However, massive is the perceived future status of Keane by the music industry at large, who bandy around words like ‘new’ and ‘Coldplay’ in hushed couplets in large marbled corridors. The reasons for this are understandable: They were initially spotted by Simon Williams of Fierce Panda, the chap who released the first Coldplay single (the ‘Brothers & Sisters EP’), and they also have the same ear for a barn-storming tune.
The difference in Keane though, is that Coldplay are actually more indie. Yes, possibly quite difficult to contemplate the notion of any band being less indie than Chris Martin and co, but this probably gives a good indication of where the band are coming from: it’s shamelessly pop(ulist), but in a nice, adult sort of way, with beautifully crafted songs, belted out by a man with the voice of a fallen angel. DiS described their music thusly: ’Shimmering, electronic-laden ballads that sound like they were crafted in a velvet-clad keyboard laboratory, run by a honey-voiced, Thom Yorke-esque genius’. You get the picture.
The band have been staring into the industry headlights for the last eighteen months, starting with a series of small, acoustic gigs at the end of 2002, one of which led to the band being offered their first single, ‘Everybody's Changing’, which appeared to obscene acclaim in May this year. A second single, the soaring ‘This Is The Last Time’, appeared in October, but by this time, they’d already signed to giants, Island Records, after a period of mass Keane-hysteria where, at one point, they had 21 separate recording offers on the table.
Now it would appear, 2004 is theirs for the taking. Assuming of course, that the world wants a band who sound like ‘Kid A'-era Radiohead covering Aha’ (NME). We think they do.
Keane’s favourite in-car tunes are Paul Simon, Pet Shop Boys, The Smiths, and "old people's music" (Tom's description) like Jim Reeves.
Whilst hammering down the A40, we asked the Battle, Sussex, natives some pretty standard ‘what’s it all about?’ questions. Here are some answers:
1) What led you to getting signed?
We played a little acoustic gig at the 12 bar club in December 2002, and Simon Williams of Fierce Panda records saw us, and asked us if we'd like to put out a single on his label - we jumped at the chance to release something properly, and recorded the single, "everybody's changing" at home. Fierce panda released it on may 12th 2003 (the same day that tom became an uncle!). by that time Steve Lamacq had been playing it on his 6 music and radio 1 shows, and XFM had playlisted it, so I guess that made the record companies take notice.
2) Why did you sign to Island Records?
We felt they would let us do things how we wanted, and would help us get our music heard by a lot of people, which is what we want to happen.
3) What effect is your music going to have on people?
Hopefully people will realise that it means a lot to us, and will find a connection with it, as well as enjoying the tunes. We put a huge amount of ourselves into our songs, and don't hold much back. Hopefully that honesty will mean that we can connect with people on a very personal level, and can communicate in thoughts and feelings that mean as much to people who hear the songs as they do to us. It's all about communicating, and it goes both ways.
4) Where do you see music in general going in the next six months?
Blimey. I think there are a number of new, young British bands that will have a good few months - I think live music is ever more important to people - just look at how many tours are advertised in the music mags, so I hope the live scene in the UK will continue to thrive.
5) What's going down with you between now and spring?
We're in the studio at the moment, until late January. In February we're off on a UK tour with eastern lane supporting, which we're really looking forward. We're also releasing a single, "somewhere only we know" on Feb 16th. We'll be doing more touring throughout the year, and releasing our album, probably in may (keep an eye on www.keanemusic.com for info).
6) Do you have sex to your own music?
No, that would be a bit Alan Partridge...
Vocals: Tom Chaplin
Piano: Tim Rice-Oxley
Drums: Richard Hughes