Welcome to the Diary Section.
Alex Lake will be keeping you up to date with what is going on in the world of Keane, so do check back for news and stuff...
Wednesday 30th November 2005
Having got to bed around 3am I was pretty bummed to be woken by my alarm clock at 6am so I could have time to sort out all of yesterdays work before driving to Sussex. A bowl of muesli and a slap round the face later and I was on the road. After Mondays fiasco of a drive down I was glad to make it to the warmth of the studio in half the time it took before. I made a bee-line for the kitchen to scoff the plate of flapjacks that is usually left out for the band each morning but which it seems always goes ignored. I made a round of tea and sat down with Tim and Andy. They looked pretty much as I'd left them. If I hadn't of seen Tim last night I could easily believed neither of them had moved since Monday - Andy probably hadn't. Tim had enjoyed the show last night but had also got home stupidly late, Andy was as ever a ball of energy and enthusiasm and by playing everything at an ear-splitting volume he blew the last remaining thoughts of sleep from the back of my mind. Most of the day was spent tweaking two new songs called Crystal Ball and The Night Sky, the former being - to my ears - a bit of a rocker and the latter more of an uplifting lullaby with a ridiculously infectious melody.
Rich arrived sometime in the afternoon happy to see a huge cardboard box that had sat by the door since being delivered earlier that morning. Being Rich I realised it could contain only one thing as he dragged what transpired to be a box of new cymbal stands over into the back room grinning all the way... Over my hundredth cup of tea we had a bit of a geek conversation about drums and ultimately my reoccurring concern that despite the fact he's a drummer he might have a bit of an addiction (nine kits) to buying the bloody things but then Tim pointed out that outside of a couple of pianos, a stack of keyboards and god knows what else he owns about seven CP-70's. I thought about the twelve cameras I own and I realised it was worst than I had at first thought...
While Tim and Andy continued to go through the recordings at the mixing desk Rich and I sat in the kitchen and listened to a CD of the latest *rough* mixes of some of the new songs. A lot of the tracks have developed some since I last heard them in NY so it was good to sit back and listen. Try Again is to my ears an incredibly beautiful song, probably my favourite so far. What strikes me most is the diversity of the new recordings and in particular a devastatingly powerful new song called Atlantic which I heard for the first time in the Magic Shop (NY). Lyrically and musically it stops me dead in my tracks every time I hear it.
The rest of the afternoon was spent much like this. Hanging out and listening to music while I snapped away and while Rich, Tim and Andy made plans. Tom wasn't in the studio today. Given everyone is taking a week off as of tomorrow to get some space from repetitively working on and listening back to the sessions I guess he was starting early. Later in the afternoon Rich headed back to London while Tim and Andy continued to work on. I had a root through some of my shots from the previous night before heading off myself a bit later in the evening.
Driving in the country side. I don't know... It's so so dark out there with a total lack of street lights it sometimes feels like the world outside the pool of tarmac illuminated by my headlights no longer exists. It feels like I'm turning the steering wheel as and when if feels like it might be worth turning it with no real idea of what could be fifteen feet in front of me. It's like driving through ink. I was miles away and carried on in this daze with the lyrics and melody to Atlantic spinning through my brain until the city bounced back off itself turning the sky orange and I realised I was home.
Well here I am in the studio. We're all sitting around having just eaten
the most ridiculously greasy burger and chips from the deli across the
road. I've been eating this junk all week but today even Tim couldn't
resist and now he's at his computer doing impressions of Star Wars characters.
Rich is in the other room laying down some new drum tracks for 'Nothing
In Your Way' while Scott is out in the street spraying KEANE onto the
flight cases for all of
Well you know what? I think it's time to sign off for a little while… We're winding up here and the rest of the weekend will be spent in the studio and the bars that surround us - a few hours of fun and games and relaxation. On Monday we all leave. Everyone is flying home to the UK for some much needed rest before continuing the recording sessions for album number two. I'm flying to LA with Ed for a few days before flying back to NY for a day and then onward to London. I'll hook up with the band in the coming weeks down at the studio in England so stay tuned for new photos and diary updates once in a while.
