To round off the year, we thought we’d continue our tradition (begun last year) of emailing the members of Keane to ask them 15 questions about their highlights of 2011. Richard was first to reply…
1. Favourite album of 2011?
It’s a tie between Noah and the Whale, the Vaccines and Florence and the Machine.
2. Favourite single?
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. by Noah and the Whale.
3. Best gig you saw?
Absolutely has to be Paul Simon at the iTunes Festival, The Roundhouse, London. He was utterly amazing, and so were his band. Effortless and wonderful.
4. Best moment in the studio?
Filming Tim and Jesse playing a drum overdub for the new record – see below. I was going to play it with one or the other of them, but they were both so excited to play some drums I let them both do it, and filmed it instead. It’s the funniest thing I’ve witnessed in a studio, ever.
5. Best film you saw?
There have been tons – I tend to tweet about the ones I really enjoy. The best I saw recently was a really brilliant roadtrip film called "Sideways". I also loved "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" trilogy (the original ones – can’t wait to see Noomi Rapace in the Alien prequel). I also loved "Senna" – I have been an F1 fan as long as I can remember, and visited his grave the first time we went to Sao Paolo.
6. Best journey you made?
I went to New York for Halloween with some friends. America does Halloween so much more than the UK – I’d never seen anything like it, but going to China for the first time, driving out to the Great Wall, going to see the National Folk Orchestra, and just being somewhere completely new to me – that was just a fantastic trip.
7. Best TV show you watched?
Breaking Bad season 4. I honestly think it’s the best thing on tv. Someone recommended SouthLAnd to me, which I also really like, along with The Walking Dead, Parks & Recreation, and Trailer Park Boys, but BB is the best. Getting into The (original) Killing right now.
8. Best thing you heard on the radio?
Chris Evans saying Tom was his idea of a perfect husband.
9. Best book you read?
I’ve been gradually reading my way through a fantastic biography of F.D.R. by Jean Edward Smith. I dip in and out, it’s amazing – what a life. Also just been given the River Cottage VEG everyday book – I love Hugh F-W’s approach to food, and it’s great to see his veggie recipes and ideas. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him a couple of times, and he seems like an utterly brilliant, totally genuine fella.
10. Best thing you bought yourself?
Aside from all the drum-related stuff (top tip – Vintage ‘A’ Heads by my friends at Remo)… probably some proper studio monitor speakers for listening to mixes at home.
11. Best thing someone else bought for you?
A barista course at Prufrock Coffee in London. I learned so much. And I just got given an axe for christmas (or Axe-mas as someone tweeted to me).
12. Best website you visited or app/podcast you downloaded?
I love www.lettersofnote.com (and Listsofnote, too).
podcasts: The Life Scientific, Democracy Now, and WTF with Mark Maron – really enjoyed the recent show with Bryan Cranston, for example.
apps: the "Best Coffee" apps. There’s one for London / NYC / LA / San Francisco – they tell you where the good coffee is. I swear by it. And I use London Tube Deluxe all the time, and The Guardian iphone app to check the news. 2011 was the first year I paid for news to my mobile phone.
13. Best thing that happened in 2011 for Keane?
Just being a band – hanging out in the studio together working away on tons of new songs, playing music together.
14. Best thing that happened in 2011 for you?
I was invited to speak at the Oxford Union to talk about activism, the death penalty, and visiting Troy Davis on death row in 2009. Sadly, Troy was executed in September, but partly due to him, 2011 saw the world take a big step towards abolishing the death penalty, particularly in the USA.
15. Finally, what are you looking forward to in 2012?
I’m excited for everything that a new album will mean – tours, festivals, going around the world… and lots of new music from other people, too. 2012 is going to be fun.