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  • Writer's pictureThe James Kennedy Podcast


Rou Reynolds is the singer in the hugely popular band, Enter Shikari, as well as an author, producer and video director. On this episode we talk about the bands forthcoming album 'A Kiss For The Whole World' and latest tour news as well as Rou's thoughts on the music industry, the power of art, politics, hope, community, system change and our band logo's being the same! Hear our conversation at :


Hello and welcome back to the James Kennedy podcast. And guess what? This episode marks one year to the day since I started doing this damn thing, man, what a year it's been. Jesus Christ. You know, as I said in the very first episode, my presumption was that I would do three of these things and then just like forget to do a 4th and that would be the end of it. But, man, here we are, like a one year later, still trucking and Jesus Christ, I had no idea that it would go the way that it's gone. We have had some incredible guests on this thing since it started, and I want to just give a massive thank you to everybody that's given their time so generously to come and speak with me on the show. And it's a real treasure trove of insight and information and food for thought developing on this thing now. So if you're new to the podcast, please have a nose to the previous episodes because we've covered a tonne of stuff on this thing. Now, from you know, the war in Ukraine to nutrition to climate change, the music industry Israel and Palestine, Spotify mental health relationships protest and activism. Dude, there's a fucking whole shit load of stuff on this thing. So go and have a look through. And if you if you are new to the podcast, please do subscribe and give us a follow. So you don't miss any more of these awesome episodes because there is a tonne more shit coming up, and I don't want you to miss any of it.

And while we're on the subject of following things, my band, James Kennedy and the Underdogs have started announcing some shows. Baby, it's been a long winter man, including being censored and shadow man and having my video taken down of YouTube. You having an album called Make Anger Great again? That comes out a month before Donald Trump is running for re-election. It's probably not a smart move. And my album was essentially crushed by the algorithms. Twitter actually just mailed me, like, half an hour ago, confirming that they did actually shadow about me. The motherfuckers. YouTube told me that, you know, the video for the power was shocking, even though, you know, there's nothing shocking about it at all. So it's It's been a tough road for me, man to get that album out. So, you know, we've had a lot of hurdles with the band as well. Personal problems of things which have given us a few false starts. So I'm looking very much forward now to getting out there in the summer time and kicking some fucking asses and making some noise, and I hope to see you all there.

So if you're not on any of the pages, go and check out JamesKennedyUK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, JamesKennedystuff on YouTube to to catch up on the tune in. And hopefully we'll get to see you all really, really soon. Now, speaking of awesome guests, we have got a good one for you guys today. And I'm so thankful to today's guests for squeezing us in because they are super crazy busy right now. Now I can't imagine. I need to explain to anyone listening to this who Enter Shikari are. I mean, you know, unless you've been living on Mars for the past 10 years, then you know exactly who I'm talking about. I'm joined today by the singer Rou Reynolds and there's a tonne of stuff I want to ask him and get into. Including something that many Enter Shikari fans have made me aware of online in no uncertain terms. The fact that our logo, my band's logo and their logo is essentially exactly the same.

So I'm gonna gingerly approach that issue with Rou, and I hope he doesn't set a bomb off under my ass. So let's get down to it. We are honoured to be joined today by the one and only Rou Reynolds singer and songwriter and the fucking incredible sonic juggernaut that is the mighty Enter Shikari author, producer, creative, visionary and wearer of many and enviable hairstyle. Rou Thanks so much for stopping in, brother. How you doing? I'm good. Thank you very much.

ROU REYNOLDS: I'm good. Thank you very much for that lovely introduction.

JAMES KENNEDY: Well, I'm glad to hear it, man. Because I know how crazy busy you always are. So, what's happening right now? What's going on?

ROU REYNOLDS: Oh, yeah, all sorts. I mean, our album is basically kind of a month away now, so it's, yeah, everything's just amping up loads of press loads of, doing the final video shoots for the next two singles, trying to get the next leg of shows set lists all sorted and stuff. So lots of programming. Yeah, firefighting is what I've come to call it. You just, you know, you get one thing off your to-do list done and have six more things come in

JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, I can't imagine, man. That all sounds awesome, though, Dude. And I imagine that you're probably quite well adapted to that workload now, because you're a band that has been crushing it quite relentlessly for over 20 years now. And the vibe I get is that you're all a very hands on band. And as far as what, you've spent much of your career as an independent band. Is that right? Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

ROU REYNOLDS: No. Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, well, I think before we even released anything like properly, there was, of course, the sort of four years of touring up and down the UK and recording and releasing our own EP’s and things. But then, yeah, Take to the Skies was released on PIAS Play It Again Sam, who at the time were just full of people who who got it, you know, And they were like a great independent label. I think, like, now we're on, So Records who are pretty much the only truly independent record. You know, they're not a subsidiary of a larger major label, right? Which is Yeah, it's it's it's hard to do in, like, you know, the current sort of climate. But they're smashing it, and they're awesome, but yeah, in between those two labels, we've we've done all sorts and, yeah, tried all sorts of deals, but it's been an interesting run.

JAMES KENNEDY: Well, I imagine it must be a very specific type of label that would be able to handle a band like you guys because you're also talented in in many different creative fields and you know very much involved in your own destiny. And in the driving seat of your own careers, I can imagine how that could be intimidating and frustrating for some labels. So it's great that you've managed to find a home, where you guys are able to to still maintain that level of control I mean, as far down the road as you are now with things Are you still very much completely involved in all aspects of things? Or you were able to kick back a little bit more now?