So it's time for me to put down my pen and powerbook and say goodbye. Goodbye for now, but not goodbye for good. Thanks a million to everyone who read this short account of the band's time in NYC. I hope you enjoyed it.
I have to go outside. For the first and only time since we got here the rain has stopped. It's like the weight of the world is lifting. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. For all the highs and lows in any one given day you can't really ask for much more than that now can you?
Friday 14th October 2005
A big day today as it was the last show that the band are playing on the U2 tour and the last live show that Keane will be playing this year. The day was spent inside sheltering from the rain while the guys continued the sessions for album number two. It was a pretty busy day with the band recording piano, bass, drum and vocal parts on a number of songs.
At about 5pm we all strolled back to the hotel to get ready for the show. As I walked back out into the foyer I saw Rich standing next to a trolley that was stacked up to the eyeballs with boxes of drums, so no change there then… We all piled into the van and drove up through the rain to The Garden.
There was a really fun atmosphere backstage tonight, I guess what with the touring at an end everyone knew this was the last night we'd all be hanging out together for a while. Everyone sat around having the odd drink and cracking jokes. Tim seemed lost in thought as he wrapped a line of Christmas tree lights around himself, Tom was sat back with his laptop and Rich was stood out in the corridor trying to shake off the cramp that had made his leg seize up. Bono swung by to chat to the band briefly before the show. Members of Keane's crew buzzed in and out of the dressing room as they got prepared.
The show itself was blinding. I took some photos and watched the rest of the set with Adam and Ed. Whilst taking my jacket off I managed to knock an entire tray of champagne-filled glasses out of waitress's hand as she tried to navigate her way through the crowd. I felt pretty bad but I can't understand the sense of having waiters and waitresses trying to flog booze off a tray in the middle of the standing section at a rock show… As Tom sung the final notes of Bedshaped and the crowd roared I realized that was it for 2005. All over. Just studio time now.
Back in the dressing room Adam Clayton from U2 dropped a bottle of champagne into the band and as everyone kicked back and relaxed an endless stream of visitors stopped by to say hello to them. Sitting in the corner it was a really nice scene to observe, most touching when members of the crew came in to say goodbye (for now) to Tim, Rich and Tom. Well beers were consumed and most of us congregated in the arena to watch U2 for the final time. Tom left early as he has to catch a flight home tomorrow. After a while Rich and I left the others to it and sat back down in the dressing room with a drink. The dressing room stayed busy all night with the crew slowly but surely packing away the band's gear for them.
When the time came to depart I left with Rich, Adam and Ed. We walked
into what can only be described as a taxi-riot as the streets outside
the venue filled with gig-goers desperate for a lift home. My height played
to our advantage, as I was able to hail a cab that was about a mile away
from us down 8th Ave. It was one of those nights when as you're getting
in one side of the cab strangers are getting in the other side. Hard work,
though we got away relatively unscathed and made it back to the hotel
in one piece. Rich went to chill out in his room while I went out to dinner
with Adam and Ed. Ed sent his dinner back three times as they kept getting
his order wrong while I filled up on Margaritas. Later still Adam and
Tim went back out to the U2 aftershow party and I stumbled upstairs and
happily fell into the open arms of my bed.
Friday 14th October 2005
Here is a small photo gallery for you all. A proper diary entry for today
and more photos to follow later.
Thursday 13th October 2005
Today was another nice day in the studio, again no show tonight. I arrived
to find Tim already there, notebook and Dictaphone in hand. While I shook
the rainwater off my camerabag he strolled into the live room to work
on a couple of new song ideas. Ed arrived not long after with his video
camera, followed later still by Andy, Rich and Scott. Rich's incredible
enthusiasm for all things 'drum' is matched only by that of his drum tech.
Any spare chance they get they are out in the local drum shops, online
shop or in the
It troubled me, "But Rich it's not like your kit is getting any bigger, where does it all go?"
