Enter Shikari's Debut Taking To The Top Of The UK Charts

"I think it's really interesting. It doesn't take away anything from the original," says Enter Shikari guitarist Liam "Rory" Clewlow of their rock songs being reinvented into dance remixes. "I'm always fascinated by amateur remixes that people have done on MySpace. Some of them are shit, but most of them have something."

- Dara Hakimzadeh
Photos by Sheila Busteed

posted October 24, 2007

Enter Shikari\'s Debut Taking To The Top Of The UK Charts

     Praised by Virgin Festival organizers as one of England’s “bands to watch,” Enter Shikari has come a long way in just four years. After touring across the United Kingdom countless times in a renovated postal van for three years with no press, no agent and no management, the foursome released its independent debut album, Take to the Skies, this past March.

     But reaching the American market hasn’t been easy.

     “We were running through the streets of London, we’d handwritten our American Visa forms and we got to the American Embassy and they were like, ‘No, go away,’” recalls bassist Chris Batten.

     After leaving the Embassy, the band members frantically searched for an Internet cafe to properly fill out the forms in preparation for a North American tour in May.

     “Then we got a call saying it had charted at number four,” he says of the album. “We were really, really shocked.”

     Guitarist Liam "Rory" Clewlow says he thinks the debut’s success during its first week of release is probably a good indication of the growth of their fan base in the United Kingdom.

     “We don’t really follow any country’s trends. Some bands try to be like the American emo bands like Taking Back Sunday and other bands try to be like the Kaiser Chiefs or the Klaxons. We’re doing something that is totally us and wherever we go people seem to recognize that,” says Clewlow.

Enter Shikari Feature Article

     “Each band is in a completely different situation so you have to figure out what’s the best way for yourself,” he says when asked about the band’s choice to manage their own careers. “I wouldn’t let anyone tell you the way you should be doing it, unless it’s someone you really trust. You don’t have to get endorsements, you don’t have to sign with the majors and you don’t have to pay people to do stupid jobs if you don’t think it’s necessary.”

     And the same principles stand for creating music, says Batten.

     “There are no guidelines you have to follow, especially when it comes to writing music,” he says.

     However, he admits each band member’s love of punk, metal and dance definitely helped them collaborate artistically. “We use to go to hardcore shows and as we got older we started going around to clubs in London, watching DJs, and got involved in that scene a bit more. At first we moved into atmospheric electronics and have progressed on to sequencing our own beats and our own sounds.”

     The band’s musical influences range from artists like the The Used, Bane, Comeback Kid and Sick of it All to Tiësto, Venetian Snares, The Prodigy and Pendulum. 

     “Hardcore music is aggressive and can also be very passionate and the synths we use are very euphoric,” says Batten. “You get that sort of feeling where everything is positive and is going to be okay. You can really see what we’re all about live.”

     Currently, the band’s vocalist, Roughton "Rou" Reynolds, is remixing a few versions of the song “Mothership,” says Batten.

     “I think it’s really interesting. It doesn’t take away anything from the original,” says Clewlow of their rock songs being reinvented into dance remixes. “I’m always fascinated by amateur remixes that people have done on MySpace. Some of them are shit, but most of them have something.”

     This fall, the band is headlining its own European tour before starting to focus on a sophomore album.

     “There’s that saying you get your whole life to write your first album and only two months to write your second. I think it’s very true,” says Batten.

     “We’ve very excited about getting into the studio. We love experimenting and we’re really looking forward to writing it. There are ideas there but we’ve had such a busy touring year that we haven’t managed to put anything down.”