I gave Rob Rolfe, the drummer for band Enter Shikari, a call to have a chat about their upcoming album and tour. Rob was kindly willing to give me some time within his very busy schedule, with the band currently in rehearsals to perfect their set for the tour which begins in January.
So when does the new tour start?
Tour starts in January, with the release of the new album [The Mindsweep] on the 19th.
What have you been up to recently?
We’ve been playing shows around the world and getting inspiration for the new album. We’re actually in the rehearsal studio at the moment put together our set for the tour. We started writing and recording the album in December last year and then started doing the festival circuit in the summer, which was great fun. Before that we had six months off to spend with our families, which was the longest time we’ve off from gigging in the twelve years that we’ve been together.
Did you enjoy the downtime and not gigging for a while, and did you spend it apart or together?
It was really nice to spend time with family and get away from it all, we were getting a bit sick of the sight of each other [laughs]. We still spent a lot of time together as we were writing and recording bits for the new album. But being away from gigging gave us the chance to get our creative juices flowing again which was great.
How would you describe the new album?
Like we’ve tried to do with all of our albums, we’ve tried to reach new areas by moving forward in the way that music moves forward. I’d say that this album is definitely a lot more mature, but at the same time we’ve tried to have a lot of fun with it and included a lot of new instruments and more delicate instrumentation.
Where did the influences for this album come from? Bands around at the moment or bands you’ve idolised in the past, or just your surroundings?
Because we tour a lot and we’ve been playing all over the world and listeninig to so many different bands both new and established, it would be extremely hard not to be influenced by them in some capacity. Everyone’s sound is different and music is always moving forward so we have to do the same. But I’d say the biggest influences come from our state of mind, its about how we feel at certain times and can be determined by our surroundings.
The first time I saw you was on the Take To The Skies tour. What would you say the biggest differences between then and now are?
Back then we didn’t really know who we were, we were just focused on making music and being experimental with it. I’d say that we were very naïve back then and that our music was naïve as well. We didn’t really have our own sound. Even though it worked then and we had fun, we’ve definitely become a lot more focused since then. We’re different people now to who we were back then.
Would you say you were more experimental back then?
No, I’d say we’re still just as experimental as we were back then. We still incorporate new instruments and new sounds with every album. Back then we were doing it blindly where as now we know who we are and what we want to do.
Have you now found your identity as a band or do you feel that the culture of the band is actually to develop and sound different each time?
I think we found our identity with our last album, A Flash Flood Of Colour, but you have to keep progressing and pushing yourselves. Just as there is a progression in life, there has to be a progression in music and the music we produce. I heard recently a song that The Who have just brought out, and I was really surprised as it sounds exactly the same as the stuff they were doing back in the ‘70’s, it wasn’t moving with the times. Back then they were the ones at the front of music, they were the ones moving music forward, but they’re not doing that anymore. It worked for them back then, obviously, but that kind of thing won’t really work now. We don’t want to lose ourselves in the respect that we stay stuck doing the same thing. If we had stayed making the same kind of music as Take To The Skies, it wouldn’t be working now and we wouldn’t be touring around the world.
Going back to the tour, what would you tell your fans to expect from it?
There will be a lot of new music from the album. We’ll be putting on a show. Even when we write and record we are constantly thinking about how we can perform it live. In rehearsals at the moment we’ve been incorporating a lot of new lighting sets as well, it should be fun!
Whenever I’ve seen you it comes across that the performance and the show is just as important as the music you guys are playing, would that be fair to say?
Definitely. I can’t stand it when you go to a gig and there are just four guys stood there and just playing the music. If you wanted to just hear and listen to the music you would put a CD on, you wouldn’t go to the gig. So we want to make it an experience, we want it to be a show. We love performing and we want that to come across.
Has the support been chosen for the tour yet?
[Laughs] No, not yet. We’re still in talks over it, nothing is confirmed as of yet.
Does the band choose the support or do you have people to do that for you?
No, we’re heavily involved in choosing who supports us. Obviously a lot of people we’d love to have tour with us are unavailable most of the time, but we have never been disappointed with anyone we’ve had support us.
Looking to the future, obviously you have the album coming out and then the the tour, followed by the usual festival circuit, but what about after that?
Well we’ll probably be on the current touring cycle off of this album for about eighteen months, and then after that I don’t actually know. We may have a break or we could crack on and get straight onto work on the next album. We’ll still be recording as there were tracks that weren’t incuded on this album which we still really like and want to release.
If there was one message you can send out to all of your fans, what would it be?
I would just thank everyone for their support over all of the years, we really appreciate it!
Thanks a lot for your time, Rob, it’s much appreciated, good luck with the release of the album and the following tour! See you in Portsmouth!
Thanks a lot! It’s been my pleasure! Yeah, definitely, see you there!
Enter Shikari’s fourth studio album, The Mindsweep, will be released on the 19th January 2015. The UK leg of their tour will start off at the Portsmouth Pyramids on the 16th February, tickets are available here.