ENTER SHIKARI frontman Roughton “Rou” Reynolds takes us through the band's new album A Flash Flood Of Colour. Stream the album (if you haven't already) and read the descriptions below.
This track started off life as a short piece of music for a string quartet. Yes, I like to write classical music from time to time, what you gonna do about it!? Ha! It was beginning to sound so tense and carried such a feeling of expectancy that I decided to try writing lyrics to it and generally evolve the song into a Shikari track. Lyrically it introduces the themes for the album using some tasty and colossal metaphors and gets you itching for more.
This track is so in-your-face it's already shot through your cranium and out the back of your head and left rubble of skull and skin. We spent ages sonically tweaking this track (especially the breakdown), so that the guitars and synths became unified amongst a wall of gut-shaking bass. It continues on from “System…” lyrically and has got to be one of the most frank and direct tracks I’ve ever written. We certainly don't beat around the bush in this one! Lyrics like 'Fuck all borders and Fuck all Boundaries, Fuck all flags and Fuck nationalities' wont really sit nicely with the delusional flag waving “patriots” amongst you, but this track is all about realising the artificial boundaries that we have created, separating us from each other and segregating the human race. When we realise we are one, and all have the same needs and dreams we'll start living without fear and consequently far more sustainably, progressively and peacefully.
I wrote this when I was feeling rather down in the dumps. It’s hard to write positive songs with everything going on in the world, but this track is basically one full-on party–it's about cherishing your friendships and living compassionately. It's about bouncing back when you're feeling down, crawling back out of the sssnakepit and staying positive. It's got both ends of the spectrum music-wise, it moves from old school drum & bass to all out hardcore punk, two of our most comfortable influences.
It was mainly written in desparation about the world around us, but obviously it still conveys optimism and positivity in its presentation musically and lyrically. It's about thinking scientifically, figuring out the problems and overcoming them with human ingenuity and the limitless progression that comes from that. It's definitely one of the most happy tracks on the album. It's hopefully hard to listen to this track without feeling empowered and ready to face the world.
“Arguing With Thermometers”
I wrote this after getting increasingly pissed off with two things: 1) The way energy and oil companies put short-term profit over the long-term health of us all and our planet, and 2) the length energy and oil companies go to in trying to persuade us that climate change isn't real, i.e. paying struggling scientists big bucks to come out with pseudoscience to distort the subject. This is all put across with the aid of Michael Jackson-style funky guitars, filthy sub-packed syncopated synths and gut-wrenching screams…naturally.
It's one of the softer tracks on the album, and it gives me a chance to tinkle on a guitar which I do enjoy from time to time. It's got some of our juiciest vocal harmonies to date too, which we laid down in the studio after a few pints of thai rum. The drunker you are, the better your harmonies are. Fact.
“Stalemate” definition… a situation in which further action or progress by opposing or competing parties seems impossible. Humans have been fighting for many reasons for many many years. Some wars are won, some wars are lost, some wars are abandoned, people die, people survive, but what always endures is hatred and sadness. War is a symptom of our culture. Nothing will change unless the environment we live in doesn't bring about reason for war. Most wars fought today are fought for the acquisition of resources or land. When we start living equally and sustainably we'll look back and laugh at the primitive way people used to squabble and murder each other.
“Gandhi Mate, Gandhi”
This started off as a track for my side project Rout; it just sounded so heavy live everytime I dropped it when DJing that I thought about trying to evolve it into a full-on Shikari track. The bouncing electro synths went really well around a stabby guitar part so we ended up going for it. It was one of the most fun tracks on the album to record as vocally, the track is full of different characters and their trials through the emotion of anger. And then it has the most ridiculous breakdown you've ever heard in its outro. One to help you loosen your bowels if you're ever “clogged up,” so to speak.
“Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here”
Despite its tranquil-sounding intro this is actually a track full of frustration about modern music. It's a reaction to being surrounded by unprogressive, soulless, pointless, homogenised music. It was written after touring with so many bands that sound the same and listening to radio where the music is just mind-numbing and soul-destroying in equal measures.
“Pack Of Thieves”
For me, this is one of the most magical tracks on the album; the intro to this song is actually about eight years old now. The three-way harmony you hear at the beginning is one of the first vocal parts we tested Rory C (our guitarist) out with. He nailed it, and that was when Shikari formed in 2003! So this is such a nostalgic and passionate track for us. Hopefully the positivity and determination of the music and lyrics hit everyone else that listens to this just as hard. 'Don't be fooled into thinking that a small group of friends cannot change the world.'
“Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide”
Definitely going to be a live favourite. This is an all-out angry beast of of a track, influenced by last year’s immense global social unrest. The line 'Nature is the only dictator that I respect' kind of sums up the track really. We've only played this track live three times and the destruction was already apocalyptic! Might have to rethink its inclusion in our live sets!
This is probably the most deep and heartfelt track we've ever made. It's about the huge choices our generation has yet to make and the love and peace that could come from making the right choices. It's also a thank you to all the things and people and places that have helped shape me as a person and us as a band. It's still a challenge for me to listen to this song without welling up! alt