"Well Lakey, I've actually got about eight drumkits and if you… Oh, no actually there was that one that I… Yes, I've actually got nine drumkits so… Oh you know what, if you count the time Scott and I…You see the thing about my ten drumkits is…"
I didn't quite hear the end of his sentence before they were out the
door on another mission only to return a
Today was a day of visits with in the afternoon Chris Martin popping in to say hello and come the evening, Fran Healy. Adam and I met up with Ed and we all went for dinner. It was a great restaurant but with some of the most abrupt waiters I've ever met who would spit out (in Ed's case, literally onto his arm) their questions and answers to us. It was pretty funny. We swapped stories: me about growing up in Mexico as a child and the culture shock of visiting the Philippines for the first time as a kid, Adam told us about this American hippie's ill-fated real estate dream. Adam had met him in Costa Rica, where this guy had moved. He'd spent his life saving on eight hectares of rainforest in a noble attempt to preserve it only to find out a couple of years later that the people he bought it off had used the money to level the remaining twenty hectares they owned and build a pineapple plantation… As for Ed, he now lives in LA and what with all the rain he looked like he was already missing the light, space and beach.
After dinner I went for a walk round the block and as I came back in I saw Ed coming out so we both went for a drink. It was the first time I'd got to talk to Ed at length about the documentary he made and to ask him if he liked the artwork I created to put it in. We talked for a good hour or so and I'd love to give you his thoughts on the process he went through to get to the end point but I think the less you hear about the documentary before you see it the better so maybe another time. Lets keep it a surprise.
Well we finished our drinks and got soaked as we walked round the block
and back to the hotel. I think the storms have put my TV on the blink
as I could hear it but not see it - the picture that is - the TV was stood
in the corner of the room where its always been. Oh well you can't really
hear a picture can you? Anyhoo I spent about twenty minutes trying to
mend that before resorting to spending an hour taking photos of the city
out of my bedroom window, amazed that on the 14th floor I actually have
a window you can slide open and in the end just grateful that with his
fear of sleepwalking Rich wasn't in this room. New York looked like something
out of Blade Runner tonight. It looked beautiful, like it was on fire.
I couldn't stop staring at it or thinking about the set of circumstances
that had brought me here in the first place. Sitting alone in my hotel
room and looking out across the city I couldn't see a single human being
but I knew there was a million of them around me.
Wednesday 12th October 2005
What can I tell, another day in the studio. Ed joined us to do some filming while the band worked on. Today they were recording some 'live' versions of the track Hamburg Song in that they all played together in the studio instead of recording their parts separately.
In the evening the band took everyone in the crew out to dinner in Little Italy. I don't know if I've said this enough but since we arrived in New York has been raining, constantly. I hooked up with Adam at the hotel and we braved the howling rain and flooded streets to reach the restaurant. I have to say it was an excellent night. Everyone was there and we took over half the restaurant. I was sat next to Tim and we had a good long chat about the highs and lows the band have been through on the road in the preceding year. The band have toured and toured and at times they've been stretched wafer thin but as Tim said he can't really complain. His latest take on touring is that it's like, "being on holiday but where you have to play some gigs". We also chatted about the direction of the follow up to Hopes And Fears and the development in the bands songwriting. We talked a lot about Try Again and how I thought that depending on the way Tom sung it in the studio his delivery made it sound either like a lament or a statement of intent. Tim spoke of how the challenge is to decide instrumentally what to leave in and what to leave out. The band are all so excited about the sound of the new songs.
As is the American way we were given an obscene amount of food to punctuate
the conversation. Tom got up at one point and gave an impromptu speech
thanking everyone for all their hard work over the preceding years. After
too much to eat we stepped out into the rain went for drinks into a nearby
bar. It was a special night. Gradually everyone drifted off to other bars
or back home and in the end it was just myself, Rich and Adam left to
stroll back through the rain and into the hotel together.
Another good day in the studio. Everyone was in this morning. Tom wasted no time in hurling his traditional abuse in my direction before I'd even had a chance to point my camera in his. He seems to have developed an obsession for Odwalla smoothies and sat back on the sofa with a bottle perched beside him like an old friend. He's drinking too much coffee and by the afternoon is usually to be found freaking out in some corner of the studio or another Tim and Tom spent a bit of time practicing some songs on the piano while Rich and Andy listened back to some of the drum takes he'd performed the previous day. By now Tom had distracted himself with the coffee machine. Tim was sitting alone at the piano, bass guitar slung around his neck working out a bass line and key change to the song he was about to record parts for.
