Welcome to the Diary Section.
Alex Lake will be keeping you up to date with what is going on in the world of Keane and uploading text and photos as regularly as possible so do check back for news and stuff...
Thursday 11th March 2004
It's 1am and I just got home after spending the day with the band. We were at a studio in North-West London where Keane were recording the promo video to their next UK single Everybody's Changing.
Where to start? Well when I arrived at Perivale earlier it was snowing and raining, so I had a miserable if not short stroll up to the studio. As I weaved my way through an industrial estate, past men in hard hats who, with their arses hanging out, were emptying transit vans into the road of their loads of concrete and/or chicken nuggets or whatever it was in those dubious looking bags, I could hear the chorus to Everybody's Changing vibrating up through the paving slabs. I followed the sound Tonto-style and soon enough, found the studio. In my haste to cop a view of what was occurring inside I ran straight into a Eskimo which was curious enough in itself but inside the studio I was amazed to see a Geisha girl with a roll up hanging out of her gob while a Vietnam Vet was making a round of tea for a ballerina, a tramp and a doctor. Later Tom would pre-occupy himself with the notion that the doctor was in fact crime busting daytime TV medical super sleuth Dr Mark Sloan of 'Diagnosis Murder' fame.
So what the hell was going on? Well without giving it all away the video features a number of extras playing the parts of all these various characters. It'll all make sense when you see it but the video was shot using a massive camera set-up linked to a rack of computers. It's called a Motion Control Camera. It filled half the studio and essentially looked like it would be more at home on the Death Star taking pot shots at Millennium Falcon or at the very least I could picture Luke hanging off the end of it screaming, "Noooooo! You're not my faaaather!!!!" Anyway the reasoning behind all this technology fencing the band into a white space in the corner of the room will become obvious when you see the video...
Amazingly, for once, my call time to arrive at the shoot wasn't at some ungodly hour like everyone else but at 1.30pm which meant I'd arrived just in time for lunch! Trying not to think of what I'd just seen falling out the back of the Transit vans back in the industrial estate, I grabbed some chicken casserole and met up with the band. We chatted for a bit, everyone was well if not a little worn out from the ULU show the night before but excited about the way the shoot was going. Tim was still lamenting the death live on stage the previous night of his CP-70. We reasoned that if you're gonna go you may as well go in style in front of a packed house and not sat alone in a flight case in the back of a bus...
Well shooting ran and then dragged on into the afternoon, early evening and eventually night. We were kept warm by a most inventive heating system - essentially a jet engine attached to a large tank of rocket fuel which spat heat and flame anyone who stood too close - I know - it desiccated my favourite leather jacket... I'd say we could have sat it in Hackney and it still would have kept us warm.
We soon realised that there are huge gaps with nothing to do every time you need to change the camera set-up as the Motion Control system requires a veritable aeon to re-programme. The hours were punctuated with too much coffee and the automaton wanderings of crew and band alike, between the set and a large table laden with plates of Danish Pastries and biscuits.
Highlight of the shoot had to be the little girl who played the part of a Brownie, and who also had to play Richard's drums. We agreed she really had a flair for it. I'm telling you, barely visible above the Tom-Toms she beat the crap out of that kit much to Richard's admiration. She was very sweet and received and huge round of applause for her percussive skills. Later a classic moment of understated Keane drama ensued. We were discussing the following days support slots for Travis in Scotland. Upon questioning what time they had to be at the airport the following day Rich realised they had left their passports on the tour bus which was by this point in the evening probably pulling into Glasgow city centre. No one panicked, but we did have a light-hearted chat about the pros and cons of attempting to board a flight with no photo ID or the chances of those kindly airport authorities allowing someone to be reunited with their passport at the other end as they so often do... Well talk of faxes, credit cards and men on fast motorbikes followed in a flurry of phone calls and furrowed brows...
I'd like to tell you more about the shoot but I'd rather leave it now and let you see it for yourselves. Ultimately the shoot was very simple and I imagine the final cut of the promo will be really impressive. I left at the same time as the band, around 12.30am.
They, into the uncharted territory of flying sans photo-ID and I into my sisters car and up through the hazy lights of north-west London back home.
Wednesday 10th March 2004
Hi all, sorry the Keane Diary has been somewhat sparse of late. The simple explanation is that I haven't been on the recent tours but instead cocooned inside my studio tinkering away on the artwork for Hopes And Fears. Yet yesterday, for one night only I was able to drag myself away from my computer to watch Keane play a show at ULU in Central London. I got to the venue a bit early so I sat across the road under a tree watching the pigeons and eating a Kit-Kat. For 60 seconds it was the most tranquil moment I've had in weeks and then I snapped out of it a realised I was bloody freezing and the air smelt of petrol and there was a general press of people around me.
