Interview Richard - L'Aéronef (Lille) - 24th March 2005
Arriving in Lille, we were really excited about this interview we got thanks to Amandine's cheek and the guys kindness. We had well prepared a list of questions, helped by the French speaking fans who provided us some.
The meeting was set at the venue at 3h30pm. We got there on time... after running all morning from the car to the mall to spot the venue and have lunch then back to the car to get what was needed for the interview and the tickets and finally back to the venue! We entered the venue, introduced ourselves and asked for Colin. It took a few minutes for someone to come, which was quite convenient to recover from the run :o)
Somebody from the venue came at last and asked us if we were from "Le Monde". They forgot "de Keane", they haven't thought we were actually from the newspaper "Le Monde"! We followed the guy through the venue and then under a low footbridge, climbed a few stairs, and got to a corridor where Colin was waiting for us. We said hello to him and he told us the interview would be only with Richard. Whatever, Tim had warned us the day before in Amsterdam that he would be writing in the bus and having Richard for an interview was already a great luck!
Colin opened us a door locked by a digicode (!) and Richard was waiting for us inside. We entered the small room with 2 armchairs and a sofa that was facing a buffet full of food : baskets of chocolate bars, plates of tomatoes and artichokes, some weird cakes... Richard made us feel comfortable at once and offered us some drinks and chocolates.
We were all set and the interview could begin...
Le Monde de Keane : For French people, the Olympia is THE venue, but how did you feel about playing there?
Richard : It was great! We had a really good time! Sometimes you get into a place and you don't really know much about it and then throughout the day or leading up to a tour you find out more information about it and we did some interviews that day and somebody was saying "Oh you know how big a venue it is" and we were sort of saying "Well we know it's good" and then they said "Oh the Beatles played on this stage" and it's the biggest gig they ever did in France or something. And then you hear more and more bits of information like that and suddenly you realize "God! This is like a big deal!".
It's a really big important venue and we gradually realized that throughout the day. And obviously just going there on the evening it was "what a great place!". I was glad they've taken the seats out from downstairs because it's always better when people stand up. It can be packed in at the front rather than being sort of staggered. And more people can come that way. Yeah it was great we had a really good time. We thought the gig was really good. One day we're gonna design a venue, and it will be the perfect venue and it will have a sloping floor like that so that people all the way to the back can see what's going on. So it was a good venue yeah!
Did you take a photo of your name at the front?
I got so close to the front. Cos we drove in and the bus went down into the garage and I wanted to come out and I got to the last door and it was locked. I walked all the way up, you know the big long corridor you have you have to pass where the clothes get hung up. So I walked up the stairs all the way along and I went through door after door, I got to the last ones and they were locked!
Oh we'll send you the picture!
Yeah put one on the website or something
You had a day off in Paris...
Yeah the day before.
...what did you do?
I walked for miles. We were staying on Avenue Haussmann, it was right next door to the "Galeries La Fayette". Anyway, I walked down to the Louvres but it was such a nice day I thought "I'll go there later and I just keep walking" so I walked. I thought I was going on to the island where Notre Dame is, but I took the bridge before the island. I missed the island!
So I just kept walking I was thinking "This is a big island!" as I've never reached the river! And I got down to a massive shopping centre and I realized I missed it! I knew what I've done but I don't look at my map. Then I went to... is it like a Parliament or something?... with a big gold dome, near the Rodin Museum...
Les Invalides? Where Napoléon is buried?
Yeah that's right! I ended up there and then I thought "Right! I go to the Rodin museum" cos I've been there before and I haven't had time to go inside and see everything. I've only seen the outside which is amazing! So I thought I'd go and finish that, see the rest of it. But it was closed it was Monday! I would like to complain about museum being shut on a Monday! Why on a monday?
Oh always on Mondays
But why Mondays? In respect of what? Mondays?
Cos they're opened on Sundays.
Then why not employ someone else to do the job just on Mondays or something?
(laughing) We'll pass on your complaint! You should do some politic in France!
You know, why not? I was not the only person that turned up and just went "Huh? Mondays?" Anyway it's stupid! Whatever, it's fine. Anyway I tried to go to the Rodin, I couldn't go to the Rodin museum and that's a tragedy. So next time we're there, I'm gonna go and if they won't let me in I'm gonna break in! I'll climb over the fence.
So when you're touring in a country do you look around the architecture and stuff?
Yeah definitely! Especially somewhere as amazing as Paris or we were just in Amsterdam, you know all the museums and stuff. It's a nice contrast to being in the countryside where we grew up. There's no museum, there's no amazing international art work that everybody knows about. Mona Lisa does not reside in Battle. It's a great city Paris so yeah generally we do enjoy it.
Do you have any sort of ritual before going on stage?
Any ritual? I don't know if you've noticed but there's a music room there (pointing at the back of the room). And next room we have a piano, well a keyboard and I have a little electronic drumkit. It's just like three pads, well two pads and two foot pedals. We're just trying to warm up because it's quite a physical thing going on stage. We're stretching, trying to get the blood flowing, just warming up because sometimes you're a bit achy, like today my neck is quite sore after last night.
