Get ready to Duck. Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson talks to MARION McMULLEN about the new album, possible fatherhood and why music will always be his main job
‘I’ VE just had a bit of an argument with my fiancée,” Ricky Wilson informs me right at the start of the interview, “she’s just found out when my next day off is but, hey, every day is a day off really.”
It’s certainly a busy time for the Kaiser Chiefs frontman with new album Duck just out and a UK arena tour starting next January.
“I can’t even think about the tour and next year,” he chuckles. “There’s so much happening now. It’s like talking about Halloween when it’s only March. You get taken up with this kind of feeling of emotion, releasing something to the world that you know people are allowed to criticise.
“It’s hard. If we released 20 albums a year I don’t think I’d feel so precious about it, but you do feel quite protective about a new album. It’s part of you.
“It’s really weird at the moment. I got picked up by a car this morning. Normally I get the Tube, but they sent a flash car around. I got out to get a can of Coke and I asked the driver if he wanted anything and he was shocked because no one had ever asked him before ... so I got him a can of Red Bull.”
Duck sees the band reclaim the creative swagger that underpins their best work like I Predict A Riot, from 2005 album Employment, and Ruby, which featured on Yours Truly, Angry Mob from 2007.
“It’s undeniably fantastic and undeniably Kaiser Chiefs,” says
Ricky. “What this album is about is regaining trust in the fact I enjoy what I do. At some point, I’d forgotten that was a big part of it.”
He adds: “The intention was to make a really Kaiser Chiefs-y record but we’ve managed to do something that doesn’t sound like anything we’ve done before.”
New single People Know How To Love One Another reflects the feel-good factor of the album, while Golden Oldies sees 41-year-old Ricky reflect on the possibility of becoming a dad.
“I think it’s accepting the fact that if I’m going to live life properly I should probably try and have children – if I’m able,” he says. “But having children is something that is not guaranteed. That is what the Ricky Wilson, pictured far right, is preparing to hit the road with the Kaiser Chiefs in support of new album Duck, below song is about. There is so much stuff in life you just expect and if you don’t get it, well, I don’t want to wake up one day and think ‘S**t, I missed out on the important stuff doing flim flam things and didn’t have time. I didn’t know how to prioritise’.”
In the meantime, Ricky and fiancée Grace Zito – they met when he was a mentor on BBC singing competition The Voice UK and she was a stylist on the show – have labradoodle Reedus to keep them busy.
“He wouldn’t eat his breakfast this morning. He’s been staying with my mum and dad and they spoil him,” says Ricky.
“My mum said ‘We gave him a McDonalds as a treat, but we didn’t give him the bun’. No wonder he won’t eat his breakfast.”
Ricky proved a TV natural on The Voice UK and more television has followed, along with radio presenting and even a stab in the Celebrity Great British Bake Off kitchen for Channel 4’s Stand Up To Cancer campaign, but performing with the Kaiser Chiefs remains his main job.
“I can’t do anything else,” he says simply, “and I didn’t want to. Making records and songs is, out of all the artistry outputs, I think my favourite. You get to do it more than once in front of a lot of people.” Kaiser Chiefs have been going for 15 years, but Ricky admits some criticism is still baffling to him.
“One said we made music that’s designed to make a crowd jump up and down and sing along and that’s exactly what we want.
“I went to see the Spice Girls recently and there were 80,000 people there having the time of their lives and one person went to review the show who didn’t like the Spice Girls and was not going to enjoy it.”
Ricky says the future is bright for Kaiser Chiefs and they are in it for the long haul.
“Bands break up because of money, but we don’t care about that and everything is split equally, or because of artistic differences. We might have different musical tastes, but we are similar in what we want to happen from the music...
We know we love each other. We don’t have to go through group therapy. We just get on with it, keep it light, and enjoy it.”
One (reviewer) said we made music that’s designed to make a crowd jump up and down and sing along... that’s exactly what we want.
■ For details on the album, Duck and the upcoming tour dates go to kaiserchiefs.com
Ricky pictured with fiancée Grace Zito