By Akira Sidana, Fourth Year French & Spanish
After what seems like a lifetime of creating music, Enter Shikari, a four-piece British rock band from St. Albans, now present us with their seventh (non) studio album, A Kiss for the Whole World (released 21st April 2023). In the lead-up to its arrival, they dipped in and out of Bristol and other cities three times each for UK residency shows, bringing talented supporting acts along with them, including bands Blackout Problems and Tokky Horror, amongst others.
Before their final Bristol show at SWX, I had the opportunity to chat with bassist/vocalist, Chris Batten, and guitarist/vocalist, Rory Clewlow, about the journey towards the new album and what these past few months have been like.
With the release of Enter Shikari’s last album, Nothing is True & Everything is Possible, coinciding with the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Batten noted that creating A Kiss for the Whole World has meant a lot for them all.
“Obviously, the last record was released around the first lockdown. So, for a long time, it didn’t feel like we could move forward and write anything because that record hadn’t really lived its life.” He added, “This album was just a really joyous experience because it first and foremost meant that we were back doing what we really want to be doing.”
The process was described to be very DIY, with Clewlow stating, “With the last album we went to a studio, but we didn’t have a producer. We just self-produced. So, this time, we were like, Do you know what? We don’t even need the studio.” He explained to me that the band went to an Airbnb and did it all themselves. There was an air of doubt at first as he describes initially thinking, “I hope this works… I think we can do this, but we’ve never done it before.”
It’s clear to see that despite the challenges they faced in constructing the album entirely on their own, the band succeeded, and labelled it as “such a fun experience.”
Coming up on two decades of playing and making music together, both Batten and Clewlow expressed that their inspiration musically now centres around things which sound different.
“Something that I’ve not heard before [is] just automatically where my attention gets drawn to,” Batten discloses. They both laugh as Clewlow announces, “I mainly find myself just listening to weird stuff.”
Lyrically, they explain that lead-vocalist, Rou Reynolds, normally takes charge, with his inspiration for recent albums coming from personal experience. Clewlow divulges to me about a new song, titled ‘Giant Pacific Octopus (i don’t know you anymore)’.
“He uses the octopus as an analogy of like a chameleon and how they [adapt]. Like how many different personalities each of us have depending on who we’re speaking to or what situation we’re in, we’ll act differently. He’s basically like I don’t know who I am anymore".
"I’ve got a million personalities. I don’t know which one to pick.”
Having such a wide catalogue of music spanning from 2007 onwards also feeds into this dilemma of not knowing what to pick. It proved to be a difficult aspect for Enter Shikari when attempting to build a setlist for each leg of the tour, frequently meaning that it took many hours and some tough decisions. Batten revealed that a main consideration for the band’s live shows is asking themselves, “Have we got something from each album in the setlist?” They agreed that an aim for their live shows is to accommodate for fans of all ages and from all eras of their music career, even though they said that their favourite songs to play live are most often the newer tracks.
Finally, I asked Batten and Clewlow if they had any thoughts on good old Bristol after having been in the city in February, March, and April. They let me know that their main take-away from Bristol just so happened to be a takeaway! Oowee Vegan burgers seem to have claimed a special place in their hearts as they confess to having been there every time that they’ve been in Bristol this year.
“That’s been our like… Bristol thing.”
Enter Shikari’s new album, A Kiss for the Whole World, is out now and made up of banger after banger, so be sure to give it a listen. Batten described the album as very positive, which is what we all need during this stressful end-of-term season moving forward into the summer.
“We just hope that people hear it and that they gain some positive energy from it.”
Featured Image: Jamie Waters
Have you listened to A Kiss for the Whole World?