KEANE archive – Tom interview 24 March 2009


We continue this week’s trawl through the archives of Keane’s previous website with an interview with Tom from February 2007 in which he talked about the band’s recent US tour, upcoming tours in the UK and Latin America, their plans for making new tunes and the most elegant way to go fast down a mountain. Enjoy!

This weekend, we caught up with Tom while the band were rehearsing for the UK arena tour this week. Here’s what he had to say…

Hello Tom. How was the North American tour?
It was great actually. I probably say this after every tour, but I think it was one of my favourite tours we’ve ever done, if not my favourite. I loved it. There was just a great vibe. I think we’ve enjoyed the last three tours more than any of the tours we did on ‘Hopes And Fears’, simply by virtue of the fact that we’ve been relaxed and getting on. Plus there was something special about the crowds. Probably because we missed out on going in the autumn, there was a lot of expectation and excitement. The first show was in LA and to go out there and feel that buzz was great, because sometimes in big cities they’ve got that arms folded, show us what you can do vibe. But it was great. Everyone was very excited and we enjoyed it a lot.

Any particular highlights of the tour?
Well, all of the shows really. We had an excellent time in Canada for the Vancouver show. We’d tried to go skiing while we were in America, but we didn’t have time. But on our last day in Vancouver we managed to climb up a mountain and go snowboarding and skiing.

Do you ski or snowboard?
I ski actually. Skiing is more exhilarating, I think. Snowboarders snake their way down a bit more slowly. I also think skiing is a vastly more elegant way of going fast down a mountain.

What have you been doing since you got back from America?
Well, we’ve had a bit of time off, but we’ve also spent a bit of time getting all the songs together that we’ve got in our heads and playing them as very simple piano/voice demos.

New songs?
Yeah. We got together to do that and see where we stand, because I think we’re itching to get on with the more creative stuff again. It’s really exciting actually. Tim made a compilation of about 15 or 20 songs. We’re just trying to collate all of the ideas that we have. I think we want to get in a room and see what we can thrash out. That’s what we did before ‘Hopes And Fears’. We spent a lot of time just working on songs and getting them right before we recorded them. It was a lot of fun doing it like that. With ‘Under The Iron Sea’ we kind of had to do things a bit back to front. We did try some stuff out on the road, but basically it was a case of "we’re in the studio now, let’s lay down a load of tracks and parts".

Is there less time pressure on this one?
I guess so. I think we just want to take the stress out of it and have fun working on new stuff before we actually start recording. We’re not really sure where it’s going to go or how it’s going to unfold – that’s the fun of it. But I think the three of us in a room going on that adventure together will be a really exciting thing. We haven’t done that for quite a long time.

And now the UK tour starts this week.
Yeah. I’m actually at the rehearsal studios right now in the middle of the Berkshire countryside. We’re setting it all up. The three of us are in a small room working on ideas as a band and then there’s a big shed over in the distance that’s full of lights and ramps and all kinds of crazy ideas that we’ve come up with for production.

Will it be a noticeably different show from the last UK tour?
Yeah, I think so. I wouldn’t want to give too much away, but we’ve got lots of cool ideas. You’ve got more space in an arena, so you can fiddle around with things.

Any chance that you’ll play any new songs?
Possibly. We’ll see how the next few days go. We may hammer through a few of them and see if they might work.

And then you guys are off to South America in April.
Yeah, that’s gonna be great. We’ve wanted to go to that part of the world for a long time, but actually making it happen has taken quite a bit of planning. But now it’s all sorted and I think it’s going to be fantastic.

Will you get the chance to do some sightseeing?
Yeah, that was one of the provisos really. These days, we’ll always factor in a week extra of touring if it means we can have days off in between to look around. So we’ve got a couple of days off in Rio and other days off here and there, to go exploring.

Have you been out there before?
No, I’ve never to South America. We’ve been to Mexico, but that’s the furthest down that way that we’ve been. So it should be great.

Are there any more touring plans after that?
I’m not sure. I think we’re planning to do lots of festival shows in the summer, mostly around Europe. That should be great. Last summer was obviously kind of marred a little bit, especially towards the end, so it’ll be nice to have the sunshine back and hopefully getting on well and having a lovely time. We’re being quite selective with what we’re doing. We’re choosing events where we feel we can do something really special. Sometimes bands find festivals quite a struggle, because you feel like it’s all a bit of a rush and a production line. But we’ve chosen things carefully so that we can make each night that we play something to remember.

And, of course, you’re playing at one of the ‘Live Earth’ shows on July 7th.
Yeah. Climate change is something that needs to be talked about and I feel privileged that we can be a part of it. We actually went to see Al Gore in London and got to meet the great man. It was a bunch of bands and people from the entertainment world all in a room and he gave his Inconvenient Truth lecture, which was fascinating. He fielded questions afterwards and he was saying the great thing about the world of entertainment is that it can get through to people on a very emotional level. I think he’s found as a politician that it’s very hard to persuade people on a global or even nationwide level that what he believes is something that matters. So it’s nice to feel that our music can help get that opinion out there.

It should be a special day.
Absolutely. With Live 8, that day came and went and I remember thinking to myself that there’d never be another day like that in my lifetime. Now, just a couple of years on it’s looks like there’ll be another one. It should be amazing. 

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