If you think up a Reading & Leeds line-up, chances are you’ll be putting Enter Shikari on there. A staple of the August Bank Holiday blow out, we figured there was nobody better to chat to in advance of 2022’s edition.
Hello Rob! How are you guys doing at the moment? What are you up to today?
S’up! We’re great thanks, currently cooking up some spicy dishes in the form of hot new songs in the kitchen of fresh beats and sweet riffs, AKA Rou’s home studio.
You always seem incredibly busy – did you get any time off during the pandemic lockdowns, or did you work through?
Rou [Reynolds] spent a lot of his time working on his book, A Treatise on Possibility. I personally spent a lot of time on my drumming, and Rory [Clewlow] and Chris [Batten] both spent their days enjoying quality time with their kids. So all very busy but for quite different reasons, all equally as important.
How do you find the energy to do so many live shows? Do you have any endurance tips, or strategies?
It really helps to have a base level of fitness on tour; it’s such a physical job, and add to that your sleep hours on the bus aren’t as strong as at home. It’s fun to have a few drinks at the shows but get hammered every night, and you quickly discover it’s not a very sustainable way to tour, so pick your nights. Other than that, it’s the audience and adrenalin that keeps us going. No matter how tired you are, ill or hungover, when you step out onto that stage and see the audience screaming at you, there’s nothing better to get the blood pumping and energy levels up.
You’re already confirmed for Reading & Leeds this summer, and you’ve played many times before – is it a favourite of yours? What do you like most about it?
It’s the one we all went to as kids. I remember watching Foo Fighters and The Prodigy there when I was 16 (I think) and had an absolutely amazing time. It’s one that is closest to our home town of St. Albans, so we have a lot of friends that go, and the line-up is always so eclectic, so there are guaranteed to be bands playing that we like and new ones to discover.
What was the last festival you went to as a music fan, not because you were playing?
In the last question, I said Reading was our closest, but that’s not strictly true. The past couple of years Pub in the Park has been in Verulamium Park in St. Albans, and last year, I watched The Lightning Seeds play there. Before we changed our name to Enter Shikari, we actually played a few covers of their songs, so it was such a nostalgia trip to watch them, and they put on a great show.
How would you rate your camping skills out of ten?
Haha! These days, pretty low. I used to love being out in the thick of it. I remember enjoying the trolly jousting and the carnage that goes on in the main camping area. But I also remember people’s stuff getting nicked, tents pissed and puked on, no shower for four days. Not all festivals are quite that messy, of course, but these days I’ve become accustomed to a certain level of comfort in my camping and getting pissed on ain’t that.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at Reading & Leeds this year? Will you be hanging around to watch some sets?
Little Simz, Wilkinson, Pale Waves, Run The Jewels, Wolf Alice, Bring Me, Dave, Fever 333, RATM. It’s a killer line-up, so we’ll definitely be sticking around to watch the other bands.
Which of the headliners is your fave and why?
For me, it’s got to be RATM but annoyingly, playing both Reading and Leeds means that we miss out on one of the days, and the one we miss will be the RATM day! We were lucky enough to play a touring festival in Australia called Soundwave, so we watched them play a few times back then, even going to one of their side gigs where the feeling of middle finger up to ‘the man’ was palpable.
Who would you like to see top the bill in 2023?
John Williams with the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing all his greatest hits with a load of pyro and a big LED screen at the back of the stage, playing scenes that relate to each piece.
Do you have anything special planned for your set, like new material or a flashy stage set up? Do you have it all worked out yet?
I’m afraid we haven’t figured that out yet. But, even if we had, I wouldn’t tell you. You’ll just have to wait and see.
What else have you got coming up this year?
Plenty of festivals, writing and recording new material (which we are very excited about), we have a US tour that we’ve just rescheduled to later in the year. It’s definitely going to be a busy one, but that’s how we like it.
Taken from the April issue of Upset. Reading & Leeds will take place from 26th-28th August.