They have been blasting out post hardcore and heavy metal to the quaint streets of St Albans for 11 years.
Music reporter, Mikey Baird, talks to Enter Shikari bassist, Chris Batten, about his best Leeds Festival memories, ahead of their mainstage slot on August bank holiday weekend.
First things first. What goes through your head as you take those first few steps on stage and look out and see 80,000 faces looking back at you?
Chris: Excitement, nerves, anticipation. It’s just a whirlwind of emotions to be honest. The biggest is the excitement though. Once you walk out it’s just an incredible experience which seems to fly by in a matter of seconds.
Leeds Festival is known around the world alongside its sister festival Reading as something truly special and the close of the UK festival season. How do you prepare for a show of such magnitude and do you have any surprises planned for this years set?
Chris: We’re just starting to get our heads round it now. We’ll think carefully about the set we want to play. This year we’ll be bringing a few extra lighting toys although i can’t say what right now. Other than that, we’ll just have a couple of rehearsal days to really get it down!
Will you get to take in much of the festival whilst you are here? If so anyone you are looking forwarding to watching and who will you be avoiding?
Chris: Hopefully. I mean reading & leeds for us is usually quite a busy day in terms of doing interviews and signings etc. But we always make sure we get some time to prepare and even go see some bands, especially once our show is done.
How do you approach putting a set together for something like this, knowing there may be people in the crowd who are not familiar with you? Will you be hitting a greatest hits set? Approach it like any other gig or do something like Smashing Pumpkins did when they headlined and just go down the b-side and rarities route?
Chris: It’s something we think carefully about. We haven’t really done any UK shows this year so we need to think about what we think people will want to hear. we also need to balance that with any new songs we want to play. We also need to make the set exciting and new for us so we feel fresh going into the show.
This is obviously not your first time playing at Leeds Festival, any truly stand out memories from past appearances?
Chris: Lots of memories! We’ve played reading and leeds something like 5 times out of the last 6 years, going between playing main stage slots to big tent slots. One memory that will always stick out to us is walking round the camp site in leeds and seeing people ramming shopping trolley with people inside into each other. People went flying into the mud. Was very funny to watch.
This festival is often used by bands to either finish a huge run of gigs or to launch a new record or tour. Is that the case for you guys? What can we expect from the coming year from you?
Chris: Well i guess you could look at it that way, we will have some singles coming out a bit later in the year and a new album that will be dropping early 2015 (fingers crossed). After that there will be a whole load of touring planned for us.
For someone who has never seen you before give some reasons why they should come check out Enter Shikari at the festival
Chris: Well we always put every ounce of energy we have into our show. It will be different from anything else and full of intensity.
And to finish we have that all important question. A war that has raged since the 1990’s. A war which has no end in sight so answer carefully! Which do you prefer Leeds or Reading?
Chris: Haha, let me think… well, this is for the huddersfield daily examiner, so the sensible answer would be leeds right???