Enter Shikari – Rou Reynolds: ‘Bands are in a culture of narcissism, it’s really sad’ | Music | Entertainment

Enter Shikari rou reynolds

Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds opened up about industry pressures (Image: GETTY)

At the end of the month, Enter Shikari will finish off The National Lottery’s ongoing Revive Live Tour 2022. It’s a campaign that has placed a number of enormous acts in some of the country’s smallest yet best-loved venues. This admirable tour event is getting music-lovers back into the venues that kickstarted some iconic artists, including Shikari, Becky Hill, Bastille, Feeder, Maisie Peters and The Coral. Tickets are dwindling, you should grab them while you can.

This campaign is a labour of love for Enter Shikari’s singer, Rou, who has noticed a marked change in bands’ attitudes towards venues over recent years.

Like it or not, Rou and Shikari are entitled to speak out about the state of the music industry. They’re one of the few bands that does not just feel like they’ve been around forever, they actually have.

Rou reminisced over Zoom how he started the band in 2003, and he is “so grateful” to still have such a strong and passionate following to this day. Enter Shikari have gotten remarkably bigger with each passing year and every polarising album – but they aren’t trying to artificially grow their notoriety at every turn. It is something he sees other artists doing, however. 

“I think a lot of bands do think about [getting bigger],” he explained. “And I think it’s just really sad! Of course, we all want longevity and we all want to still be doing this next year – so I’m eternally grateful for our audience and the people who are into our band.”

With a sigh, he added: “But… it’s almost like a disease at the moment.”

Enter Shikari

Enter Shikari have been together since 2003 (Image: GETTY)

Rou mused that society, as it is now, is rooted in a “culture of narcissism”.

He went on: “Everyone is predominantly thinking about self-interest and nothing else. And getting bigger. And every band wants to get bigger and do the next bigger venue, and it’s all about this constant increasing constant thirst for more and more – and I think it’s really dangerous.”

This desire to strive for bigger and better things has pushed the music industry into a tough position, Rou explains, where smaller venues are left in the dust.

He began: “It’s just, there’s so many… look, we know the narrative. Just the last five years – ten years maybe – venue after venue has closed down or is having to be saved through [crowd] funding. It’s just been a real struggle for the smaller venues that we came up playing. The venues that so many bands… that they’ve paved their careers in and made a name for theirselves [in].”

Enter Shikari

Enter Shikari will be playing Hitchin’s Club 85 for Revive Live 2022 (Image: GETTY)

Enter Shikari rou reynolds

Enter Shikari: Rou Reynolds opened up on the culture of narcissism (Image: GETTY)

Rou said this is an issue a number of large bands deal with as this culture continues.

“Whoever you are,” he said. “Even if you’re the biggest band in the world: there’s going to be a point where you can’t get any bigger. From everyone that I’ve spoken to that’s been in bigger bands that have thought about this, it can be a bit like… a really difficult thing to get over. The hedonic treadmill, or whatever you want to call it!”

A lot of this pressure and stigma of not always moving up can be rooted back into social media, as well.

“Every artist feels it,” Rou admitted. “Even if you haven’t posted [on social media] in a week you’re like: ‘Oh my god, are people going to forget me? I’m not in the public eye!’ It’s such a pollution of what art should be. And creativity, and connecting with people

“It’s a difficult one to get over. It’s one you really have to watch and be thoughtful about, because it can be incredibly damaging to your mental health and consequently to your creativity.”

Enter Shikari first made a name for themselves in their local scene – one of the most prominent being the venue they’re about to play on March 31, Hitchin’s Club 85.

As St Albans locals, it’s a stone’s throw from their hometown. And it’s one Rou has some of the fondest memories of.

He confessed: “It was the first place we sort of felt like accepted and won people over. We played it god-knows how many times. I think it’s going to be quite an emotional one.”

On the evening’s setlist, he revealed: “I think we’ll try and build a set that’s got stuff from that very first era [of Enter Shikari]. Hopefully – at the same time – I think it’s just got to feel like a party, hasn’t it? People want to celebrate getting back out and being in a sweaty venue again!”

Mostly, though, Rou holds local venues and the local music scene in such high regard because of the influence it has on others at young ages.

In an explosion of passion, Rou intoned: “Music is one of the first and best ways that we connect as human beings – it’s often how we form our friendship groups at school – and it’s something that can be a constant provider of comfort; of escapism, or whatever it is you need throughout your life.

“Local venues are a great place to meet people and also to meet new sounds, new artists, new bands. Nothing beats discovering a new artist live! We’re so spoilt today that we have these brilliant algorithms … but discovering an artist at your local venue and feeling that immediate connection is something that stays with you for life.”

Enter Shikari play Hitchin’s Club 85 on March 31.

Grab tickets to The National Lottery’s Revive Live Tour 2022 here.

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