Interview: Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs
Mon, 07 Jan 2008 09:35:41
Sometimes it's hard to remember the things in life that are consistently great: your Mom, weather above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, weekly paychecks and the Kaiser Chiefs. Without catering to anyone but themselves, they have a legion of fans that spans indie rock circles, foppish critics, swoon-ready teens, people who only get their music from iTunes, and I bet your Mom would like them too.
As the band wraps up their over a year-long tour of their sophomore album, Yours Truly, Angry Mob, we got a chance to chat with lead singer and affable, boyish charmer Ricky Wilson. On the eve of some of their biggest UK shows ever, Wilson is down-to-earth, confident and nowhere near as miserable as he lets on.
On first listen, it seems like the new album, Yours Truly, Angry Mob is more cynical than Employment, and based on your rise to where you are now. Is that true? Are we misinterpreting your intent?
People always say we're cynical, but I don't think people realized how cynical we were on the first album. I think we were a bit more pissed off on the first album, actually, but the music is so jolly you don't really realize. I think the music has become more... sinister. I'll tell you what, I'll try to be less miserable on the next album.
No, no, I like this "angry, young men" version of Kasier Chiefs.
Yeah, I think I prefer to be a bit more euphoric.
So, you have been touring this album since this time last year—are you starting to feel it wear you down?
I really enjoy it; it's always really good. As soon as you get on it's fine. We don't really have that hard of a job, now do we? No matter how shit you feel, whenever you come off, you always want to do it again.
"Thank You Very Much" seems to sort of touch on that dreariness and monotony of touring and playing shows.
The sentiment of it wasn't really what I meant [laughs]. But, it's good to have a laugh and moan about [fame] every now and then. Everyone hates the job even if you've got the best job in the world.
Exactly. But, the way the albums unfolds tends to make the listener think, "ooh, they're talking about us."
I suppose you can't help it that much. If it's honest, that's the best thing about about it, really. I'm pretty happy now, so maybe… I was pretty happy when I was writing it—especially for boys, though. I mean, when you've got a group of boys who are friends and you're writing lyrics, it's much harder to write about how much in love you are and what a great time you're having. [Adopts pseudo-annoyed voice] You start writing songs about being pissed off and being annoyed at things.
Well, you actually sort of bridged that with "Ruby" [watch video here]; it's your first love song, isn't it?
Yeah, "Ruby" is kind of about how the best thing about when you meet someone is that very first moment when you meet—then it's all downhill from there…
Man, you guys really are miserable!
I know—I really had no idea!
This time around, you all were pretty vocal about ditching your former persona, which was more of a gimmicky band who just "oooh'd" a lot and wore striped blazers. How did you go about the change without alienating your fans?
The only thing I didn't like about it… I still like it—we still do it live, because we still play the old songs. I really like it, I just didn't like it in the pub when the only thing a person can think to say is, [starts singing in slight ogre voice] "Ooooooh, oooooh." And we really started doing it because we couldn't write lyrics. I think it's a really good device. I mean, The Beatles used to go [sings] "wooo" a lot, and then they stopped doing it—probably because people noticed they did it all the time. Then, they brought it back for the last album. As soon as anyone notices you doing something, you should probably stop it. You know, people noticed we were doing it everyone song, so you say, "Oh, shit. Well, I never want to be pinned down." So, you always have to move on, I suppose, so that's a good thing, isn't it?
Definitely. Now that you've achieved this status of "successful band," do you have any bands you look up to career-wise and whose path you want to follow?
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