As new singles collection approaches

Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson has spoken to ClashMusic ahead of the band's upcoming compilation 'SOUVENIR: The Singles 2004 - 2012'.

Love them or loathe them, Kaiser Chiefs have been an inescapable part of the British musical landscape for almost a decade now. The band have scored a number of hit singles, dominating the air waves and tramping across festival sites across the country.

Binding that run of singles together into one compilation, Kaiser Chiefs are preparing to release 'SOUVENIR: The Singles 2004 - 2012' on June 4th.

Ahead of the album's release, ClashMusic tracked down frontman Ricky Wilson. Leaving behind a spot of furniture moving - pop's not always a glamorous game, y'know - the singer took part in a quick chat about the band's run of singles.

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Where did the impetus come from to release a singles collection?
It kind of came out of nowhere. We were on tour and it got talked about and then one day it was happening because Nick said “it should be this order.” I thought yeah, it looks good, and there was 16 of them, and I thought that was a good number for singles collection. That’s the thing, it is a singles collection. If any interviewer does go “your best of”, I kind of think... I know there’s very little difference, but when you’re in a band, the difference between a best of and a singles collection means it’s a millions miles apart. I think we’re more known for our singles than our long players. We were looking through the list and I was going: "this is pretty good", and I think people might not even realise how many songs they know.

Obviously there’s the stand out ones that probably annoyed you every half hour on the radio for a couple of years like ‘Ruby’. Every time we play it live I love playing it, because the people that are there love hearing it, but it definitely couldn’t be in a room just with the 5 of us playing it. I think we’ve tried, but it always breaks down into a reggae version. It’s like that thing, a tree falling in the woods and there’s no one... Kaiser Chiefs are playing ‘Ruby’ and there’s no one there to hear it and we can’t even get through it.

It was really impressive and on paper it’s a fantastic record, and on record it’s a fantastic record too. Obviously, I did my first interview, and it was just someone like the Daily whatever, and I hadn’t even thought about what I was going to say, and they said “oh, so what does this mean for the band?” Then I started asking questions and I sounded like one of those cliched guys in a band going “yeah, I don’t feel like this is an end of anything, it’s the beginning of a new chapter for us.” All these things coming out my mouth and I was just going I have to think of something better to say about why we’ve brought this out and what it means for the band. I honestly couldn’t think of anything, everything I was saying sounded cliched, as if I was trying to back peddle and go: "we’re not splitting up!"

Did compiling this album allow you to re-discover tracks you'd perhaps neglected?
The thing is in a way I’m pretty much just like a fan. I just write the words, I don’t write the music because I’m musically inept. So the songs on there, because I’m a bit like a fan, the reason I like them is probably because they haven’t been played for the last 8 years. There’s one called ‘You Can Have It All’, and I didn’t even realise it was a single, but it was. I didn’t realise because it came out during that mental two first years of the band, and we didn’t even realise what was being played on Radio 1.

Back then it was like... We couldn’t have approval over everything, we didn’t know what was going on. Although it seems a bit of a nightmare now - a nightmare situation not knowing what your radio plugger is taking to the radio - it was probably a good thing, because as soon as we started having too many opinions things just stopped happening. “What do you want to release next?” - we’d talk about it until it was over. That was the one...I don’t think the band ever chose a single, because the radio started playing it and we just caught up later on by releasing it. Yeah, I love ‘You Can Have It All’, because obviously I don’t think of it as a single, but it was.

Do you have a favourite singles collection from another band?
I’m being pretty honest: the problem is that if my favorite band gets a singles collection then I’ve got it all anyway. Even the problem with bringing them out now is that the tracklisting’s on - so, if you wanted to get it tomorrow you could just download the artwork and put it together on iTunes. But then again, if I’ve looked at bands like The Smiths or even more recently like Blur, when they brought out their stuff, I’ve got it all anyway. But I think 'Best Of' albums come into their own when you’re getting into stuff.

I can remember my Small Faces’ best of, which was basically the Small Faces to me, and I’ve since gone and got their albums but I’ll always go back to their Best Of. I hope that in twenty years time or something that, if someone was going to buy one Kaiser Chiefs’ record out of the last five, then this is probably the one to get. We’ll see what happens in the future and I’m not going to use all these cliches. I said one the other day, I hadn’t heard it before but that was such a wanky thing to say: “Don’t think of it as a full stop, think of it as a comma.” I prick.

Maybe it’s a semi-colon, maybe it’s a hyphen! It could be all manner of punctuation based metaphors.
It could be an emoticon. Smiley face.

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'SOUVENIR: The Singles 2004 - 2012' is set to be released on June 4th

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