Enter Shikari talk starting over and getting personal on new album The Spark...
2015’s The Mindsweep took Enter Shikari to all new heights. They headlined arenas for the first time, debuted their quadraphonic sound system and reached higher and higher places on festival bills.
Earlier this year they celebrated the 10th anniversary of their debut album Take To The Skies with a start to finish rendition at Slam Dunk Festival, setting themselves up for a busy summer of festivals, all of which were a great success.
But now it’s time for something new.
The band return this week with The Spark, a brand new album recorded with producer David Kosten, best known for his work with Everything Everything and Bat For Lashes, intricate and wonky pop music, not something you’d traditionally associate with the St. Albans noiseniks.
Ahead of the album’s release, we spoke to frontman Rou Reynolds about making it and why this is the band’s most personal album to date...
How did you want The Spark to move on from what you’ve done in the past?
“This album is probably the first time when I’ve had a focused idea of how I wanted it to sound. Before I’d write and cobble things together, it was more random. I wanted to concentrate on simpler structures and to make things more lucid. Often Enter Shikari records can sound like five songs in one, loads of garden paths, I wanted to concentrate on melody. I’ve grown in confidence as a singer, I’ve increased my range and I wanted to channel that into an album that was lucid in lyrics and the music.”
You’ve opted for quite a different choice of producer in David Kosten…
“We met quite a few producers and we were excited by him, not just for his production, but also his solo work. He’s worked with Everything Everything and Bat For Lashes and although those albums aren’t exactly our world, we’ve really liked them. It’s a classic thing, we met up, we got on really well and he was always up for experimenting, if anything, it would be us reining him in! He was someone who understood where we’d come from and the direction I wanted to go in. He’s also got a ridiculous collection of vintage synths, that really had me drooling…”
What kind of album do you think this is lyrically?
“It’s definitely our most personal album, I couldn’t have written an album this honest and open before. I’ve had a really interesting time in the last couple of years in my personal life and I wanted to make that emotion connect with the music. I wanted to connect on different levels. The main overarching theme is that classic thing of finding strength in adversity. Taking on advertising and learning, coming back stronger, a spark is something that can seem insignificant, but it can become something much bigger…”
Was that always going to be the title? Or did it come quite late in the process?
“No, it came very late. Normally the way these things work is you end up scouring the lyrics and trying to find something, but that wasn’t the case was this record. I wanted something simple and lucid. The first track on the album, which is an instrumental piece, came about and that gave the album a real bookend, that’s what inspired the title.”
Your last two albums have dropped in January, why did you decide to go later in the year?
“It’s mostly just the way things have worked out. I always want to start releasing new singles in the summer, it’s a nice time to look forward, but there wasn’t pressure to get things out quickly. It took a long time to work this album out in lyrical terms, the music was very focused, but it took a while to work out and avoid being cliched in the words, that’s what’s taken the time.”
In terms of your live set, how’s that coming together? You’ve got a lot to choose from now…
“It’s the hardest bit of the job now, you’re always going to annoy someone. We’re trying to get a fairly varied set, a few tracks from each era. We’ve got a wide range of styles within the band and we want our set to be diverse and all-encompassing and show all of that off to you…”