ENTER SHIKARI have begun work on their highly anticipated follow-up to 2007's full-length Take To The Skies.
The quartet - vocalist Rou Reynolds, guitarist Rory Clewlow, bassist Chris Batten and drummer Rob Rolfe have been holed up in a shed/make-shift studio at the bottom of Batten's parents' garden in St Albans writing and recording demos for the as-yet-untitled release.
"In theory, this is the 'difficult second album', but it doesn't seem that hard." Batten tells Kerrang!. "I don't know what other bands are complaining about!"
With eight tracks already penned - in "skeleton" form at "least - the past five weeks have seen the group knuckle down to transform loose ideas into rave rock anthems.
"I had been writing lots on tour, and had a big stockpile of ideas stored on laptops," explains Reynolds. "Now i can often be found above the train tracks at the bottom of the garden with an acoustic guitar..."
"That way our songs start at the heart with the electronics," adds Clewlow, "Rou will bring us riffs and ideas and beats, and then we all muck in and see what comes out."
The band have revealed that the new material will involve more experimentation and a generally more "mature" sound.
"We're throwing every instrument that we can lay our hands on," says Rolfe. "We have surrounded ourselves with guitars, drums, maracas, tambourines, laptops, basses - it's all being thrown in pretty much!"
"It might get even more interesting, as i am bidding on some accordions on eBay," laughs Reynolds. "We also have some thai organ pipes and more stuff too. We are all experimenting as much as we can with this one. The new stuff is going to be a clear progression, but it will still be us."
"The whole sound of the record will be more mature, i think," adds Batten. "The first record was done over two weeks - and on this one, we want to work with a couple of different producers - some dance ones, some that do drum and bass, as well as rock producers too - mix it up a bit. All those three elements are still very much a part of Enter Shikari.
Tracks set to appear on the second album include The Jester, Minus the Blackbird, My English Heart, Almost Dallas, L'Hotel De Life, T'Martyr Mayhem and the curiously titled Rub A Dub Dub Steppin'.
"T'Martyr Mayhem is about St Alban - who was the first [British] Chritian martyr," says Batten. "These are just working titles for now of course - everything is still in its early stages."
With the band set to continue recording right up until winter, the final product should be ready for release in early 2009. In the meantime, the group have planned a series of European festival dates in the summer, the Projekt Revolution show in Milton Keynes with Linkin Park on June 29 and a 28-date tour taking in small venues around the nation.
"Being a band from just outside London, we've always noticed that bands always seem to play in London and stick to the big cities," says Batten. "A lot of kids can't efford to travel that far. When we first started, we struggled to get shows in big towns, and our gigs were always in smaller places: so this is a chance to get back to our roots."
"We've played most of the places before, but it's nice to go to the ends of the UK that we haven't been to for a while," says Reynolds. "We're also going to use it as a chance to try out some new material and play as many songs as possible!"
There are also plans in the works to create a "bootleg" Enter Shikari DVD to be made available in time for a headline run.
"We're going to chuck all the footage together we've ever recorded." explains Reynolds, "Footage from phones to video cameras and professional stuff too. We will put it together ourselves, make copies ourselves, and sell them at the shows."
With the tour beginning on September 30, the band have almost five months in which to prepare for what could be their most explosive tour to date.
"We're definitely looking forward to the shows," states Batten. "Getting back into smaller venues, getting grimy in small towns - it's what we love! Even though it's so far away, we're still reall excited for people to hear this new material!"
Enter Shikari play as a part of Projekt Revolution on June 29.
Words: Katie Parsons
Kerrang! issue no 1211
MAY 24 08