We've found out that hip hop definitely works at Glastonbury, but guitar bands at Creamfields - no chance! We talk to Kasabian's lead singer, Tom Meighan, about their pending appearance at the dance event, Chelsea and he shares his credit crunch tips...
Brash, outspoken and with a knack for producing epic anthems, Kasabian are quickly overtaking swagger rock's longest-serving bigmouths Oasis in the self-confidence league. Their behemoth headline sets at V Festival last year cemented the Leicester band's festival credentials and now they're gearing up for the most challenging appearance to date – Creamfields.
So with the difficult third album in the pipeline and just a week to go before they show the DJs that live music is just as pumping as any vinyl, CD or MP3 we catch up with the Kasabian frontman…
Virtual Festivals: Noel Gallagher said "Hip-hop at Glastonbury – no fuckin' chance!” What would you say to people who said "Guitars at Creamfields – no fuckin' chance"?
Tom Meighan: "Well, everyone to your own opinion, but we’re be happy to do it and we're doing it so that's all I can say – but what a shambles Glastonbury was this year. Fucking hell, it was fucking rubbish mate, really rubbish. I mean all that pressure to tide it over. All I want is some honest opinions, a bit of honesty – just because it's Glastonbury you can't always smother it over like it's easy. I think there's been a lot of lies again. Don't get me wrong I think the Jay-Z thing is wicked, I'm not doubting that. I just think there were no ingredients this year."
VF: I think it improved on the year before. Do you think it's lost its spirit then?
TM: "I don't know really, I mean the people that go year and year out, it's up to them. It's not down to what I think because all we do is play – it just felt like it was missing something this time round."
VF: What's your favourite one to go to as a punter then?
TM: "I don't know man, they are all as good as each other. V is good, they're all fucking good man it depends on the bill though."
VF: Do you think that’s the most important thing about a festival then?
TM: "Yeah definitely man. At Reading and Leeds this year it's like American bands isn't it?"
VF: It is. Will you be going there then?
TM: "No I won't. No way. I don't go as a punter, I go for playing mate."
VF: Back to Creamfields. What made you first decide to play a festival that's more synonymous with dance?
TM: "I think it's a great responsibility we've got, and I think it's wonderful they've got a guitar band like us there. People call it a risk, but we don't really class it as a risk, man. We're just a great live band and we'll play anywhere, any festival, whatever it is – all we do is go on stage. Creamfields have been after us for years, they're trying to break it up from just DJs."
VF: Are you looking forward to it then?
TM: "It will be wonderful. It should be great – I just love playing live."
VF: You've covered Prodigy's 'Out of Space' before. Will you be playing tracks like that?
TM: "We're not going to throw that shit in now. We just did it for a one-off."
VF: Is there anything else you might check out over the weekend? Are you into your dance music at all?
TM: "We sort of are man. Ian Brown I'd like to check out but I think he's there the day before us. Soulwax are fucking brilliant. We're going to turn up like a pack of fucking lions man, do our thing and get out."
VF: The festival is celebrating its tenth birthday as well; when you were ten years old did you want to be in music?
TM: "Yeah completely. As soon as my mother had me I was singing 'The hills are alive' – that's what I was singing. We've been together eleven years now; it's a long fucking time."
VF: So it's sort of a birthday for you as well then.
TM: "Yeah it's wonderful, we've come this far and we're making new records, doing things like Creamfields – it's great."
VF: Where would you like to be in ten years time?
TM: "Where I'd like to be in ten years time is on a yacht in fucking Brazil, watching Sky Sports."
VF: If at Creamfields people aren't really digging it, is there anything you can pull out of the bag to get them back on your side?
TM: "We just pull out 'Empire' mate, or we pull out 'Clubfoot' or 'Processed Beats' or 'LSF'. I'm not going to be thinking about Creamfields going wrong – I'm just there to play."
VF: You wouldn't chuck Serge in to sort out the fans in an Amy Winehouse at Glastonbury style then?