ROU REYNOLDS: Yeah, absolutely everything. And and I think like everyone is to a degree, like, you know, often I find it funny when you see like bands saying, like, perhaps like sticking up for their favourite artist, who's done something like That's a bit shit or, you know, it started doing, say, for instance, like paid meet and greets, they’re charging their fans to meet them and then people their fans will go. Oh, but it's not their decision, You know, all their management or their label got them into this. Well, that's not, you know, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do, you know, like I think there's, there can be kind of wilful ignorance in that respect from the artist's position. But at the end of the day for us, it's very much, I don't know. You could call us control freaks, so I would just say it's kind of naturally what you want for your art. You know, you want to know everything about it. You want to know how it's being released. You want to, you know, be involved in everything. And certainly in terms of the creative kind of area of the band. Like, we've never let that go whatsoever. So even on that brief stint when we were on Interscope like, it was funny because we got on really well with the people there. Like, and I think they did, like, get what what we were trying to do and stuff. But there was, you know, there was some, like, funny situations where the A&R representative was in the studio with us. And he was like, Oh, what if the chorus like, did this? Or what if we got to the chorus quicker or you know, Right, Right, Right, right.

JAMES KENNEDY: Fuck off, pal.

ROU REYNOLDS: Yeah, we were like, Sorry. You do know who you're speaking to?

JAMES KENNEDY: Jesus Christ. The gall of some people, man. I'm sure he meant well, you know what I mean. I'm always fascinated by people's relationships with their label because you hear so many bad fucking stories from bands you know about being shafted by their labels and stuff. So, yeah, I'm super interested to know how you guys are getting on with the new guys. And, yeah, tell us more about them.

ROU REYNOLDS: Yeah. So it's So Records. Yeah, as I say, kind of the only real independent left. Self funded. They have like, a sister label, which does primarily classical music, like film soundtracks and things like that, which is awesome. And then they have Yeah, the rock label which does us, Placebo and they’ve just released the new 100 Reasons album. Which, oh, man, I'm just overjoyed that they're back there. They’ve always been one of my favourite bands. Yeah, a brilliant label. Like you get the sort of the attention and the passion that you want. I think you know, as an artist, you want your team to truly understand your message and what you're trying to achieve and be like, you you you don't want to have to infuse them. They should be enthused by the music. You want people who are going to bring that energy. And yeah, that's what we've got from them. We've only released one album with them. Well, about to be two albums with them with our with our new one. But yeah, it's been been going great so far.

JAMES KENNEDY: That's wicked, man. I'm glad to hear that dude because the terrain has changed so much now, hasn't it? For artists, there's so many more avenues available for releasing your music. And you guys have been successful and have experience in several different models now, being independent or with a label or a combination of the two. But what is the overall most important thing that you need, regardless of the model as a band now at this stage for releasing your music?

ROU REYNOLDS: Speed, perhaps for us. To give it sort of a broad term, like the real struggles we've had is when we've got an idea and, you know if - OK, so put it into, like, a solid example. I always remember the video shoot we did for our track that was released after our first album. It was like a bridging single ‘Destabilised’ and we had this idea and we were able to just get it done. I co-directed that with a friend, and it was just a few of us in this location and there's something about the energy when an idea is being conceived that it's just, like, really pure and really electric, and you get something done and you can get it out there quick. But the times when we've been in deals that aren't so perhaps, like, flexible or they aren't they aren't able to give you the attention that you want to get things out quickly, that's been the worst.

You know when you have to go through layers of bureaucracy to like either, release the funding for, like, a video or, you know you want to release a single that isn't part of an album campaign, and it's just like there's always so many or sometimes in in some deals, there's just so many levels you have to like, go through to, like, to finally release some some art, you know, so it's just it can be incredibly frustrating. So, like, I think concentrating on the accelerated process, is something that's been key to us because it's then that the art feels a bit more pure. It doesn't feel stale to us, and you can still, like, go and perform it and be like, super excited by it when it hasn't been sitting in the cupboard for six months.

JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, a lot of people say that, Yeah, it's like the bigger the label, the bigger the bullshit, almost, you know, because you are not only horse in the race, you know, you got to wait for ages. I've had that conversation several times. So I guess there's like, a sweet spot, you know, which which it sounds as if you guys are in now where you can have the level of efficiency that you want. So it's still fresh and exciting by the time it hits the stage, you know?

ROU REYNOLDS: Absolutely. Yeah, no, I feel very, very grateful for the position we're in at the moment. It does feel kind of gratifying and satisfying. I think there's a weird sense of, I don't know whether it's Moore's law or what, or kind of the just the general rat race and the hedonistic treadmill, whatever you want to call it, where an artist, when you get to a certain level, you just you're never satisfied and you always want more. You know, you get to the level we've been at for a while. Every band that we sort of look sideways and we see like our peers, they're all like striving to get bigger and like striving to make sure every tour they do is an arena tour. And it's just exhausting. And I don't think it's that satisfying, either. So, like I don't have some massive ambition to to be like, a huge, you know, like arena worldwide band like that's not really what we're about. So because that isn't in our ambition, we don't need a major label. We don't need that extra like serious, where you can hold the radio, those who pick radio playlists, you can hold them by the throat by the wall and go ‘you will support this band’. Yeah, we don't kind of require that. So yeah, I think we're in a really good position. And we we're comfortable with the kind of, what's sort of available to us, if you like, in terms of growth and sustainability.

JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah. And I think you guys have got the most important thing. Which is you've got an awesome, loyal, passionate, hard core audience that fucking love the band that have followed you guys for a long time. That is something that no label can give you. And it's not something that any label can take away from you as well. Like you guys have built that, you know what I mean? And I'd be interested to know because, you know, not only is the band fucking kick ass and you've been, you guys have been working hard consistently and putting out good stuff for so long. But I mean, there's lots of bands who are good and work hard, you know? But they don't have that level of Enter Shikari shit happening for them, you know? So why do you think that is? What do you attribute that to?

ROU REYNOLDS: Oh, it's a tough one, man, because it's like I don't know any different, you know what I mean? So I don't have a great deal to compare it to. Of course, I often thought it was something to do with our, the sort of breadth, if you like, of like the diversity in terms of our music. We've always tried to make music, well we've not tried, we just we always have made music that's like very, it has a great deal of variety because that's what I was brought up with. So it's like, very natural for me to make that kind of music. And so what happens when the music is varied is there's always a degree of surpassing or dodging people's expectations. And so it's, there's an element of not so much shock. It's not like what we're trying to do is shock people that doesn't massively interest me. But I think even our worst songs are interesting and like every like album we release, I'm pretty sure it's interesting, and so I think that what that does is it sustains a sort of core element of a fan base.

You know, if you bring out the same album again and again, you can have massive success. But there is an element of loyalty that you gain from having music that takes effort to understand. It's not just, you know, Thom Yorke used to describe it as fridge buzz. You know this this kind of, If you're making music that's just completely bland and banal, you you may get a very enthusiastic following that like it, but they haven't put much into it into the sort of equation, if you like, to understand the music and so when you've got that, I think it gives you a greater deal of appreciation for your audience and then vice versa as well. It's just it's just a greater connection. I suppose if you've had to, like, think about what you're listening to, you're connected to it in a deeper way than if it's just like this background, middle of the road radio fodder. Yeah, and you know, I'm sure there's a load of other things as well. But, I suppose, consistency and like honesty I think that's really important to us. Like authenticity. Like I think we've never really tried to to be anything that we're not.

We've never tried to sort of as I said before, like take over the world or, you know, the amount of bands that I've seen and that's been the headline, that's been the one-liner that they'll kind of tout on all the magazine covers that they'll get and they'll sort of come and go and yeah, I think people understand with us that they're they're getting something that's real. And, yeah, the passion and the dynamism is is real.

JAMES KENNEDY: I completely agree with that. Yeah, I was gonna say that as well as all of those things. I think it's the, the lyrics as well. I mean, you guys have always spoken about things that are real, whether it's personal, social, political, environmental, you know, whatever. And I think that gives it that extra layer of depth and connectivity then that people resonate with isn't it rather than, like you say, the example of the, the 2.5 minute ear worm. That's an absolute banger for fucking three weeks and then, you know, that's it. It's over. You're sick of it. But you guys have got so many different layers of depth that that are real and mean something to people. And I think the words have a have a big part to play in that as well.

ROU REYNOLDS: Yeah, yeah, I think, yeah, it's the same sort of thing. If people are thinking about the themes and the topics within a song, they they're gonna feel great greatly connected to it, and yeah, more so, if it was just something that was just a repeated line or, you know, the same old topics and lyrics that we've heard again and again and that's you know, that's that's just it's kind of just what we were brought up to think was normal. You know, I was first of all, brought up with with Motown and Northern Soul and that kind of, er, the the lyrics were often quite thoughtful and melancholy and kind of beautiful, but in a kind of aching way. And then obviously it got extremely much, much more sort of politicised as the kind of movement went on. And then, you know, I, as a teenager, I discovered, our local hardcore punk scene. And when you're running around like a headless chicken on the stage, shouting your head off like, it for me, it was the complete norm to for the music and the lyrics. So that obviously it would be about something that that singer believed in you. And so, yeah, it's it's strange for me and I've had some interesting experiences, especially over the last sort of five years. And I tried a bit of, like, pop songwriting and stuff, and it was I'm really glad I did it. And it felt like I grew quite a lot as a, as a songwriter. But like, it's a totally different thing. And it's very mechanical. Very, there's no sort of sense of soul or meaning to it. You are creating a commodity.

JAMES KENNEDY: Factory music

ROU REYNOLDS: Yeah, yeah, and that's just that's completely unnatural for me to do. Like music, for me is an incredibly emotional, you know, cathartic, kind of release. And it's a way of organising my thoughts about myself and about the world. And so, yeah, it's it's just been around something that's quite normal for us.

JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, I'm exactly the same man. I mean, when I grew up, it was always those artists that had something to say that I was I just seemed to be more drawn to. They were more interesting, you know, like Pink Floyd. Roger Waters. Frank Zappa. Rage Against the Machine, the Clash, whoever it was, I just you know, there's loads of cool bands that I love, but the ones that had fucking intrigue about them, who always had something to say, that had that edge, you know what I mean? And I think that counts for a lot. I wanted to ask, what role do you feel that art does play in advancing progress and change? Do you feel it has a role to play? And if so, how important do you think it is?

