British rock act the Kaiser Chiefs have just finished recording their sophomore album, due for release early next year.
The quintet spent the last six weeks in Oxfordshire’s legendary recording facility Hook End Studios laying down 22 tracks it hopes to whittle down to 13 or 14 for the final effort. And though the witty observations on Anglo life found on the band’s 2005 debut “Employment” helped it win three major Brit Awards earlier this year, the new songs cross a different path.
“We’re not retracing any steps here,” drummer and songwriter Nick Hodgson tells Billboard.com. “We are full of inspiration. It’s a big world out there. There’s a lot of things to draw upon. Just like that album was written about what was happening then, this one’s written about what’s happening now.”
What that includes, at least on the cut “Heat Dies Down,” is the Kaiser Chief’s take on their rise to fame in their native country over the last two-and-a half years, after seven spent with little fanfare.
“Last Christmas, we went to this big party and it was weird ’cause it was the first time we’d been back in Leeds,” Hodgson recounts. “Loads of attention was being thrown upon us, especially [frontman] Ricky [Wilson. He] couldn’t really operate in a normal way. There were just loads of girls and boys going up to him saying ‘Oh! I saw you here/there.’ ‘I think you’re really good.’ Blah, blah. So when the heat dies down, we’ll be back in town.”
Other songs expected to make the final cut include “Highroyds,” named for a Victorian-built mental facility in their hometown, “Angry Mob” “Try Your Best,” “Everything Is Average Nowadays,” and the amusingly named “Love’s Not a Competition (But I’m Winning).”
“It’s kind of one of those Beatles things when Ringo comes up with ‘Hard Day’s Night’ or one of those malapropisms,” Hodgson explains of love-themed cut. “We were in a car in Glasgow talking about something like this — me, Ricky and Simon [Rix, bass]. I think Simon said the last bit and I went and wrote something that day in my hotel room.”
The Kaiser Chiefs plan to return to the U.S. for a host of dates next year, taking inspiration from some classic ’70s rockers when they do.
“We were looking at some sales figures of Led Zeppelin,” he begins. “The first one did 8 million in the U.S. alone. The fourth? 23 million! So we’re like, ‘Yeah! It’d be great to do that, wouldn’t it? It’d be great to play massive gigs in America.’ Hold on a minute! We’ve got to sell a hundred million records. If we keep making ’em and you keep buying ’em then we’ll get there.”