As the band embark on their biggest tour yet, Venue caught up with bassist Chris Batten for a heads up on what to expect:
So, how are you coping with the pre-tour mayhem?
[su_quote]Mayhem is the right word, I mean the programming and the designing of the show has been going on since October last year; piecing ideas together and the extra creation of the audio, and the production side of things have been going on this Feb, so it’s all just kind of coming together now in this last week of rehearsals. It’s been stressful but it’s getting there now.[/su_quote]
Is the production side quite a big part of this tour then?
[su_quote]Yeah, absolutely, I mean we’ve always aimed to really push our own boundaries, not only with our writing, but with our live shows as well, and this is just kind of the next logical step for us to getting really much more involved in the production side of it. We’re doing this tour in ‘Quadrophenic Sound’, which is essentially surround sound, so we bring everything to the venues in order to produce that, along with the video creation. We just want to utilise everything we can really; these are the biggest shows we’ve ever done and we want to make it a different experience to what anyone’s seen before. It’s just a way for us to really progress and to give the audience a different experience.[/su_quote]
So is the tour coming from primarily the band, not any other external forces?
[su_quote]Yeah this is definitely the most hands on we’ve ever been; we’ve been doing it all ourselves. As time’s gone on we’ve just got more and more confident and more and more control freakish, in a good way I think, but I’m not sure the crew see it that way…[/su_quote]
Do you think the heavy production side of this tour will detract from the famous Shikari rawness?
[su_quote]Well I think we have two sides to us, obviously with these kind of venues its harder to keep it that raw and intense, so we’re really focussing on the production. However that’s not say that we’ll be hesitating to get down and into the crowd, we’ve been trying to find ways to make it more raw, even on the bigger sites.[/su_quote]
In saying that however, on the tour you’re going to be playing Wrexham, which is pretty small, especially when compared to Alexandra Palace.
[su_quote]Yeah it is, its capacity is something around 500 or 800 but I mean playing all these big shows like Ally Pally, we’ve kind of thrown Wrexham in there to get the audience in our face, just for our pleasure really, ‘get our fix’ you know?[/su_quote]
Speaking of Ally Pally, the acoustic set you did there was pretty cool, what provoked you to do that?
[su_quote]Well, we went to go check out the venue, and they showed us this old theatre that was completely abandoned and we just absolutely loved it. It seemed a shame not to do something with it, like we wanted people to have some more awareness about it, and at the time we were in the middle of getting some acoustic tracks together, but we weren’t necessarily sure, so the two kind of fell into our laps really.[/su_quote]
Do you feel you’re moving more towards drum and bass, a more primarily electronic sound?
[su_quote]I don’t think there’s anything set in stone with us really, I mean the [The Mindsweep] Hospitalised was other artists putting their spin on our songs, but in terms of our own writing the electronic and production side of things is only going to progress, and that’s all we really want to do. We wouldn’t ever want to put out the same two albums or whatever, we’d always be aiming to push our boundaries in any way, so it will definitely change, but I don’t think it will go straight drum and bass anytime soon.[/su_quote]
I guess following on from that, you’ve got the Shikari Sound System side project doing quite well at the moment?
[su_quote]Yeah that’s really good fun, and again I think it’s like us ‘getting our fix’ as it were. We’ve got the small venues where we get the more punky, sweaty atmosphere, but then you go to the other side of the spectrum where we do more drum and bass DJ-ing with the Shikari Sound System, and then you have the Enter Shikari live shows that are somewhere in the middle of that.[/su_quote]
So you’re touring with the King Blues and The Wonder Years, who are both pretty big names for support acts.
[su_quote]I mean we were honoured really, and I think the tour just kind of makes sense now with these two bands, and obviously they have the same kind of outlook and thinking as us; each of these bands stand for something.[/su_quote]
I guess the outlook behind the band is important, especially in a political way with you guys, why is that?
[su_quote]We’ve just never been able to write about something we didn’t care about. I know Rou has never been able to write a song about break ups or something like that. I think with our music as well, we have to be able to get up on stage and to really mean it, with performing every night it has to be something we feel passionately about.[/su_quote]
Do you think you’ve alienated potential fans, with such a vocal political stance?
[su_quote]I mean there’s obviously people who go in thinking there’s a message in the music and it’s all political and automatically switch off, but I think as well we try not to take ourselves too seriously, so it’s still a very fun time.[/su_quote]
Can we expect anything else from the band in the future?
[su_quote]Right now we’re focussing on quite a lot of shows this year, but towards the end of the year I’m sure we’ll start thinking about [album] number five – no plans to stop any time soon.[/su_quote]