Kasabian talk ahead of Birmingham gig
He’s rockin’ when he picks up the phone. As well he might be. Stadium rockers Kasabian have enjoyed a vintage year and guitarist and vocalist Sergio Pizzorno – Serge – has delighted in their success.
Since releasing their sixth album in May, For Crying Out Loud, the Brit Award-winning rockers have swept all before them. They made Leeds and Reading their own while hitting Europe and effortlessly proving why they are one of the world’s best live acts.
Keeping busy during summer has helped them to hone their craft and Serge says their year-end stadium gigs – 12 shows that end with gigs tonight and tomorrow at Arena Birmingham – have been a blast.
“The show is better than ever. It’s the best live show we’ve created ever. It’s joyous. For me, the studio is my home. That’s what I choose to do. For me, that’s where I’m happy. But over the years I’ve embraced the live show and understood it better.
“Keith Richards and Jimi Hendrix nailed that spot. I’ve needed to figure out what else there is you can do rather than just stand there. The journey we go on is relentless and by the end of the show, it’s bedlam. There are moments that are so special where you haven’t got a screen in front of you where you really forget where you are. Within that show there are moments where we all just get together.”
For Crying Out Loud gave the band their fifth consecutive number one UK album – a run that Serge and co don’t take for granted.
“That’s amazing. It’s such an achievement to get five on the spin. It really is. It means more now than it ever did. These new tunes are just adding to the set we already had. We’ve really got our own thing going on.
“It’s been the most amazing summer with lots of festival shows and huge, huge crowds. Seeing this new record connecting in Russia and Budapest and around Europe . . . it’s just mad just to see the energy of the fans. These songs come out of a little town in England and just connect with a whole new generation.”
Though Kasbian have been described as being the last in a line of great indie bands – from The Stones Roses and Primal Scream through to Oasis – Serge famously hates the term ‘indie’. He doesn’t see any connection with the pedal-to-the-metal rock that his band create and the morass of shoegazer tunes from the indie ghetto. Similarly, he pays no mind to the X Factor Generation that dominates the charts.
“Pop music is sort of dominating the culture. But it always turns in on itself. People get bored pretty soon.
“For us, being in a band has always been like an outlaw existence, where you are supposed to p*** people off. It’s this life or nothing. Everyone is very worried about what they say these days. But I think about people like Iggy Pop and Alan Vega and they were totally wild. That’s why they were exciting. Maybe there’s a tendency to play it really safe. But we don’t give a s**t about safe. We want to be loved or hated – nothing in between.”
Serge is Kasabian’s main songwriter. He’s the studio boffin, the guy who likes to play with sounds and riffs as they record new material. He collects ideas while he’s on tour – poems, films, records – and reflects on them when he’s home. “It’s so important that I make a record for the right reasons, not just to service a machine.”