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Hail To The Chiefs
Their football team may be in the doldrums, but Leeds’ latest rock ‘n’ roll heroes Kaiser Chiefs are heading straight to the top of the Premiership.
Phil Udell, 09 Feb 2005
As with every year, the adage in 2005 would seem to be that, if you want to make a splash as a new band, release a record in January.
After the glut of end of year polls, round-ups and Christmas compilations, we all need our palates cleansed by some fresh music. It certainly seems to be working for Kaiser Chiefs, who have featured in virtually every ‘Ones To Watch’ list, have been receiving hugely encouraging noises from the US and currently find themselves propping up an NME bill that also features The Killers, Bloc Party and Futureheads. With keyboard player Nick Baines on the line from another UK motorway, we wonder if the band find all of this a bit odd given that they’re only just releasing their second single.
“I don’t think it’s odd, I do think it’s good. We all believe that we’re extremely good but we can’t believe we got all this from just one main single. We’ve done a lot of gigs and impressed a lot of people with those. We think it’s justified and that it’s going perfectly.”
Having formed in Leeds in the summer of 2003, the Chiefs are in that position of having been around but not having been around too long, something that Nick sees as a benefit.
“Everything that we play in Kaiser Chiefs has been written in the past eighteen months, we haven’t got anything that we’ve been playing for years and years and years. Our first album is like another band’s second album, although it’s better. It keeps it fresh and up to date.”
With new single ‘Oh My God’ coming out initially last year as a limited edition, it was the British drinking culture snap shot ‘I Predict A Riot’ that really caught people’s attention, not least for its on the button lyric.
“That came from when I used to DJ at a club in Leeds and me and my friend used to drive back past all the horrible mainstream clubs and there were all these scenes of boys and girls fighting and being put into police vans. A few years ago people started filming it and putting it into TV programmes and that started to encourage people so it became more widespread. You just have to try and avoid it.”
Although you would have to be more than a little suspicious of the NME’s constant desire to invent these sort of trends, there does seem to be something in the air with British bands again and some sort of identity is forming for the first time since Britpop. What’s good is that these groups are also trying to make music with a bit more substance to it.
“A lot of bands were put out by the American invasion a couple of years ago,” agrees Nick. “We didn’t know that anyone else was doing it but now you find bands like Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand who are doing the same sort of stuff as us. We were all working in our rehearsal rooms eighteen months ago trying to come up with a British identity again”.
Kaiser Chiefs play Whelan’s, Dublin (April 3) and The Limelight, Belfast (4).