Mr Rice-Oxley handles your posers…
Yes, here are Tim’s latest answers to the questions that you folks have been sending in via the form in the Ezine. We’ll run the second half of them tomorrow.
“I love the sound of Tim’s piano. And I want to buy me the same one. Tell me please what piano does Tim use to play ‘Bend and Break’? Thanks…”
Tim replies: It’s a Yamaha CP70. Sadly they don’t make them anymore, but you can get them second-hand. They’re very cool.
“Hey! I just want to know what were u thinking about or what was going on when u wrote ‘Hamburg Song’. It’s the most beautiful song from u guys…”
Tim replies: It’s a complicated story. I actually started writing the song about my wife. It was during the height of the touring for ‘Hopes & Fears’ and I knew she was finding it difficult with me being away all the time and so many people other than her demanding my attention. She was always great about it, but I guess I was trying to say how grateful I was that all she
asked was to be the person that I returned to each time all the chaos died down. I was trying to write it from her point of view, and that’s what the first verse is about. However, when it came to doing B-sides for ‘This Is The Last Time’, I suggested doing ‘Hamburg Song’ even though it wasn’t finished. That meant that I had to finish the lyrics very quickly in the studio, and when I sat down to write them, what came out was a kind of an outpouring of emotions about my friendship with Tom. I think it was the first time any of us had really articulated the negative effects that all the fame and touring was having on our friendships – I don’t think we’d even thought about it very much before that point.
Anyway, I was really proud of the lyrics, and when Tom started singing them it was really electrifying and powerful. As soon as we heard it we knew we had to save it for the next album. Unfortunately we’d also already decided to save the other B-side we had planned, which was ‘Thin Air’. So, with our one day of studio time rapidly disappearing, we had to rush to get another song together. We chose to do ‘Atlantic’. So we recorded a version of that, but a couple of days later when we were listening back to it in Germany we realised it sounded like an amazing song to open the next album with, so we had to pull that from the b-side of ‘TITLT’ as well! So we rushed into a studio in Stuttgart and did ‘She Opens Her Eyes’, which turned out really beautifully. That was all we had time for before the deadline, so we had to use the demo of ‘TITLT’ as the other b-side. So… that’s the full history of that little episode!
“Can you tell me, why Keane put a figure of a bull fight (or something like that) on the former site? What do you think about killing animals just for fun? Sorry if my English grammar is hopeless. Gracias.”
Tim replies: Your grammar is excellent. I have to say I think bull-fighting is pretty repulsive, and the baying crowds with their snacks and Coca-Cola make it even less attractive. It was an incredibly simple and powerful image – the great, dignified beast being brought down to satisfy the whim of the mob. It seemed to say something about love being stupidly destroyed as well, but it’s hard to put my finger on that exactly.
“Do you ever become frustrated because people accuse you that you copy Coldplay?”
Tim replies: My honest answer is that I think anyone who really thinks that is an ignorant fool. And therefore by extension I don’t pay much attention to what they think!
“What’s the story/the meaning of the song ‘The Way You Want It’?”
Tim replies: It’s about almost enjoying the feeling of being heartbroken, or even just generally despondent, and wallowing in the self-pity a little bit. I think there were rainy days in London when I felt a bit like that back in the day, and I guess it’s a bit of a slap in the face to myself.
“Hello. Tim, have you ever written a song about/to your wife?”
Tim replies: ‘Sunshine’ was about her. And see my answer about ‘Hamburg Song’ above.
“Seen any good movies lately?”
Tim replies: I finally got round to watching ‘The Last King Of Scotland’ the other day – that was fairly gruelling but Forest Whitaker is brilliant in it. And speaking of gruelling, I watched ‘Downfall’ again a few days ago. That’s an amazing film. It’s so depressing witnessing what feels like documentary evidence (because it’s so well cast and acted) of how people were hypnotised by Hitler’s charisma into doing crazy things, even after he was dead.
“Does someone pick out your clothes for you or do you get to follow your own fashion sense?”
Tim replies: We follow our own fashion sense, as you kindly put it. Although we do get given a huge amount of clothes, often by very posh brands. I generally find that the trousers are far too small for me, which is annoying. Probably something to do with me not being a whippet-thin Italian model. I know, it’s hard to believe.