ROU REYNOLDS: Yeah, I've kind of gone back and forth on this, like, over the years. I think What I can say with certainty, not just for my own experience as an artist, but my own experience as an audience member as a supporter of music and other bands and artists, is that it's fuel for the fire. You know, it's like if people are feeling disconnected or lonely or full of rage or, you know, whatever it is, whatever crisis of of the current many crises that we have that's affecting them, the music can be a way of channelling that, a way of thinking positively, you know, it can make you feel very activated as an activist, and I mean that either literally as an activist or as like, in more of a sort of broad term, it makes you feel like doing something. Even if that isn't like actual activism per se, it means that you might change something about your own life or think about some something in a different way, and that's what music, yeah, certifiably does it. So it's a fuel. It motivates you. It galvanises people. It's really the only thing that brings us all together indiscriminately left that we have. You know, I think sport does that to a certain extent, but it's not really indiscriminate because we have team quite divisive as well. It's very competitive, whereas music on the most on the most part isn't that and that's, you know, even like the modern day festival, it's just it's kind of the only thing we have left that just brings us together to celebrate our kind of, you know, when you look at it in a deep way, it's like our shared vulnerability. We're all impacted by this music that we're about to hear. It's gonna hit us in an emotional sense. It's gonna remind us that we're all the same. We all work in the same way, and that's something that's becoming increasingly more important to remind us of that in, you know, in a world that's just becoming more and more divisive and tribal. So yeah, I hesitate to make sort of very grand statements about it, music being this power that can change the world and all this. But it can be a galvanising motivating force for sure.

JAMES KENNEDY: 100% man. Yeah, And brilliantly put as well. I mean, as you said, we need that now more than ever. I mean, Jesus Christ as we look at the state of the country and in fact, the world does not seem to be going in a very good direction right now, to put it politely, I mean, you're someone who's travelled the world. You're clearly tuned in and enlightened on these issues, and you've got an interesting perspective on it all because of what you do. What do you think are our main pressing issues facing us Not just as a nation, but as a global community.

ROU REYNOLDS: Right now, I mean, it's it's thoroughly depressing and disorientating like the list of crises just grow and grow by the day. I think the main thing that, sort of frustrates me is that people often don't look at the links. It's the, you know, especially like in in the media. It's the most immediate, shocking thing that's plastered everywhere and there isn't sort of room or space or time to actually look at the core reasons that you know whichever crisis it is, why it's happening. And that's something that's just, it's just heartbreaking because, like, I mean, one of the things we've spoken about since since day one is is system change and it's amazing now, like seeing the kind of youthful energy and fortitude and galvanization that's coming through for actual system change. But it's some, you know, this was something that 15 years ago no one was addressing. No one was was speaking about. And what's happened in those 15 years is we've gone so far in terms of reaching the boundaries of of our planet. Really, that we cannot now expect to fix problems with just like, you know, like band aids. Like, Oh, we'll just change this law. We'll just do this little fix and this little thing. But that's just we're so far gone that that we need system change.

JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, 100%. I think your analysis is bang on. I do a lot of political episodes on the podcast and that is always what it comes down to. It's like, you know, yes, we can campaign for this cause of this issue and there and there are gains to be made in those areas, and they're all necessary in driving us in the right direction. But as you say, without the broader systemic change, we are not going to make any progress, certainly on issues like climate change, which is priority number one for everybody on this planet right now, the problem is is that the people in charge who are like behind the wheel of this fucking high speed burning train that's heading towards the edge of a cliff, hey have a vested interest in the system, staying exactly as it is and function essentially, as far as I'm concerned as a kind of collective sociopathic organism, that doesn't seem to care at all that they're heading us towards armageddon.

ROU REYNOLDS: Yeah, well, I think the thing is, the system has a sort of inbuilt protective nature because it promotes and rewards narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths. Because, really, if you look at it, that's what it demands. It demands us from day one to compete against each other for our own our own stability and then our own profit. So a system that just at, you know, at its very core is setting us all against each other, like market based economics. At its very core, it sets us all against each other. And what is a kind of logical, rational way to survive that it's by becoming a self interested, narcissistic. So it's almost like a defence mechanism that the system has within it, that it's always going to promote the people who will most protect this system because it's kind of birthed them, and it's it's kind of given them power. It's given them wealth. And now they're obviously going to want to protect what they've built up. So it's this incredible kind of almost like a catch 22 just infuriating situation where change isn't gonna come from the top. And I know that's a bit of a cliche, but like, systems protect themselves. And so it has to, we have to, like, build, start building something new even before, like tearing this down. You know, we have to concentrate on the ways that we can start new kind of communities or organised communities differently, you know, start local and all this kind of thing. I think that aspect is is pivotal.

nd then just like creating awareness of the deeper thinking, you know, thinking about systems theory, thinking about Oh, what is the core kind of problem? I think that's the only way. Really, like, kind of just education, and making people aware of just how bad things are. But just how kind of massively we need change and on such a deep, deep level, which in a way, it should be kind of exciting we're living at an incredible time where we need to change this juggernaut of a system that we've had for centuries and obviously capitalism has gone through very, you know, kind of morphed. And it's changed, from feudalism onwards. But like, it's now we're living in an era where we need such dramatic change. It's actually, it should hopefully it should feel quite thrilling. If you kind of put aside the fact that you know, if we don't achieve anything in the next 100 years, the prospect of the annihilation of human civilization is very much on the cards. You know, there's a lot we talked a lot about this on the last album, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible and I got to speak with Toby Ord, who is an incredible philosopher at, Oxford University. And he puts the chances, one in six, that we might, you know, have a have a complete, catastrophic, civilizational collapse. So it's yeah, not great chances, But, you know, the odds still are in in our favour, and we've got the kind of the ability, we've got the science, the technology, we've got it all. We just need to tear down what is so, so bad for us.

