Kasabian's 'Pack' Mentality

Kasabian are one of those bands you either love or hate. Since 2004, the Leicestershire lads have gained a reputation for their confident and brash live gigs, as well as their in-your-face brand of rock that is undoubtedly British. Ahead of the release of Kasabian's fourth studio release Velociraptor!, a record which is sure to produce some passionate responses on either sides of the fence, the band's bassist Chris Edwards catches up with The Dwarf to give us a rundown on the record, as well as to talk about those tour rumours.


"Switchblade Smiles", the first single to be released off Velociraptor!, is if anything, an insight into the rather primal sounds Kasabian have conjured up this time round. For Edwards, the mentality behind the latest record reflects the band itself.


"Yeah it's much more of a pack mentality on this one, you know, with the title and what we are, what Kasabian is all about. We're a bunch of lads who stick together, we're brothers. We love being onstage, we love writing music and recording it and playing live. There's definitely that pack mentality there; it's an honour to be able to get up onstage and have a laugh with your mates."


Kasabian's 2009 release West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum proved to be a hit, earning the band a BRIT Award, as well as spawning many hits. Edwards deduces that this album can follow the same path.


"The record company and management can't decide which ones are going to be singles! It's a collective Kasabian mix; it sounds like Kasabian, but all the songs are different. You've got the two minute forty punk song, followed by "Le Fée Verte", which is a beautiful psychedelic song. All of them are amazing to me, I can see them working in so many different ways. I think West Ryder… opened the door to the mainstream," Edwards says. "I think this album's probably more commercially open to people; I think many more people will like it."


As Edwards explains, Velociraptor! doesn't mark any drastic switch in musical direction, rather it's another piece of the puzzle that is the Kasabian body of work.


"I think we've always had the same influences. Serge [Pizzorno], who wrote the album, says he just woke up one morning with the idea in his head and he's just gone with it. He pushed us into the studio, put a demo down and we've gone from there! I think Serge as a song writer has gotten better and had just been able to put them down differently."


With two songs already being released off the record, the latest being "Days Are Forgotten", the fourth Kasabian offering looks to be ticking all the right boxes with people already. Bizarrely, one of the fans of Velociraptor! comes in the shape of U.S rapper/TV star, LL Cool J, who worked with the band on another version of "Days Are Forgotten", to be released as a B-side.


"Our co-producer Dan the Automator had the album at his house and LL Cool J's one of his mates," Edwards explains, still amused. "So LL came round and was like ‘What've you been working on lately?', so Dan showed him the album and he loved it. He loved that specific song and said ‘Can I do something on that?', so he sent it to us and we loved it! It's old school, you know?"


At this point in the conversation, I decide it's time to get to asking what most people want to know about: the next time Kasabian will be bringing their full show to Australia. Only having done a run of shows with the Big Day Out and their own national tour in 2010, Kasabian are returning later this year, playing Melbourne as part of the Mastercard Priceless Gig series. It's a show Edwards admits he knows little about, but one the boys are looking forward to all the same.


"Australia's always been really good to us; the fans and the country are beautiful. I think we're only there for three days and then we go home, which is a bit of a bore! We're only playing a small show I think, so hopefully next year we can start coming out and doing some more."


With rumours of the band playing next year's Big Day Out tour going into overdrive online since an ‘announcement' was leaked this week, Edwards nips it in the bud... as much as he can.


"Hopefully! We've got a good relationship with the people who run the show, so hopefully we get an offer and then we can come out…I can't give you any hints! Nothing's set in stone yet, but there've been talks and stuff. Hopefully, but nothing's set in stone."


Even if they're not on the festival circuit, Edwards assures me that the band will be out soon enough, describing why Kasabian love the Aussies so much. How do we rate?


"Really good. Yeah, really good!" Edwards says. "The Australians are a lot like the British, you know, in the mentality of what they think is a good night out. You love going out all the time and then, obviously, you've got the weather too, so you're out and about all the time. You've got that drinking mentality too, so you'll go out and have a few tinnies and get pretty big because, you know, when you get to the festival, you just want to have a good time! It's very similar to how we started in the UK; the crowds are getting bigger and bigger in Australia, so the shows are getting better and better."

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