Kaiser Chiefs: ‘You don’t want to be dinosaurs with guitars’

Band tell NME of working with Girls Aloud producer and Westlife songwriter

Kaiser Chiefs have explained the motivation behind working with Xenomania, the production team behind Girls Aloud and Sugababes, on their new album.

Xenomania boss Brian Higgins produced Kaiser Chiefs’ new album ‘Stay Together’. Out on October 7, the album also features co-writes with Westlife songwriter Wayne Hector and pop singer MNEK.

Speaking to NME backstage before their show at the Palladium theatre in London’s West End, singer Ricky Wilson said: “The music world has changed. Ten years ago, we’d have been against co-writing with other musicians. It was: ‘We’re a band, it’s about what the five of us can create behind closed doors.’ But that’s a daft way to approach it. Why, for the sake of ego, would you not make a song as good as it can possibly be?”

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Hector, who has written hits including ‘Flying Without Wings’ for Westlife and One Direction’s ‘Best Song Ever’, co-writes ‘Sunday Morning’ on the new album, while MNEK co-wrote ‘Press Rewind’.

Wilson said: “Those were songs that I’d taken so far and couldn’t push any further. On ‘Press Rewind’, I was spent. A few days later, Brian Higgins said: ‘I’ve got someone else to have a go.’ When he played us what MNEK had done, it was fucking brilliant. People are more impressed that we’ve got Wayne and MNEK writing with us than if we’d done it on our own. They’re going ‘Wow, how did you get Wayne Hector?’ and I’m: ‘I didn’t even know he was doing it.’”

The Palladium show previewed five songs from ‘Stay Together’, including new single ‘Parachute’. Bassist Simon Rix said: “It’s taking longer to work out how to perform each song live than with a normal Kaiser Chiefs album, where it’s about guitar, bass, drums and keys. We’re trying to work out who played what in the studio with Brian. But you want modern technology. You don’t want to just be dinosaurs with guitars.”

Having previewed ‘Parachute’, ‘Hole In My Soul’ and the title track of ‘Stay Together’ on their tour of forests, the Palladium gig saw ‘Press Rewind’ and ‘Why Do You Do It To Me?’ played live for the first time. Alongside ‘Take My Temperature’ and the second half of ‘I Predict A Riot’, ‘Press Rewind’ was one of three songs Wilson sang from high above the stage after climbing to the top of the theatre’s lighting rig.

Wilson joked before ‘Parachute’ that playing the Palladium was the start of Kaiser Chiefs performing their own musical, saying: “I’ve tricked the band. We’re doing a musical and we’re here for the next six months.” He also accurately announced that the crowd would be singing along to new song ‘Hole In My Soul’ by its second chorus. The show ended with traditional set-closer ‘Oh My God’, with Wilson commenting on the venue’s 10.30pm curfew: “We’ve got three minutes and 15 seconds left to play. How are we going to fill it? I know – subliminal advertising”, leading to a reprise of the choruses of both ‘Hole In My Soul’ and old hit ‘Na Na Na Na Na’.

Kaiser Chiefs played:

‘Stay Together’
‘Every Day I Love You Less And Less’
‘Ruffians On Parade’
‘Everything Is Average Nowadays’
‘Parachute’
‘Never Miss A Beat’
‘Modern Way’
‘Why Do You Do It To Me?’
‘Ruby’
‘Hole In My Soul’
‘Angry Mob’
‘I Predict A Riot’
‘Take My Temperature’
‘Pinball Wizard’
‘Coming Home’
‘Press Rewind’
‘Misery Company’
‘Oh My God’