of moving lights. For the set itself we’ve only got an hour and five minutes so it’s always a nightmare trying to squeeze and cut everything down that we want to play.
Watch our exclusive walk on stage with Enter Shikari video below
What do you think it takes to headline Download?
Chris: Well Download’s more of a specialist festival. You’ve really have got to put in some time and have paid your dues, as the fans really know their rock music. The stage we played, we remember seeing The Prodigy play there a few years back on the same stage, so to be thinking that we’ve got the same slot is fucking nuts. It’s pretty slippery out there though, so we’ve brought our wellies.
You’ve just announced a UK tour with support from The Wonder Years, what can fans expect from that?
Chris: Yeah it’s our first arena tour; we’re really excited, but also a little bit nervous. It seems like our whole career is coming to its pinnacle. Just saying an arena tour out loud is just ridiculous.
Rob: It’ll be fun, we’ve tried to make sure that all the venues are standing, cuss no one really wants to come to a Shikari gig and sit down. So we’ve made sure that all the venues are one big open platform, where everyone can get involved and be a part of it. We’re obviously gonna cram in as much production as we can. We always feel we have to give the audience as much value for their ticket price as possible, so it’s just gonna be us but bigger.
How do you think your fan base has adapted over the years?
Rob: I think a lot of them have grown with us, like you can literally see the same faces in the front rows that we saw when we started touring 10 years ago. But also a lot of fans come and go and a lot of people will say “oh Enter Shikari, I used to listen to you back in the day”, which is fair enough if you’ve moved on to different tastes now, but then there’s a lot of people who are also listening to us for the first time too. We genuinely love our audience so much. Like for example with Rou being really ill, we had to cancel the show the other night and we were a little bit worried that we might get a lot of bad feedback and negativity from it, but actually the vast majority of people were just wishing Rou well and hoping he gets better soon.
You won a Kerrang award the other night for best single for 'Anaesthetist', how did that feel?
Rob: It’s funny we were in the car on the way up here this morning and they played the live version of it and I was saying to the guys “hey listen, this is an award winning song here!” It’s funny to say it. Kerrang is such a long going institution so it’s great to be recognised for the hard work we put into our music.
What do you think about the result post-election?
Rob: I was so depressed when I heard it.
Chris: We were shocked it was such a landslide as well
Rob: I suppose being who we are and who we talk to it just felt like everyone hates the Tories and no one’s gonna vote for them. But then maybe it’s just because everyone we know have similar views. Then when we found out the result we were just like who the fuck in the country is voting for these c**ts? So yeah that was really upsetting.
Why do you think it’s so important for young people to vote?
Rob: Everyone’s got one vote and they should use it wisely. There’s one thing I would do if I was prime minister and that’s make sure there’s free higher education for everyone.
You covered Muse’s ‘Super Massive Black Hole’ for Radio 1 recently, what is it about their music that you think people connect with the most?
Chris: Well we used to listen to them back in the day and cover their songs at our school fetes. We used to cover ‘New Born’ and ‘Plug in Baby’ when were like 15 years old, so it’s fun to go back to those days. They're also still just as much a powerful band now as they were back when we were covering them beforehand.
Enter Shikari will headline the John Peel Stage on Friday 26 June before headlining LeftField Stage on Saturday 27 June.
The Mindsweep by Enter Shikari is out now. See their full upcoming UK tour dates below. Tickets are on sale now. For tickets and more information, click here.
THUR 18 - GLASGOW - 02 ACADEMY
FRI 19 - EDINBURGH - CORN EXCHANGE
SAT 20 - NOTTINGHAM - CAPITAL FM ARENA
MON 22 - BOURNEMOUTH - INTERNATIONAL CENTRE
TUES 23 - CARDIFF - MOTORPOINT ARENA
THUR 25 - MANCHESTER - VICTORIA WAREHOUSE
SAT 27 - LONDON - ALEXANDRA PALACE