Interview with Tom & Serge : “Studios are uncomfortable places, really. We’ve never really liked this, the studio thing’s a bit 80′.“
- by Delphine VAN BRACKEL and Rabbit on Ecstasy, photography : Delphine VAN BRACKEL -
We had a great preview of Velociraptor! with the warm-up shows and the festivals. After the astonishing performance at the Beauregard festival in France, we had the possibility to meet Tom and Serge in Paris to talk about their new album to be released. Really great atmosphere in a peaceful lounge, and talkative guys. Résumé.
Delphine – (after congratulations because our minds were blowed by their concert in Caen) You have some shows planned in France, you have a show in Paris in November, in a big place, le Zénith.
Serge - Yeah, it’s big.
Tom – Four or five thousands, like Brixton.
Hélène – …and we wonder if you still like to play small venues like you used to play a few years ago.
Serge - Alright, yes! We do may some, ’cause we had played a few in England like in 2000 and they were amazing. So we do may some, I suppose, yeah. But then, if there’s a lot of people that wanna see you, then it kinda not fair to play small shows. You just have to sort of accept it. But we do that in England, we try to play both, we always try to do, run small days as a start, then we do the big ones. And if we have got that size in France we do the same, we do the small and then do the big ones. ‘Cause we do love playing the smalls, you know what I mean, it’s special.
Delphine – Yeah, I remember the Trabendo…
Serge - Tiny, the craziest show in Paris we’ve done.
Delphine – And about the live, I want to ask you something. When you were playing Doberman, Tom was doing something like that (wave gesture), like a wave of people in the crowd. First was at a festival in May 2010, in France [ndlr : Papillons de nuits]. I wonder where did you find this idea.
Tom – (does a great memory effort) Well, I don’t know.
Serge (amused) – Yeah, where did you come out ? How did it come out?
Tom – I don’t know, it just happened. I can’t remember. That’s nice, just wavin’ my hands, you know what I mean…
Serge - It was huge, when we did it.
Tom - All that I can remember is that I saw an european band doing that.
Serge - When you did it in T in the park, it was mental, it was unbelievable. When you look it from the stage that’s incredible.
Hélène - It’s like a wheatfield.
Serge - Yeah, it’s like a cornfield. Crazy.
Tom - It’s beautiful, it’s a sea, isn’t it ?
Serge - When you get that many people, it’s amazing.
Tom explains then to Serge how perfect was this song for that gesture.
Hélène : So, you finished the last tour, went back home and began to record again. How were you feeling then ? Did you have ideas, inspirations ?
Serge - Pretty good. It’s all happened very quickly, we just go home, put in a couple of month, record it, and then we flew out to San Francisco Tom did the vocals and then we mixed it there and it was kind of done, sign up in 6 month. There was a couple of songs hanging around, but the rest just kinda came.
Tom - It’s the fastest you’ve written down a record, really.
Serge - Yeah, really quick. The quality of it, it doesn’t sound like it’s been done that quick.
Tom - He said “I got all this shit, let’s make it better“. Basically, it was a continuity of West Ryder.
Hélène : Do you write while you’re on tour ?
Serge - No, I’m not writing all the time. It’s not a good place for it, cos’, mentally, touring’s a different thing. The only thing that pops out is usually on acoustic, like a lullaby or somethin’. So, not nothing but, not really, I wait to get home to let it out.
Delphine : About the recording, you went to San Francisco, a city that represents some kind of freedom for some people [ndlr : hippie communities in the 60s etc.]. When you went there, did you have that in mind ? How was it different for you than home in Leicester ?
Serge - You know, it’s just where Dan works… We both feel this way, it’s nice to leave England and go somewhere free from everyone else. Necessarily, San Franscisco is a place, but it’s not like we need to go there, like Jamaica or New York, we always go somewhere else. San Francisco is an incredible place. Dan’s studio is here, where he mixes the records. But I think it’s been good to us though, I can’t deny it, it must do something…
Tom - We’ve made some friends here…
Serge - We have yeah. It must do something to us, I don’t know.
