Interview Tim & Richard - 11th September 2006
Who would you dream to work with even if it was only for one afternoon? It can be somebody dead like John Lennon as it is only a dream.
I'd love to work with Paul Simon. He's the greatest songwriter alive, and has been an inspiration to me all through my life. Thankfully he's still alive, and still making great music, so maybe I'll have a chance one of these days!
What is your favourite Keane song and your favourite song of all time?
My favourite song ever is probably Greek Song by Rufus Wainwright, which is just absurdly brilliant in the way it uses melodies and is incredibly atmospheric and haunting as well.
My favourite Keane song is tough to choose. I'd probably go for either Atlantic or Leaving So Soon?, although I love Fly To Me too - that one has always been a bit of a tearjerker for me.
When is the last time you were blown away by somebody in concert (meaning by an artist you were going to see)?
Radiohead at the Apollo in London a couple of months ago - that was pretty amazing. We were very lucky to see them in such a small venue. They're great heroes of ours, and they've made one of the only truly great albums of our lifetime.
Which parts of the album were recorded at The Magic Shop, how significant do you think they were to the album and how did they shape the following recordings back in Heliocentric?
We did a huge amount of work at The Magic Shop. I find New York incredibly inspiring. I somehow lose the need to sleep while I'm there, which means I can spend a lot more time working, and still have time to go out partying! And, of course, we were playing with U2 for five of the nights we were there, which meant we were having fun playing at Madison Square Garden and hanging out at their lovely aftershow parties.
It's hard to remember everything we did there, but I definitely remember Tom doing a lot of the vocals for Is It Any Wonder? I think he did the vocals for Nothing In My Way there too, but I may be wrong. I'm pretty sure I did bass for Let It Slide, Crystal Ball and a bunch of other songs there. I definitely did the bass for Broken Toy - I remember that because I thought it was going to take me hundreds of takes because it's a difficult part, but in fact by some miracle we got it in a couple of takes. (Broken Toy was by far the quickest and easiest song on the album to record - we did most of it in one evening at Heliocentric, and then did the drums and bass in New York.)
Richard also did the drums for Let It Slide and Leaving So Soon? in NYC, and the drums for The Iron Sea of course. We recorded a version of Hamburg Song there that we later abandoned. I wrote and sang the harmonies in the end section of Atlantic at The Magic Shop. We also recorded a lot of parts on the Mellotron (an old keyboard) that belongs to The Magic Shop - a lot of string and pad sounds for A Bad Dream, Atlantic, The Frog Prince and The Iron Sea. I remember writing the middle eight for a song called The Night Sky (which will emerge eventually!) at The Magic Shop, and then recording a demo of that song which we later used a template for recording the proper version once we got back to England.
So you can see it’s a bit of a confused mass of memories! One thing that was unusual is that we didn’t record any CP70 at The Magic Shop at all. I think just being in a different town made us want to use different sounds and ideas, and it’s great that there are all those other textures on the record.
Have you ever wanted to change the lyrics of a song after it’s out (meaning to edit it)? How do you do not to have any regrets regarding the finished and published lyrics?
I don’t like the lyrics at the end of Put It Behind You. They have a certain charm in that they’re a bit of a train-of-thought, but really I always intended to change them. But I left it too late and they ended up sticking.
Now the album is out, are you writing new songs and do you have any idea about the sound of the next album?
I am writing new songs, and have a few gems I think. Tom is doing some writing as well. That’s about as far as we’ve got. At the moment our big struggle is getting out and touring Under The Iron Sea, so we’re not thinking too hard about the next record yet!
Will the identity of 'The Frog Prince' ever be revealed?
It was correctly identified by an NME journalist in a piece about us a few weeks ago.
What made you decide / What pushed you to play the drums? Who was your inspiration? Here in France, we have a famous drummer called Manu Katché, ever heard of him?
I think it was seeing a drummer who came to play at my school when I was about 10 years old. He had a simmons electronic kit (the one with octagonal pads made of black rubber) and he played all kinds of tunes (I seem to remember a bond theme in there) all from this kit on his own. I always seemed to listen to the drums when I listened to music, and it just seemed like a fun thing to do. I really decided to try after seeing U2 at wembley stadium in 1993, so you can imagine what a buzz it was to chat with Larry and sit at his kit in New York, and to discover what a decent guy he is. Shows that you should meet your idols after all.
As for Manu Katché, I've never seen him play, but I have indeed heard of him, and read interviews with him - I'd love to see him play.
Do you like classical music? What is your favourite composer? And also your fave productions?
I never listen to classical music! There's too much new stuff out there to listen to. I always have a pile of new records to listen to and I find that much more interesting. I guess the most classical stuff I hear is string arrangements in modern music - a band like the divine comedy has taken it, and twisted it into a modern and relevant sound, like on the (amazing) song "our mutual friend", for example.
Why don¹t you play The Frog Prince anymore?
We do, we just felt it wasn't going across before the album had come out and that we were playing one too many new songs - it's hard to take in too much new stuff in one go - we realise that as we go to gigs all the time too.
It looks like Tim plays a lot of instruments and that he got very much involved on UTIS, would you consider having other musicians, as support, for the next album? Any musicians/singers you would like to collaborate with?
Tim is definitely pushing the limits of what one person can do on stage. I don't know if we'd have others on stage or not - we certainly have a lot of friends we'd like to collaborate with, or maybe do a one-off show with, but time will tell. It was amazing having Rufus Wainwright on stage at the Wireless festival - he has such an amazing voice, and the harmonies he had written were brilliant.
As for singers - I thought Christina Aguilera was amazing at the grammies, so if she's looking for someone to duet with, maybe we could be the band...
What did you do when you went to Paris this time?
We ate very well, and I took some photos. I like walking around paris - it's a very relaxing place to be, and there's always a bar or café to stop at if you get tired or hungry. I love the pastries too. I could eat french pastries for the rest of my life.
Are there any female influences the band has and who are they?
Tim's mentioned Kylie a lot before - she's amazing. He's also said that Kate Bush is a big influence, though maybe not on our outfits to wear on stage. I really like PJ Harvey - when we first went on to Island records she was in the studio in the basement, and the head of the label took us down there to show us the studio, but I think he was actually trying to show off PJ Harvey, who was in there doing some recording. It worked, and we signed with them about a week later.
There is a noticeable division on the album track listing between "Put it behind you" and "The iron sea". Do you see the album as comprising two distinct and separate sections with different moods or intentions, or is there another reason for the break in the album?
We do see it as two halves, absolutely.
RICHARD OR TIM :
Who was your favourite Spice Girl? (question sent by Christopher F., Middlesborough)
I honestly never gave it any thought. Put it this way - I prefer Destiny's child.
Keane.fr would like to thank Dan for his help, patience and for being ever so nice to us. We wish him all the best for his new career.