If you’ve ever seen Kasabian‘s Tom Meighan‘s on stage you’ll be familiar with his particular brand of braggadocio. The well-seasoned UK rock outfit’s singer is loudly confident in both himself and his band’s talents. It’s no surprise that the peppy and somewhat impenetrable singer is the same in conversation.
Meighan doesn’t shy from making favourable comparisons between his band and pop music’s greatest. He doesn’t put much stock in unfavourable comparisons either. Kasabian are “on the ball”, he says. Writing partner Sergio Pizzorno is “always on”. They “don’t fuck around” in the studio. “When it’s great, it’s great,” he claims.
The burning question is – are Kasabian still great? Talking to Music Feeds just before the Australian release of the group’s fifth studio album, 48:13, Meighan is excited. He’s still ready to take on the world, and he knows the fans are going to love the new record, despite murmurs that the band have lost their way.
“We’ve been together for a long time,” Meighan says when asked about what he calls Kasabian’s “natural” change in direction. “We’ve evolved massively, musically. Our songwriting has, of course. I think we do things a lot better than we used to.”
Dabs of hip hop have previously been applied to Kasabian’s more traditional Brit guitar sound to great success, and now they’re moving further from the smoky undergrounds of howling rock clubs to soar high over some endless indie disco.
“We don’t intentionally set out to do anything, really,” he continues. “We just do it, we don’t think about it. This record, I think it’s the best thing we’ve done. We took about a year and a half off from touring [to make it].”
Watch: Kasabian – eez-eh Behind The Scenes
Regardless of what his band sounds like it’s unlikely Meighan will temper his large-living, straight-shooting rockstar persona. Single eez-eh and its accompanying music video at least prove that there’s more than a few sparks of self-awareness left in Kasabian.
“[The music video] is a bit of a parody of ourselves,” he says. “Everyone takes things a bit too seriously, you know? People take themselves too seriously.” It’s not a gag offered lightly, either. “It was fun, but it took 19 hours to make, and I was on my knees for most of it.”
He further opines, “We’re not intentionally trying to be cool. People get a bit angry with us sometimes, but we like to laugh about it.”
Meighan has previously said that 48:13 is the album where Kasabian finally “bare their souls”. That can come with a certain vulnerability, and it’s clear there has been a cementing of resolve within the band. “Look, there are people who don’t like our records,” he says. “There always will be. But then there are more people that do.”
“The critics love it,” he further claims. “There are some classic songs on this [new] album, and then there are some that are little left of field. Some that go fucking Kid A. You gotta expect that, though. People fucking love our band and our records. There’s some criticism, but that’s the way it is.”
Would he describe 48:13 as Kasabian’s Kid A then? “Absolutely. Of course it is. The reviewers say so.” Well, that’s settled.
Watch: Kasabian – eez-eh
A reunion with Australian stages is on the near horizon, and Meighan says fans can afford to have high expectations when they come to town this August. “Expect big things. Expect a bigger but more refined rock band. More grown up…”
Kasabian maturing? Surely he can’t be serious. He laughs. “Wait… do I sound grown up? No!”
The four-piece will prime themselves for their antipodean expedition with a headlining appearance at Glastonbury Festival. It’s perhaps the biggest show they’ve ever played but, once again, the announcement hasn’t come without its detractors.
Activist folk musician Billy Bragg, also on the Glasto lineup, recently dropped some typically dry remarks about where he thought Kasabian’s place in the musical landscape might be. When we bring it up Meighan leaps at the chance to address the comments.
“He compared us to Spinal Tap. Isn’t it brilliant?!” he cries. “Look, everyone’s got an opinion, right? Billy Bragg especially. He’s an old Socialist fucking git. And I think he’s right!”
It doesn’t matter who’s talking about Kasabian, or how. As long as they’re still talking, it’s all water off a duck’s back to Meighan. “He’s been around for a long time, and he’s entitled to his opinion. I’m not really bothered anymore. If he says we’re like Spinal Tap, then we’re like Spinal Tap.”
Kasabian’s new album is out now. They tour Australia this August – details below.
Kasabian 2014 Australian Tour Dates
Tuesday, 5th August 2014
Perth, Metro City (18+)
Tix: Via Oztix
Thursday, 7th August 2014
Adelaide, Thebarton Theatre (Lic A/A)
Tix: Via Venuetix
Saturday, 9th August 2014
Melbourne, Festival Hall (Lic & Unlic Areas)
Tix: Via Ticketmaster
Sunday, 10th August 2014
Sydney, Hordern Pavilion (Lic A/A)
Tix: Via Ticketek
Tuesday, 12th August 2014
Brisbane, Eaton’s Hill Hotel (Lic A/A)
Tix: Via Oztix