JAMES KENNEDY: Amen. Man. And brilliantly put as well, man. I mean, I think you hit on a key word there, which is that of community because, as you said, the system is kind of self, it's a self perpetuating system, and the mindset shift that we've all had to have imposed upon us as a result of having to survive in that system is that we've also kind of become part of that transactional capitalistic mindset. Whether we realise it or not, it's invaded so many parts of our mind and as a result, our psyche that I don't you know, I think it's just a survival thing. In order to survive within that system, you have to kind of become it as well. You know, I think we’ve all been tainted by this, what I would call the Thatcherite Reagan, mindset, the cultural shift in society, you know that of the individual, whereas that's not always the way that it was. And I think the antidote to that and the counterattack to that is in actually coming together as a community and helping each other and working together on our shared solutions and of course, you know, harking back to what you said earlier, you know, music is a great catalyst for that and a great galvaniser of people and communities. But, man, we have got one hell of a fight ahead of us now because the enemies are clearly winning right now. And they've done a very good job of fragmenting us and dividing us and removing us of our collective power.

ROU REYNOLDS: Yeah, yeah, I always find it fascinating like our, any audience of, any artist, really, even not just speaking about music. Specifically, that an audience is sort of a microcosm of what society could be or should be. You know, it's it's a very, very supportive, you know, we we talk about like, bands. They're like, incredibly supportive families, really, I mean, we we call our of fan base like the Shikari family because it's amazing. They're like, kind of, they step in where society has failed, you know, where the various ways that a state has helped its citizens and where they've been torn down and taken away like, sometimes like, these communities step in to just kind of fill those gaps. And it's amazing how you see these, you know, people offering each other such support. And and that's the beautiful thing about, community and about compassion is is incredibly contagious. Once you you you kind of relive it again and you experience it again. You want to you know, we we literally say this on on stage often like that you want to take this feeling that we've got inside the venue tonight and you want to bring it out into the world because it's like, Wow, this is what's been missing from my life. This sense of inclusion, this sense of togetherness. It's just something that's been completely sort of stripped free in terms of our of our society as a whole.

JAMES KENNEDY: 100% man, beautifully put. I mean, yeah, it live music in particular really is that communion that reconnects us to our primal selves and our primal, you know, sense of community and all of the things that are kind of being deprived of us elsewhere in our lives and in society. We reconnect with that at a live concert, you know, and that's why I think it's just such a beautiful and powerful thing. You know, what a band like you guys give to the world and give to your fans. Because you, you know, you bring that joy and that reconnection to our primal selves and our sense of community. You know, you’re delivering that to people night after night, you know?

ROU REYNOLDS: Awesome. Yeah. No, I mean, I think it's just it's the same with any, yeah, any artist to a degree. It's just it's something that, where you share that sense of, a sense of a story, that sense of togetherness, that sense of, feeling one and feeling connected to to other people is, yeah, it is beautiful and severely lacking in our in our society

JAMES KENNEDY: 100% man. And speaking of that society, how do you feel when you look at the state of the country that we both live in at the moment? And what, if anything, do you think, we can do to dig ourselves out of this?

ROU REYNOLDS: I don't know. It's almost like I feel a sense of exhaustion about even just talking about this stuff. It's like it's so hard to, you know, I have no sort of pithy, uplifting answer to that question. It's just, it's relentless. Yeah, for me, it's, I mean, the first thing, just getting rid of the Tories has to be the number 1 thing on everybody's plate. You know, essentially, it's a government, a government of criminals. It's just, it's gone so far now and for so long. And I think for the first time, it's actually, you know, in a long time it actually looks hopeful. You know, when you look at the polls and things, but then, of course, you see Starmer and you see someone who isn't exactly offering something that's massively different. So, you know, on one portion of this podcast, I'm talking about system change, and then now I'm talking about Kier Starmer as the, one step in the right direction. It's not really. All it is is a relief for those who have been beaten down so much by the Conservative Party. So I think there is, a sort of an ethical duty to to get the Conservative Party out just for that reason. But I don't think anything in a real big way will change. I think that as I say, that's gonna come from from other places. But yeah, it's, you know, it's just this fascinating, infuriating, criminal fucking circus at the moment. And it's, yeah, it's utterly, utterly exhausting. But I think you know, for me, for instance, like, I don't have a great deal to say at the moment because I just haven't been following it. I'm very lucky that I have this sort of bubble that I live in with the with the band. And there's so much to concentrate at the moment with the album that I'm just like I'm not following it. And I think sometimes that's important to say, because we all need to give ourselves a rest from it every now and then

JAMES KENNEDY: Oh, Dude, I'm so glad to hear you say that, man, because I feel exactly the same, and we do all feel a pressure to kind of, you know, be as clued up as we can and to keep the fight going and to, not let these fuckers slip anything by us, you know? But it is fucking exhausting, man, and it's really bad for your mental health as well. So I think you saying that as someone that obviously is in the spotlight and is expected to have answers for everything all of the time, I think will make a lot of people feel better about their own situation because, yeah, man. Jesus Christ, it is, it's fucking exhausting.

