In The Studio - Kasabian
Where: Dan The Automator's home studio, San Francisco; British Grove Studios, Chiswick
Producers: Serge Pizzorno, Dan The Automator
Song Titles: Shelter From The Storm, Neon Noon, Goodbye Kiss, I Hear Voices, Switchblade Smile, Velociraptor, Man Of Simple Pleasures, Green Fairy
Due: October 2011
Tom Meighan is buzzing. Rapidly pacing in circles around bandmate Serge Pizzorno, the singer is a wide-eyed mix of wonder and cocky pride over Switchblade Smile, the new Kasabian track he has recorded his vocals for just moments before.
"It sounds beautiful, mate," he gushes. "Ah Serge, fuck, it sounds amazing. My fucking hairs stood up. [Sings a lyric] 'Sending the boys away!' Unbelievable... Serge, it's real. Trust me."
The next evening the singer's conversation will career like a pinball between such divergent topics as his new duffle coat, early '90s wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and whether or not Michael Jackson is "better than Elvis". Yet - for the time being - his seemingly endless reserves of energy and good-natured enthusiasm remain focused on Kasabian's impending fourth album.
Meighan and Pizzorno have been decamped to San Francisco where they're putting the final touches to the follow-up to 2009's chart-topping concept album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Sitting at the kitchen table at producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura's home-cum-studio, the pair take turns to talk Q through the as-yet-untitled album in between visits to the basement to finish recording.
"Everyone really dug West Ryder... but this record is really different. Really different," stresses Meighan. "West Ryder... is a weird record and these songs are like two minutes, three and a half minutes, done. Bang, bang, bang."
"We call it a jukebox record," Pizzorno explains. "I've got an old jukebox at home. One night at six in the morning I turned it on and it was throwing out tune after tune. You'd get Elvis, then you'd get a Chemical Brothers tune, then it would spit out Babe Ruth or some shit. I thought, Imagine if our next record is just classic tunes?"
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was released 22 months ago, the ambitious third effort shaking off any lingering criticisms that Kasabian were merely gobby, lad-rock upstarts. For the first time, widespread critical acclaim was added to their long-standing cachet with the gig-going public.
Since then, their rise to rock's premier league has been unfaltering. The month after taking to Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage before Bruce Springsteen in 2009, they played three nights at Wembley with Oasis. The following year they supported Muse and U2 on a string of stadium dates and headlined V Festival and T In The Park. With Oasis now torn into two camps, Meighan and Pizzorno have become the UK's rock'n'roll duo of choice. In short, they're walking the walk they'd long been talking.
"After two years of touring around the world and chaos I though I wanted to have a break," reflects Pizzorno. "I did two weeks then went straight into the new album. I realised that I'm not really a deckchair-and-cocktails man."
Demoing the new songs in May 2010, the guitarist's haste was driven by the imminent arrival of his first child, Ennio. "I thought, Right, he's coming in September and I want to write another album, so I better get my shit together."
With a new set of songs, the full band - Pizzorno, Meighan, bassist Chris Edwards and drummer Ian Matthews - reconvened at British Grove Studios in West London in January to get the bulk of the album on tape before Pizzorno and Meighan travelled to California to add vocals and "piss about" with the recording alongside West Ryder... producer, Dan The Automator.
Among the 12 songs slated for inclusion are Neon Noon; the "heavy as fuck" Switchblade Smile; the Phil Spector-inspired "heartbreaker" Goodbye Kiss; "full-on electro" track I Hear Voices; an orchestral epic Shelter From The Storm; and Velociraptor, featuring scuzzy grunge guitars and some MC-ing from Meighan. "It's mega punk fucking aggression," states the singer of the track. "Totally off the wall, but you'll know it's us."
"Listening to the songs on the record it makes you feel great. Get your fucking jacket on, whack your fucking shoes on," Pizzorno attempts to explain. "It makes you believe things are going to happen. You wake up and think, Today's gonna be alright. There's not much of that about at the moment."
The next day Pizzorno leads Q downstairs to hear two new tracks. The first, untitled song crackles and snarls like a narky cousin of West Ryder... tracks Underdog and Fire - all '70s Stones strut and dirty, buzzsaw guitars. The second is a revelation. Starting life as part of Pizzorno's score to recent film London Boulevard and with a lead vocal from the guitarist, Green Fairy opens with warped fairground organs before flowering into a beautiful piece of melancholic psychedelic pop. With its sumptuous mix of colliery brass, Mariachi horns and chugging McCartney-esque middle eight, it's an impressive modern-day take on such late '60s favourites as Sgt Pepper... or The Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow. In Pizzorno's opinion, it's the best song he's ever written.
That night, with the recording of the album finished, the band take Q to their favourite downtown bar to celebrate. Backs are slapped and numerous shots downed. At some point into the early hours Serge and Tom suddenly disappear. "Sorry about last night," texts the guitarist the next day. "Me and Tommy had a bit of a moment finishing the record. Blew our minds a bit."
15% "Trippy Synths"
25% "Fighting Music"
15% '60s Psychedelia
13% "Mystic Vibes"
SOURCE: Q Magazine
Posted by Graeme at 17:04