Serge Pizzorno from Forbidden Fruit headliners Kasabian offers his take on the ‘sex, drugs and rock’n’roll thing’. Plus, a rundown of the best of what's on offer at the festival
SERGE PIZZORNO – KASABIAN
Kasabian seem the type of band that would be into passing on the baton – true?
I can’t wait to hear what comes to kids that right now are listening to our albums back to back. We were too young for The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays – we were only about eight or nine in the late 1980s – so it was Oasis that was the spark for us, as well as opening us up to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and so on.
Self-belief is crucial, isn’t it?
Oh, God, yes. At the very beginning you’re making one album, and you’re not sure what’s going to happen after it’s released. You’re in your early 20s, so you don’t care about anything or anyone, but at the same time I always like to hear people say they’re into what they work at. To me, there is nothing more exciting than seeing someone who is passionate about their work, be it an artist, a plumber, a writer, whatever. I don’t believe successful people who say they don’t like what they do. That annoys me, because they had to be, at some point, quite ruthless and so into it that they would put themselves through agony to get to where they are. We’re not saying we’re better than anyone, it’s just we’ve made albums that we think are great. It’s really that simple.
Kasabian are a cartoon rock act – discuss! That’s an interesting one, because in a lot of ways it gives you scope to continually baffle people. It’s a bit like Andy Kaufman – he was best known for the American comedy show Taxi. There’s a lot of fun in making people think we’re like something we’re actually not. The loutish thing that has been thrown at us from the very start? Some people can’t balance that image with some of the music we make. It puzzles them. In a way it gives you the ability to do whatever you want.
Rock’n’roll music is more important than rock’n’roll attitude, isn’t it?
I’m not really a believer in what people regard as the rock’n’roll lifestyle – the usual sex, drugs and rock’n’roll thing. That’s all very, very nice, but for me it’s the work that counts. Here’s an example: Hunter S Thompson is arguably the worst dressed man you’ve ever seen in your life, but there was no one cooler. If you put the clothes he wore – Converse runners, gym socks, golfing shorts, beanie hat, glasses, cigarette holder – on hangers in Topshop no one would buy it. People buy into the way rock stars look, but you can’t buy the outfit because true style comes from within. And it’s the people who don’t care what you think that are the best examples of cool.
BEST BETS – INTERNATIONAL
PRIMAL SCREAM (Sunday, June 2): Thor’s hammer! Is it really nearly 30 years since this band formed? Yep, but with their new album, More Light, getting a widespread thumbs-up, it seems there is life in the old dogs yet.
They say: “If there is a mission, it’s a mission to try and express myself. People think it’s enough to have chords, melody, words and beat, but you’re trying to capture magic and writing a song is only the beginning of the process.
“When we started, I had this thing inside that I wanted to express but I didn’t know how to do it. We looked at debut albums by the Sex Pistols, Stooges, Velvets, Clash and Ramones, statement records that influenced and inspired a lot of people, and I thought: ‘If you don’t do it on your first record, you’re finished.’ But we kept trying.” [Bobby Gillespie, The Telegraph)
We have to hear: Country Girl.
CHIC (Sunday, June 2): There’s probably no better band at this festival if you’re a friend of the groove, a mate of soul, a chum of disco or a pal of dance.
They say: “We emptied the boardroom with Le Freak. We started it – ‘One, two, aaawwwwwww Freak Out!’ – and by the time the song finished, the only people left in the room were me, Bernard Edwards and our attorney. Everyone had gone outside to discuss how they were going to tell us they hated the song.” [Nile Rogers, The List]
We have to hear: Good Times.
FOURTET (Sunday, June 2): Kieran Hebden doesn’t do the live thing too often, so this is a perfect opportunity to get to grips with the man’s intuitive blend of electronica and melody.
He says: “I want to play everywhere – a rock club one day, some techno-oriented place in Berlin the next. In terms of live performance versus DJing, I like both a lot, but you can’t do one thing all the time, otherwise things get stale. DJing is sort of a rarity when I’m in America, so when I do play records there, something good has to be going on. However, the live stuff really does attract interesting and open-minded crowds of people, so there are great benefits to each way of performing. In the end, I’m still playing good music, which hopefully people can appreciate.” [self-titledmag.com]
We have to hear: My Angel Rocks Back and Forth.
DAUGHTER (Sunday, June 2): Since signing to 4AD last year, this London trio (Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella) have gone on to blow away the notion of indie folk as fey or whimsical. Quiet is the new loud, indeed.
They say: “I enjoy playing festivals, but I think it’s always safe if you have your own shows because you’re expecting the room to be full, so you have that security. With festivals it’s really fun, because you can just sort of play and see who turns up to listen.” [Elena Tonra, outlineonline.co.uk]
We have to hear: Home.
BEST BETS – IRISH
LE GALAXIE (Saturday, June 1): This Dublin electro quartet made its Forbidden Fruit debut last year, and went down so brilliantly that a return visit was inevitable. Four words: They. Own. The. Stage.
They say: “There’s something that takes hold of us when we go out on stage; it’s like Dreamtime. Anything you had on your mind, and any fatigue you were feeling tends to disappear as soon as you stand in front of an audience. We also do Jane Fonda work-out videos back stage.” [Dave McLaughlin, 7billionpeople.net]
We have to hear: We Bleed the Blood of Androids.
FIGHT LIKE APES (Saturday, June 1): The band with the best song titles ever return to the fray with a redrafted line-up and a bunch of new material from their forthcoming (and successfully crowd-funded) album.
They say: “The band came out of us hanging out, watching movies and wasting our lives away, so it was very natural for us to just be referencing what we were actually doing with our lives at the time, which was living our lives through other people, namely people in really crap TV shows. ” [Pockets, uncensoredinterview.com]
We have to hear: Tie Me Up With Jackets.
GIRLS NAMES (Saturday, June 1): Take hints of Brit post-punk (Joy Division, The Cure) and Krautrock klassics (Harmonia, Neu!), mix well and you’ve got a Belfast band worth getting excited about.
They say: “What makes a good show? Sweat, strobes and smoke.” [Cathal Cully, thebeatjuice.com]
We have to hear: Occultation.
SOLAR BEARS (Sunday, June 2): First, in 2010, there was She Was Coloured In, and now, this year, we have Supermigration. Two superb albums. It’s full electronica steam ahead for this oh-so-bright Dublin/Wicklow band.
They say: “We never set out to be an exercise in pop. If it is, then it’s our own brand of it, more influenced by counter culture than most other facets of society.” [John Kowalski, harmlessnoise.ie]
We have to hear: Our Future is Underground.
... AND TWO FOR A LAUGH
THE NUALAS This year, Forbidden Fruit has a bigger comedy tent – all the more space for solid comedy from the likes of The Nualas. If you think these three charming women of a certain age are too whimsical for your cutting-edge tastes, think again, dude.
JOHN COLLEARY We clocked Colleary at FF last year and he was the comic hit of the weekend with his blend of sharp wit, well-honed jokes and good impersonations. Word of warning: don’t sit too close to the front of the stage.