An Interview With The English Alt/Rck Band KEANE On New Music, Touring Today, Social Media Changes and More!
Last fall, the English alternative/rock band, Keane released their fifth studio album, “Cause and Effect.” (LISTEN TO IT HERE)
Via Island Records, this collection is the first since the group went on hiatus from early 2014 to late 2018. Keane is currently made up of Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley, Richard Hughes and Jesse Quin.
“Stupid Things” is one of the standout tracks on this critically acclaimed new album. Written by Keane and produced by David Kosten and the band themselves,“Stupid Things” features stunning vocals from Tom Chaplin on this emotionally charged tune.
“Stupid Things is quite unusual for Keane,”explains songwriter and pianist Tim Rice-Oxley. “Partly, it relates to my own experiences. I’d just gone off the rails. We dig these holes for ourselves, from which it can be hard to recover. The chorus is like a litany of mistakes, but the verse is trying to express how easy it is to do that.”
The album hit Top 20 on the Billboard Albums chart and hit the UK charts at #2. CBS’s The Late Late Show with James Corden brought the love for their fellow Brits, inviting Keane in June for a live performance of their single “The Way I Feel,” (the first single off the album which went Top 20 on AAA Radio) and then again a month after to perform “Love Too Much,” both tracks from “Cause and Effect.”
Keane was on a U.S. tour in support of “Cause and Effect” but due to the coronavirus, many dates have been postponed. Check their official website here for more information.
Learn more about Keane in the following All Access interview-
Thanks so much for your time today, Tom! So, how is 2020 treating the band so far?
Great! Yeah we’ve just finished up a South American tour at the end of last year which was incredible. And then we had a break and then had a European tour, which was really fun. Kind of going round from pub to bus through the European cities. We were passing the time really well!
Do you find that at the beginning of every year you guys set goals for how you want to go through the year or things you want to make sure you get done or accomplish? Or do you just let it happen?
I think in terms of kind of getting in a routine, I think we prefer not to set goals. I think that the goal we have really is to keep enjoying what we do and maintain that positive atmosphere in the band. Actually enjoying each other, enjoy playing together and being together on the tour bus and supporting each other through the highs and lows of our adventure. I guess we always try and play really good at shows but I think that actually ties into that.
Now I know that in September you released your fifth studio album, and I’m curious how during your hiatus you were able to get ready to make this album? What was it like getting into the studio to finally record “Cause and Effect”?
It was a really happy time actually. I guess it was slightly nerve-racking to start with maybe because we never really had a plan. We never sort of split up or anything, we just went on a hiatus and we didn’t talk about making a record until, I guess, about 18 months ago. So I found it really exciting. It was really nice. In some ways it was just thrusting straight back into where we’d been before but without some of the baggage basically. I think we just all learned about us and people and I think it was really, really lovely to see that we could bring all that into the creative place. It was a really nice time.
And then what about your newest, the EP Retroactive? How did you go about picking the songs that would be on this collection?
We’ve made music for so long. We have a lot of music, I guess that hasn’t been used. It’s actually old stuff that maybe is not really good, but it fits on a particular album or whatever. And also we have songs that started the whole process. I think there’s good stuff in the vaults that hasn’t been heard to date. And it’s a shame for it to just disappear. Stuff like live sessions, downloads of songs. I think it will be interesting to give it to people who never hear our songs to know what it’s about. Something like a little demo of a grunge band. I think it’s very different from the finished version. You get a little insight into the writing process. That is, if you’re interested in any of that.
And that’s why I think I read last night that the EP is really meant for the truest of Keane fans, and that kind of explains that. It’s meant for those fans that know you guys, know your music, and know how you’ve grown over the years. It’s a lovely EP. I was listening to it last night.
Oh, thank you! I mean, we’ve tried to do a few of those things over the years. Like I said, it’s like a solid longing for the older records.
Now I saw you guys perform in L.A. at the Roxy last year. It was an amazing show and it was my first time seeing you live. But I was so impressed with the energy inside. I wonder, did you feel that as well? Do you guys just love performing?