Inside I met the band. It was great to see them and catch up on the Travis support dates which they have been loving. No sooner had we caught up than the band were off upstairs to do some BBC interviews. I went in search of more Kit-Kats and later we had a chit-chat about the album art.
The build up to the show was great. I met up with a couple of friends and saw a lot of faces I haven't see for a while. The reception when Keane came onstage was fantastic. I held back for a while just enjoying the show and about halfway through started to take some photos. Tom celebrated his birthday the night before and got a surprise onstage at ULU when some fans at the front of the stage passed him a birthday cake! The band sounded great and I sense that Snowed Under and We Might As Well Be Strangers are becoming live classics. I had another predictable altercation with a security guard who wouldn't let me backstage to get some shots from the stage... I was wearing a Keane Tour Pass, a ULU AAA Pass and a ULU AAA Photo Pass - after a futile explaination of why I was there I just stood in front of him staring at all these passes on my shirt laughing. Thankfully Keane's Tour Manager noticed me and saved me from Mr It's-More-Than-My-Jobs-Worth and I made it backstage to get the photo's I wanted - one of which will appear in the artwork to Everybody's Changing... It was great to see all the Keane Army down the front! During Allemande I chatted to Rich who was having a great time and soon enough he was back onstage and I was in the shadows pinching bits of icing off Tom's Birthday cake.
I wanted to get front of stage fast to shoot 'Bedshaped' but I noticed the door to get back off-stage had no handle and was locked so I had to kick it repeatedly to get Mr It's-More-Than-My-Jobs-Worth to unlock it and let me back out. It was a bit of a farce though I have to credit ULU with having tighter security than that at Heathrow Airport...
For those of you who were at the gig you know what I'm going to say next. Bedshaped a set-closer truly epic proportions never happened. Tim's piano died and the band had to end the set early. The crowd took it well though which I guess is a testament to what a blisteringly good show Keane played that night. They were completely gutted that they couldn't end the show as they had intended, but there was nothing they could have done.
Later Tim told me what happened. Firstly Tim's piano is a CP-70. It's a proper strung piano that can be amplified. One of the strings inside it snapped and wound itself around a pick-up causing it to short out and blow up the electrics. It would have been very time consuming to rectify so the band felt it better to end the show one song short on a high. It was a real shame but the set outshone the glitch and in the end it was a great night all round.
Both CP-70 and band I'm told, are doing well.
Saturday 07th Feburary 2004
I had been planning to follow Keane around the UK documenting the tour, however sad as it is, I've decided to drop out of this tour so I can put all my efforts into designing the bands album artwork. It's a shame I won't be able to upload a diary for you but the plan is that we'll all be back up and running for the Travis shows in March. In the meantime I'll be sure to catch a couple of the shows and keep you up to speed with any news the band filters back to me.
Right back to the sketchbook...
Thursday 05th Feburary 2004
Today Keane played two shows in one night.
We arrived a Villiers Theatre, location of what would be the later show, at midday. Tim and I strolled in first via Starbucks where coffee is served at such a temperature you have approximately 17 seconds to drink it before it's too cold to have the desired effect which in this instance was to warm us up and fire enough caffeine into our bodies to fool them into thinking doing two load-in's, two soundchecks, two shows and two load out's in one night would be a breeze - though in the end it all felt pretty effortless. We all agreed it was pretty cool inside the venue. I left my lukewarm coffee statuesque, on top of a knackered old piano in the dressing room that actually looked more sorry for itself than the two we obliterated for the SOWK promo shoot. Rich arrived soon after Tim and I. I'd gotton Rich a new drum skin printed with the bands name on it earlier in the week and we wasted no time in getting it on the kit. No sooner had Tom walked in than he was away again disappearing into deepest darkest Covent Garden on a mission to burn a hole in his credit card or at the very least track down some new jeans...
After we had set up the instruments the band did their soundcheck. Around us people were rigging the lights and screen that was going to be used to project live visuals onto during the show. I found a smoke machine backstage but this time resisted the temptation to let it off underneath Rich's drumkit. Instead, I took some photo's and checked the designs of the new tour T-shirts that arrived half way through a blistering rendition of 'We Might As Well Be Strangers'. They came out just as I'd hoped and everyone was very happy with them. Tim and I raided the boxes straight away.