You were so high up! We have a sore neck too!
I know! I like a high stage, not too high if you can't see over it.
(pointing at Sousada) She couldn't see anything, she had to go back.
It's good though. It means that everyone can see and that is really important really because I know what it's like to go to a gig with a friend who wasn't that tall and he can't see anything for the whole gig. It's so disappointing, you pay so much money to go to a gig and if you can't see it then it's the worse.
And what do you do during Allemande? Do you warm up there too?
No I'm normally very sweaty so I put a towel otherwise I get really cold cos it would dry off. I drink some water. And I normally go at the side of the stage and watch actually. I like to watch it and just listen to it without my ear pieces in and try to dry them out because they get so sweaty in your ears and I can't hear so you know, I just relax really. And then at the end of it when they're coming to their final bit I normally start warming up my hands again.
So no girls and alcohol?
No girls, no alcohol, no crack pipes. You can see (showing us a fruits and vegetables buffet and two baskets of chocolate bars), chocolates are our drugs. That's it.
We know that Tim can sing but what about you? Are we going to hear your voice on the next album?
(laughing) I would say that's pretty unlikely. But you're right Tim can sing and I think he has a great voice.
But you can sing too...
(looking puzzled)I can? No I can't!
There's an mp3 going on the web...
Oh that was just a stupid thing! (laughing) I can't believe how I sound!
How do you decide what goes on the playlist?
The setlist for a gig? It's a difficult thing actually. (looking around) I'm trying to see if there is one but there isn't. It's a dificult thing and it gets more and more complicated because now we've introduced some visuals and the cameras that are going on. We had that in the UK for our last tour in November.
Because we've only released one album and we're playing for quite a long time and we know that to a lot of people in the room, obviously we know that a lot of people know songs like "Snowed under" and "On a day like today" and even the new songs and "Allemande" but actually most people in the room will only know the songs on the album. And in Europe that means they don't know "On a day like today" so that means people will only know what is it... a maximum of nine songs or something during the set?
Yeah but we don't play "Untitled I" and we don't play... hum... something else... But anyway it is a difficult process deciding how the films are going to fit in, cos we try to build a show you know. We start off quite rocky and then we play a couple of new songs, then you introduce the visuals and then you get to "Somewhere only we know" which always goes down very well and then come back on the next quiet again with "Allemande", then the cameras for "This is the last time" and then it's off with "Bedshaped". It's such a great one to finish with, really dramatic lights.
And you really think about it like theatre really I mean, without sounding, well without trying to sound really pretentious, you have to think long and hard about it because sometimes when you try out a setlist it looks really good on paper and then you play it and then suddently at one moment it's like the song is at the wrong place. That's why we don't change things around much once we've found what...
But you know there are other songs we know people like, things like "Snowed under" we know you want to hear that but at the moment we just don't know where to put it in the set. It's a difficult thing. There's no natural place and if you play too many songs people don't know in a row then their ears can't just take in anymore cos you know what, it's like going to a band you don't know and after a while your ears, you just can't take in and appreciate it. So that's why we aren't playing "Snowed under" at the moment.
OK so we can state that as offical reason (laughing)
But we do love playing it and we will continue to play it...
Could you tell us a bit more about the new songs, "Nothing in your way" and "Hamburg song", like what there are about or...?
Well, Tim is probably the best person to ask and the best place to do that is the message board but one thing I would like to say is that I think for me, personally, I think "Hamburg song" has probably my favourite lyric of any Keane songs right now. I think it's a really really powerfull message and I'm sure people can go to Chris Flynn's site (laughing) and see the lyrics and make up what they're all about.
Well actually Tim posted them on the board so there you go (laughing)...
No that's great!
How do you feel about fans, I mean some of us know the lyrics and...
Oh that's great, it's really pleasing for me because lyrics, especially abroad, I guess if you don't, I mean you guys speak English, but a lot of people might not speak English very well and still they know the words. You always assume that the melody would be the most important thing but it makes you feel like they have gone into the lyrics as well and it's great.
Lyrics are really undervalued in music at the moment and we're trying have good lyrics, Tim spends a long time agonising over these lyrics and it is a very important part. I don't think you can have a great song without great lyrics. So it's an important part of what we do so it's nice when people know them. I think it's worthwhile.
We were wondering : what's the most difficult thing to deal with now that you're kind of famous?
The most difficult thing to deal with?
Like the annoying fans waiting for you outside?
No, we don't find that annoying because we don't have to come out. And we do. We probably wait longer now and some people won't be able to wait as long and that's a shame but you can't just go straight at the front doors and wait for everyone that leave the gig and sign everything for everyone or we would be there and miss the next gig. But that's not annoying, if we didn't want to do it or if somebody's ill, like there was one time Tom didn't do it at one American show because he was ill, and I did one where I just signed everything and then just went straight away because I was ill but I think people understand that and if people understand that's good.
