“I wanted to go down the rabbit hole and see what I could find” - Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno opens up about his solo project The S.L.P
When it was announced back in, that Kasabian mainman Serge Pizzorno was going to release a solo album, the main question on everyone’s lips was simply ‘Why?’
Pizzorno is the creative force behind Kasabian. He has written or co-written every single one of the band’s songs, produced their last four records, the last two entirely, and presides over every detail of the band’s output. He is Kasabian. So what does he need a solo album for?
The answer, it turned out, was just as simple as the question; he was bored. Kasabian had agreed to take a year off, the rest of the band wanted a rest, but Pizzorno didn’t. So he started working by himself and is releasing a solo venture under the name The S.L.P. His first album under the moniker, which is taken from his initials Sergio Lorenzo Pizzorno, arrives in stores today.
We spoke to him to find out all about it…
We know songwriters write songs without necessarily knowing where they’re going to end up, but when did you know you were making a solo record?
“We finished touring in September and we were always going to have a year off. Kasabian hasn’t had a year off from touring in 15 years so that was the plan. But I knew I’d go mad if I didn’t do something. I have a hard drive full of stuff, which I’d been calling ‘Meanwhile music’. I knew that I had the time to go through it all and if I used it, it would give me a beginning, middle and end. I have my own studio so there were no barriers and I wanted to go down the rabbit hole and see what I could find. I was curious.”
Were you surprised about what you found?
“I was. It was just fun. I’d go in the studio and work, if I liked what I had I’d record it, then I’d do it again the next day. It was really freeing, not having to think about the usual things I have to think about.”
When did you decide that you really wanted to go for it and do a full album? You could have just made music for yourself or released it quietly?
“When I finished it, I did sit back and go ‘This is pretty good’. I’m proud of it. I don’t want to do loads, but I do want to do a little bit. When I got Little Simz and slowthai to come on, I knew I had to do more. And it is an album. It stands up. I wanted it to surprise people, I wanted collaborations with young British artists who are at the forefront of where music is going and I wanted it to be a place where, in the future, I can visit whenever I want. I can go further and deeper into working with other artists in this guise.”
Kasabian have never worked with another artist, how did you find working with slowthai and Little Simz?
“I loved it. They’re both so talented. Simz was amazing in the studio. I had her down for eight bars and I ended up extending that. Thai has such a lovely soul and he’s ridiculously gifted. I loved the process.”
Were you nervous playing to people? You produced it yourself so it’s been just your baby for so long?
“I played it to friends first, but the reaction has been amazing. So much love. People appreciate the energy it’s got. It’s a surprising record, every song has a feint and a sidestep, a moment of the unexpected.”
What kind of record is this lyrically?
“For me, it’s an autobiographical record. It’s where I am and where I see Britain. Britain is a huge part of this record, both where it is and where’s it going.”
When did you decide you were going to be The S.L.P?
“I had it flying about. There was a band called SL2 and I used to buzz off them when I was young. Then I sat down with Aitor, who I collaborated with on the artwork, and he suggested whacking 'The' in front of it. I made me laugh. It reminds me of The B.I.G, which I liked. Humour is a big part of what I do. Unless it’s a love song, which there aren’t many of, it’s dark comedy I’m attracted to.”
How are the live shows going to go? Will you have a big band?
“It’s not going to be the same and we’ll be a small team. This is playing a different sport. I’m not competing with the band I’m in. I want to be full of ideas and I want people to feel on edge. A big euphoric party, but one where anything could happen.”
You’ve got a few shows in September, will that be it? Or is there plans for more?
“I don’t want to overdo it. I want to keep it nice and easy and see what happens. I want there to be room to go with the flow.”
Will it be weird being up onstage without the rest of Kasabian?
“It is different. Making the record is my favourite bit. When I’m doing that I’m so focused, I won’t stop until it’s done and handed in. I don’t really think that far ahead. When I was doing the record, that’s all it was. I didn’t think about being the frontman and not having my boys with me. It’s going to be interesting. I just see art, I don’t see past making something, I never think about what it actually means.”
Have you had a chance to play them the record?
“They’ve been so supportive. Tom (Meighan, Kasabian singer) has been incredible. They’re my boys and they’ve really supported me and been so great.”
In terms of the day job, are you putting stuff together for the next record yet?
“I’m always in the studio and the pen and pad is always there. There’s going to be a new chapter and I can see what that is. Before this record, I didn’t have a clue, but I know now. We need to switch up and keep people on their toes. I’ve got fresh perspective now and I know where we’re going. It’s very exciting.”
Can you see yourself ever taking an actual break?
“I like the idea of it. But if I’ve not made something or I’m not making something, I just feel like I’m doing nothing. I always want to work. We don’t get long on this planet and I want to work. I want to put myself in all kinds of situations. When I think of the kid I was going up in this small little town, I’ve got where I am by taking risks and pushing myself and never resting. I don’t accept anything, I’m always ready to get on the tightrope.”
The S.L.P is out now in hmv stores.