Serge, the cool one off Kasabian, is putting out a solo record next week.
But don’t fret, long term fans; his new project – the S.L.P., after his initials – emphatically doesn’t herald an end to the Brit Award-winning Leicester loudmouths.
Nope, while his old mucker Tom and co. take a year-long sabbatical our hirsute hero thought it’d be fun to bash out some solo jams.
Here’s a few insights we gleaned from a chat with the ever-chatty axeman...
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1. I basically made this whole record myself.
Using this magic little box of tricks called an OV1. It’s full of beats. That, and an iPad. I own racks and racks of beautiful modular synths that I just decided I wasn't going to use this time around.
Working alone I prefer that Madlib approach; finding bits and bobs. There’s a roughness to it, an honesty that I really love.
2. Even back in the day, my starting point has always been computers...
I’ve never been a guitar songwriter, in the normal way. It’s always beats, or noises or some random a loop that gets me excited. Particularly on this record, I got rid of most my instruments, distilled it to a few little bits, then went looking for sounds.
I like to nick samples off videos, noises and sounds, old horror films. Then once I got a melody or could start hearing chords, I rolled them and started free forming over the top. Something usually crops up; I’m not one to over-think.
3. Lyrically each song represents a personality trait of mine.
Just little character sketches, but dialled up. And the ‘meanwhile’ sections remind me of cartoons, like in Batman or whatever. Or me rocking up to the Welcome Break on tour, having a funny intermission in a service station. We’ve all been there, haven’t we.
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4. I’m dead proud of 'The Woo'.
It’s a track on the album… there’s a real flavour there, the half-time bass versus this insistent kick.
William Onyeabor is a Nigerian artist I love, he has a really distinctive sound, this early 70s thing with very few notes…. it has a childlike innocence, bit it’s anything but simple. That’s what I’m going for. The right notes, in the right areas. I want that groove to properly latch.
5. Kasabian have always overlapped with hip-hop...
My collaborations, like on the S.L.P. record (with Little Simz and slowthai) are nothing new. I’ve always made records with that sort of mentality. I think I understand why people lump us in with indie bands, and part of me plays up to that, I think. It’s a Leicester attitude.
6. Being in a band is a lot like having a girlfriend...
With Kasabian the relationship goes beyond everything. We’ve been together for years, been through literally everything. It reaches a point where it transcends making music.. sometimes in a hard way, but then it gets rough, you have to make a decision to stick with it. There’s an honour in that. A real pride.
7. Politics is fucked right now...
We’re at a mad point. Like, before Farage and Trump and Boris, we at least gave each other a chance to tell our stories. Now it’s like ‘This is my set of beliefs, so fuck you’ – there’s no communication.
I don’t have the answers. I’m still waiting on that person who can figure out a way to break the system.
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8. In the mornings I’m fresh as, nowadays anyway...
Got two boys, eight and six, so my days are dominated by getting up at dawn. There’s a few nods on the record, towards getting wasted and how it plays into our culture – about how a nation of drinkers can also, sometimes, be thinkers.
I’ve met so many brilliant people in my life who just squander their gifts on the escapism of getting fucked.
9. I love a nonsense story...
My mate told me that the youngest Gary in the whole country is like 28 years old. It made me laugh, and I thought it’d be a good story. So I made this whole Ziggy Stardust character out of him, imagining him wandering around Camden. The last of his kind… The youngest Gary.
10. My new haircut is about letting go...
Embarking on a new voyage. Not even sure myself what the leopard print thing is about, to be honest.
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'The S.L.P.' will be released on August 30th.
Words: Andy Hill
Photography: Neil Bedford