We do love it and I think it’s a huge part of who we are and who we plan to be. Picture it like the two different minds of the band. There’s the touring side and being on stage, and then the recording side which includes the writing and recording processes. They are a completely different experience. And we’re really, really lucky because it’s like having two different jobs and you’ve got to flip-flop between them, and you never get bored. We do love playing, and I think actually more than ever, we love playing together.
That Roxy show was a great show. We still feel most at home in that sort of smaller venue because we spent so many years playing in those sorts of venues to 20 people or so.
It’s still very thrilling to go into a particularly legendary spot on the rock scene. Oh and it was very hot in there! I just love that. That’s the ultimate! I love that. I do think that having gone away and come back to it all, and I don’t know if I’m imagining it, but it feels like we’re sort of treasured or maybe a bit old and you get on. It’s like the first time that you’re out. It’s a really nice atmosphere.
How do you think touring has changed for you guys? I mean, can you still handle night after night or do you have to take more breaks or is there something you have to take on tour with you now? What has changed?
Well a lot has changed, actually. I don’t know. Sometimes it feels like we’re kind of doing everything backwards at times. First of all, the atmosphere in the band is better than it’s ever been. We’re much more supportive of each other then we used to be. That sort of spills into everything you do when you’re on the road. It’s actually a different type of experience. So yeah I feel like every night we get on stage and we feel like you need to fight like an animal. I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I felt that.
You know, we’ve always tried to put on the best show we can, but now it feels…I don’t know. It feels different. It feels like we’re really kind of rooting for each other and supporting each other on stage. That’s the dream, really. That’s kind of what you want from being in a band. But also, in terms of passing of the years, I think actually funnily enough, we’re sort of fitter than we’ve ever been.
So we’re not getting younger, but we’re certainly a lot fitter than we were 10 years ago. Our shows are getting longer and longer. Which I would say is a good thing for the audience.
I’m curious what you guys think about social media. For newer bands, it’s certainly how they get their name out there, but what about for you guys? What have you been able to do with social media? And have you been able to make some new connections with fans because of it?
Yeah, I think it’s funny actually. It is honestly insane how much has changed even since we last released a full album. But we’ve embraced it and tried to get whatever we can. I guess to use all those channels in a way that feels authentic for us. I think it would be fake if we were Instagraming every 10 minutes. You know, we are not 19. There are ways of doing that in a way that feels authentic for us and it feels like it gets people. I guess the ultimate use of media is to give people access to you and your crazy life and life of the band in a way that wasn’t possible before.
Probably for me, the biggest result we’ve seen from it, or the one that I enjoy the most is that there are so many more young people at the shows than you would expect. We’re all pretty much in our forties now, and actually you’d kind of expect the audience getting older with us and some of them are of course. Which is great, but there is also loads of teenagers, people in their early twenties and stuff at the shows, and that has really surprised me.
Everything that’s been going on social media is really nice. It’s been really nice connecting to people.
You know I think it’s crazy. I feel like we’re getting better and better as a band, as you would expect in a way. We’ve been doing it for a long time. But it’s not the same as in, you know that thing in pop music where the older you get, the less relevant you become. You know, really I think people would be missing out on a lot of great music. They would be missing out on the more experienced bands. To put it nicely, the ones that don’t get heard much.
My final question for you is at the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? Your older stuff and your newer stuff. What do you hope fans go to your show and leave feeling?
I don’t know if there can be a single message as such.
I think the experience that I want people to feel is connection basically. I spent a lot of time thinking about it over the last few years and that constitutes creative success for me. And I think it’s true for the band as whole. I think that idea of us connecting with each other, us connecting with people in the audience when we’re on stage or people who are listening to the record and people within an audience connecting with each other. All of that stuff.
I think that is basically what a human being is about. You know, what the point of life, otherwise. It’s connecting with other people is what makes life rich and joyous. Under any circumstances. So music can be incredible for that. Obviously you can see how that happens in a very physical way at a show. But I think if you’re listening to a record, if you hear a song that is very intensely honest, and that’s pretty much all this album is. You hear something that resonates to you and someone articulating something that you’ve not been able to articulate yourself, or you thought that only you were feeling. That can change people’s lives.