It was an odd sight to see Tim playing the bass. The song he was recording has to be the heaviest thing I've ever heard Keane perform to date. As Adam arrived Rich went out to have lunch with a friend and Tim rolled on recording his bass. Once everyone was happy with where the tune was at Tom started to record his vocals. Once Tom felt he'd done enough Tim went back to recording his bass line, which is pretty much how we spent the rest of the day. Come early evening everyone had drifted off and as lobby call for tonight's gig approached Tim and I strolled back through Soho to the hotel. It was late so I pretty much had enough time to go up to my room, dump my camera bag on the bed, pick my camera bag up off the bed and head back down to the lobby where I bumped into Rich who was already there waiting with Tom. Tim came out the lift and we all jumped into the van and drove uptown to the venue.
Because I'd gone in the van we drove straight into The Garden and backstage
I had to navigate my way through the corridors back down to the correct
entrance to collect my passes that I needed to err.. go backstage. The
security at the venue is so tight it's insane and I was worried I'd get
caught 'passless' and get thrown out as I was trying to get out. Needless
to say the security guard at the front desk was highly unimpressed that
I walked up behind him to ask for my pass, which I waited and waited and
waited for. He tried to catch me out by saying cryptically, "Who
are Kane?" Well the elevator back up arrived about fifteen minutes
after my passes did and soon enough I was back in the relative comfort
of the dressing room. Tom was in there at a keyboard working on a song
idea and giving me the finger every time I tried to take his photo. Cabin
fever had clearly set in early as we slumped back and I shot off a ton
of photos as Tom pulled increasingly ludicrous expressions and switched
from crying out. "LAKE! PISS OFF WITH THAT BLOODY CAMERA" to
"LAKE! TAKE MY BLOODY PHOTO!" when I turned my attention to
someone else. Tim who was in the other corner of the room looked on in
disbelief at his best friends inability to stop arsing about. At least
that's what I thought until I turned the camera on him and was greeted
with a shocking X-rated display from the sprawled out pianist. I definitely
won't be putting those shots out there. In the end we all just groaned
and laughed at each other and Tim said it best when he put his face in
his hands and cried out, "Oh God! What the fuck are we doing?"
We all hung out in the dressing room drinking a few beers and generally having a bit of a knees up. At one point Rufus Wainwright swung by to hang out with everyone and suddenly it seemed like there was about 30 people in the dressing room. I had to check my head that the band hadn't actually already done the show and that I'd walked in to the aftershow party. I stepped out at one point and on my way back in got into an argument with the same security guard who wouldn't let me into the backstage area on Saturday night. I had three large passes stuck to my chest and he still wouldn't let me in. I was so tired by this point I just started laughing hysterically, probably more to the amusement of the gaggle of U2 fans milling about than to myself. Anyhow, he was having none of it and I had to walk all the way around to the other side of the venue where the security guard understood the meaning of the phrase AAA.
In the corridor I saw Rich with the biggest smile on his face. He told
me he'd just been hanging out on the stage with Larry (U2's drummer as
if you didn't know...) and that they'd had a go on each others drum kits
and generally geeked out about being drummers. Larry is Rich's drumming
By the time I got back only Tom was in the dressing room. He was stood in the corner muttering to himself, pouring little sachets of vitamin powders into a bottle of Poland Spring. I think its safe to say Tom is pre-occupied this week not only with turning in a good vocal performance at the shows but obviously in the studio during the day. He's been keeping a fairly low profile to keep his voice at its best. Eg. No alcohol and plenty of rest. In direct contrast to their singer's new-found halo, Rich and Tim have been knocking back the beers faster than they can be brought into the room. Rich blames me for egging him on though I'm convinced that it's all his fault that at the end of each night the three of us are stood drunkenly sliding our keys around our room doors for a few minutes before luck finds the locks and lets us in. Indeed if you ever find yourself in our hotel look for the doors with the scratches all over them - those will be our rooms and a map of the journeys our keys made to get us home.
