Simon Rix: Don’t go to bed just yet


Kaiser Chiefs, Elland Road, League One, The Championship, Bielsa, The Premiership, the highs and the lows. Simon Rix has experienced it all.

Encountering a musician as devoted to a club as Leeds United is a rarity. The Kaiser Chiefs bassist has maintained a close bond with the club since the band's rise in the music scene. From experiencing the thrill of hearing his own songs reverberate through the stadium speakers on matchdays to performing live in front of massive crowds at Elland Road, he has truly lived the dream. Now, the next logical step for him was to channel his passion into a podcast dedicated to all things Leeds. In our conversation with the Kaiser Chiefs bassist, we delved into his journey as a lifelong Leeds supporter, his unique experiences as both a spectator and a musician, and the exciting prospect of the upcoming Kaiser Chiefs album launch.

I want to talk about the famous night in 2014 when the Leeds Twitter admin tweeted  "Don't go to bed just yet” on transfer deadline day and reported the sale of two players and then tweeted "After a frantic final hour, we're wrapping up our business for the 2014 Summer Transfer Window." The name of your podcast was taken from this moment and for me, it’s the possibly funniest Leeds moment ever. 

For sure, it was very funny looking back. It’s just always difficult to name things. I’ve spent most of my life naming bands, albums and songs. We had a few ideas and this was the one we thought was the best. You want something that’s an in-joke for Leed’s fans but also something everybody else understands and this just felt like a beautiful moment to name a podcast after. Something with a little bit of a story. They still keep up with the joke from time to time on transfer deadline day and we do a transfer deadline day show too so it makes sense for that as well.

I don’t think it got enough attention at the time assuming how funny it is. 

I feel there’s a moment coming shortly when Leeds will have a good cleanup of their social media. The fans are loyal and they care a lot about the club, so when things like this happen it’s something that they could do with burying. We had some terrible times between 2007 and whenever Bielsa turned up. I don’t know if you remember a few years ago when they tried to change the badge and everyone went crazy. I bet the tweets are still there about that. It’s stuff you could bury, but in hindsight, it's still very funny and good that these memories exist.

Leeds plays such a huge part in your life. How did it feel to play at Elland Road? 

We’ve played at Elland Road a few times now and each time we’ve played was a slightly different experience. The first time we played it was amazing because we’d been gradually building up through the venues in Leeds. Playing in front of 100 and then 300 and then we quite quickly got to the point where there was nowhere to play in Leeds because there was no arena. So play at Elland Road where not that many people have played and that held so many great memories for us, it was amazing.

We’ve also played for Josh Warrington, the boxer who’s from Leeds. We did a short set and his ring walk. The crowd were ridiculous, boxing fans going crazy to I Predict a Riot and everyone was drunk. He won so that was a good memory. 

But the time I enjoyed most was probably the 100th anniversary. Bielsa had taken over at this point and everything felt right. We were going to get promoted and also Kaiser Chiefs album was coming out in June that year. It was the perfect moment to play a gig at Elland Road. But what happened was Leeds didn’t get promoted, and our album wasn’t ready so didn’t get released. As we were approaching the gig it kind of felt like what was the point, but it was amazing because everyone was fully behind Bielsa and that gig felt like the beginning of the next season when we got promoted.

What’s your first memory of football and becoming a Leeds fan?

I used to play football in the school playground and one day somebody asked me who I supported. Back then football was big but not as accessible as it is today. I didn’t really understand the question so I remember going home and doing some research and most of the people I knew supported Leeds. I remember liking the white kit and from there I was sold. From then on I had my bedroom decorated in white and yellow. The team poster on my wall and all of that. 

What do you think makes for an interesting Leeds podcast?

There’s one called the Square Ball that has been around a long time and keeps itself very separate from the club. It can do what it wants which makes it very funny. The rest of the Leeds-based podcasts are quite analytical. 

I think for our podcast though the most important thing is the people. Jonny and Adam Pope do BBC Radio Leeds commentary so we have to be a little bit more reverend because they have to have a professional relationship with the club. But that gives us a little inside knowledge which is good for our show. I think we all bring something different to the table and we try not to make it too negative all the time. Without a moan, it wouldn’t be interesting of course, but there’s a fine balance. 

A lot of people will go through their lives never experiencing what it’s like to play in front of a huge crowd, but one thing you could argue that comes close is that feeling of euphoria within football. Would you agree? 

Yeah definitely, there are some great moments in my life from both music and football that share similar feelings of intensity. I remember the time we played the Maracanã in Brazil which was the World Cup final stadium. It was the first gig after the World Cup Final and we had Germany’s dressing room which was the team that went on to win it. I’ve experienced times like that which are unforgettable, but also I remember Leeds beating Bristol Rovers to go up into the Championship and that being such an adrenaline-filled moment. I think they are quite similar on the whole.  

You’ve met a lot of famous people throughout your music career, but who have you been most star-struck by in football?

Meeting Bielsa was right up there. We’d travelled a long way to meet him and he was so pleased to see us. It was nice for him to know he’s still got the support from Leeds fans. It probably means a lot to him. Lucas Rabede was another one because we named the band Kaiser Chiefs basically after him playing for Kaizer Chiefs before Leeds. The band met him early on and we’ve met him again since. He’s not the most famous footballer of all time but my thing with Lucas is that if I’m in a room with him, I just feel good. He’s just exudes good energy. 

Kaiser Chiefs are 20 years old. Apart from getting older, what feels different to what it did when you first started? 

Pretty much everything. I think the thing that has stayed the same is that we have such a good relationship. We understand each other's strengths. Those relationships are important. When we started the most important thing was selling CDs in HMV. We’d be putting posters up on the tube, advertising on TV, and playing on Top of the Pops. Now the music industry has changed. Streaming is a way of selling music and genres are not so much of a thing anymore. The best way of selling your music is having a TikTok moment. The gig itself is still the same which is good for us. There’s nothing that replicates the live experience, your fans singing every word to Ruby back at you.

Did you have to think differently about how you wrote and recorded this album? 

How we made our latest album was really interesting. We did some traditional, go to the studio, set up the instruments and make them sound good. We'd record those and spend an hour getting the guitar sound right. But there was one song where we played it in our rehearsal room, sent it to the producer and then I did some stuff at my home and sent that over by email which felt modern and a new way of working. I enjoyed that process of having a bit more back and forth. Better technology is making music more accessible for people to make out of their bedrooms which is a good thing. You think this method would be quicker but it really wasn’t. But on the whole, It felt like we were embracing modern ways of making music. 

How would you describe the new album?

I’ve been describing it as the greatest hit of Kaiser Chiefs. We were going to do a compilation of greatest hits but decided to do an album instead. I  think the new album has music that sounds like traditional Chiefs sound but then it has some more music that sounds like later Kaiser Chiefs stuff, more poppy stuff. It’s got a couple of bits and pieces that make it sound completely different to anything we’ve done before. We did a couple of songs with Nile Rogers which brought an element of disco. So all together it’s a bit of a melting pot of ideas. There’s no unique sound to it but I think it works as an album.


Listen to the podcast here.

Kaiser Chiefs' Eighth Album will be out March 1st

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