Tom Meighan / Chris Edwards
Chris Karloff / Serge Pizzorno
1969. After meeting America’s evil son, Kasabian fell in love – LINDA Kasabian that is, the star witness chosen by the prosecution in the case against Charlie Manson. A case that would later be infamously nicknamed ‘Helter Skelter’.
Christopher Karloff, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, was reading up on Manson years back when the band was still in its infancy and immediately liked the name Kasabian. “He just thought the word was cool, it literally took about a minute after the rest of us heard it…so it was decided,” says bassist Chris Edwards, the other Chris in the band.
Chatting with Edwards in New York, he is upbeat, attentive, and genuinely interested in speaking about the movement that has surrounded the band for the past year. Hard not to be, when you are part of UK’s most refreshing music-based coup d'état in years. The band is currently digesting the fact that on returning to their homeland, they face an 8-date SOLD OUT nationwide tour in December – which includes London’s Brixton Academy – 26 000 tickets in total have been snapped up within a week. Quite a home-coming if you ask me, “you could say it’s kind of like playing in the Premiership now” says Edwards… if only Leicester City had these lads.
The band just finished their first ever gig on North American soil at the prestigious Bowery Ballroom in New York (the launch-pad for many great acts and a one-off showcase event this time around). “It was absolutely mental,” explains Edwards “the atmosphere was amazing. Afterwards, the promoter told us that he’d never seen the Bowery like that.” Edwards then went on to describe similar events, talking about their 2 trips to Japan, their first UK tour and the experience they had at every major festival in Britain this year.
The band did it right. Kasabian have been working together since meeting in 1998 in their late teens. Hailing from Leicester in England, hardly a hot-bed for music, the 4 anarchists saved up their pounds (£’s) instead of gigging around everywhere. After some productive studio time, the result was a semi-decent EP which bolstered one current album hit: ‘Processed Beats’. Following a second effort shopping it, they began to attract some attention; they signed with BMG and haven’t looked back since.
The self-titled debut album is a tightly-packed gem. The album is in your face from the start, brooding with catchy hooks, terrace-like chants and electro synths. Not to pigeonhole a new act, but there are some definite influences at play… good ones though… think the grooviest Stone Roses stuff with a boost of 2004 – they don’t deny.
With such a strong debut, astonishingly, nearly the entire album was self-produced. They had experienced control to begin with in Garrett Lee (see Snow Patrol ‘Final Straw’ 2004, Aqualung ‘Still Life’ 2003), his work remains on two album tracks but the Leicestershire quartet felt that the real edge in Kasabian could only be exposed by themselves. Shifting to London they brought in mixing legend Jim Abbis to capture their sound. Abbis – famous for work on Bjork, Massive Attack, UNKLE, The Music, Placebo, etc. – added final production ingredients and mixed the entire album. The finished product speaks for itself; it’s raw, anthemic and infectious. It’s Kasabian.
So what is the Movement? With the band’s logo and promotions, their guerilla-style approach to live gigs, and their pirate-radio inspired video for ‘Club Foot’, it is no wonder the crowd of fist-pumpers following the band grows where-ever they go. Edwards states that “we want everyone who likes our music to become a part of this or feel like part of our Movement, if it wasn’t for music fans I wouldn’t be in New York doing any of this.” Fair enough.
Ok – so if you want to hear or see the band? Firstly, there are audio clips, remixed tracks and some superb videos on the band’s militaristic website, most notably for recent UK hit singles ‘Club Foot’ and ‘L.S.F.’, which both capture the essence of the band’s stance - see e-card below. Secondly, don’t fret, the band plan on returning to North American shores sometime next March for an extensive series of tour dates – see box office on www.ukula.com for tour announcements as they come - for those in the UK you can catch the band nationwide early in December.
Words Graeme Maclean
Photo Credit Jill Furmanovsky
Be prepared for KASABIAN, musical uprising, beat-driven revolt or anarchists of synth – who really knows? In the meantime, my advice: check out the Movement
VIEW THE KASABIAN e-CARD NOW