“It all started to take off with some demos we were recording ourselves in rehearsal rooms and bedrooms in early 2003,” remembers Peanut, Kaiser Chiefs’ keyboard man and studio maestro. He’s looking back on what can only be called a meteoric rise of a band that now have the world at their feet after a string of huge singles and a massive selling worldwide album, Employment.
“I had some knowledge of recording from working in a studio and between Nick [Hodgson] and I, we tracked and then mixed everything on Logic at home. Oh My God, Saturday Night and Modern Way were some of the first tracks we did. The “sessions” were a rushed messed of cables and borrowed mics and an improvised vocal booth made out of a mattress leaning against a wall in Ricky [Wilson]’s house. One of the few things we realised we needed, and could actually afford to buy, was the original Focusrite Trakmaster. It helped greatly — I just wish we had lots of them when doing drums!”
“A label called Drowned In Sound showed an interest in our demos and said they’d like to put out a single. We thought we would be re-recording it but the label liked our version, so the actual demo of Oh My God got mastered and became the release. We got Single Of The Week in the NME in early 2004, and after building a fan base on a couple of support tours and recording Employment at the end of the year, landed the opening slot of the 2005 NME tour. And you know what they say about the rest…”
Indeed we do. Oh My God eventually went top 10 as did the anthems of the year Everyday I Love You Less And Less and I Predict A Riot while the album Employment hit number two in the UK and became a huge global hit.
So the band’s fortunes have changed dramatically although their use of Focusrite gear has stayed constant. However, now they have a bit more cash to spend on it…!
“I currently have a Compounder and the Liquid Mix,” says Peanut. “The Compounder is in my live set-up as I like to have compression going on in my rack before it gets out to monitors or front of house. It actually “makes” the sound of some of things I use, especially on piano and the Roland SH-101.”
“Now we have finished recording the second album, I’ll be using some sounds on the new Nord Electro which is a great alternative to taking a Wurlitzer/Rhodes out on tour. The Compounder will be used on this. I’ve found the bass expander feature most useful for getting the bottom end back, although it should definitely come with a warning for your speaker cones!”
“I also have the Liquid Mix which is just fantastic. Finally, a little box that handles all the DSP, has great models in it and some knobs on as well. Brilliant. I use it on instruments in Logic as we all know plug-ins can often sound a bit recognisable and this gets rid of that problem straight away. I also like the way you can build your own EQs, so by taking the low, mid and high frequencies from three different EQ units, you create your own classic processor. Very nice. A very small point, but it’s buss-powered too. Good for people who travel like me — one less adaptor to lug around the world!
And it looks like there will plenty more traveling for Peanut as the Chiefs are soon to release their second album and will be touring extensively throughout next year.
Kaiser Chiefs: www.kaiserchiefs.co.uk