Kaiser Chiefs return to spotlight

The Kaiser Chiefs. Photo: PA Photo/Handout/Danny North
The Kaiser Chiefs. Photo: PA Photo/Handout/Danny North

“Who, at the start of 2014, was sitting around saying, ‘I can’t wait for a new album by Kaiser Chiefs, I wonder what those guys are up to’ - who? Not many people, I can tell you.”

Good old Ricky Wilson.

The Kaiser Chiefs frontman has always been one of pop music’s better interviews. Even before the Leeds band released their debut album, Employment, in 2005, he was a veritable quote machine, spewing pithy one-liners and headline-friendly sound bites.

Now, with 10 years’ experience under his belt, and all the insight and various ups and downs that brings, he’s a journalist’s dream.

So what changed? The Voice, basically.

It was announced late last year Wilson would be a judge on the BBC One singing competition, joining Kylie Minogue as a new face on the show, alongside Black Eyed Pea will.i.am and perma-tanned pensioner Tom Jones.

He says he was initially unsure, not wanting his own profile to detract from the band, or undermine the new songs they’d written and were really proud of.

“If we’d been asked to perform, we’d have bitten their hands off, so why would I say no to going on 12 weeks in a row, where I can get my personality across and remind everyone that there’s a band called Kaiser Chiefs? How can that not be a good thing?”

He says he feels vindicated when journalists turn up to interview them and he’s invited onto chat shows.

“We’re the busiest we’ve been since the first album came out. The other day I went on Richard Bacon’s Radio 5 live show to talk about The Voice and the album too. I wasn’t asked on to talk about our other albums, but now I am. I feel like I’m being proved right.”

Time will tell how it has turned around the band’s fortunes, although it already looks to have worked.