A change is definitely as good as a rest. That adage certainly applies to the Kaiser Chiefs. After releasing their third album, 2008’s “Off With Their Heads,” and undertaking the requisite globe-trotting tour to promote it, the band wanted off the radar for a while. So they declared they would take a year off and do absolutely nothing.
“We took time off, but a year was too long,” keyboard player Nick “Peanut” Baines tells Metro. “We planned to take a break after our second album, but it didn’t happen. So we said we’d take a year off and do nothing. But we kind of got restless.”
But just declaring that the band was on hiatus cleared the decks of commitments and opened up creative brain space. After six months away from Kaiser Chiefs activity, song ideas developed and they devised a new way to deliver album four: “The Future Is Medieval.” They decided to issue a fan-driven, interactive release and posted 20 songs online, allowing fans to choose not just their own album art, but their favorite 10 songs to create their own track listing, too.
“It was exciting as the idea evolved. It was like Christmas Eve, because we knew something exciting was going to happen,” says Peanut. “It totally reinvigorated us as a band.”
A joint effort
Kaiser Chiefs also switched up the way they recorded this album. Instead of using just one producer, they enlisted several, including Tony Visconti, Ethan Johns and Kaiser Chiefs drummer Nick Hodgeson. “We had such a diverse range of songs and couldn’t think of one guy to do it all. It wasn’t like we spent a whole year recording; it was a couple of weeks here and there. So, it would have been difficult to use the same producer, because they get busy. All that combined made this album a different project from the others. In all aspects, we were looking for different ways of working to keep it interesting.”