Chiefs of indie rock to return
The Leeds lads of Kaiser Chiefs are set to play the Villa again next month and with only a few tickets left for their two Manx gigs, WWW editor Lottie Ray chats to bass player Simon Rix about the early days, the name and their online album
WITH indie rock hits Oh My God, I Predict a Riot and Ruby, the Kaiser Chiefs are known for their electric live performances.
And that is why island promoter Lenny Conroy, of Triskel Promotions, was quick to secure the return of these Leeds boys.
The band’s last visit to the Villa Marina in August 2009 infamously brought down websites and phone exchanges amid the public’s desire to grab heavily sought after tickets.
Ticket sales have gone smoothly this time in what is looking to be another two sell-out dates (August 21 and 22) in the Villa’s Royal Hall.
Chatting from his London home, bass guitarist Simon Rix took a quick break from playing on the summer festival circuit to chat to WWW.
‘We spend the summer in fields really so it’s nice to do a few normal gigs inside as well where you can see actual faces as opposed to people being miles away,’ he explained, ‘We really enjoyed it last time we came over so we thought we’d do it again.
‘We looked around the island a little bit but it was quite wet and windy so we hope for better weather this time.’
The Kaiser Chiefs may be on top of the world right now, but the road to success has been far from smooth for the five northerners whose roots go right back to school.
‘When we all finished uni and were back in Leeds in 2000 we formed a band called Parva,’ recounted Simon.
‘We did actually get a record deal but the company sort of disintegrated. We continued after that and went around the country in a van but it got very depressing, there was no money in it – we were all pretty poor. It was pretty much a low point.
‘But we all thought about what we wanted and were all very positive that we wanted to be in a band again no matter what, so we started Kaiser Chiefs.
‘And this time we wanted to write songs that we loved because I think in Parva we were guilty of copying people. We wanted to be unique and do something no one else sounded like. That was the idea.’
He said: ‘It probably wasn’t until after we did Glastonbury in 2005 – we played in the afternoon, a massive crowd turned out and everybody knew the words – that I remember thinking: “It’s really happening, I don’t have to go back to working in a pub”.’
The name Kaiser Chiefs is taken from a South African football team, so do the band have any connections with the country?
‘Not at all!’ said Simon. ‘We were looking for a band name, and anyone who does that, will I’m sure feel the same – it’s like the impossible task because you have five people who have got to agree on something that will be your name forever.
‘We spent hours talking about what it should be and mainly what it shouldn’t be.
‘Then someone mentioned this football team and we found out Lucas Radebe, who played for Leeds United, was sold to us by the Kaiser Chiefs club. We thought that was a nice little Leeds link and so we nicked it.’
Band members are now spread all over the UK but Leeds will always be their home.
‘We still own houses there,’ said Simon. ‘And Leeds United is still a big draw, and our families. When we rehearse and write it’s mostly in Leeds.’
They are currently touring a souvenir Greatest Hits album, but last year they produced The Future is Medieval, a ‘create your own’ online record which won advertising and web awards as well as music gongs.
‘It was Ricky [Wilson, lead singer]who came up with it originally. The idea was for a bespoke album where every single person gets a different version. Also when people used to buy CDs or vinyl there was some ownership of that record, you could put it in your record collection which made a statement about you. But now it’s just a file on a computer.
‘So we thought we’d like a record where people could create their own artwork and even sell it on to their friends and make some money. It was just trying to do something interesting for us and for the fans.
‘We didn’t want to be one of those bands who moan that everyone is downloading music for free. We wanted to make people realise that music has a value and takes work and effort to create.’
So what can we expect from their Manx gigs next month?
‘Well it’s all about energy really,’ Simon exclaimed. ‘And we’ve got Ricky, who is like our secret weapon.
‘And we are just planning to make sure everyone has the best time they’ve ever had!’
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Weather for Isle of Man
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: South west
Temperature: 8 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 29 mph
Wind direction: South