Tom - Probably next record, we probably could do somewhere else, other than San Fran, probably go to England.
Delphine : And work with someone else ?
Serge - It’s a bit early to say. It depends. I mean, I liked San Francisco cos’… I wouldn’t go anywhere there’s too much to do, cos’ then you just forget. If you went to NY – yeah, it’d be amazin’ – or LA, you wouldn’t get shit done, you know you’d just be out, it’d be great for a week but if you got to finish your work, it’s just do your head in. That’s kinda the same in London, there’d just be too many people, friends.
Tom – France could be great, couldn’t it ?
Serge - Yeah, a “chateau” in France like Exile on main street, that would be amazin’.
Tom - That’d be cool, anyway.
Delphine – And why recording this way again, isolated, after beeing in a farm ? Do you need a lot of free space around you to record ?
Serge - 80% of the music was just recorded in my house and it’s just always been like that, it started there. It’s nice to get out of bed and just go and sit downstairs and not think you’re at work. Studios are uncomfortable places, really. We’ve never really liked this, the studio thing’s a bit 80′.
Delphine – About the album, you said that it was like a jukebox, but what is the connection between the songs of this album ?
Serge - The jukebox reference… These are just really good songs. This is a far less complicated concept. We’ve done that : we went on a journey before, it was incredible but we didn’t want to do that again. This is like, song after song, really, really, really good tunes, one after the other. That’s a very simple thing and what I mean with the jukebox is that. When you put it on late at night, six in the mornin’, whatever, you just go “wow, that song’s amazin’” and it comes out and somewhere “wow I can’t believe these songs are…” Imagine if you had a record that did that and you didn’t have to press shuffle because you only want to listen to one or two of the songs, you gotta listen to each one cos’ they’re all so different and amazin’, to get the hole idea of the album. It’s ambitious cos’ it means you’ve got to change and when you change you might not be as good as you are at one thing as you are at the other. And we quite did it, we sorta got away with it, cos’ each song, although they’re different, sounds pretty amazin’.
Delphine : But is there no connection between the songs ?
Serge - Just the quality really, they’re just really good. (laughs) that sounds silly but that’s the kind of connection.
Delphine – Not even semantic ?
Serge - (grins) There’s an atmosphere, definitely, like a positive energy that just makes you feel great, make you feel really good. That’s really positive, like “lets go to the Moon today”, let’s walk down the street, but let’s walk down. Or John in Saturday Night Fever, you know what I mean ? That’s kind of things are empowering.
Hélène – In the NME (a June issue), you talked about some kind of writer’s block that will certainly happen in the future. Do you think about it much ?
Serge - It’s there, in my mind. It happens to everyone, even the greatest writers of all time. What I meant by that was there’s no formula. The more you search for this magic formula of like how to write hit songs or how to write great songs, no one really knows. Even the people that are so amazing, like Paul McCartney, so unbelievably amazing, he couldn’t tell you now how to write a hit song or whatever great song, cos’ he didn’t know. And that’s what’s kind of amazing about it, that’s what’s sort of get you out better every morning, cos’ no one actually knows how to do it. But it doesn’t put pressure on me cos’ I don’t think about it too much.
Delphine – What about the album sleeve… ?
Serge - It’s incredible. it was made by a man who never done it before, a fashion designer, well, not exactly, he’s an artist, he’s called Aitor Throup, he’s unbelievable. The whole concept behind it, all the special additions we’re doing, it’s gonna change everything, it’s gonna be like, people gonna care about it again, cos’ people don’t care about artwork anymore. this will make people realise this is what we should be caring about, cos’ we’re taking it somewhere unique and different, it’s gonna be unbelievable.
Here is the album sleeve :
The Kasabian’s Paradise team thanks a lot Tom & Serge, and Sony BMG, for giving us time and being kind.
© Kasabian’s Paradise – Please do not put these pictures and text on your own website, make a link to this page, thank you :).