As Kasabian’s chief creative officer, Serge Pizzorno has never been afraid to engage his experimental impulses. However, his first solo album presented an opportunity for that adventurous spirit to fly freer and further than before. “The usual parameters of record-making were gone,” he tells Apple Music. “There’s things you have to bear in mind making a Kasabian album: a definite vision and sound, like, ‘I need to make sure this is going to be OK to play in front of 50,000 people at a festival.’ But this was like waking up and being able to do whatever—the freedom of making stuff for the sake of making it.” As a result, The S.L.P.—it stands for Sergio Lorenzo Pizzorno—is a mercurial adventure in sound. Built around the “Meanwhile…” trilogy of songs—three pieces salvaged from an unused film score Pizzorno worked on—it unfurls as “a little story of where I’m at in Britain right now.” To tell that tale, the album takes left turns through ’70s Lagos, Ibiza, and English motorway service stations—often in a taxi with the radio blasting the Wu-Tang Clan, French touch, Meat Puppets, and the cream of UK rap. In this track-by-track guide, Pizzorno explains it all. “Meanwhile… In Genova” “I’ve always been obsessed with soundtracks; it’s been in my work from the start, really. I just like the idea in movies when the melody comes back—and comes back in different forms. You have a few iconic notes that tell the story. I had these three ‘Meanwhile…’ songs, a beginning, middle, and end. Then I went to fill in the gaps in between—visit different parts of my personality, become a different character for each track.” “Lockdown” “I always saw ‘Lockdown’ as, like, Sin City, sort of Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg—a futuristic version of that. [It’s] fragments of nights I’ve been out on, things that people say. Those nights when you’re supposed to be keeping your head down and you’re telling everyone that you are but you’re sneaking out the bedroom window. ‘Yeah, I had an early night!’ You definitely did not have an early night, you were out until god knows when. It’s little pieces of that kind of life.” “((trance))” “It’s sort of French sophistication. Daft Punk, Cassius—they have a really innate coolness. I had this song, it was really beautiful but it needed a twist. I added this beat that suddenly made it quite interesting because it’s really anthemic but it’s not really fast enough for a disco tune; it’s something just underneath that makes you move along. It was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we just opened up into a chorus at the end, a huge sing-along that you were not expecting?’ Then when you listen to it a few times, you just can’t wait for that moment. You’re in this journey, traveling late at night. There’s something amazing about being in taxis or cars, when you’re going to a night out with your mates—the brake lights and your eyes blur. Then when you get there, it opens up and you’re all together on this mad vibe.” “The Wu” “Someone sent me some music from Lagos in the ’70s. I was really into the rhythm and the pace: a half-time bassline with a really insistent kick to it, keeping everything minimal and not allowing layers, so when the snare comes in it’s like the biggest thing in the world. This was one of those times when a song just tells you what it wants to be. I didn’t really have any notes on it or any lyrics hanging around, I just played the groove and then the melody came. I listened back and it sounded like I said ‘Wu-Tang’ and I was like, ‘I get that, I know what I’m trying to do here! What better way to shout out the influence they’ve had on everything I’ve done?’ It’s about those nights scuttling around [hotel] corridors, listening for the echo of someone playing music, like, ‘Hey, they’re in there. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!’” “Soldiers 00018” “This came from a depressing cab ride. One of those where you get a bad [driver] spouting off hatred and their point of view on what’s going wrong, why Britain’s fucked. The lyric ‘I’m a soldier but I never hurt no one’—it’s that passion to be heard and to make a statement in a nonviolent, non-hateful way, putting joy out into the world. I wanted to have an aggressive tune but it be about soldiers putting out positive vibes and good energy and not taking this negativity and letting it consume you.” “Meanwhile… At the Welcome Break” “‘Meanwhile… At the Welcome Break’ is like romantic Italian cinema, a really powerful, emotional tune, and I always thought—just to flip it on its head—about getting a hip-hop verse on it. I read an interview with slowthai and discovered he’s from Northampton and it struck a chord. It’s like reading that someone’s from [Pizzorno’s hometown] Leicester: no one’s from Leicester, no one’s from Northampton. I went to see him play in Birmingham and was blown away. We spoke about the track, set at a motorway service station, and how the whole album is about seeing someone one way but then meanwhile they’re someone else—like the superhero thing. I heard [the verse] as being quite aggressive and venomous, but when he sent it back, he’d turned it into this psychedelic tune. I was like, ‘Man, that is genius.’ It shows how talented he is to hear that, be inspired, and sing.” “Nobody Else” “‘Marvin Gaye in Ibiza’ is the tongue-in-cheek vibe on this. I like the idea of the album’s second half starting with these chords and then going into a real dance moment. There’s that tune from back in the day, ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ [by Stardust]—I really like that energy. And I don’t tend to do feel-good music, you know? It’s quite a heavy experience with [Kasabian]; it’s annihilation, really. So this was a moment to get the piano out and hit a summer tune.” “Favourites” (feat. Little Simz) “It’s a little comment on online dating and the way that we project these perfect versions of ourselves to the world. I used a first date as a metaphor for that: In your head, you have this voice moaning about the bill, but you can’t let on because you put out there that you’re, like, a left-wing activist. I felt you needed a retort or a comeback to that, so I got in Simz, who blew me away and was absolutely phenomenal. I get in her face and she gets in my face. There’s something quite comical about the line ‘She was my favorite’ and ‘You’re on thin ice ’—something about that reminds me of Mark E. Smith, a venomous, cheeky little line.” “Kvng Fv” “I wanted to calm the onslaught as you come out of that Haiti carnival sound [on “Favourites”]. I’ve always been a massive fan of the Meat Puppets—I love the brittleness and the out-of-time, throwaway nature. It makes it so beautiful, and the dirt in it makes it so authentic and real. This is just having 30 seconds of ‘[sighs] OK’ before being thrown back in.” “The Youngest Gary” “My mate told me he’d seen a story that the youngest Gary in the country is, like, 28 years old. It’s complete and utter nonsense. But humor’s very important to me, and a title like that, if it was done by another artist, I’d want to hear what that was. I definitely wouldn’t expect it to sound like this. It’s this character wandering about, Ziggy Stardust-like, being in a band, moving to London and going through all the trappings of that. Then it goes into that sort of Parliament/George Clinton second half—and there’s no way you’re expecting that. The whole record is based on surprise and ‘I did not expect that to happen.’ I think they’re the albums that stand the test of time.” “Meanwhile… In the Silent Nowhere” “The end of the ‘Meanwhile…’ trilogy is about the need to communicate. The importance of surrounding ourselves not just with people we agree with but people we don’t agree with, to try to understand where everyone is coming from. It’s quite a heavy ending, but that’s what the music felt like it was saying to me. It ends on those three notes, and there’s something powerful about dropping off there. Just a reminder that it’s OK to have a great time, but we have to try and figure this out—and we're not going to get there without communication.”

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