Former Kaiser Chief, Nick Hodgson kindly gave us a little of his time ahead of his upcoming UK tour
1. So Nick, five years out of the limelight, now you’re back with a new album and tour. Why did you decide now was the time to return?
Well I didn’t really make a decision cos the album kind of took me by surprise. I wasn’t planning on ever coming back into the limelight but now I’m back I’m feeling good, should’ve done it sooner!
2. What can you tell us about the album?
It’s called Tell Your Friends and is out now. It’s a sometimes folky, sometimes psychedelic, sometimes rocky set of 10 songs that came out of my brain. I played pretty much all the instruments and I want you all to listen to it.
3. You’ve written material for a range of artists from Shirley Bassey to Rat Boy. How has working with such a diverse clientele changed you as a musician?
I used to take a long writing songs, like weeks and months but if I’m honest its the ones that take 20 minutes that always come out best. I needed the time away from the band and being put into high pressure sessions to realise this again. My arrangement skills have also been tested so I think the songs on this album are the best I’ve written for a long a time.
4. What do you think you’ve learned about yourself as a songwriter, a musician and a person over the five years since you left the Kaiser Chiefs?
I think I’ve relearned a lot of things that I knew before the band. Maybe I’ve just remembered what its like to be starting out. When you become a big band with a big machine around you and lots of people wanting to come see you and buy your records you can lose sight of the original feeling of writing songs. You can start to try and please all the people all the time. You try to please the fans, the indie press, the mainstream press, Radio 1, America. All this certainly altered the way I wrote, so its nice to be back at the beginning again without these influences.
5. What are you expecting from the tour and to go from playing arenas to being in places like the Leeds Wardrobe…..
I’m loving being on stage at the front, I think I was a frustrated lead singer on the drums all those years! Its a very different place to be, I like communicating with the audience which is pretty difficult sat at the back. So expect communication!
I love playing arenas its one of the best feelings walking out to thousands and thousands of fans but I’m a musician at the end of the day and I like playing to anyone. I could be playing to one person in a pub and still get a buzz out of it.
6. And what can you tell us about the set list? Any surprises?
I play a lot of new songs obviously because that’s why I’m out there but there’s a few old songs from my back catalogue too. A couple of big ones.
7. Like we discussed, you’ve worked with a range of artists. Who is on your bucket list of artists to work with?
Paul McCartney would be amazing. Jay Z. Harry Styles. I’m only looking at the biggest artists!
8. What can you tell us about the band you’re bringing out on tour with you?
I was offered a gig supporting The Cribs at the end of last year and I didn’t have a band. I felt like I had to say yes so I did and then thought, I need a band. They just kind of serendipitously came together. The drummer, Glenn is from The Howling Bells. The bass player is the Kaiser’s old tour manager Mike. The keyboard player, Ben was in the Dead 60s and the lead guitarist is my pal Tom from Leeds. They’re all really good players and also very funny.
9. Finally, what does 2018 hold in store for Nick after this tour?
I’ve already started writing for the next album. I’m basically gonna be a solo artist for the rest of time now. I’ve got some festivals to announce soon too.
10. Curveball question to finish, if you could play any character in a Star Wars movie who would you be and why?
When I was a kid I’d play Star Wars with my brother and I’d want to be Han Solo but my brother was oldest so he was Han Solo! So my answer is…. Han Solo.