RockNess 2011 – Interviews

Kasabian, Vic Galloway and Jim Gellatly


How would you say your songs have changed structurally since ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’?

They haven’t really. They’ll always have the Kasabian drop in the middle. I just think now they’re better written. More kind of radio friendly. We’ve recorded them exactly the same. A lot at home in Leicester. There’s no pressure – we just graft away in our house studio.

Content or style? Which comes first? And which song off the new album represents that choice?

Content – definitely content. You can’t have style without content, can you? ‘Switchblade Smile’ is the definition of that choice. It’s just monstrous, too big. Any tune that comes after it just sounds jingle jangly.

What would you say is the essence of your musicality on this fourth album?

We’ve taken all the best bits of every song ever written and put them on an album.

What are the challenges of connecting creatively as a band as you’ve grown as musicians and people?

Chris: We’ve just got it set up now. Sergio writes a lot of the demo. He gets the sound in his head and puts it together, plays it to us. We then throw ideas at it. There’s no real arguments because Sergio’s basis is so solid. He’s like the creative director, the composer. We then develop it with other ideas and bits and bats to make it more exciting. But Sergio nowadays presents demos that sound virtually finished. Sometimes we’re like ‘Wow! What exactly did you want me to do on it?’

No but really we strip it all down and replace bits and bods to make a better machine.

Jim Gellatly and Vic Galloway

What makes RockNess such a premier festival?

JIM GELLATLY: For one, it’s such a wonderful location. Even when it rains, it’s still amazing. Plus when it rains, it’s still amazing. Plus the crowd are always up for it. Much as I love T in the Park, Rockness is far more manageable in terms of getting around to see a wide variety of music. The only one a wee too far is the Rock and Roll Circus tent which I will have to face tomorrow in order to see Strawberry Ocean Sea. But the festivals are just getting bigger and bigger.

VIC GALLOWAY: There’s 30,000 here. Also, I think it’s hard pressed to find a better place to hold a festival. You come over the brow of Lochness. There’s a fantastic view. Plus it’s in the north of Scotland. Great for the local community, really good for them. Scotland’s culture is criticised for being too central-belt based so it’s brilliant Rockness can bring world classacts to this area. And of course the punters and fans make the event!

JIM GELLATLY: I started off in Inverness twenty years ago on Moray- Firth Radio. If you’d had a festival back then, it wouldn’t have worked – not enough people to attend. now in the summer, I’ve got one to go to almost every weekend in Scotland.

Why is Scotland so synonymous with good music?

VIC GALLOWAY: Music is part of Scottish culture as is cutting loose, having fun and live rock bands. The Scots like to cut loose. They know life is a lot of hard work but they know how to let go and enjoy the best of it. Plus Scots are very vocal. They don’t mess around. If they don’t like something, they’ll tell you straight. Likewise, if they like it, they go for it with passion. They don’t need any hype or persuasion. They’ve got good instinct, will tell you if they love it. I’m interviewing bands all the time and they all say the thing which really makes Scottish festivals is the crowd. Every band votes Scotland as the best crowd. I think Kasabian also added ‘Norway’s pretty good too!’

So who are you gong to see this weekend?

VIC GALLOWAY: The Twilight Sad. Their new album mixed by Andy Weatherall is banging and they’re brilliant live. ‘Sons and Daughters’, ‘Frightened Rabbit’ and ‘Glasvegas’. Lots going on in Rock Sound City, Jaeger Meister.

JIM GELLATLY: Paulo Nutini – I want to check out if he’s really gone punk rock like they say. Strawberry Ocean Sea and Frightened Rabbit.

Words by Jaime Scrivener
Photos by Steven Brown (@sbrownphoto) and Colin ‘TwoThumbsFresh’ McQuillen (@TwoThumbsFresh)

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.