Formerly Hybrid, Enter Shikari formed in Hertfordshire in 1999 consisting of front man Rou Reynolds, bassist Chris Batten, drummer Rob Rolfe, and lead guitarist Rory Clewlow. Enter Shikari are well known for being one of the most successful DIY bands of this era. They were and still are self-sufficient and continue to release music through their on label, Ambush Reality.
With no label backing, no professional advertisement, no PR and only social media to aid them, their debut album, Take to the Skies, released on March 19, 2007 claimed victory over the label system after reaching number 4 in the Official UK Album Chart. The band continued their DIY strategy, and subsequently in November 2008 they became the second unsigned band to sell out three nights at the London Astoria.
Their second album, Common Dreads, was released in 2009 and debuted on the UK Albums Chart and number 16, and their third, A Flash Flood of Colour, released in 2012 and entered the chart at number 4.
Enter Shikari spent over a year promoting A Flash Flood of Colour on a world tour, starting on 16 January 2012, and ending on 27 January, 2013, the tour had eleven legs and a mammoth 153 shows – 66 in North America, 72 in Europe, 12 in Oceania, two in Africa, and one in Asia.
Enter Shikari’s fourth studio album, The Minesweep, was released on 19 January 2015. The band continuted to self release in the UK under Ambush Reality but signed to Hopeless Records in the US and PIAS Recordings in Europe, as well as others in Australia, New Zealand and Japan to aid with distribution of the album in those countries. It received acclaim from music critics, with Kerrang! calling The Minesweep their “most diverse album to date”. The Minesweep was also included at number 4 on Rock Sound’s top 50 releases of 2015 list.
Over their ten-year career, Enter Shikari have won a number of awards, including several best live band awards, the NME Award for the John Peel Award for Musical Innovation in 2007, several of the Kerrang! Best Live Band awards, as well as the AIM Award for Independent Album of the Year in 2012.
In October of last year, Enter Shikari declare that The Minesweep era had come to an end and promised their “best album yet” for their next release. So fans have a long wait as front man Rou stated on Instagram: “Next week, I start the long process of writing what will be our best album ever. Let the hibernation, the inception, the formulation, begin”. In typical Enter Shikari style, they always leave their fans on tenterhooks for the long wait until the album release!
This year marks the ten year anniversary of their debut album, Take to the Skies, and in celebration of this, Enter Shikari are headlining the Slam Dunk Festival in Birmingham, Leeds, and Hatfield to mark the occasion where the band will be playing the album in full.
As well as the full band line up, the members of Enter Shikari have also been part of several side projects as well. Front man Rou has produced music as ‘Rout’, which he performs in small venues and before shows. Rou also set up his own clothing company, Step Up Clothing. Drummer Rob also DJs, and often plays slots at the bands aftershow parties, playing a range of trance, drum & bass, and dubstep.
The band also have an alter-ego, Shikari Sound System, which Rou describe as “the same four scallywags but playing a live dance set”.
To this date, Enter Shikari remain largely a DIY band, aside from Public City PR dealing with their national radio and TV campaigns. They really are living proof that if you “do it right”, put the work in, and know what you’re doing, bands don’t always need PR to assist the launch of their careers. It helps, of course, but Enter Shikari certainly have done a brilliant job themselves!