Once the band were happy with the soundcheck we packed the CP-70 into the bus and drove up the road to the Astoria for show one and soundcheck two. Soundcheck went great and then as usual there was time to kill. The band did a couple of interviews and I mooched off over to Oxford Street to pick up some film and get some air.
The Astoria show was a real success. The band went onstage at 6.30pm and the venue really filled up for the show. The band debuted 'We Might As Well Be Strangers' which sounded fantastic and closed the set with Bedshaped. Somewhere Only We Know got a fantastic response and it was great to look out into the audience and see people singing along to the songs. The band played for around half an hour and quick as we could after the show everyone piled into the bus and we drove over to Charing Cross and Villiers Theatre to prepare for show two! On the way we chatted about the Astoria gig. Rich and Tim were very happy with how it went, Tom smiling about a 'friendly heckler' and then the conversation descended into classic Keane bus humour as we joked about a hilarious run in Tom had had on the last US tour, whilst Tom in a vain effort to divert attention away from such reminisces, clambered all over the seats in search of the white top he'd just been wearing onstage but had at present managed to magic into thin air...
It has to be said we were all a bit worn out by the time we were dragging the piano off the back of the bus to load back into Villiers Theatre but everyone was joking away and getting the buzz on for the next show. Getting set back up, surrounded by a different crew it was almost hard to believe we'd just done a show already - it was so early. Pretty quickly though everyone was fired up. I whizzed about doing various things as the atmosphere around the venue built up and the people descended. As show time approached the upstairs was getting very busy and I kept bumping into a lot of familiar faces. The band did a fairly quiet soundcheck and then the doors swung open.
The show was outstanding and the audience loved it. Set regulars such as Can't Stop Now, Bend & Break and Everybody's Changing were joined by new songs, We Might As Well Be Strangers and Snowed Under (which I think it's safe to say went down a storm) and by (maybe?) some less familiar songs to some of you, Your Eyes Open and Allemande. Somewhere Only We Know became the song of the set and an encore comprising of Allemande, This Is The Last Time and Bedshaped was a top climax to the night. It was fun snapping away with my camera but also I enjoyed hanging back and watching the show like everyone else. It was a pretty big thing to stage the two shows in one day. As the lights came up in Villiers at the end of the night I don't think we could have imagined that it could have gone any better and that there had been such a fantastic turn out for both shows.
Afterwards I helped out for a while packing the CP-70, loading the bus and then I popped upstairs for a couple of drinks and to congratulate the boys on such a successful night. Strangely I met an old friend at the gig I'd fallen out of contact with a couple of years ago, so as band had to head back to their hotel me, him and a few others drifted off into the city in search of late night drinks (which we found) and to celebrate (which we did) a long but triumphant day.
Thursday 29th January 2004
Caught up with Richard briefly today when he swung by my studio to drop off a bass drum head so I can get KEANE written on it for the tour. Sounds like the final stages of mixing the album are going really well.
Saturday 24th January 2004
For those of you who haven't seen it yet here is the cover for the next Keane single Somewhere Only We Know which will be hitting the shops on February 16th. Hope you like it - the cover that is - I know you like the song...
It will be available on two formats, CD and extremely Limited Edition 7" vinyl. Not only that but the CD is enhanced and features the promo video to the single as well as some other Lake goodies... Blah blah...
Anyway enough plugging. Enjoy whats left of the weekend and watch out for more diary updates next week.
Tuesday 20th January 2004
Another day at the rehearsal studio. I rolled in around 11am to find the band storming their way through 'Can't Stop Now'. I sat drawing pictures on my computer and going through some paperwork for the tour whilst the set was given a thorough blasting.
Steve Lamacq is doing a BBC radio documentary about the trials and tribulations of getting a band off the ground. Well something like that, I'll find out when it goes to air and let you know unless you beat me to it. Anyway, point being that Keane were interviewed for it this morning. Rich told a pretty entertaining story about stolen equipment, a heroic tramp and the shining of car headlights onto Highbury Fields...
Afterwards we went out in search of lunch. This part of London, off the Caledonian Road, was like a ghosttown. A tumbleweed and a lonely donkey would not have felt out of place... We found a solitary sandwich bar which explained the lack of humanity outside - it had all descended inside for lunch at the same time and in the same shop. It didn't take long for Tom to flee in search of something a little less, close. A lifetime later we were back on the street, swapping the thick greasy air of bacon fat and kettle steam inside for the cheery London drizzle.
Back in the studio lunch kicked in and we all fell about in a lethargic heap. Various people swung by for various meetings. Highlight of the afternoon was the much anticipated arrival of a smoke machine I'd requested. 45 seconds later we were all snowblind. Great fun. After a while and once the cloud had dissipated the band cracked on with a few tracks whilst I finished off the artwork for the February tour's backstage passes.