ROU REYNOLDS: Like, Oh, absolutely, yeah, because it it's it's a, it's a really, like debilitating, you know, you don't wanna be so plugged into it and so constantly enraged that you start to end up basically becoming a nihilist, which is is really is the the kind of worst of the worst? Because you're completely inactive. You kind of just step back from it all. And of course, people think that that's kind of, you're you're then just not an actor. You're kind of relinquishing, any sort of, ability or responsibility, and it's kind of a freeing thing for you personally, but of course, it's all it really is doing is just letting the powerful continue. Yeah, and so for me, every sort of few years I seem to take these, I'm about probably six months into it, and, as I say, I've had a lot of the music creation, all these things that I'm very lucky to be able to have, you know, in that I do have this bubble to go into this, this kind of dream world to escape it all. But if you don't give yourself those kind of months off, if you like, and thos moments of escape, whether it's being in amongst nature, reminding yourself of human connection and concentrating on the small communities that we have and that we can cherish If you don't do that, we will just become completely inactive.

And essentially, that's what they, they being the most powerful people in society, the guardians of the status quo, if you like, that's what they want. They want us to be completely inactive, exhausted, useless. They want us to feel powerless. That's something that we talked about a lot on this, this new album, the more you're convinced that you're powerless, the less you will use what power you have, the more you will shrink and shrink. And so that's exactly how they want us. They want us, knackered and thinking of ourselves as small and up against this mighty thing. And, you know, every now and then it's very easy to to fall into that. So, yeah, I think having a break is an incredibly important thing. But I also understand, for instance, if this was to get that little clip was supposed to, edit it and presented by itself, I also understand that people would then say, Oh, but you're just lucky that you have somewhere to go and you can get out of the, you know, the way of the intensity of it and yes, I'm very aware that I'm you know, I'm incredibly lucky to have to have this band.

JAMES KENNEDY: Shit, that was gonna be the clip I was gonna use as well. Shit.

ROU REYNOLDS: Ha ha there's always a way to criticise anything, but, I think it's a relevant criticism. You know, I you know, I'm a very lucky person, But, hopefully I'll come back, kind of feeling much, much more rejuvenated and much, much more powerful. When you know, we start touring in and we can start being in the communities that we play in and we can start, talking to people and seeing what we we can do.

JAMES KENNEDY: No, I totally agree with that man. I got a lot of activist friends who are very, very active all of the time, and they go through so many episodes of, like, just crushing depression and debilitation and apathy and nihilism and all the things that you've quite correctly mentioned. And it's a really detrimental effect on their personal life and their relationships and their health and everything, because they're just deep into this stuff all day, every day. And they're fighting an uphill battle every day and there's no off switch to it. You know, this is their cause, and this is what they're consumed by. And I just see the the detrimental effect it has on them as a friend, you know? And I keep saying to them, like guys you got to take some time off you. You're a human being. There's nothing wrong with doing that. Take some time off, and then when you come back, you're going to be fitter, stronger, you know, have more clarity. You're gonna be more resilient. You're gonna feel better. You're gonna have a lot more fight in you, and you're gonna be able to achieve a lot more if you just take some fucking time off. I know it's difficult to do because I've been in that hole myself. But I really think it is an essential part of effective activism.

ROU REYNOLDS: Absolutely. Yeah. And it's almost like a sort of cliche now. But like, even a smile is a revolutionary act, you know, because you're going against the will to be, like, beaten down at the moment and fatigued and kind of just destroyed in terms of your your hope. You know, just if you if you don't have hope, you can't act. So it's like anything that builds, sort of resilience and community and hope is like, Yeah, it's just the most important thing.

JAMES KENNEDY: Love it. And are you hopeful right now?

ROU REYNOLDS: I think you have to be in order to be alive. You know, if you're not hopeful at all, then you are a nihilist or you are a fatalist or you are evil. You know what I mean? There's a glimmer of hope in all of us, even the most kind of bedraggled and, yeah, sort of frustrated, but, yeah, no, I think as soon as we get out on the road as well and we start speaking to people, I become my hope, sort of inflates if you like. You know, we did a book release, sort of, signing and talk thing for our biography that was released last year. And, I remember the amount of sort of real, like, incentivized motivated energy that that that night gave me, You know, like, one minute I was meeting an NHS. Doctor the next minute I was meeting this, Geo Engineering Student, and then the next minute it was, someone who was, like, surprisingly high up, in terms of, like, climate change solutions in in government. And you know, all these people, it's just like what music can bring. Like some, you know, people from all kind of backgrounds together and it's Yeah, and when you see them inthused by, music, whether it's ours or other people's, you know, like, it then inthuses the artists to make more. And it's just this lovely sort of cyclical, sort of structuring of hope. You know, it just gets passed back and forth and it builds and it grows. So it's Yeah, it's something that I'm really looking forward to with the album that we're about to release, because I just know once we start hearing from people, once we start playing it and getting in rooms in front of people, it's it's gonna be something that just blossoms.