I took some photos during the show tonight and afterward found the dressing room full again and the supplies of alcohol rapidly depleting. We all stood in a group to watch U2. I don't know what it was about the crowd tonight but they were going insane. I think it was the first gig I've ever been to where the sound of the audience cheering was deafening to the point of making me feel a bit queasy. The show was excellent and even Bono mentioned that the audience was the best yet.
While Rich and I went back and forth on beer runs Tim left a bit early
and texted us to say he was in a bar in Soho having a drink so I caught
a cab with Rich to meet him but not before I'd bumped into Ed who filmed
the 'Strangers' documentary and who had flown in to do some additional
filming. We all hung out there for a while and in the end there was quite
a crowd. Tom dropped in too but wasn't drinking and as everyone else did
he adopted an ever increasingly mournful expression. I have to admit my
memory of the rest of the night grinds to a halt here. I remember looking
up to see Tim, Rich and Tom relaxed and happy with their feet up having
fun. I thought we could have been 18 years old again - not that I knew
Keane when I was 18 - and sat in any local pub without a care in the world.
It was just like normal life. I don't know what happened next but I found
some extra key scratches on my door when I looked in the morning. Good
Monday 10th October 2005
Got up way too early and strolled out with all my stuff to go check into the band's hotel for the rest of the week. While standing on Broadway with a pint of orange juice desperately trying to shake off the night before, I spotted Tom walking towards me and we both strolled round the block and into the studio. The day was pretty much taken up with Rich recording drum parts for a couple of new songs. Tom didn't really hang around after the band had had their meeting in the morning though Tim stuck around to listen to the progression of what Rich was recording.
Tim and I scooted off at one point to grab some lunch from the deli across
the road and when we returned John Roderick popped in to say hi. Johns
band The Long Winters supported Keane this autumn and being a huge Long
Winters fan myself it was a real pleasure to meet him. He hung out while
Rich worked on his drum tracks and told us about his rapidly approaching
stint in the
As the afternoon rolled on I left the studio just before Tim and Rich
and jumped in a cab over to Madison Square Garden. I spent some time with
the guys from the crew, swapping stories from the night before and generally
getting ready for the night. Highlight of this part of the afternoon was
The band arrived around 6pm and we all hung out in the dressing room
killing the hours until show time. I just put my feet up and snapped away
at what was going on around me. It was funny to see the old dynamics hadn't
changed in the passing of the months. Tim had his head buried in a magazine,
Tom sidling up beside him kept flicking the magazine into his face whilst
Rich in an
Well soon enough showtime came so we all strolled out into the arena.
I took some shots during the band's set this time. Confirmation came tonight
that Try Again is my new favourite song. After the show we all hung in
the dressing room. Two of the largest pizzas know to humanity arrived
just as I stepped out to take some photos of U2's show. When I was done
I dumped my camera back in
When the time came I strolled out with Tim and Rich and we jumped in
a cab back to the hotel. Although our beds were definitely calling to
us Tim and John were up for a drink so we sat in the hotel bar and did
just that. Rich was utterly knackered from a whole day spent playing the
drums and stumbled off to bed whilst inspecting the new blisters that
had appeared on his hands during the day.
Sunday 9th October 2005
Today was a day off. I spent the day geeking out in the Apple Store and
fighting the urge to buy yet another pair of converse sneakers… In
the evening I hooked up with everyone for some dinner at a nice little
restaurant near the hotel. It was nice to sit and catch up with Tim and
Got up too early and staggered out into the rain. Staggered back inside and got an umbrella. Staggered back outside and opened the brolly. Was laughed at by a couple of kids as the brolly popped open, flew off the handle and blew off down the street. Amazed that this has happened to me before… Realising I was already soaked to the bone I stumbled off in search of breakfast and the band. I found breakfast in a burger bar on Broadway (I read Fast Food Nation but I really can't help myself) and the band in a recording studio in the city.