Later, the lads went off to listen to more mixes of finished album tracks while I left in the early evening to catch up with some other bits of stuff. I'll hook up with Keane in a day or so for more rehearsals, so check back soon.
Monday 19th January 2004
Today Keane recorded an appearance on TV's 4music show 'Ear Candy'. The episode which also features Goldfrapp will be broadcast on Channel 4 on the 11th February 2004 at midnight and once more on the 14th February 2004 at half past midnight. The performance features a live rendition of 'Somewhere Only We Know' and a short interview with Tom by Ear Candy presenter Colin Murray.
Filming was in a London venue called Cargo. We arrived mid-morning to hot cups of coffee and the gorgeous sounds of Alison Goldfrapps vocals drifting through the building. We unloaded the gear off the van and I spent some time with Tim setting up the CP-70. Rich was tinkering with his drums and Tom could be found wandering the venue seeking out various drinks to ease his vocal chords, or else hard at it reading the paper.
Load-in and soundcheck was punctuated with talk of the bands ever expanding tour schedule and various pressing logistical issues that need attending - eg. will there be a DVD player on the bus and are there any well located Bowling Ally's along the way...
The band sounded great - so be sure to catch the show. They played through the song live a few times for the cameras while I ran around snapping pictures some of which you can see below -
We finished 'Ear Candy' in the afternoon and headed down the road to the rehearsal studio that the band are using for the next couple of days to warm up for the February UK tour. Rehearsal was great. The band ran through their set and tried out a few new numbers. I put my feet up on the sofa and did nothing more than enjoyed the tunes, though I did take a few snaps -
Rehearsal's wrapped around 8pm tonight as the band had to head off to listen back to some more album tracks that have just been mixed.
Tomorrow we head back to the studio for more rehearsals and preparation for the forthcoming tour...
Monday 19th January 2004
Great news! Keane will be the solo support act for Travis on their March 2004 UK tour. More details to follow but for now here's the poster - get those tickets in!
Tuesday 13th January 2004
Met up with the band today in the London recording studio they are using to finish producing and mixing the debut album. I was greeted at the door by Rich who was clutching his trademark tube of Chocolate Hobnobs and which I was quick to relieve him of. I strolled down to the studio to find Tom and Andy at the mixing desk listening to a final mix of SOWK b-side Snowed Under. My instant reaction was "Why's this not on the album!?!" I'm telling you - IT ROCKS - with more of Toms vocal gymnastics in the chorus. An absolute belter. Through the glass I could see Tim wandering around the studio from piano to keyboard and back again.
Later we had a quick meeting about artwork for the forthcoming single Somewhere Only We Know and then got down to business. Business being me getting a sneak preview of some more album tracks that are close to completion. Standout had to be album track 'We Might As Well Be Strangers' a firm favourite of everyone's as a demo version on the US tour bus and now in it's completed form a mighty heartbreaking classic of a song to rival 'Bedshaped' in it's epicness. It's going to blow you away. Not only that but Tom mentioned that both these tracks may start getting an airing out on the road this February - we'll have to wait and see so don't miss it...
Talking of which we shot the breeze about the forthcoming tour. Everyone is really fired up for it now and the guys are looking forward to next weeks rehearsals which I'll be sure to attend and fill you all in on.
It's all coming together.
Thursday 08th January 2004
Happy New Year! Met up with the band today for the first time since before Christmas. The lads are currently in a studio here in London putting the finishing touches to the debut album and getting the tracks mixed. Not long to wait now... Later we swung by the Record Label to go through some photographs and I picked up some promo copies of the Somewhere Only We Know CD. Whilst we were there we were able to see the final cut of the SOWK promo video. It looks really good and I guess it will be going to air fairly soon so keep your eyes peeled!
The band are really eager to start playing live again after so long holed up in the studio. You can tell they've not had any time to do much else recently other than concentrate on getting the record finished. They are really looking forward to the forthcoming UK tour this February. So am I. I picked up a digital camera last week to allow me to upload lots of photographs into the diary section as the tour progresses so you'll find this section of keanemusic springing to life soon enough...
Monday 22nd December 2003
Well Christmas approaches and so does the end of the sessions for the debut album. I was down at the studio with the band last week, not for long though as I got caught in a traffic jam that felt like it snaked half way round the M25 and only allowed me to drive one mile in two hours. I was at the point of giving up when I glanced down at the Christmas cards on the passenger seat and decided that the crimble post must get through!!!
