Interview - Olympia (Paris) - January, 21st 2020
Tim, most of your work is inspired by your personal experiences. This last album is about what you have been through a couple of years ago. Have you already written songs about the next phase of your life ?
(Tim) I don’t know … I have written some songs recently. But I’m not really sure what they are about, I’m not really sure what the next phase in my life is. I think that if I am writing about anything at the moment, it is probably just of life uncertainty. So more happy songs (laughs). I find it takes me a long time to articulate what I want to say about anything, years.
So this is a long process then ?
(Tim) Yeah, it’s a long process. I think if you want to say something - well, for me anyway - if I want to say something meaningful, it takes a long time to understand what it is I want to say. And I think I need some perspective on life to do that so - yeah - it takes years. I’m very slow.
(The Way I Feel)
What was the last time you laughed, and the last time you cried ?
(Jesse) Well, we laugh all the time, don’t we ? We do laugh a lot.
(Tim) We do laugh a lot, yeah.
Who is the joker of the band ?
(Jesse) Tom more so now, isn’t he ? These days, he’s funnier that he used to be (laughs). Not mega funny but …
(Tim) He tries.
(Jesse) He does try.
(Tim) No, he’s very funny. I think we all have our moments, don’t we ? We have a lot of history together I suppose, so there’s a lot to laugh about. And it’s nice that we entertain each other. There is quite a lot of waiting around, when you are in a band, so it’s nice if you can laugh. And sometimes you need a bit laugh to get you through difficult times.
You laugh more than you cry nowadays, so that’s good.
(Jesse) Yeah I hope so. I can’t remember the last time I cried … I think the last time I cried was watching « The Kominsky Method » or something. Which was supposed to be funny (laughs).
(Tear Up This Town)
Do you want to try and do a symphonic concert ?
(Jesse) Do you mean what ? With an orchestra ?
Yeah. On stage.
(Jesse) I tell you what would be fun. Do you remember when we were at the China army, and we met the Chinese traditional folklore orchestra ? Now, working with an orchestra that uses instruments that we don't understand. I would love to do that, rather than working with a traditional European orchestra.
(Tim) I think it’d be really interesting if we could make some music together or write something especially.
So, try to be something new ?
(Tim) Yeah, something new. I’m always hesitant to say these sorts of things : « we would never do that ». Because in two years later you are doing it. But I always find it a bit naff when people ...
(Jesse) Get an orchestra to play
(Tim) Yeah, this sort of orchestral tour.
(Jesse) Or like it fits, cause an orchestra did a lot of Queen songs (laughs). [Note : Tom did a tour with an orchestra who played Queen songs, in April 2019]
(Tim) Well, yeah.
(Jesse) We would have to be mad.
(Tim) I think it would be really great to do something new - with any kind of orchestra. But I think I love the idea of when - like when we were in Beijing - you hear a style of music and all sounds that are completely new, to me anyway. That’s pretty exciting, because you think you have heard it all sometimes, and it’s great to hear whole new sounds being created.
So it could be a Night Train part 2.
(Tim) Yeah that would be good, that would be good.
(Jesse) Fright Train
(On the road)
You’ve been touring again for a few months now. How does it feel to be on the road again - since so many years. Did anything change during touring ?
(Tim) I love it.
(Jesse) I feel like quite a lot has changed. It's easier and harder. Do you know what I mean ? So it’s harder to be away from home, because we’ve all got family and kids. But it’s easier in that we are nicer to ourselves or something. I mean we are all healthier.
(Tim) Yeah, we are in the same place in our lives, and that helps you to understand each other’s needs.
Does that mean you are all happier than before ?
(Tim) I think, day to day, if you are around the same four people every day, it helps if you understand each other and support each other. Because otherwise, if you can’t understand each other, people get angry or upset and you can’t understand why. And that can make everyday difficult. And that’s the same in any relationship. But it’s a lot easier if you’re working to understand yourselves and each other.
(Jesse) It’s nice to be with all of us having kids. It feels like we act as a bit of a support group for each other, don’t we ? I mean, someone has always got something that they are worried, about one of their kids. And we all say « I’ve been worried about mine because blablabla », and then we offer our support, which is really nice. Especially for men, who are terrible at doing that sort of things.
Your communication as a band goes a lot through social media nowadays. Was it easy for you to get used to that new way of communicating ?
(Jesse) I feel like - people look at it like it's just one thing, but there's a lot more to it. There’s these sorts of news element of it trying to get information across the people, which is one thing. But then the side of it that I find hard is trying to do anything that feels authentic - do you know what I mean ? Rather than just bombard people.
And do you get involved into the social media strategy at some point ? Or is it just you tweeting ?
(Jesse) We say if something doesn’t feel right, don’t we ?
(Tim) Yeah, we do have opinions on that. To me, the way it works best is when you are authentic. Because trying to be … some people are very natural with that stuff and they are great at being crazy or super enthusiastic or relentlessly posting new stuff. And that's great, that's suits social media very well. But if you are not like that - which I don't think we are ...
Well, Richard has been on social media for a while, on Twitter.
(Jesse) Yes, he has got a lot to say.
(Jesse) Bicycles and coffee.
(Tim) But that social media is a true representation of him - as well of me. So, we have to make sure that it always feels like we are really being who we are.
(Jesse) And not doing it just because we feel like that’s what we are supposed to do.
(Tim) We are not trying to fit into someone else’s idea of what we should be, I guess.
And last year you launched the Thread group on Facebook. Do you sometimes go to the group and read what fans are talking about ?
(Tim) No (laughs). I’m not even on Facebook. But people tell me about it sometimes. I think it’s a really good thing
Cause there is a lot going on. On this group.
(Tim) Is there ? What do we need to know ?
Well, go on the group and you’ll know it.
(Jesse) There used to be a forum, didn’t there ? Do you remember the forum was sort of bit of a blessing and a curse ? Because some people would just argue about things, and that they would be unpleasant with each other.
But there’s not a lot of arguments, I think on this new Thread group. t’s kind of positive. And a lot of sharing between fans
(Tim) I have always felt like, generally, there's a lot of positivity with Keane fans, which is a great thing. We have always felt very connected to people and when we started, I made the first website for Keane. And the first forum. So, you never lose that sense of wanting to be connected and feeling responsible, I think we still feel responsible and if somebody is on Twitter complaining that they’ve -
(Jesse) They’re complaining with the album.
(Tim) Yeah exactly and then we feel like we need to do something about this - ourselves. I think if I went on Thread, I would start to feel very stressed out, very quickly. Possibly.
So which social media is your favourite one ? Instagram ? Twitter ?
(Jesse) I quite like Instagram, although I feel like they have over-complicated it now. I liked it when it was just a stream of photos, but now, it’s kind of like -
You are not into stories.
(Jesse) I’m trying. Because my attitude on that sort of things - I dislike it but I also feel like I don't want to be one of those people who ends up being old and grumpy with all the young people. Because it’s the way the world is going. So I think it's important to try and find the way of engaging with it that is authentic and feels right for you. For me, all I want to do is really take the odd photo that I think is cool or tell people what music I like. If anyone tried to make me do anything else, I’d just stop enjoying it. I like doing that, but I won’t do it.
So you won’t let your labels tell you what to do on social medias ?
(Jesse) Sometimes they say things, but we are like "no" (laughs)
Special thanks to Laurent (great interviewer), Marie (great translator) for their help on this, thanks to Keane and their team (great management of great band), and Ronan (great founding member of this website) for making all this possible !