JAMES KENNEDY: I bet you can't wait, man. Well, look, let's steer out of the bleak waters of politics and let's get back to the music. One thing I want to ask you about as an independent artist is work life balance, because for me having to do everything myself, you know, working 24 hours a day, having to juggle 15 different roles at any one point. You kind of alluded to it earlier. You know that your your job, essentially at the moment is firefighting. Put one fire out and the six more turn up behind you. So as someone who has been doing this pretty consistently now, man, how do you maintain your work life balance?

ROU REYNOLDS: Oh, it's It's incredibly hard. You know, I think you know anyone at the at the kind of any level that isn't being on a major label and having a massive team sort of has to become Yeah, like this multi tool wielding, no sleeping sort of robot where you do do so much yourself. I mean, I'm lucky that, you know, I've I've at least you know, I have I speak to a lot of solo artists, who you know, literally have to do everything themselves. But, like, I've got a band at least, and we all do have our strengths, and we all do chip in a lot, but yeah, it's it's relentless at the moment, you know, we're doing everything from, like, programming the lighting show for our next tour. And then we're planning the production for festival season, and at the same time we're doing I'm directing the videos on this on this kind of album campaign we've done two. We've got two more singles coming out with videos. It's just sort of nonstop. Then there's the artwork. Yeah, you just have to be brutal. You have to be, like, really stubborn and just like, make sure you make time for it. But it just means something has to suffer, you know, And you get to choose whether that's your own mental and physical health or whether that's something in, in in terms of your work. And it's obviously a hard choice to have to make that choice, but, you know, yeah, you know, that's not to sort of denigrate the amazing teams that we that we have around us, but yeah, there's a lot of, that essence of DIY, hasn't hasn't left us at all.

JAMES KENNEDY: What I'm hearing here is you basically you don't have a work life balance. You're just working your ass off all of the time. Right?

ROU REYNOLDS: But I suppose you know most people are, you know, it's that we're now entering the era of capitalism where any hobby has to be like capitalised on. You know, everything has to be a side hustle like there is. There's just no spare time. You're either studying or you're working or you know you're hustling in some way. It's just Oh, it's just it's all a bit gross, isn't it? Really, but, yeah, that's where that's where we're at at the moment.

JAMES KENNEDY: I think that's a clip I'm going to use. It's all a bit gross, isn't it? But that's just where we're at. That's the clip, right? Well, you've just mentioned all of the things you do, and I want to get on to what's happening with the band because I don't want to keep it too much longer because I know you if you could do anything right there, you could probably do with some fucking time off interviews and working on the band, which, whether you'll do that or not, I don't know. But before I get into the what's happening with you guys, I got to ask you something, because I released an album in the lockdown called Make Anger Great Again, which was like a political punk rock record It was a new project. The band had broken up, so I was kind of, you know, going a solo route with a new band. So I needed, like, a new logo, new branding, all that sort of stuff. And I came up with this idea that I thought look cool as fuck on paper. It was like I took the hierarchy triangle and I inverted it so that it was like, the many at the top and the fewest at the bottom. And I framed it within the circle, you know, representing equality and the circle of life and all that sort of stuff. And I thought, man, that looks fucking kick ass.

So I just raced ahead and put it on my CD and my merch and my fucking artwork and all that sort of stuff. Put it out there feeling very proud of myself. And then, the album comes out and I start getting, you know, a barrage of tweets from pissed off Enter Shikari fans pointing out in no uncertain terms that, hey, you do know that that's Enter Shikari’s logo, right? Wow. I mean, for fucks sake!

ROU REYNOLDS: Ha ha I'm not sure that we can even claim, that we came up with that. You know, as you say, it's just like it's kind of symbology, isn't it? Really? And we're just using symbology to to kind of say it said, well, sounds like exactly the same thing, which is kind of beautiful. Yeah. No, I love it.

JAMES KENNEDY: Was that the thinking behind the logo?

ROU REYNOLDS: Yeah, you described it exactly. Yeah, right. I remember, God, which I think it was like our third album that we first used it. I mean, it was it was, firstly, just the inverted triangle and the circle was in a kind of addition. As time went on, but, yeah, because it was it was essentially a bit of a lighting production. At first, we had, these kind of LED bars that made the triangle for, flash for colour. And yeah, we kind of stuck with it ever since. Because it's it's just like a kind of It's not often that you get symbology, that is sort of concise, simple, you know it really, it says a lot, and it's like easy to to understand. So, like, yeah, we've stuck with it ever since.

JAMES KENNEDY: So what do I do? Do I have to fucking bin my merch or am I OK for a bit? You're not gonna sue my ass?

ROU REYNOLDS: No, mate, No. I mean, I've definitely seen other artists as well use, you know, an upside down triangle. Names escape me.

JAMES KENNEDY: I've seen a couple.

ROU REYNOLDS: Yeah, Yeah, I'm sure many of us have the same thought process and the same, kind of artistic licence. Really, don't we? So yeah. No, no. Go for it. Solidarity.

