From the Promoter
February 2019, and Keane are holed up in deepest Sussex, in a small studio which contains at least 17 keyboards, a rescue dog running in and out, and front man Tom Chaplin singing the haunting line, “You tell a lie, I’ll tell one too, it makes it easier to do,” from a new song with the deceptively innocent title, ‘Put the Radio On.’ The mood is upbeat, excited even, but when Tom sits down to talk, he reveals that it could all have been so very different.
In 2013, when the band bowed out with a Berlin show that appeared to be a finale, they didn’t know if they’d ever make music together again. “I didn’t know if I could do it anymore,” he admits. At this point, Keane had been together for nearly two decades; childhood best friends who formed a band at school. They had sold 13 million records worldwide, released 4 studio albums, an EP and a Best Of, won two BRIT awards and an Ivor Novello, and their debut, Hopes and Fears, had entered the list of the 40 best-selling albums in the UK of all time. The band had also toured 30 countries, performing everywhere from Rio de Janeiro to Taipei; from Wembley Stadium to Saturday Night Live.
Not only that, but the novelist Bret Easton Ellis had described Perfect Symmetry as “the perfect, orgasmic pop song” while Irvine Welsh had chosen to direct the video for Atlantic. Pharrell had invited the band to hang out at his studio and Lily Allen, a big Keane fan, had covered Somewhere Only We Know, a song which has since taken on a life of its own with a younger generation of fans.
Tom Chaplin, though, was ready to write his own music and make a solo album, which was his official reason for taking a hiatus from Keane, where he sang songs written by Tim Rice-Oxley. “Though I also needed to get away without sabotaging the band as I had done before,” he says now. He also got married and became a father himself, and one day found himself in therapy, thinking about Keane; and Tim. “I was wondering how I had come to let this very enigmatic and important relationship in my life drift,” he explains. So he reached out to Tim, and they made plans to meet up. Upon reuniting, Tim soon revealed that he had recorded a whole new collection of songs that he thought could make a solo album of his own. He played them to Tom, and then to Rich and Jesse, and the three of them were immediately drawn to them both sonically and lyrically.