INTERVIEW with Kaiser Chiefs bassist Simon Rix
MULTIPLE BRIT AWARD WINNING, INDIE-ROCK BAND, KAISER CHIEFS ARE HITTING THE MIDLANDS FESTIVAL SCENE HARD THIS SUMMER HEADLINING THIS YEAR’S AWARD-WINNING SPLENDOUR FESTIVAL, SATURDAY 22 JULY AND PERFORMING AT AN OPEN AIR CONCERT AT MARKET RASEN RACECOURSE ON THE 19TH AUGUST.
The success of their debut album ‘Employment’, released in 2005 with hits including Everyday I Love You Less and Less and I Predict a Riot, sold over three million copies and won the band three Brit Awards including the award for Best British Group, Best British Rock Act and Best British Live Act. It also won an NME Award for Best Album and was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize.
Since then, Kaiser Chiefs have gone on to release five more original studio albums; Yours Truly, Angry Mob (2007), Off with Their Heads (2008), The Future Is Medieval (2011), Education, Education, Education
& War (2014) and their latest album Stay Together (2016), which charted in the UK top five.
We caught up with the Yorkshire quintet’s bassist Simon Rix about set lists, sleepy fans and the Chiefs very own summer of love.
With so many huge songs to choose from and obviously your new material from the new album. How do you go about choosing your set list?
I don’t know really, it’s got a little bit harder. I sort of, generally write the set list and I think it sort of writes itself, really. There’s songs that everybody wants to hear and then we’ll play some new songs from the new record and then we’ll try and dig out a couple of things that maybe are a bit unusual which I think keeps us interested and some of the people who come see us a lot obviously will be there as well so we play a little bit of that but y’know, just try and… As you say, we’ve got quite a lot of songs that everyone knows so it makes it quite easy.
Is there one or two songs that you just dare not leave out of the set?
‘Dare not’ is an interesting question really. One of the things about our band and I think it’s kind of unique in a way is that we are a band really where we like to play a gig and we want everyone to have a good time. I think y’know, not playing big songs is sort of a bit selfish really for the people who have got tickets to come see us. So I don’t think we’d ever do it. I don’t think it’s a matter of not daring to, I think we feel like we’ve written some songs, some great songs that everyone likes and we love the reaction to y’know, still when we play ‘I Predict A Riot’, ‘Ruby’ and other songs the reaction is still amazing, do you know what I mean? Even for those ones that are quite old now y’know. We love that reaction, so why would we not play them?
And what song do you think does get the best reaction? Over all the years with all the songs that you’ve played, is there one particular one that just stands out that you can just see the crowd going nuts for?
I think there’s a few obvious ones really. I think different places, different things. So when we go into Europe, ‘Ruby’ was a much bigger song than anything else really in sort of like Germany or places like that. That’s our number 1 biggest hit. I think in the UK ‘I Predict A Riot’ is our sort of like our trademark and then also ‘Oh My God’ ‘cause we finish with that so that’s one with a great reaction. I think in the UK, the song we play and we absolutely know that it’s gonna be fine is ‘I Predict A Riot’.
You guys are now a proper permanent fixture on the British music scene whilst so many of your contemporaries have kind of long since called it a day, why do you think you as a group of friends from Leeds have succeeded whilst so many have not? Is this something that you think about?
We don’t really think about it too much. I mean like, the album’s called ‘Stay Together’ and I think one of those things is we have stayed together and we are all still all very keen to be in a band. Y’know even when Rickys been off doing tele y’know, people go and do other things, we always sort of, get back together and it feels like the thing we’re meant to do. I think that helps really and we’ve always said y’know, I think we’ve had a few ups and downs but on the whole try and write some great songs that we like, the people like, that connect to the audience and play great gigs. I mean, I think one of our strengths, even probably more than the albums is just the fact that I think people come and see us live and they know they’re gonna have a good night y’know. And I think, we’ve played a lot of festivals before and get booked for festivals that y’know, maybe people don’t buy the ticket perhaps to come see the Kaiser Chiefs specifically at I don’t know, Glastonbury or Leeds and Reading or whatever festival
we’re playing at, but they know if they can come along and they know they’re gonna have a good time and they’re gonna know the songs and they’re gonna sing and run around and Ricky’s gonna be entertaining, so I just think it could… Sorry, I’m gonna answer the question now! I think being a good live band and being a good group of friends and I think still wanting it and still doing it after all these years. I think that’s the reason that we have managed to stay around.
You’re going to be headlining at Splendour in Nottingham this year.
Yeah, we’re really looking forward to performing at Splendour. We know the crowd and the setting will make for an unforgettable atmosphere. And then you’re back in the midlands for the Jockey Club I can imagine it’s probably been quite a while since you guys have been in Lincoln to play a show. You know what, we came to Lincoln recently because we played a radio thing in the sort of University venue, a sort of private gig. But that’s not a good story. The story about Lincoln I think, is our first ever gig with this band, we weren’t called Kaiser Chiefs, we were called something else but it was the same people as Kaiser Chiefs. The first ever gig we did outside of Leeds was in Lincoln at the Bivouac and two people were there and one fell asleep.
Fantastic, was that as Parva?
As Parva, yeah. Our first ever gig as a band, we got a van, I think we had someone there to drive us and help load the gear in. It was all excitement as our first gig outside of Leeds and then we turned up and as I say, there were 2 people and 1 fell asleep so I’d hope if we play there’ll be more than that many people
Do you approach the racecourse shows any differently to your normal kind of tours?
It’s more like a tour than it is a festival I think because obviously when you play at a festival there’s loads and loads and loads of bands and loads of things going on and this is only us basically, supported by some horseracing! So we just sort of try and put on a good show for everybody really. At the end of
the day everyone’s had a good time, hopefully they’ve won some money and they’ve got drunk so then we just try and put on a good show to sort of end it all off really. Play some hits, get everyone there bouncing and loosening their ties and kicking off their high heels.
Are summer holidays a thing of the past for you now you just play festivals in the UK and Europe throughout the summer?
The people in our band who have children, which is not me, definitely definitely hate the fact that fundamentally, summer holidays they do not get to be at home or go on lovely vacations with their children. I just said to another guy who was fairly disbelieving of this fact. Apart from I think it was like 2010 when we had a year off, we have played festivals every single summer since 2004. The first one was a little on the light side, but after that, we play about I dunno, 20 or 30 between summer festivals y’know.
SPLENDOUR FESTIVAL – KAISER CHIEFS HEADLINING 22ND JULY WOOLATON PARK, NOTTINGHAM.
Tickets are on sale via www.splendourfestival.com
KAISER CHIEFS – AN OPEN AIR CONCERT AT MARKET RASEN RACECOURSE 19TH AUGUST 2017 Tickets are on sale via www.thejockeyclublive.co.uk