Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson and bassist Simon Rix on their musical relationship

Kaiser Chiefs' singer and bassist met when they were 17, but it took the northerners until last year to open up to each other and write songs together

His story

Ricky Wilson, 36, lead singer of Kaiser Chiefs

I've been friends with Simon since we were 17, but we properly bonded at the Leeds Festival in 2000. We walked around all day, got battered, stayed up all night then got the first bus home together.

We never wrote a song, just us two, until this year. Simon called the single "Bows and Arrows" because we're good together but rubbish apart. I was so touched by that, but he has no idea. Being men in our 30s from the north of England, we don't open up to each other that much.

He looks after me, like a dad. He prints out documents and train tickets we're going to need and is never without an A4 pad. I'm better at things like interviews or suggesting we crack open a beer. His moods are hilarious. He stormed off a photoshoot once so we asked a guy with dreadlocks who was walking past to replace him in the photograph.

When our drummer Nick Hodgson left the band to work on other projects, it left a big vacuum. Critics said it was the end of Kaiser Chiefs, but we were determined to prove them wrong. There was no way we could throw it all away just like that, so we carried on. I wanted to be a judge on The Voice to get our new stuff out there to as many people as possible, because it has been a while. We had a disagreement about whether to do it or not. Simon kept saying: "If you wanna do it, do it," which annoyed me because he was missing the point. It wasn't about me. And while Kylie's great in the show, it doesn't make up for not having Simon on my right – which he has always been for the past 10 years.

His story

Simon Rix, 36, bass player of Kaiser Chiefs

I was Nick's mate first. We met at school when we were 11 and were always in bands. At 17, we wanted to start a new one so we auditioned Ricky in my mum and dad's dining room. By the time the band properly started doing gigs, I'd gone off to uni and wasn't actually in it.

Parva, as they were then known, became the best band in Leeds. I'd go to their gigs, watch them get big and feel really jealous that I wasn't up there with them. Eventually, in 2000, after I graduated, I joined and we became Kaiser Chiefs.

Last year was the year Ricky and I became closest – we were locked in a studio for a few months so that was important, creatively. But it was also the first time we really talked and were honest with each other. When we wrote music before, Nick would be the centre point. He made a lot of the decisions regarding songs, lyrics, ideas. We needed to learn to trust each other without him there, go back to the old days, sit in a pub and discuss how we wanted this next album to sound.

Ricky's more musical than he gives himself credit for. He writes words – that's his number one skill – so he thinks playing the ukulele doesn't count, but it does. He's got a very good instinct for what's catchy and what isn't. Put a keyboard in front of him and he will play something great, not knowing how or why, but that doesn't matter.

Kaiser Chiefs' new album, Education, Education, Education & War, is released on 31 March


Katie Burnetts

The GuardianTramp

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