Dream Festival: Kaiser Chiefs

"I don't want to headline it..."
Kaiser Chiefs.jpg
Dream Festival - an opportunity for musicians to act as curator, presiding over the outdoor extravaganza of their choice.

Kaiser Chiefs know a thing or two about festivals. Flicking through their run of singles, the Leeds act seem to be responsible for providing a summer soundtrack to the past decade.

Scoring vast success, tracks such as 'Ruby' - love 'em or loathe 'em - have been as integral a part of the British summer as hay fever, fuel protests and being a bit crap at Tennis.

Ahead of the release of new singles compilation 'SOUVENIR: The Singles 2004-2012', Ricky Wilson sat in the hot seat to curate his dream festival...

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The thing is, I don’t want to headline it, I want to go on second to last, because we get all the perks of a headliner like the nice trailer and good toilets. But, the problem with headlining is when you go on last you come on stage and you’re like “yeeeeeeeeeeeah!” And it’s like a desert, no ones there, because everyone’s just left. We’ve been in that situation before, everyone’s moved onto the next festival. So we would headline if everyone stayed, but if we weren’t headlining I’d like to be second to headline, and before us just every band we’ve ever played with and enjoyed playing with. So anyone we’ve either supported, there’s a long, long, long list. just basically a load of people we know.

The thing is about that it’s like... generally in music in the industry, everyone we’ve played with has been alright. Very few dickheads. That's because we’ve met them. Everyone’s a dickhead, pretty much, until you’ve met them - then it’s very hard to dislike them or their music, once you’ve got on with them. I don’t know about you, but for us it’s kind of like even if you don’t like the band you’re kind of like “aww, let’s go see them.” There’s a massive difference between not liking someone’s music and not liking them, and I think over the last few years - the last decade probably - between bands there’s been a bit of confusion over whether you don’t like the music or you don’t like them, because if you say something about some other band in the press, I’m not saying I don’t like you, I’m just saying it’s not my thing. If someone’s asking my opinion about it you've kind of got to say it, you can’t just say "everything’s brilliant" because then you just sound like a twat.

Headlining...probably Oasis. That’d do me. I don’t want to do the whole I’ll have Elvis and the Beatles, because that’s pointless saying that because obviously I’d want Elvis and the Beatles. Get Frank Sinatra closing Sunday night and we’d all be singing ‘My Way’. But, there’s no point in going through all the dead people. So, I’d have Oasis.

Special festival memory...

Going off the subject a bit, but festival memories... last week at Coachella, me and Nick, we wanted to see Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg from the front; from the lighting gallery. So we stood there waiting with a load of people and everyone starts getting moved off, and we’re like “oh God, we’re going to get moved.” So we started to look like we had jobs, and I found this pair of headphones with a microphone on it and I put that on, and this guy comes over and goes “oh, do you know which... do you know where Pat is?” I’m like “oh, he’s not here yet" - we were just bull shitting like that, and Nick was looking at a crane going up and he was just shouting “take her up, take her up!”

We were just getting more and more into the fact that we were working, and Nick said “you know what, people might actually get us to do something in a minute.” Eventually we went to the back and we thought “oh, we’re going to get moved from here now, so we stood right at the back of the lighting thing, and then they kept bringing in these VIPs, like your Rihannas, 50 Cent and all that. As soon as people started coming in, one of them went on the scaffolding and I went “do you mind not leaning on that, sir”. From that point on, it was as if we were the guys that were in charge of that area. So we watched the whole thing from that area and that really took me back to the thing I love about festivals, especially going with Nick, was we never paid. Leeds Festival we never paid. We just used to go there and get in.

One year we went and got in straight away - I remember we got in by them saying “you haven’t got any wristbands,” and we said “we’re in a band and we had to give them away in a Going Live competition.” The guy on the door, this was way in the past, now you have to have a chip installed in your neck or something to get into festivals... He was like “sorry mate, didn’t recognise you”.

We get in, we’re interviewed by like the Daily Star, I was interviewed by Melody Maker about the new Gay Dad record, because they thought i was the singer in Gay Dad. I actually did the interview and said we were going a bit more electronic! The excitement of going to festivals and the blagging was basically it for me. I remember it was Leeds festival once where we stood at the side of the stage and we didn’t have a ticket and we didn’t have wristbands, but we were side of stage watching Foo Fighters headlining. Stood next to the guitar tech and I took a roll of masking tape - I’ve still got it, it’s a yellow and green striped masking tape - that I nicked from the guitar tech’s case. I told the guitar tech this a few years later when we were supporting Foo Fighters on their stadium tour of America. I didn’t give it back - should, really. I used to love those jumping the fence moments. We never jumped the fence, we always found a way round it.

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'SOUVENIR: The Singles (2004-2012)' is out now.

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