In the past year, between me doing my best impression of a ping pong
ball between London and New York and the band's constant touring we haven't
seen each other in quite a while so it was really nice to sit and catch
up. Everyone was well, excited about the shows and happy to be back in
NY. The band have been playing a new song called Try Again in their shows
and it was this track that they were working on today. The song is beautiful
and as ever it was just really cool to be able to sit back and observe
them working on it and their ideas about what instruments should come
in where and so on. Andy who produced Hopes And Fears with them was there
behind the desk and most of the afternoon was taken up with Tom laying
down some vocal tracks while Tim listened
Later in the afternoon I too stepped out for some tea and despite the rain, a stroll round Soho before the show. Come the evening the rain was still chucking it down so I jumped in a cab. As it transpired so had the rest of New York City so it took nearly an hour to drive the twenty blocks to Madison Square Gardens. The cab was a bit shoddy and I couldn't do the window up so in the end it was just raining inside the cab and there was about four inches of water in the footwell of the car. I didn't look too close down there though, well it was a New York City cab…
Once I'd navigated my way through the multiple layers of security at
The Garden I found the bands dressing room about half an hour before show
time. Stood outside was legendary tour manager, Colin, and we caught up
for a while as he showed me around the venue. Next I bumped into Scott
who is Rich's drum tech, Geoff who does the band's programming and backline,
Rob who does
Pre-show was great fun. At one point Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon popped into the dressing room to say hello to the band and Huey, the singer with the Fun Lovin' Criminals hung out with us backstage too.
Soon enough it came time for the band to hit the stage and I stood out in the arena to watch. Having not seen the band play live for a good few months I really enjoyed it especially hearing my new favourite song, Try Again. Madison Square Garden really is the venue of venues and the band were clearly chuffed to be in the rather wonderful position of opening the show for U2 and they sounded blinding. After the set we all relaxed in the dressing room for a while. The Edge and Larry from U2 popped into the dressing room to chat to the band. I finally got to hook up with Iain, the bands live sound engineer, and a few beers were consumed by one and all.
We were all really looking forward to watching U2's show, which for the most part I did with Rich. We watched from out in the crowd and would dash to the dressing room every now and then to top up our drinks. U2 were pretty spectacular and had a light show that could have easily illuminated half of Manhattan. That woman off the telly show that tries to get people to use low energy light bulbs and not leave their TVs on standby overnight would have been beside herself.
A few of us stayed on for drinks at the aftershow party. Later still
the band were invited to join U2 at their hotel where they were having
a few drinks. I headed down too and it was a really lovely evening. We
all had a bite to eat and a few drinks and chatted away to Bono and The
Edge - we must have headed home at about 4am in the end. All in all it
was a really special night and a pretty privileged place to be. I'm not
moving over to the band's hotel till Monday so we said our goodnights
out on the sidewalk before jumping in cabs home.
Hello all. I arrived in New York on Friday evening. The flight over was
luxury with shed loads of space as there were only about one hundred and
fifty other people on the plane, one of whom turned out to be Heidi who
owns Helioscentric Studios where the band recorded Hopes And Fears. It
wasn't a totally random coincidence - she was coming out to watch one
of the shows. We bumped into each other in the departures lounge and spent
the next seven hours at 35,000 feet catching up on the past few months.
Flicking through the in-flight entertainment and realising my brain couldn't
cope with anything too demanding I opted to watch War Of The Worlds -
(blargh), The Descent - (scary biscuits) and The League Of Gentlemen's
Apocalypse. The last of which had me in stitches.
At the airport we hopped into a cab to take us to Manhattan. The weather
sucked and it took hours to get into the city. Rain, rain, rain. Heidi
had to whiz off to make it to the show, which by all accounts, rocked.
I didn't go as I had to prat around with my new powerbook that I'd bought
the day before having managed to drop my old (and much loved) powerbook
earlier in the week. I'd watched helplessly as, in slow motion, it divided
itself into five pieces as it met the floor - though, I hasten to add,
not before I'd archived off my artwork for the bands forthcoming DVD so
it wasn't a total disaster… In all credit to Apple it stayed with
me long enough to let me copy off all my emails