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Kaiser Chiefs @ Liverpool Music Week

By Ross Purdie || 10 Dec 07
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As Liverpool Music Week rolls over to its final weekend, we chat to the Kaiser Chiefs about canoes, garden shows and being a bit gutted Radiohead aren’t playing the Isle Of Wight Festival.

It's a bitter evening in Liverpool and we’re at Aintree Racecourse, the home of the Grand National, to catch up with Nick Hodgson (drums) and Nick ‘Peanut’ Baines (keyboards) from Kaiser Chiefs ahead of their headline slot at the Pavillion, a new music arena which doubles up as an equestrian centre.

Swapping the hay for the comforts of the band's dressing room, we try to pick up some tips on their plans for next year...

Virtual Festivals: You’re here playing Liverpool Music Week. What’s the best thing about the city?
Nick Hodgson: “I don’t know really.”
Nick ‘Peanut’ Baines: “The Beatles came from here.”
NH: “Yeah, that’s probably the best thing.”
NPB: “I came went to the Garden Show in 1984 which was alright. I got a little toy car.

VF: You’ve got a big homecoming show in Leeds next may. How do the two cities compare?
NH: “It’s not that different.”
NPM: “It’s not like saying ‘how does it compare to playing in Australia’, because the Australians got into the album a bit later, so it’s cool and they’re catching up, but in Liverpool it’s just the same.”

VF: How does it feel to be playing at the home of the Grand National?

NH: “Good. We like racing. For Peanut’s 18th birthday I put a fiver or something on horse 18 because it was on the same day as the Grand National and I think he won approximately £18. It was £18 something.”

VF: You’ve got a song called ‘The Angry Mob’. What things make you angry, apart from Daily Mail readers?
NH: “I don’t know. Nothing. I don’t get angry in a kind of…”
NPB: “Rage.”
NH: “I get angry and funny in a type of ranting phase when I’m just really…’
NPB: “Tired?”
NH: “No I’m not tired; I’m just joking and trying to be funny.”
NPB: “People in TV that just don’t have a clue.”
NH: “Yeah they make me angry.”
NPB: “The ones that have a headset but don’t really get it. You’re up at six in the morning and they say: ‘We want you to do this with a clown’ and it’s like – piss off. That’s frustrating, but we don’t get angry, it’s just frustration.”
NH: “It’s like in Alan Partridge when he says: ‘Unbelievable.’”

VF: If a band member faked their own death in a canoeing accident. Would that make you angry? Could you forgive them?
NPB: “Forgive? Yeah. But if he disappeared, presumed dead, then it would be quite horrible.”
NH: “I think it would be quite funny.”
NPB: “It would be more funny if you were getting amusing postcards from around the world. They wouldn't say it was from them but you'd know deep down that it was. That would be quite strange.”

VF: Who's the most likely one to do that?
NPB: “Me. I can’t tell you where I'd go though. I’ve been watching Prison Break and Panama is the destination in Prison Break. Plus the canoeist ended up there. It's a good fugitive destination.”
NH: “He can’t be a canoeist can he? Is he a professional canoeist? Who is a canoeist? Nobody is a canoeist really, they're just someone.”
NPB: “You need to watch Grandstand on a Sunday afternoon. You see them all canoeing down from somewhere. From Chepstow I think.”
NH: “That’s not their main job though. I’m sure he’s got another job.”
NPB: “Why did he come back?”
NH: “That doesn’t matter in the world of We can talk about that later.”

VF: You're headlining the Isle Of Wight Festival next year, which will be your first proper headline slot...
NH: “Yeah. In England.”
NPB: “We did quite a few around Europe so we feel ready for it. It will just be amazing.”

VF: It’s the first time you’ve played the Isle Of Wight. What have you heard about it?
NPB: “I don’t know really. It’s a cool festival isn’t it?”
NH: “I don’t think it is actually.”
NPB: “But it’s not like trying to go to Reading; you’ve got to cross over some water which I reckon makes it a proper mission so people will be more into that.”
NH: “I think not only the journey, but the fact it’s on the Island makes it a lot different. How big is the Isle Of Wight?"

VF: About 24 miles by 16 miles.

NH: “That’s pretty small.”
NPB: “Yeah that is small.”
NH: “Is it a cool festival or not?”

VF: It’s alright, it was voted 'Best Major Festival' this year.
NH: “I don’t think it’s that cool. Can I just point to the rest of the line-up because I think there’s not going to be enough kids there. The Sex Pistols are headlining and we just thought: ‘uhhh’ because we thought it was going to be Radiohead.”

VF: Are you fans of The Police?