TM: "Nah mate. Unless there is something big happening, I’m out my fucking head."
VF: How do you feel like playing Hydro Connect compared to Creamfields, because everyone says that the Scottish fans get a lot more into it?
TM: "The highlanders are fucking mental – they're amazing fans and their loyalty's great."
VF: At Connect you've jumped above the Manic Street Preachers who received the God-like Genius work from NME…
TM: "Yeah, Manic Street Preachers are fucking wonderful, great band."
VF: How does it feel to be billed higher than them? Is it almost like handing a chalice over?
TM: "Yeah completely. I mean the industry changes and people change and that's just the way it goes. I did a photo shoot with Nicky Wire he was fucking brilliant and so was James [Dean Bradfield]. Honestly, they were all sound. I bought all their shit when I was younger. That single 'The Masses Against the Classes' was great. They are amazing and they're so deep as well – they really mean it."
VF: Do you think Kasabian has what it takes to be Godlike geniuses one day?
TM: "Of course we have. We just have to keep writing music. It has to be progressive rock and roll, future rock and roll you know, not like the 5-piece, 4-piece bands that come out of fucking Yorkshire or wherever."
VF: You say that, but you've also called your new album psychedelic.
TM: "It's massively psychedelic – it'll blow your mind mate. I think we're pushing boundaries with our new album. You'll hear it what's moving and what's changing – it's fucking very clever."
VF: Are you starting to play tracks off your new album live?
TM: "We're going to throw in a few new ones."
VF: When can we expect your new stuff?
TM: "Hopefully at the end of the year mate. We've got some singles out this year."
VF: Cool, sounds good. Newer bands are starting to do things like DJing. Would you ever be interested in doing things like that?
TM: "Probably when I'm about fifty! But not now, it's never really appealed to me. We'll see what happens but hopefully we're still playing in 20 years time."
VF: With the credit crunch is setting in, what money saving tips do you want to give your fans?
TM: "Money saving tips? Cut down on illegal drugs. Don't buy cocaine, buy cheaper things."
VF: Do you think the music industry is getting a bit too expensive?
TM: "Well they're all shitting it aren't they. It's changing and everyone's looking out for their own backs now."
VF: Would you say you think you're going towards Radiohead and giving away music for free?
TM: "No because Radiohead have sold 40 million albums, so Radiohead can afford to do that. We were signed up to a five-album deal when we were 21 years old, but Radiohead can do that. They can go to Turkey and play fucking 'Creep' to break the band and some people forget that them. I think what they did was a genius thing but some bands can't do it. Luckily we’ve sold a few records, but I'm not going to give my music away or Sergio's music away for free – why should we?"
VF: Do you find playing live is more important than the album itself?
TM: "They're like male and female mate, both as equal."
VF: What essential should you always take to festivals?
TM: "Just bring wet wipes."
VF: Wet wipes and plenty of booze?
TM: "Wet wipes and sneak alcohol in. That's all I can say – make sure you clean yourself up."
VF: Now you're a bigger band do you camp or roll up in a big tour bus?
TM: "I've never camped in my life. I was in the Cubs when I was about eight and it was fucking rubbish. That shows you what kind of camper I am."
VF: Off the music, I know you're a big football fan. Any predictions this year?
TM: "I'm not sure mate. I hope we come back up – Leicester City – because we've had a shit time. I don't know though because Chelsea's buying up half the fucking world again and we're not a big team. Chelsea had about ten thousand fans in 1993 and all of a sudden everyone's a fucking Chelsea fan and I find that quite funny. I hope Liverpool win it – I like the Scousers."
VF: Do you not think the same thing would have happened if Abramovich had bought Leicester? Everyone would be a Leicester fan?
TM: "That isn't going to happen though is it. Chelsea are a West-end club – the playboys. They used to sell Jaguars behind the goal in the shed in the 80's. That shows you about Chelsea doesn't it?"
Kasabian headline Creamfields this weekend.