Enter Shikari on their surprise new album, new book and post-COVID politics
Enter Shikari have surprised fans with the release of a new album, as well as announcing details of a new book. Watch our full video interview with frontman Rou Reynolds above.
Exactly one year to the day from the release of the band’s acclaimed sixth album ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ comes the companion collection ‘Moratorium (Broadcasts From The Interruption)’ – made up of tracks recorded during livestreams over the last year.
“It’s a load of sessions that we did from the first lockdown onwards throughout the year – the ones that felt special,” Reynolds told NME. “I think one of the most special ones was recorded on this hallowed nature reserve near me in North London in the middle of the woods. I really enjoyed those renditions. At a time when everything was quite manic and difficult to deal with, these made for nice moments of calm.”
While admitting that the sessions “don’t quench my starving desire to be on stage”, Reynolds said that they did well to capture a unique space and time – including moments from 2000 Trees and Five 4 Five’s online festivals, two special solo acoustic performances accompanied be Bulgaria’s Sofia Session Orchestra, and a very special cover.
“There are other studio tracks on there too,” he said. “There’s an alternate orchestral version of ‘The Dreamer’s Hotel’, and I’ve also finally got down my cover of ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie. Everyone else usually does a downtempo version, you know, something for the M&S Christmas advert. It’s not a million miles from that, but I love very beautiful, positive and major keys. It’s a very uplifting but more stripped-back cover.”
Throughout what he described as “a year of immense learning”, Reynolds has also been working on another huge project – and today announces that July 16 will see the release of his fourth book, A Treatise on Possibility: Perspectives on Humanity Hereafter, serving as guide to lyrical themes of ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’.
“It’s a similar thing to what I’ve done on the other albums, which is some accompanying literature on the lyrics and a short essay on each song talking about the inspiration and motivation,” Reynolds told NME.
“With the time off tour, I thought it was finally time to do something a bit more in-depth. This follows the lyrics of our last album, but it’s really an analysis of the world that it was written in. It goes into social psychology, anthropology, philosophy and more. It’s exploring human possibility, where we’re going, what our potential is and the trajectories we’re on.”
He continued: “We could sit here for the rest of this interview and talk about the list of crises that we’re currently facing as a species, so it’s looking at those and looking for solutions as to how we can do things differently.”
With their latest album exploring ideas what mankind is capable of in the face of adversity, Reynolds said that he was grateful to have been allowed to explore his songs in greater depth for the book – especially with the themes becoming more and more prescient as the coronavirus pandemic and its complications unfolded.
“I’m so thankful for this time because I’ve learned so much more about my own lyrics and the concepts that I touched upon in the album,” he said. “There are so many concepts that have come to light that I now feel more established in; whether it’s human nature, climate change, or whatever. I’ve been speaking to a Professor Of Psychology at Berkeley and all these titans of knowledge and ideas. To be able to instil that into this book and be pushed by the album to back up my thoughts has been a real learning process.”
Having predicted a year ago that “this pandemic will bring to light so many innate failings of the current system“, Reynolds argued that only further unrest would follow due to the injustices that have been highlighted over the last 12 months.
“As we come out of lockdown, I think there will be more civil disobedience and protest, from people that aren’t activists too. We often look upon people as ‘career activists’, especially with movements like Extinction Rebellion, but now it’s just anyone.
“Anyone who actually stops and thinks about the direction that things are going in is now extremely energised, realising that we now need to start fighting on a very serious scale. Increasingly so, we’re going to start to see demands for all sorts of changes – be it within healthcare or environmentalism or elsewhere.”
As for new Enter Shikari material, Reynolds admitted that the gravity of the global situation had left him at struggling to put pen to paper when it came to music – having already sung about the true value of the NHS and tackling government corruption on previous records.
“It’s difficult talking about this, because everywhere I look I see people in the studio, writing or bringing out new music – and I still haven’t written anything since we finished the album,” he told NME. “Throughout last year it was very much a sense of just not knowing where to start because so much was going wrong and it was so intense, but I didn’t really know what to say anymore.
“We’ve been very critical of all sorts of aspects of society and quite overt in our social commentary. The things that we’ve been talking about for quite a while having been coming to light in the mainstream public consciousness. I saw that happening and just felt a bit sick and couldn’t write.”
Reynolds added: “That’s been one of the most difficult things for my personal mental health, that I haven’t had that outlet, that catharsis or sense of getting the demon out of me. That’s when the period of anxiety starts to roll in. We’ll get there, but there isn’t a route yet that we’ve discovered. Luckily, I could just put all my creative energies into the book and that just took over.”
On July 16, the band will release extremely limited edition physical versions of ‘Moratorium (Broadcasts From The Interruption)’, alongside deluxe two-disc editions of ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ featuring both albums. Pre-orders for the album along with the new book A Treatise on Possibility: Perspectives on Humanity Hereafter are available here.
Check out Enter Shikari’s rescheduled UK and European tour dates here.