JAMES KENNEDY: Thanks, man. And next time I get an ass kicking off your fans will say, look Rou said it's OK, all right! We're moving swiftly on. We got to end up by telling everybody what is coming up in Camp Shikari because you guys have got tonnes of cool shit coming up. So tell everybody what's coming up.

ROU REYNOLDS: Absolutely. Yeah. Well, A Kiss for the Whole World is our new album. It's out on April the 21st, which I've finally memorised. It was an album that was written after a very prolonged period of like, not being able to write at all. So I was one of those people that over the kind of lockdown period just couldn't write. Most people, it seemed, were incredibly productive. But yeah, that was kind of a pretty grim time, it was a grim time for all of us, obviously. But then after we started playing shows again, I felt like I was refuelled and reenergized and felt that sense of purpose and human connection again. And that's what this album is. It's extremely like excited, I think, relieved album. You know, you can sense this sense of relief, like, oh my God, we can create again. We can put this out into the world. And, you know, that's why it's called The Kiss for the Whole World, which is also feels like what the the whole world needs right now. Really. But yeah, there's some, there's incredibly like excited, exciting songs on the record that we we're just starting to play live, and it's just so nice being able to do that straight away. You know, write a song, release it, play it live like instead of waiting a year and a half, which is what What we had to do on the the last album? Yeah, seeing them in their in their full form and And seeing that that cyclical energy in the in the live sense has been amazing. But yeah, no, we're just we're touring all over all over the shop this year and next I imagine. We're headlining Slam Dunk Festival in May. Yeah, and just gonna be all over the shop. Really can't. Can't wait to be doing the thing.

JAMES KENNEDY: I was gonna plug the live shows, but they're mostly sold out already.

ROU REYNOLDS: So a lot of, Slam Dunk is the only one that in the UK only, that that isn't sold out yet, But I've heard it's, it's well on its way. So, yeah, we'll we'll hopefully announce some some other stuff as the year goes on.

JAMES KENNEDY: Awesome. Awesome. Awesome stuff. I know everyone is gonna be super excited, as is demonstrated by the fact that the tour is essentially sold out already. I know the album is gonna be an absolute banger, and it's gonna do just as well, if not better as everything else you guys have done. So I'm gonna let you go off and get some rest or, you know, jump on to the other six fires you've now got to put out after talking to my ass and, best wishes, my friend, with everything coming up. Thanks so much for taking the time out to speak with us today. I really appreciate it. It's been a fascinating chat and, yeah, best wishes and everything coming up. And I hope to see you again soon.

ROU REYNOLDS: No. All good. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. It's an absolute pleasure speaking to you any time at all man.

JAMES KENNEDY: Thanks again for everything you do and everything you give. And hopefully we'll see you out there in the trenches Really soon. Cheers. Thank you, Rou. Best wishes, mate. Take care.

ROU REYNOLDS: See you, man. Bye bye.

JAMES KENNEDY: Rou Reynolds, ladies and gentlemen, put it together for him. What a cool Dude. What a generous Dude. What an intelligent, switched on and fucking annoyingly talented Dude as well as a super nice guy. You can hear the brand new single the absolute fucking banger Blood Shot, which is out now from the forthcoming new album. And I would urge all of you to immediately go and follow the amazing Enter Shikari on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and everything you can find at Enter Shikari at Those guys put up tonnes of awesome content from their amazing amazing live shows. I would definitely recommend following them, Super super cool stuff if you want to show some love as well check out his socials at Rou Reynolds on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. And basically just check out everything that Enter Shikari have ever done. I mean, I don't know who I'm talking to at this point because, like, everybody knows who Enter Shikari are but I'm doing my best to, you know, to do the podcast thing of plugging the guest. But in all honesty, who doesn't know who Enter Shikara, for Christ's sake? You don't need me to tell you how fucking awesome they are and why you should go and follow them. You're already following them anyway. But you know I gotta do my thing.

And again, it's no surprise to me that Rou was so articulate and so informed and so well balanced in his views, because he's demonstrated that year after year after year through his song lyrics and his interviews and his general demeanour and his writings as well. But I thought he had some really interesting and useful and insightful points to be made earlier about activism and politics and the power of art and the music business and all sorts of stuff. It was a really, really interesting chat from a really, really cool Dude. And I know that he's really maxed out at the moment with with promo and, you know, putting out fires as he mentioned so again, you know, I really I'm grateful and thankful for him for coming on and giving us his time. Hopefully, we'll get him on at some point again in the future. And when that happens, you're gonna know all about it because you're gonna have subscribed aren’t you!

You're gonna have hit the subscribe button. You're gonna hit the follow, you're gonna hit the ratings. You're gonna leave me a comment even if it's a bad one. I don't care. You're gonna give me something that's gonna help me stick it to the algorithm and start nudging this thing out there. So get clicking. Because we have got some awesome, awesome guests coming up continuing next week. We're not dropping the ball here, baby.

So thanks for listening. Thanks for all the support. And I shall see you next week. Take care yourselves. Take care of each other. And don't forget what Rou said when it's all getting too much. There's no shame in just unplugging and recharging and reconnecting with what makes us all human in the first place so that we can get back in the trenches and start kicking some Tory arse with renewed vigour.

Love you loads, guys. Take care of yourselves and I'll see you next week. Bye bye.

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