This week, I had a chance to chat with Kasabian’s always-guitarist, sometimes-vocalist, songwriter Sergio Pizzorno. The chatty, upbeat Brit made for one of the easiest interviews I ever got, connecting all of the dots between my less connected stream of questions (we had to make the best of just a couple of minutes).
I am left wondering how many dinosaurs are buried under Kasabian’s studio in London, clearly inspiring an unselfishness not common to rock music, and whether Kasabian really had a drug-free recording session for the tie-dyed (and somehow, accurately, “futuristic”) sound of Velociraptor!
So you’re in Australia? What are you doing there?
Australia, yeah. Oddly enough, it’s pissin’ it down in rain. I can’t actually believe it.
It’s, really, the weather, it’s terrible.
Oh, it’s pissing rain. That’s what you said.
You’d think it’d always be scorching hot here, man, but it’s not.
It’s also been, uh, rainy all day in New York. Are you on tour right now?
Yeah, we’re playing a festival called the “Big Day Out.”
It’s, uh, well, it spans across like… We play 6 or 7 dates… So, we play Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, you know, you go across the whole country.
Oh, it’s a traveling festival thing?
Yeah, as I think they should be, really. The format is incredible.
No, we’re third. Kanye West is headlining, then Sound Garden, then us.
It’s not the same, consistent sound.
No, it’s a pretty mental one—but the kids seem to be enjoying it.
That kind of reminds me, I saw that you hate being compared to other bands—why don’t you like comparison?
It’s not that we don’t like the comparison. It’s just that, no, no, no, no, no—it’s just when the comparisons are sort of way off the mark that it’s annoying. That’s what it is. I mean I understand it, because it kind of makes your job easy, and for the reader, to kind of get it. It saves you from having to write loads of words about bands when you say, “Oh, they sound a bit like…” It makes your job a bit easier. It gets annoying when, maybe, readers don’t see the full picture and they lump you in with a certain style or sound, and it’s not really true, that’s when it’s annoying.
So how would you describe your sound?
Futuristic rock music.
Futuristic? Is it fair to say it’s psychedelic?
I’d say there are definitely elements of psychedelia, yeah. But, I suppose when I think of rock music, I’ve included that under the umbrella, you know? Because all, all of my favorite groups, have all dabbled with psychedelia at some point in their lives, so I suppose that fits in underneath there.
In terms of music and drugs? Did you guys dabble recording Velociraptor!?
Yeah, I’d say so, yeah. But, no, this time it was a relatively sober record. I record all of the albums at home. I’ve got a studio, and ever since the first one, I’ve done all of the recordings at home. So, this time around, yeah, it stayed pretty sober, which was quite amazing. I really enjoyed it. Working-wise, I prefer… I prefer to enjoy… I prefer to partake after the job is done, you know? I kind of like to take care of business first, you know, I like to do my shit first, and then I like to enjoy after. I don’t really like to do the same at the same time, you know?
So, how was your time in NYC?
It felt really exciting. We played on a roof. [For the Mulberry NY Fashion Week party].
I’ve got no idea. From what I understand, it was in town, you know, in Manhattan, somewhere. Mental.
Is this your partying phase?
Partying phase? Oh, on tour, it’s like a break. It’s just great, you know, man. On tour with, with, with… people I grew up with, people I’ve known since I was like 11 years old, man. It’s all these people traveling the world in a rock and roll band. It’s so fucking great. We have a good time, man. You don’t know how long this shit’s going to last for. You want to make sure you enjoy it while you’re doing it, because it’ll just pass you by, and you’ll regret it.
Any other projects?
Yeah, no, it’s just the band, man. The band is the most important. You’ve got to sacrifice your own—well, I mean some people don’t, you know—but it’s all for the band.
Sounds like everything’s going great. What do you think you’ve achieved with this project, with Velociraptor!?
Yeah, well, I suppose the freedom, the freedom to make a record. It’s just like, don’t follow any rules. It’s just kind of an eclectic bunch of tunes. I’m really proud of that, you know, the confidence of being able to put something like that out. And the same goes for the next record. It’s going to sound nothing like the previous four, which is really exciting. This whole thing we’ve got, you know. The band, never afraid to change things. It’s just amazing.
Definitely. I like the mirrored symmetry of the album artwork, and I was wondering where that came from, and the name Velociraptor!, where does that come from?
This man called Aitor Throup, who did the artwork, he’s incredible, you know, he’s a genius. And, we had the word “Velociraptor” for a while, just hanging on to the word. And, dinosaurs are a fascinating thing, you know, they’ve all got incredible names: “triceratops,” “pterodactyl,” they’ve all got kind of incredible names. “Velociraptor” is the one that kind of just stood out. And they lived together in packs of four. So the idea, that it was just sort of this band, almost, just roaming the earth, like, back in the day. And the reason why they were so strong was because they stood together, you know, just as a little gang. So that kind of inspired the four faces. Unity and forever spiraling, you know, the symmetry, that’s where all of that comes from.
I’ve never thought about the social element that rock and dinosaurs have together, but I see that. When do you get back to the States?
Well we’re actually doing it, in about a month I think. We’re coming back for a lot of dates. We’ve got a six-week tour booked, so yeah, pretty soon. There’s quite a few, we’re there for about six weeks, so we have quite a lot.
And then back to London?
Yeah, then we’ll have a bit of time. Then we’ll hit the festivals in the summer.
Are you going to be at SXSW when you’re in the US?
Yeah, I think we may be. Yeah, I think I saw that written down somewhere.
Will the tour or festival be productive for making new albums?
Not so much. I kind of just form, just forming the concepts. How an album’s going to be, how it’s going to sound, and the instruments. I like to gather information and store it all. But, I have an idea, for when we get to the studio, what I want for the record, what I want it to make you feel like, what I want it to sound like, and where the energy comes from. I do that kind of thing. Comparative research.
Kasabian – “Days Are Over”