Interview Kaiser Chiefs
We speak to Ricky Wilson and Nick Hodgson to find out about The Future is Medieval, Leeds United and the Kirkstall Abbey gigs
Interview: Kaiser Chiefs
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We caught up with Ricky Wilson (vocals) and Nick Hodgson (drums) from the Kaiser Chiefs in the week before their performance at the Glastonbury Festival. “I never really have days off now, we’ve launched ourselves on that slide again…” is how Wilson described their current status. As ever, Wilson and Hodgson are the public face of the band, and have recently gone on record (repeatedly) to say that releasing a fourth album in the traditional manner wasn’t an attractive proposition.
Though they betray no obvious doubts over the quality of their new album, The Future Is Medieval, there are hints of an underlying uncertainty that appears to have taken root during the band’s two-year absence from music. We talk prior to the album’s release in physical form (following the initial download-only launch) at the end of June, and there’s one particular moment that typifies Hodgson’s newfound concern. “It suits the record companies a lot more to put out a CD and it’s nice to keep them onside,” he tells me. But I thought they had to keep you onside? I ask. “Maybe in the old days,” he responds.
One thing that is certain is that the Kaiser Chiefs have returned with a bang and people are talking about the band in a way that would have seemed unthinkable in the aftermath of the release of their last album in 2008.
Off With Their Heads was leaked online a full three weeks prior to the official launch date and although the first single ‘Never Miss A Beat’ had received substantial airplay, the album never recovered from the shock. “There’s gonna be a party and then three weeks before, it’s already out there,” Hodgson recalls. “You’re just really annoyed and you don’t feel like partying once it’s out.” Medieval’s innovative concept can be attributed as much to their ordeal in 2008 as it can to Wilson’s now infamous discussion with his friend from the ad agency, Oli Beale, in an upmarket Falmouth chippy.
The Future is Medieval
For those that have been sheltering under a rock for the last few months, the concept of the album is as follows. Instead of releasing a bundle of songs in the usual way, The Future Is Medieval consists of 20 tracks from which people can create and sequence their own album. The behind-the-scenes mechanics were complicated and expensive, but the result of two years of development work was impressively simple and accessible. “To the rest of the world, it probably looked like we had a couple of years off,” Wilson says, “But we didn’t even have six months before we started working on this.”
Each track is represented on their website by a symbol, such as a teddy bear or a London bus, and can be previewed for a minute or so. Having decided on the songs that you would like, you can then connect the symbols by drag-and-drop leads to form the running order. “Each symbol has a connection with the song,” Hodgson says, “Some are quite direct and some are a bit more abstract, but they all link back to lyrics and feelings. It’s up to the people to work them out.”
So far, so good then, but the final innovation was perhaps a step-too-far, at least for an online community that is always hypersensitive at being subjected to targeted marketing. After designing your artwork and finalising your version of the album, you could then re-sell this via HTML code and benefit to the tune of £1 for every associated sale.
“I think [the PR team] saw a side of it that I hadn’t seen, the idea that within a space of 24 hours people would be talking about it. This was the marketing side of it,” Wilson says, “We were thinking it was like a punk-rock idea, but within 24 hours people have gone from wondering if the Kaiser Chiefs were ever going to write a record again to being the most talked about band on the internet. That happened in the click of a finger.”
With a cash incentive some people became a little more creative than even the band had imagined. “I think the Chris Moyles thing was just someone being clever, what can you say?” says Hodgson, reacting to the person that had utilised Moyles’ association with Leeds to cash-in, “So the fake Chris Moyles makes the money out of it, there’s always a way isn’t there? There’s a [fake] Lady Gaga one as well!”
There are also a host of legitimate celebrity contributors (and even Moyles himself has released an ‘official’ take now). “Simon Pegg has done a version of the album. As has Rio Ferdinand,” Hodgson notes. “I saw Dave Grohl the other day, he’s gonna do one.”
The launch of the concept for
Posted on Wednesday 13th July 2011
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Comments on Interview: Kaiser Chiefs
Comment by Minhaj AhmedPosted on Tue 29th May 12 4:54 pm
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