Q&A: Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson on success, ‘Stay Together’ and Lily Allen

As Kaiser Chiefs celebrate the success of their huge new album 'Stay Together', we catch up with frontman Ricky Wilson to talk survival, The 1975, Lily Allen and their upcoming, sweaty London gig for music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins

You’re kicking off the run of Nordoff Robbins shows in December. What sets this charity apart from the others and what does it mean to you?

“We tend to do what we can when we can, because frankly it’s not like we’re going out of our way. You meet mums and dads who would climb Everest for their kids, or husbands and wives that do extraordinary things for the ones they love. We’re in a position that something that we do every day can be put to good use, so it would take a particularly nasty bastard to turn it down. I’m in massive awe of what they do and achieve. I know that Si [Rix, bassist] has spent a few days in the music therapy workshop with some of the kids and for him it was a pretty life-changing experience.”



What have you seen it do for others?

“Our bassist Simon is the person to ask, he is on the front line in regards to Nordoff Robbins. Of course I see what it’s done for my friends, family and many close followers of the band, but it’s usually a very personal thing.”

‘Stay Together’ has been very well received, and it’s a big step in the direction of chart pop. Do you feel too many bands and your peers who started out with guitars are ‘hung up’ or sticking to their indie roots, rather than doing the songs justice?

“Most people who get into bands, or music, or art or whatever, do so in order to do what the fuck they want. I congratulate anyone doing what the fuck they want as long as no one gets hurt.”



You’ve always been very honest, open and frank about the success you crave for the band. Any particular goals you have in mind from here on?

“The only reason I have openly talked about success is that success is a great indicator of success. It has become harder to gauge success statistically nowadays, so in many ways it is quite liberating to be able to redefine it by personal satisfaction. However, there is nothing quite like having personal satisfaction match that of the masses. When a field full of people know the words that’s great. When they know the keyboard parts, that’s success.”

Do goals like headlining festivals still matter to you?

“Everything matters.”

You’ve used your position and your music to provide social commentary in the past. How do you feel about the criticism levelled at Lily Allen when she chose to speak out for the plight of child refugees recently?

“Lily is special and we should celebrate her. She’s one of the last real mavericks – not afraid to lose twitter followers over an opinion. She acts like she doesn’t give a fuck at the same time as caring for everybody, even the rotters. I don’t claim to know her very well, but am proud to know her and long may she reign.”

Kaiser Chiefs

Kaiser Chiefs

Kaiser Chiefs are among the acts set to play an intimate charity gig at London’s Camden Assembly Rooms for Nordoff Robbins. The full list of shows is below. For tickets and more information, visit here.

Friday 2 December

Saturday 3 December

Sunday 4 December

Tuesday 6 December

Wednesday 7 December