For their headline set on the rock stage at Leeds Festival, Enter Shikari are ditching their guitars and drum kits in favour of keyboards and drum machines.
Their new project, Shikari Sound System, sees the band turn to the world of electronic, finding their inspiration more in dubstep and house music than the hard-core metal of Enter Shikari.
The Shikari Sound System concept came to the band at last year’s Leeds Festival. “The last time we played, we had this DJ set booked,” says guitarist Rory Clewlow. “Normally when you do a DJ set at a festival you turn up to a tiny little tent, but this place was huge and there were about 3,000 people raving. We went on at one in the morning, and it was easily the best DJ set we’ve ever done – it’s what inspired us to do the Shikari Sound System.”
And this year they return to Leeds for what will be both a headline and a debut set for the new project – a first for an act headlining Leeds Festival. “We’ve not done a live show yet, so we’ve got no idea how it’s going to go,” says Rory. “Don’t come and see us expecting to see Enter Shikari because they’re not playing, it’s Shikari Sound System that’s playing – it’s a totally different project.”
Enter Shikari always enjoy playing at Leeds Festival, believing the Leeds audience to be one of the best in the country. “There’s always lots of energy at our shows. We’re always trying to provoke something from the crowd. It’s so generic to say it, but it is true: the more energy, the more we can get into it and enjoy it. It’s a better show for everyone involved – it can get pretty chaotic,” says Rory.
“Every time we play in Yorkshire you get the crowd chanting ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’, so you definitely know where you are. We’re like ‘yeah, you know where we are, we get it, let’s move on’. Seriously though, it’s great, we do appreciate it.”
But the band branching out into electronic music does not mark the end for Enter Shikari. “Enter Shikari will always be there for us, that’s what we do, that’s what we’ve been building for the past ten years, “ says Rory. “This is just a bit of fun on the side – we’ll just see where it goes.”
Shikari Sound System will be playing the Rock Stage at Leeds Festival on Friday, August 23.