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Interview Tim - Zénith de Paris - 06th November 2006

As Keane was in Paris, we used this opportunity to ask them a few questions. And it's Tim himself that we were able to meet in the Zenith dressing-rooms right before the show. Rendez-vous was taken for 3.15pm. Recorder, questions list in the pocket, we were ready... Let's go !!!

Keane.Fr : People have noticed that, in the last gigs with the UK tour, that the dynamic on stage changed, like the moves and everything, is it linked to the recent events? What do you think yourself? Is it something you worked on?
Tim : Yeah! There's lots of reasons for it really. Firstly just a practical thing. Now if you're playing a set that's an hour and a half long, you know the big gigs in the UK and now here, they're the longest show we've ever played so we felt that we wanted to have more variety, so the audience, and also for ourselves, to keep things interesting. There's always a danger of just, you can end up going through the motion on stage and we really don't want to do that so we wanted to have more variety and new ideas. So yeah you know it's been really good, it's been very fun to try some new stuff and hopefully we'll keep doing that and progress.

You played the "Sun ain't gonna shine" in Hull...
We did.

Which was quite wicked. Do you plan any other surprises for the European Tour? New songs that we've never heard?
Well hopefully we've kind of... So far we've tried to push ourselves to introduce "Broken toy", and that was the only song of "Under the iron sea" that we were not playing. And that's a difficult song to play but we got that going. "The sun ain't gonna shine" we thought it was good but we ended up feeling that we didn't really need it. That's a great song obviously but we felt the gig was so intense with like "A bad dream", "Crystal ball" and they're very intense songs. So we need to fix those cover versions. But yeah I hope so! We're playing most of the songs that we know (laugh) hard to play. We'd love to work some new songs and maybe have... Tom I think would like to play some more songs on the guitar. So yeah maybe! We're working on it!

So maybe we'll have "Dirrtylicious" tonight?
(laugh) it's possible

And you had to cancel Grenoble show cause you have to take part in Children in Need TV show and we were wondering if you wanted to say something to the fans who were supposed to go there? Cos they didn't really understand why it was just cancelled and not postponed, even if they're really happy that you're doing the charity stuff?
Well the difference between canceling and postponing is purely kind of a technical one to be honest so as gigs go. But I mean we've loved playing in ... obviously we played in Paris a lot but it's nice to play in different cities in France as well, it's always really nice to do that. So I hope we'll get back to that part of the country before too long. But yeah we're very very sorry of course to have to do that. But yeah, you know what can I say? We tried not to cancel shows if we can possibly avoid it but you know obviously Children in Need is such a big thing and we want to hold on to it and it's just bad timing really.

I think that because here people don't really know Children in Need. So it took some time to explain to them how big and important it was...
Yeah it is very important thing and it's one of the longest running kind of British charity event and it's a great opportunity for us to lend our support to it and try to do something good.

It is good. We've heard that you collaborated with Gwen Stefani on her next album. Can you share something with us or is it all confidential?
I don't know if it's all secret or not (laugh)
Come on spill the beans! (laugh)
Well we wrote three songs together over the summer. And I don't know... One of them is definitely going to be on the record and I probably shouldn't tell you what it's called just in case. They should announce it any day now. But it is a really different song for her. I'm really proud of it, she's really pleased. She was great to work with, she is a really really nice person, very musical ...

I think we're all very looking forward to hear it actually. Is it more like hip-hop like the style she's in right now or is it more rocky like what she did before with No Doubt?
My song or the whole album?
Your song.
I'd say it's a song we've done together. It's not very hip-hop, it's definitely more a pop song you know. It's exactly kind of, like a blend between Keane and Gwen Stefani basically. I'm really proud of the song, I'm really pleased with it. It's a really beautiful song I think but yeah it's interesting for her cause she's very passionate and I think she's very good at singing a lot of different styles and it suits her very well. As soon as I wrote the song I thought it would be very good for Gwen to work on. It turned out well, I hope you'll like it.

Well we'll see... (laugh). Now we have two instrumentals, "The iron sea" and "Tyderian" on the new single. Is there a reason for not writing lyrics for them or is it a new direction or is it just wanting to make music only?
I think we've always been interested in lots different kind of forms of music. We don't want to feel too restricted to like the three minutes pop song and I grew up being kind of forced to listen to a lot of classical music and stuff and I don't like it that much generally. But I've always been interested in music that doesn't have words like Yann Tiersen, he's great favorite of mine. He does lots of instrumental music and that's how "The iron sea" came about as sort of interesting to kind of paint the picture with music rather than using words at all. I think for me it's the most atmospheric song of the record and I 'm glad I managed to achieve it without any words.
And "Tyderian" is a sort of a ... I guess I've always really been into electronic music just playing around with stuff myself and to be honest it was (laugh) a good opportunity because we couldn't record a new b-side because Tom was in the Priory (ndlr : the hospital he got into for rehab). So I just thought it could be my opportunity to be a geeky kind. I've always really been into Aphex Twin and that sort of things so I guess it's just a pastiche. But I'm really pleased with it, I like the middle section that change to a completely different tune.

And you mentioned Yann Tiersen. Any chance of having accordion in Keane soon? We heard you bought one in Aberdeen or something...
In Inverness... I haven't got around to play it yet but I'd like to use it actually. I've got... one of my favourite instrument is a melodica, which is an instrument that Yann Tiersen use a lot so I think I probably got the idea from him.

Actually have you ever used in on a recording? I think we were wondering on the forum if it was a melodica or not.
"Fly to me"...

Good! Now they know!
I love that instrument. I'd like to use that more.

Our two last questions are more fun. So we want to know the truth : do you actually have a "Nothing in my way" shower curtain in your bathroom?
(laugh) No I don't have one but I think they're cool. My showers at home don't have curtains, they have glass doors (laugh). But I think it might be a bit weird anyway. A bit weird every morning sort of get up and face rockets. Sort of Keane advertisement. But at least it hasn't got like Tom's face on them. (laugh)

What are telling us now? That you don't want to see Tom's face in the morning? (laugh)
Well I suppose (laugh), maybe not when I'm in the shower. (laugh)

And we asked this question to Richard last time we interviewed him in Lille last year. Do you know any French song?
Well I know a few French songs. I haven't heard any new ones recently. I really like Carla Bruni's album which I know is probably not very cool.
You used one of her songs on the Strangers dvd...
Yeah that's right. That's a beautiful song that one. I guess these are considered to be a bit sort of pop-starish I don't know. It's a beautiful album anyway. And I guess probably Yann Tiersen would be the one I know the best. My favorite song of his is a song called "Monochrome" which is an amazing song. You know he might come to the gig tonight.

That'll be great!
It would be good!

You should do a duet.
Yes maybe.

Well thank you very much!
Thank you.