story + interview / LOGAN BRENDT photo / DEAN CHALKEY
British rock band Kasabian is currently touring in support of their fourth album Velociraptor! released late last year. Though they are well received by the indie rock contingent and the underground alternative music scene, their dynamic and aggressive cool sound has yet to pierce the mainstream rock audience stateside. Those who are in the know will hopefully get the good fortune to see them live when they tour North America this spring for the first time in 5 years. Probably their most talked about stop is their return to the Coachella festival in California this year.
Kasabian guitarist and songwriter Serge Pizzorno talked to Ladygunn about music, life, and the anticipated Coachella. Not only was he humble, but he also had a mysterious poetic air about him. Definitely what a rockstar should be.
In the spring, you’ll be touring North America for the first time in 5 years. We’ve missed you over here. Where have you been?
Well we’ve made two records, and we’ve been playing in the rest of the world, having a great time.
You do have a devoted fan base here in the United States. But, how happy have you been with the radio play that you’ve been getting here?
I don’t know. I don’t know anything about it. The reason why we didn’t make it on the last record is ’cause the label was just not into it. So there is no point if you’ve not got the backing from that— then it’s a big place to go and just hang around you know. So we’ve moved labels. That’s helped, and things seem to be going really well with that.
You’ll be playing Coachella this year and since you’ve played at the festival in the past, do you remember anything about it? What do you look forward to most?
It was great. I remember meeting Vincent Gallo there which for me was quite incredible. He came to see us play. I remember just having a really good night, just sort meeting people and having a good drink. It was great.
Do you have any cool stories with Vincent?
I think we went back to someone’s house. It was incredible. Just listened to music and sat by this huge pool. It was great. It was nice. I remember it being a sort of beautiful setting as well. It felt like a proper festival, like the ones you see on those old DVDs, like the 70s or something. It felt good.
So then I guess you do get an opportunity to see the places that you tour?
You tend to, yeah. Depends how much motivation you’ve got. If you really wanted to you could get out there and go and see stuff. It depends you know, if you just want to close the curtains and just like stay in your own little den.
You toured with Oasis. Do you have any stories from when you toured with them?
There was so many really. We took over a bar in New York and just tore it up you know. It was a great time. Did some acid at [Red Rocks]. That was pretty phenomenal.
How much trouble did you get into with them?
It was all good clean fun really. We just hung out and listened to music and just talked. It was sort of perfect.
What do you do before a show to get into the live performance mindset?
I only have one ritual. Half an hour before the gig, I pour myself Sailor Jerry’s, like a 60/40 shot. That kind of sets me up then for the gig. That’s kind of about it really. I listen to tunes. We have huge speakers in the changing room, but I like a big drink about a half an hour before I go on. That’s the only thing that I really do that’s constant.
What’s generally irritating to you when it comes to the current music culture?
I’m not really that irritated by it. I don’t really care about it really. I just listen to what I like, and the things that irritate me I find easy to ignore.
You covered Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” during a live BBC Radio session. What do you think of all the criticism she’s been receiving recently regarding her Saturday Night Live appearance?
I don’t know anything about it. I honestly don’t know anything about Lana Del Rey. We had to do a cover. I heard the song on the radio and thought it was beautiful so we just did it you know. I innocently sort of heard this beautiful song and covered it. I think it’s an incredible song. I have no idea about any performance.
I really liked the aesthetic of your music videos for “Club Foot” and “Days Are Forgotten”. Is making music videos something you enjoy or something you find tedious?
Music videos is a strange one because you sort of rely on other people coming up with good ideas and you don’t really get a great deal of time. You make one and you get a couple of months to come up with ideas to make another. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. It’s difficult. I think you always have to remember when you’re making them, they mark history in the end. Making them is quite tedious— sat in a studio playing the same song for like twelve hours. But while you’re playing that song you have to remember that’s going to be immortalized, well not on television anymore, on the internet. You kind of have to stay with it, and then years later you can look back and laugh at yourself when you were kids.
Which Kasabian song is your favorite, based on a lyrical perspective?
I suppose “Where Did All The Love Go?” from the last record. It sort of predicted what happened in England. Some crazy rioting last year which was completely fucking messed up. That tune kind of called that. For that reason, I choose that.
Did you have any literary influences when you wrote Velociraptor!? Have you been reading anything recently that you’ve really enjoyed?
For the last record I kind of hugely immersed myself in everything I could get hold of really. But this time around I just decided not to listen to music, or read, or watch too many films. It has a habit of really influencing what you do which is great sometimes but I just felt like I didn’t want any of that this time.
Away from the touring, the music, the work, what is your personal sanctuary that you like to recover to?
It’s my family really. I love being at home with my family, that’s it.
You’ve recently become a father, is that right?
How has that changed everything?
It’s not changed. Touring’s still the same. It’s still absolute chaos. It’s incredibly fun. You live like an outlaw which is incredible. Before, I was living like that at home as well. But when you have a kid— I took the decision not to carry that lifestyle home with me. It’s crazy you know. It’s changed home life for the better really. I really enjoy getting home but it’s not really changed me on the touring side of things. It’s still insane. It has to be insane or else I wouldn’t go on tour.