Kasabian Guitarist Sergio Pizzorno Opens Up About ’48:13,’ Touring the World + More
Earlier this year, British rockers Kasabian released their fifth full-length record, '48:13,' across the world -- except North America. A few months later, they made the much-appreciated announcement that it would be hitting stores stateside, and that they would celebrate the North American release with a full-blown tour.
While he was spending some time in New York City, we caught up with guitarist Sergio Pizzorno (who also produced '48:13') and chatted about the new record, why it took so long to get to North America and why it's still important to him to release new music on vinyl. Check out our exclusive interview below:
First off, congrats on the North American release of ’48:13.’ Throughout your career, but most apparent on this record, Kasabian blend so many different sounds. Why do you think you’re able to merge so many influences together -- ‘60s rock, hip-hop, electronic music, rock and roll?
Oh, wow, well, I think it’s sort of the need for experimentation. What fuels us is that urge to explore, you know? The restraint of being in a rock band, giving yourself only a certain kind of music and not deviating from the path, that’s never been us. For us, it’s always been way more than that. It’s just who we are, it’s what we do. Especially with rock music, it sort of, you know, it seems like people like it when someone tries. At least we try and experiment and use all the sounds in the format. Otherwise, it’s just boring.
You've said you're a hard guy to make happy. Are you happy with this album?
As much as I can be, you know? [Laughs] I think if you were ever really happy, I mean, if you’re ever truly satisfied you’d stop, right? We’ve released it, it’s out there, so the only way to put things right is to try again and do another thing. So as much as I can be happy, yeah, I am. I wouldn’t let it go out if I didn’t think it was OK. [Laughs]
Who are your specific influences?
For me, it’s always the greats, the late ‘60s rock and roll has always been a source for me. But nothing specific. I draw from so many different mediums, it’s difficult to say. The combination is so many different things. It comes from so many different areas, but nothing specific really.
Maybe this is too insider, but why did it take so long for '48:13' to hit North America?
These are the things I have no idea about. The previous two records, we were on a label that didn’t believe in what we were doing. So, it’s been really hard for us in that sense. You get to a place where the label isn’t pushing you and not telling people you have a record out -- it’s difficult. It’s hard enough! We left and we have a new label and we’re so excited about it, these people believe in us. I don’t know why it took so long, but they get paid to do their job. But you know, in today’s day and age, it almost doesn’t even matter because you can listen to whatever you want online. But at this point, it’s actually kind of cool to release the album while you’re in the country.
Exactly. It came out when you were touring the states. Did you have anything special planned for the release?
Not really. We just played. It’s one of those things, after 10 years, you gain a lot of baggage. I’ve done a lot of interviews and certain things get written about your band, truths get told that no one really knows, and things come along the way that you can’t shake. But what I find when you’re here and you play and you’re in front of people, you forge a place and people go, “Oh, that’s what it’s about.” There’s no better way to release a record than by playing gigs. It gets away from all of the bulls--t and the baggage. We just hope you enjoy the show.
How are things with Tim Carter in the band?
He’s fitting in like a dream, he’s a genius, and I don’t say that about many people. He truly is a genius.
'48:13' is Kasabian's fifth studio album in 10 years. How did you approach the writing and recording process different than your self-titled debut?
For me, everything needs to be direct. From the artwork to the music to the lyrics to the track names to the album title. So, I wanted to strip away all of the layers for fans. That was the plan for ’48:13.’
And that's different than your debut?
Massively. I had no idea what was going on back then, it was just an amazing time of innocence and naivety. Trying to even write a song, or finish a song, was an incredible feat.
Do you find major differences between touring the states and Europe?
Not a lot, actually. Everywhere is pretty much the same. The world is crazy. We travel so much, but the thing about music is the fans are all good people. You definitely feel fans are a bit more curious in the states because they’re not too familiar with us, but on the whole, the energy is incredible. The atmospheres are proper. The people who come are passionate and they know the songs.
That’s the thing about good music. It transcends borders, it transcends cultures.
It does, it really does. Because of label difficulties, we neglected America for a few years, and I regret that. But what we do kind of works everywhere, so why wouldn’t it work in America? We need to play here more and I think eventually we will be doing it more and more.
'48:13' is on vinyl. Why is pressing new music in 2014 still important to you?
Call me old-fashioned, but I just love artwork that is that big. I love the feel of a record, I love to touch a record. Downloads are great and they’re really useful because they don’t take up any physical space and you can hear them whenever you want -- I mean, right now, I can be downloading music. That’s great. But there’s something about this file that just floats around, it doesn’t really make it real or important. It takes so much time and energy to make a record, so many sleepless nights, so much passion. It should exist as a thing, you know what I mean? Vinyl does that in a way. It’s big. It’s a record, it’s something. It’s incredible.
I totally agree. And cover art looks so good on a 12-inch jacket. It doesn’t even have to be intricate, like with ’48:13.’
That’s the directness of the whole thing. That’s why we made the cover shocking pink and called it '48:13.' It couldn’t have been called anything else. And the pink, it’s just the opposite of a masculine, powerful thing, and it looks great. And the pink and black, it’s so direct, you can’t miss it.
Do you still collect vinyl?
Yep, yep, yep. I’m still stealing bootlegs off of other people. [Laughs]
What's your collection like?
To be honest, as of late, I haven’t collected too much. But back in the day I’d go digging all the time and just pick up old funk and soul records and weird Krautrock records, and then I got into electro records. I have thousands of records at home.
Do you go digging in the states?
No, actually, no. You know, I should. Yeah, of course I should. I should have a little look around, right?
Definitely. So, you celebrated the North American release of '48:13,' you toured the states -- what’s next?
In the future, it’s touring. That’s what is in the plans. Which is great. It’s great.
Have you started thinking about album No. 6?
Yes. Thinking about it? Yes. We haven’t decided anything, but we’ve started thinking about it!