Alumnus of the Month: May 2022
Chris Batten is our Verulam School May 2022 Alumnus of the Month. Tim left Verulam School in 2004/5 and is now a bassist in the rock band named ‘Enter Shikari’.
Please tell us a little about yourself – where do you work and how did you get into this role?
My name is Chris Batten and I’m a member of the rock band named Enter Shikari. The band was formed whilst attending Verulam and it consists of four members. Myself and our singer attended Verulam, our guitarist and drummer attended Sandringham. However, we all spent time at both schools through the BeauSandVer consortium during our A levels. We all finished our A levels and took a year away from studies to focus on the band. We hit the road in our red post office van and played as many shows as possible. After our gap year, we each made the decision to go to university whilst continuing our commitments to the band. After one year of university we signed our first publishing deal, deferred from university and we having been working full time as a rock band since.
What are some of your proudest achievements since leaving Verulam School?
We are lucky as the band has provided us with so many amazing opportunities and experiences. Through the band, we have played shows all over the world, reaching as far as South Africa. We’ve done multiple world tours which have taken us to places we’d never have dreamed of being able to visit, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Tokyo, to name a few. We’ve played on multiple festival stages around the world including such UK festivals as Download festival, Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds festival.
It’s hard to pinpoint our proudest achievement as it will likely be different for each of us. Personally, I’d say headlining download festival last year and reaching Number 2 in the UK album charts would be my proudest achievements.
What advice would you give someone looking to follow a similar career path?
It’s a question we get asked on a regular basis, and to be honest, there is no right or wrong answer. All I can do is inform people of how we made it to where we are and try to pinpoint the decisions we made that allowed us to do so. Our band formed in 2003 and we released our first Chart registered album in 2007. The early stages of being in a band are extremely important. We spent 4/5 years driving (or being driven when we weren’t old enough to drive) to every corner of the UK, playing shows in front of a handful of people, and then waking up the next day to do it again. It took a lot of belief in ourselves and in our music to continue, when seemingly nothing was happening, and no one was taking notice. After a couple of years we noticed the audiences were starting to get bigger, and so was the amount of people visiting our website/myspace. For us, it was simply was a case of getting out there and playing our music to as many people as we could.
Aside from the touring/playing shows aspect, we always strived to make our music stand out from the rest. We were not afraid to try and sound different. In fact, we prided ourselves on it. This mentality challenged us to keep thinking outside of the box and to make the sound our band made as original as possible. I think that’s the only real advice I can give. Work hard and don’t be afraid to put music out you believe in.
How have your experiences at Verulam School contributed to your life and successes since leaving school?
I had a very happy experience at Verulam, as did our singer. Our band was formed whilst in school so I can honestly say there’s no way we’d have even been a band without the school. We had very positive music teachers through our years at Verulam, each of whom pushed us towards being better and to trying new things.
What House were you in at Verulam School and can you describe one of your fondest memories?
I was in Jennings. Our singer in Hamilton, I believe. I always loved my time playing in the school’s sports teams and I have a lot of fond memories spending my weekend playing for the school cricket team. However, I can honestly say my fondest memory is just of playing football with a tennis ball during lunch with all my form friends. Large footballs weren’t allowed to prevent window breaking. `
We have just begun work on our 7th full length album. Covid has prevented us from doing much touring over the past couple of years, so it’s time to move forward and write new material. When this is done, we’ll hit the road and try and put our music in front of as many people as we can.
We love hearing what our alumni have been doing since leaving Verulam School. Each month, we are inviting a member of our alumni community to share their story of life after Verulam. If you’re and alumnus who would like to take part, or you’d like to volunteer an alumnus that you know, then please drop us an email.