10 Minutes With... Rou Reynolds

For Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds, 2014 will mostly be remembered for completing their fourth studio album, The Mindsweep and a tour of eastern Europe. Here, the frontman reveals his year’s highlights and his thoughts that tweet from John Prescott…

What were your ambitions for 2014?

“We were at the point where we were ready to write the next album. I guess my thoughts were to try and create something we were happy with, something that touched on every corner of the musical spectrum we were confident in. That’s probably it, to be honest. Just get our heads down and concentrate on making the album. That was all that was on my mind.”

Was it something you approached with trepidation?

“There’s definitely an element of fear when you get started. I guess it’s more anxiety… you just want to get stuck in. You sit down and you’ve got riffs and ideas on phones, laptops, notepads or just in your head. Everything’s a bit disorganised and a bit of a mish-mash. It’s only when you get into the creative flow and your concentration is 100% on the music, it’s my favourite thing to do. Waking up in the morning with an idea and having the day to follow that through is an honour.”

You worked with producer Dan Weller again. Was that a no-brainer?

“Weller… yeah! Him and Tim Morris, our engineer worked so well together on [2012’s] A Flash Flood Of Colour. By now, we’re the best mates and know each other’s strengths and are all up for experimenting.”

What’s been your most memorable moment of the year?

“It’s hard to think what else we did this year, apart from the album and touring. We did an amazing tour of central and eastern Europe. We got to countries like Slovenia, Slovaki, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece… places we thought we’d never get to visit. Playing Athens was incredible. It was always a childhood dream to visit there. I’m such a fan of the ancient Athenian lifestyle and philosophies. It’s so fascinating. It was the one time I put my foot down. I demanded a day off the day after we played Athens.”

What did you do?

“Well, it almost didn’t happen. On the way into the border, they asked for a specific document which we didn’t have, to get our equipment through. We spent 24 hours at the border and had to get a flight to Athens, because we were allowed through, but our equipment didn’t make it. So we had beg, steal, borrow any equipment we could. The show happened and I got to see the Parthenon and it was great.”

John Prescott tweeted the band this year. What’s the story behind that?

“We were just as bewildered as everyone else, I think. That tweet was totally unexpected. We were trying to work out whether he was a fan or if he had someone in the family that turned him on to us. It was quite amazing to wake up to that.”

Will you be sending him a copy of The Mindsweep when its released next month?

“It sounds like he’s going to buy it. He’s tweeted us again since then. He sounds like a genuine fan. It’s awesome.”

What was the best film you’ve seen this year?

“I hardly go to the cinema, but I did go to see [Australian horror] The Babadook. It was really interesting. It’s had mixed reviews, but I really liked how suggestive and strange the ending was. It was nice to see an independent film do so well, rather than your classic Hollywood stuff…”

What is a typical Reynolds Christmas like?

“[laughs] Pretty standard, really. The funniest thing is all of us trying to cook because now, over the last few years, we’ve all become vegetarian. We’ll do nut roasts and the alternatives, which are hard to get perfect. Last year, my dad totally ruined it. He was adamant that he was going to be the head chef for the day, but the texture was all wrong! Apart from that, have a walk after the meal, watch TV. Do we fight over the remote? My mum will want to watch a Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special. I like watching the sentimental stuff, like The Office Christmas episode. Dig up some classics. There’s always an ongoing argument between me and Rob [Rolfe, drummer] about the film, Love Actually. Usually, I normally hate rom-coms, but I love this film for some reason. The film boils Rob’s blood when I try to make him watch it on the tourbus.”

What are your plans for New Year?

“Me and Rory [Clewlow, guitarist] are doing a Shikari Sound System set in Newcastle. It’s the first time we’ve ever done something on New Year’s Eve and it’ll be a laugh…”

The Mindsweep with be released on January 19, 2015 through Ambush Reality.

Simon Young

Born in 1976 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Simon Young has been a music journalist for over twenty years. His fanzine, Hit A Guy With Glasses, enjoyed a one-issue run before he secured a job at Kerrang! in 1999. His writing has also appeared in Classic RockMetal HammerProg, and Planet Rock. His first book, So Much For The 30 Year Plan: Therapy? — The Authorised Biography is available via Jawbone Press.