Bundoran better get ready for a chantfest, Kaiser Chiefs are bringing along their biggest hits, they tell BRIAN BOYD
IF YOU LOOK at the four Kaiser Chiefs albums sales-wise you apparently see a very depressing pattern. The first album, the breakthrough Employment (2005) was a multi-million platinum-disc earning affair. The follow-up Your Truly, Angry Mob, while selling well, was nowhere near the spectacular success of the debut.
The third album, Off With Their Heads had a more “specialist” appeal and the current The Future Is Medieval is their lowest selling to date. On their just released Souvenir: The Singles Collection, it’s a surprise to rediscover just how many hits the Kaiser Chiefs have had since their first release in 2004. There’s Oh My God, Ruby, I Predict A Riot and tons more prime post-Britpop tunes.
“People see us as a singles band and we see ourselves as a singles band, so the obvious thing to do for us was to collect them all together for the first time,” says keyboard player Nick “Peanut” Baines.
“I love ‘Best Of’ albums because that’s the way I got into loads of bands growing up. We brought this collection out because everywhere we went we were always being asked to bring out all the singles together. And I think it’s a very strong track listing – if I say so myself.”
It was the huge platinum-selling Employment that first brought them to wider attention. An acclaimed updating of the 1990s Britpop sound, it saw Kaiser Chiefs being hailed as “the new Blur” but they’ve long since moved on to newer musical pastures.
It was a bit of a surprise for the band to look back and count up just how many hits they have had since 2004. “Of all the bands that we came up with – all of the bands that started at the same time as us – such as Maximo Park and Bloc Party, we are the first to make it this far, the first to have a substantial singles collection,” says Baines.
One of the headliners at this year’s Sea Sessions Surf Music Festival in Bundoran at the end of July, Baines is anxious to dispel the rumours that the release of a “Best Of” signals the band are breaking up. “It’s just the end of one part of our career and the beginning of another,” he says. “Besides, it’s not a Greatest Hits per se – it’s just a collection of all of our singles.”
Baines, like his bandmates, would have had lofty ideas about being an “albums” band when they first got together in Leeds in 1996. “I still think that’s what every band wants to be – having people listen to your work album-by-album, but we soon realised that we had these big singles that would explode into a chorus and were catchy. We’ve never run away from that even if our music has changed a lot over the four albums we’ve released so far.”
For last year’s The Future is Medieval album, they took everyone by surprise by releasing it unannounced with no press build-up and then ushering in the era of the “bespoke” album.
“We gave people the ability to create their own album,” he says. “We put 20 songs up and people could chose whatever 10 they wanted in their own running order of choice. This way people could see what other people were choosing and it became a very interesting experiment looking at all the different albums people made – which tracks they selected and how they placed them in terms of the running-order on their own album.