I don't know what's the most annoying thing... I think it's being... sometimes it can be annoying just being so busy, and going to a town and not having time to see it... That can be sad because you go to a town to play a gig like just now I had an hour so I just went for a walk in the rain, found a drum shop, I bought some trainers, found a nice cup of coffee and I feel like I know what this town looks like, so I'm going to be playing tonight thinking I know where these people live, and sometimes it's just, especially if you're somewhere amazing like...
You know I've been to New York City six times and I've never been to the Statue of Liberty. And next time I don't give a shit I'm going to the Statue of Liberty because I had enough of not going there. That can be the annoying thing, it's being so busy that you don't get time because we see some amazing places and I haven't been to museums that I wanted to go like the Picasso museum in Amsterdam, I haven't been to yet and the stuff I want to go to...
That and I don't know... I'm eating chocolate all the time it's upsetting...
(pointing at the chocolate baskets) and they don't help...
No I know...
They're screaming at you "eat me! eat me!"
They are! I already had 3 Lion bars and a Twix today. Just little ones...
Well that count for one then.
How about the videos in the show? We saw Corin yesterday, he came after...
Yeah that was nice he could meet some of you guys.
Yeah very nice to talk to him and thank him for the great videos. And we were wondering like having images moving behind you, does it disturb you?
I can't see it where I am but I know that sometimes Tom turns around to look at me and sometimes I see him not looking at me but glancing up and you know because it's a cool thing. I don't know, I don't find it distracting cos I can't see it. Well actually I do occasionally do that (turning his head) just to check it's working you know (laughing).
No it's something we've always wanted to do and it's great we're now at a level you know... The last shows we played in Europe we couldn't afford to do that because it is very expensive to take the extra equipment you need, other people to operate it and obviously you have to commission the film in the first place, get people to make those, and the projectors are ridiculously expensive. It's a difficult thing to do and we'll definitely be making money if we didn't do it rather than losing money by doing it.
But we always wanted to put on shows like that where there's like that little bit extra and we played some small places where you wouldn't normally see that and that's pretty exciting for us to be able to bring something a little bit different. I think they are works of art those films. The shadow puppets are my favourites at the moment, I just think that is brilliant. I feel I can say that because I didn't make it (laughing). People like that and I know a lot of people come to more than one show and I think it gives different things for people to look at during shows.
How do you feel about that? People travelling around just to see you ?
It's great, it's incredibly flattering because... I can remember somebody coming when we supporting Travis, there was somebody who'd flown over from Japan and watched I think 17 shows in the UK. She was in the UK for the whole month and just went to every show, went to 17 Travis shows in a month and we were supporting so she saw us 17 times.
I've seen you in Glasgow last year actually.
At the SECC? I would like to play there again, that was really good fun! That was the biggest indoor thing we've done for a long time until recently and that was so huge.
It had people having goosebumps and my husband was like "look I have goosebumps" because it was like so good.
(impressed) Oh wow! Thank You! We feel really flattered that people follow us around and want to see more than one show. You know, I guess that it means that they're connecting with the music and they understand what it's about and it touches them and that's exactly what we always hoped will be able to do.
And are the crowds really different from one country to another? Do you have to adapt yourselves to the crowd or...
It's not so much from one country to another, it's more from one night to another because you know the room is always different and the stage is different and it's not just countries...
[ Security guy : Soundcheck in 5 minutes Richard ]
5 minutes? OK.
I don't think you can really generalized on a country basis but there are certain things that are different, but basically each night is different because each room is different, the way you see it is different, you have a different day and you feel different everyday. You know, even in Brixton we did 3 nights and they were different each of the 3 night was different and so I don't know you do sort of...
I think Tom is the guy whose performance is probably the most different each night because of what he says and the way he interacts with people, cos Tim and I basically are in our places. But I like to catch what people are shouting out and what people got on flags and things and see when people are enjoying things.
So the last question. Do you know any French song?
Do I know any french song...
That's the opportunity to show us your voice.
No I'm not gonna sing any (laughing) but I know there was obviously "Joe le taxi"
Oh, we're impressed
And what else, there's something else... Doesn't Rufus sing something in French ?
Yes, he does, "La complainte de la Butte".
So he's got a French song... Who else? There's a bit of that Travis song which is in French...
"The last laugh of the laughter"?
But I'm afraid it doesn't count.
Not much actually, but "Joe le taxi" is fine. We thought that you will tell us something like "Alouette" or things you learnt at school... (laughing)
Actually, I was played "Joe le taxi" by Mrs Birdies my French's teacher when we were quite young, trying my age here. (laughing)
Time flies and the interview was already over...
We would like to thank all the people who made it possible, Chris Flynn for his help, Dan for putting up with our emails, Alastair for his patience after the gigs, Colin for his kindness, Adam for correcting our English, the French speaking fans for their help with the questions and obviously Tim, Tom and Richard for their commitment to their fans, their kindness and their patience.