Culture, Features, Music

Enter Shikari: A Kiss for the Whole World

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Featured image: Georgina Hurdsfield


Enter Shikari have not only been championing the rock music scene for the past 14 years, but they’ve been shouting about the energy and climate crisis, and rallying in support of scientists. The British rock band have never shied away from channelling their criticism of the devastating impact of capitalism and unjust wars through their genre-defying explorative rock/rave-core music.

Truly standing for what they believe in, the St Albans rockers have developed a strong purpose in the world of music. From ‘Juggernauts’ on their sophomore album, Common Dreads, to ‘Arguing With Thermometers’, ‘Mytopia’ and ‘Take My Country Back’ on later albums, Enter Shikari speak loudly and proudly about current issues impacting the future of society. And they were doing it before it was ‘cool’.

When working on their latest album A Kiss For The Whole World, set to be released in April 2023, Enter Shikari proved they practise what they preach. They set out to lessen their own impact on the energy crisis by carefully considering the energy sources they would use to create the album.

In Spring 2022, the band took up a short-term residency in a dilapidated farmhouse in Chichester to record, which lead vocalist and producer Rou Reynolds describes as going “back to basics”. He says, “This band – my best friends – bundled into an old farmhouse, miles away from anywhere. Off-grid, and ready to rediscover ourselves.”

Not only did the band break new ground musically, but they paved the way for greener future music production, using only solar power to create the album. “This album is powered by the sun, the most
powerful object in our solar system,” says Reynolds. “And I think you can tell. It’s a collection of songs that represent an explosive reconnection with what Enter Shikari is. The beginning of our second act.”

Enter Shikari’s actions as a band clearly match up to the significant messages evident in their work. But this is nothing new. At Reading and Leeds Festival back in 2019, the group used a powerful image of Reading University’s ‘Climate Stripes’, created by world-leading climate scientist, Professor Ed Hawkins, as their stage backdrop.

On stage with Chris Batten (bass), Rory Clewlow (guitar) and Rob Rolfe (drums), Reynolds described the image as “one of the most crucial images of our time”. The image visually demonstrates how temperatures have continuously risen in every corner of the globe since 1850, a stark warning of how human action has contributed to an accelerating global warming.

For Enter Shikari, music is an unlimited energising fuel source, and they use this influence to support activists and scientists in the work they’re doing to change the world, all while soundtracking the lives of their fans. The band continues to revitalise audiences in 2023, with their latest single ‘(pls) set me on fire’ described by Reynolds as a “projectile vomit of positive energy”.

‘It Hurts’ follows this lead single and brings with it a call to ‘switch up our worldview and reassess the ways in which we judge ourselves’. “Lyrically, ‘It Hurts’ is about perseverance, and the importance of reframing failure as a fruitful and, in fact, pivotal route to progress,” says Reynolds.

Themes of perseverance and progress seem particularly poignant for the band who went on to help reopen live music following the Covid-19 pandemic with a headline set at Download Festival Pilot in 2021, performing to 10,000 fans at Donington Park.

The pandemic not only turned the world upside down, but also the band, who paused writing for two years. “At the time it felt like we ourselves, as musicians, were experiencing the death of our band,” says Reynolds.

This performance was a turning point in their history and a chance for the band to reignite their writing progress, as well as an opportunity to reconnect with fans: “I just didn’t realise that the human and physical connection to other people were so central to how I write,” Reynolds adds.

Once again we are seeing a reinvigorated act as Enter Shikari embark on their latest creative mission which will see them take up residencies in UK cities throughout February, March and April, including a date at Manchester’s own historic New Century Hall.

Reynolds shares the thinking behind the residency shows: “It’s hard to do anything interesting with live shows today. We wanted to do something different. We’re going to become a local band to five major cities in the UK. It’s going to be interesting to see how the
shows evolve every time we return.”

The future is bright for Enter Shikari.


First published in The ENERGY Issue. Pick up your copy on campus or read online.

About the author / 

Georgina Hurdsfield

Masters student in Psychological Wellbeing in Clinical Practice at Manchester Metropolitan University. Keen photographer and music enthusiast.

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