Taking their inspiration from the trance scene, mixed with hardcore punk, Enter Shikari have built themselves up to become a crazy, frenetic hybrid of the two sounds. No surprise then to find out some of the members were formerly in a band called Hybrid. Their DIY ethos has impressed everyone from scuzzy punks to the late greats, John Peel and Tony Wilson.
You were one of the last bands to feel the pull of John Peel. Did you ever get to meet the legend? We got the NME John Peel award for innovation. Unfortunately he had died, but we were one of the last bands he was into so that’s very humbling.
You never got to meet the legend? No. And again more recently Tony Wilson – he championed us, he was the first guy to really push us. The words to come out of his mouth were quite astonishing. We couldn’t have been happier. He’s such a legend.
So did you get to meet Tony? No. We’ve been in the same room as him a couple of times but never introduced. The last time we saw him he was at a music conference called In The City. There were all these panels and important reps. We were just going ‘cos we thought it was about unsigned bands and the state of the industry. But then he got up and said we’re going to have a change. We’re just going to talk about Enter Shikari, this is the only band worth talking about. We were standing at the back going “Oh my God”. We were pretty shocked and pretty embarrassed. This was in the last few weeks so he was pretty sick. He had to shoot [off] straight after, unfortunately.
Who are some legends you have met? We don’t have many heroes. We don’t run around backstage going “Oh my God, there’s thingy-me-bob”. But there’s a lot of bands we respect. On our last British tour we had support from a band called Hundred Reasons, who were one of our favourite bands growing up. We’ve played some shows with Biffy Clyro, but no bands we’ve been spellbound by.
You guys have a unique sound, where have you taken your influences from? Everywhere really. I did music and music technology at university and high school. I’ve had jazz and classical thrown down my neck. We all listened to Radiohead and Muse, but as we turned 18 we got into the trance and techno scene as we started going out, as well as the hardcore and punk scene.
You were chased by some decent larger labels, what made you go it alone? Well, we toured for about three years up and down the UK while at school and uni doing pay-to-play shows with dodgy promoters where we’d have to do a runner at the end of the night because we didn’t bring in enough people. There was no real interest from press or labels. We were selling our CDs and merch ourselves at our show. We all chipped in for a banged-up old Royal Mail postal van and booked our own shows. It got to the point where we wanted to release our CD properly on our own label and we’d made a few contacts. So we brought out our first proper single and it went really well, so we released our album and it was only then that labels started to pay attention. By then we’d worked up all this ourselves, there was not much they could do for us so we continued like that.
Radiohead let the fans choose how much they’d pay to download In Rainbows. Does that inspire you? I think it’s a crazy idea to put it completely in the fans’ hands as to how much they’ll pay, and I don’t know how much they’ll be losing on it but it’s a cool idea. I got it for free. I have less of conscience.
We’ve been enjoying top 10 albums lists of ’07 at the moment. Who are a few of your faves from last year? Definitely Biffy Clyro – Puzzle. Radiohead In Rainbows. The new Hi Contrast album, it’s pretty amazing, they’re London Drum and Bass. I can’t remember, I need my iTunes in front of me.
You’re coming out for the Big Days Out. Have any of you been to Australia before? Rory has actually lived in Australia for two years as a youngster. Rage Against The Machine are playing, right? Well, they’ll be amazing. That will be quite an experience. So we can’t wait. Enter Shikari’s Take To The Skies is out now on Liberator. They play the Big Days Out (sold out except Adel). Brisbane’s Arena 21 Jan, Sydney’s Forum 23 Jan, and Melb’s Hifi Bar 27 Jan. Tix $50 from venues.