NPB: “They’ll be good to watch.”
NH: “Back then yeah, but now I don’t know.”
NPB: “It will be interesting to see because with The Police it’s only been this year that they’ve started touring, so I will be intrigued to see what they do.”

VF: Do you think that you’ll stick around to watch them?
NPB: “Well this summer we played lots of festivals. So we’re making a point next summer of having time to enjoy other acts and stay another day or something. I couldn’t tell you yet but depending on what we’re doing we might have a look.”

VF: You played O2 Wireless Festival last year. Do you consider that a proper festival yet?
NH: “No not yet.”

VF: Do you think it has to have camping to be considered a proper festival?
NPB: “Amongst other things. I don’t think it's how they’d like it quite yet. It started two years ago when Glastonbury was on, so you’re not going to get many people going, but the problem is that when Glastonbury is off people say: ‘oh yeah, we’ll go to Wireless in June.”
NH: “I think it’s going to take a few years to get there, but it will eventually.”

VF: You’ve got a few new songs you’re playing on this tour. Can you tell us a bit about those?
NH: “We’ve got some new songs that have been going very well. The reaction has been surprisingly good. Well not surprising, because we knew they were good, but when we played the first new one the reaction from the crowd was instant. When we finished playing it there was just a huge round of applause and cheers, which is something we’re not used to when we play a new one, so it’s definitely a good sign.”

VF: Are they upbeat, in keeping with your current sound?
NH: “Yes, but they are different to anything we’ve done before. I think they’re up there with our very best songs. Never Miss A Beat’ is the first one and ‘You Want History’ is the second one.”

VF: Last year at Leeds you played a secret gig under Hooks For Hands, what’s the meaning there?
NH: “There wasn’t any meaning behind the name. It was because it was a name that had been floating around for some time. We’d been mentioning it for name Hooks For Hands for things like albums, projects, solo records. It came from our manager who knew a guy who was a Hell’s Angel who had hooks for hands.”

VF: How did the secret gig come around. Was it very last minute?
NH: “No we had to keep it secret for three months.”
NPB: “It was over the summer when we were doing loads of festivals and we wanted to do something cool, something exciting. It was hatched in the middle of Carnaby Street in London.”
NH: “Our manger just rang up the promoter of the festival there and then.”
NPB: “So in a short walk down Carnaby Street it went from a mere idea to 'yes we’re going to do this'.”

VF: Did you talk about doing Reading as well?

NPB: “We didn’t have that day off. We were in Scotland before and Dublin the day after so it worked out perfectly for Leeds, so we just did the Saturday morning there.”
NH: “We sort of kept it secret but the drum had Kaiser Chiefs written on it so as soon as people saw people were texting and calling each other.”
NPB: "People were running down the hill and they had security there that didn’t really work. We had people jumping over fences and it was great. That was the excitement we wanted – I don’t remember hardly anything about playing it, just that it was exciting. It was only half an hour long.”

VF: Did it annoy you that Foo Fighters did it the week before at V Festival?
NH: “They didn’t do it like us because they were on the bill already, whereas we weren’t. We were Hooks For Hands and no one was expecting us to even be in the same city. But Foo Fighters, didn’t they just do it as the Foo Fighters on the same stage?”

VF: They did it under 606, but everybody knew about it really.

NH: “So it certainly didn’t annoy us. I’ve told you before we don’t get annoyed.”

VF: As we've mentioned, you’re doing the Isle Of Wight Festival next summer. Have they got an exclusive on you or can you do other UK festivals?
NPB: “I can’t remember, there are all kinds of politics and stuff.”
NH: “No, there are no exclusives.”
NPB: “I think we can do other bits and pieces. Obviously around New Year we’ve got plans around Europe as well.”
NH: “I don’t know what the other offers are yet.”
NPB: “In the next couple of months it will all come together.”
NH: “We didn’t do that many UK festivals last year. So we’ll do some more this year.”

VF: What’s your favourite one?
NH: “Glastonbury for me.”
NPB: “It was great fun this year. I also like T In The Park and Oxegen. We've only done those a couple of times.”
NH: “The first time we did T In The Park in Scotland it was mad. I remember how packed it was and there was this big roar, this cheer. We went back the next time and we were second headliners. The fans are amazing, it's all about them."
NPB: “They are just a little more crazy than fans elsewhere. It makes a lot of difference to us.”

VF: Why do you think that is?
NPB: “I think that they’re prepared to let their hair down 10 per cent more.”
NH: “I don’t know what it is, but you can see it and you can feel it and the energy of singing and shouting and cheering people on is good.”

VF: And how does Liverpool compare?
NH: “I don’t know, I think the last time we played Liverpool was on the NME Tour. It will be a good set and it should feel like another good night on the tour.”


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