WATCHING Rou Reynolds perform live you would never guess he suffers from anxiety. He and his band Enter Shikari are renowned for their high-octane gigs and their co-ordinated chaos prompts similarly rowdy reactions from their loyal fans.

But then, as we know, mental health has no face and behind his energetic stage persona Reynolds has been suffering in recent times.

In another interview, he called 2015 his “year of hell” as his “everyday anxiety” built up into a debilitating panic attack and prolonged insomnia. Enter Shikari’s fifth record The Spark, released a few months ago, sees Reynolds at his most personal. Recalling his annus horribilis, the singer says it felt like “a movie or something”.

“With that level of sleep deprivation it was just a blur. It didn’t feel like me. Even now I’ll see glimmers of that when my anxiety rises but it was so much more intense then. I feel like a different person now.” Reynolds says that performing live often offers a “release” and that it was events outside of music that were the biggest trigger. “I always feel like a fool complaining about this but things like award ceremonies send my anxiety through the roof.

“All eyes are on you and you’re in a room full of egos – it puts you on edge and then you turn to drugs and alcohol to make yourself feel normal in those situations.” Enter Shikari’s infamously hectic touring schedule didn’t help, either, with Reynolds citing “general exhaustion” as another major factor in his eventual breakdown.

The frontman now says he has “learnt so much about what my mind and body can take” and is better equipped to manage his mental health. Despite Reynolds’ troubles, a lot of positivity made its way onto The Spark. Enter Shikari started writing material for the record at a time when Jeremy Corbyn was gaining momentum in the polls and, as Reynolds says, “young people were getting much more involved in politics – apathy was dying”.

The singer began to see parallels between the hope he saw in that social development and his own improving mental state. One of the recurrent themes of The Spark is “how adversity makes us stronger”. The average person wouldn’t describe being in a touring band – especially one big enough to play Brighton Centre – as “uneventful”, but this is the word Reynolds attributes to his life up to 2015.

He says that the perceived stability of his youth never lent itself to writing in a personal way. “I’d been in two long-term relationships and always had solid friends and family around me,” he says. “Before, a lot of the rage in the band has come from political frustration, whereas because I’d opened up on Twitter about what I’d gone through it gave me an element of confidence to write about those things.”

The singer denies, though, that there was anything particularly commendable about revealing his anxiety on social media. “When somebody opens up like that, especially someone on any kind of pedestal, people react to it like it’s a very noble thing. But when I started to do it I felt like it was a very selfish thing. It did give me the confidence to address it musically, though.”

And that musical expression took a very diverse form. The Spark is arguably Enter Shikari’s most eclectic record, swinging from pristine power-pop (Live Outside) to rap (Rabble Rouser) and much more in between. The band recently recorded a collaboration with hip-hop artist Big Narstie, revealing the breadth of their ambition (bear in mind that Enter Shikari are also regulars at Download Festival, a heavy metal event.

As for the live show, the frontman describes the art of performance as akin to meditation because “you’re always in the moment” – at least most of the time. “There are shows when I’m not so in the zone and my mind is elsewhere, and I won’t be as assertive,” he adds. “I’ll just hang at the back of the stage and won’t feel like a frontman. But I’m sure everyone gets that about anything.”

Enter Shikari have a close bond with their fanbase. When asked how they break down the barrier between performer and audience, Reynolds refers to the, let’s say, animated crowd responses to his band’s music.

“Things like circle pits help to create that camaraderie,” he says. But this is a slightly complex topic. As much as moshpits can be fun, they can also be dangerous. Reynolds says he was always more interested in the idea of “hardcore dance” than “people running into each other and hitting each other in the face” but adds that Enter Shikari fans are good at “self-policing”.

“I’m somewhat biased but our crowd is very friendly and open. We have a Facebook group called the Shikari Family and we always hear about how fans have gone to shows alone and come out with friends for life.” Or more.

“There was a girl from Russia and a guy from America who met at one of our shows and are now married,” adds Reynold.

This sense of connectivity extends to Reynold’s lyrical approach. There is a song called Take My Country Back on The Spark, and it doesn’t take a great leap of the imagination to figure out what it’s about. But rather than just attack the rhetoric of the “leave” campaign in the run-up to the EU referendum, the song sees Reynolds rail against echo chambers and encourage a greater level of empathy between people of opposing opinions.

“The track is talking about how people’s views are reinforced by not conversing with those who think otherwise,” says the singer. “They just think they’re right. On social media, every click takes you to something you already like.” But how do we avoid getting stuck in these echo chambers? Reynolds, who “doesn’t like any form of confrontation”, advises mindfulness. “If you have a new generation of people who are mindful about what they’re saying, you can say ‘hold on, let’s dissect this’, without getting heated.”

It might take a bit more than that to heal the wounds between the “remain” and “leave” voters, but music can go a long way to bridging gaps.

“That’s one of the great things about it, that connection with people,” says Reynolds. “I’ll always treasure that.”

Enter Shikari, Brighton Centre, Wednesday