Anyway I avoided looking at the hideous pile up I eventually passed and finally made it to the studio long after sundown. Everyone was on good form. Tom was laying down some vocals for an album track when I arrived, Tim and Rich were buzzing around the studio - offering up cups of tea, listening to monitor mixes of the recordings, furiously writing emails... Later the band had a bit of a meeting on so I sat with Andy (who’s recording the album) and listened back to some of the new songs. Everyone is really looking forward to a short break over Christmas, having the album mixed down and getting out on the road in 2004.
I'd hoped to take some photos but because it was all so hectic it wasn't to be. Sooo - it's fortunate that the band has a good sense of humour as they're letting me post a jpeg of the Christmas card I made for them instead!?!
When we were in Toronto on the last tour we had a crazy few hours running to the US consulate trying to get our visa's sorted for the US leg of the tour. We had to get new passport photos taken and it was whilst standing around in the chemist waiting for my turn that I snapped this. Hope it raises an Xmas smile!
I only stayed at the studio for a couple of hours - long enough to catch up then I foolishly left, straight into the arms of the rush hour and another lifetime lost on the M25...
Anyway the band have a couple more commitments before time off over Christmas - a Lamacq session tonight and some more work on the record and then soon enough it'll be the New Year and with it singles, the album and tours, so I’m sure there’ll be a lot more to keep you informed of in the New Year, but until then from the band and the rest of the Keane Team we’d like to raise a glass and wish you all a blinding Christmas. Have fun and we hope to see you out on the road next year…
Tuesday 09th December 2003
I had a quiet day so I thought I'd take the time to head down to Keanes studio and see how the recording is going. After catching up with the boys for a bit and raiding the kitchen I sat back and was treated to a preview of some new recordings that are short-listed for the album.
The thing is, some of these songs I've heard hundreds of times, live or in various demo versions, and I was totally blown away. The songs haven't been mixed yet but I'm telling you they sound incredible. I was pretty speechless. They just soar away with themselves. It was really exciting to get an insight on what's to come. A couple of new tracks in particular caught me. I'd heard Tims demo of them on the bus in America and instantly loved them and now they've turned into these epic, heartbreakingly uplifting pieces of music. I can't wait until the band drop them into the live set... Anyway enough gushing, suffice to say I think the album is going to be amazing...
Apart from that we went over some of the photo's I took in New York and just hung out for a bit. The band continue to record and I'll be heading down to the studio again early next week to get some photo's of the boys to upload onto this new section of keanemusic for you all to look at.
Sunday December 07th 2003
Promo shoot. Tim on set between takes.
Promo shoot. Tom on set between takes.
Promo shoot. Rich on set between takes.
Okay, well it's early December now and it feels like it hasn't really stopped since we arrived back in the UK. No sooner had I opened the post, skimming over the important stuff or anything with large red type on it than I was back out to meet up with the band. We arrived home on Friday 21st November and were scheduled to start shooting the promo video for Keane's next single on the following Sunday and Monday. That gave me approximately 24 hours off though the band weren't quite as lucky. They spent much of Saturday morning in pre-production meetings for the promo shoot.
I can only write so much regarding the promo shoot. I can't give away the title of the single and it probably wouldn't be fair to Corin (the video director) to give away the narrative of his promo before it comes out, but I can tell you this...
The main shoot took place in East Sussex and filming was based around a river. The gist of the shoot was that it was bloody cold and we were all resigned to the fact it was going to be a long haul. Indeed, come 1am we found ourselves stood in the icy water shivering. We all had a right laugh though. We had such a professional film crew which made the whole day feel pretty effortless and the band enjoyed themselves. It won't give anything away to reveal that featured in the promo is a really battered old piano. Well this piano which was painstakingly 'aged' by the art department was caught in a rainstorm soaking up water to a point where the keys became so swollen they all jammed up. Useless for filming Tim playing it at any rate. The call was put out, and amazingly, given we were in a forest in the middle of nowhere, another piano showed up at the 11th hour. Cue art department, myself and anyone else to hand going at it with hammers, paint and my favourite, a blowtorch to recreate the look of the original. We managed to rip the soul out of said piano in about 15 minutes flat, much to the dismay of Tim who watched on helpless. He was later to be found with furrowed brow, inspecting the two knackered instruments as they lay face down in the mud.
The band and I were done and allowed to leave around half two in the morning. We all headed off to our various homes and I drove back to the city getting home around 5am after getting lost in the East Sussex fog.
Since then the guys have been hard at work in the studio working on the debut album. The guy's tell me it's going extremely well they're really happy and excited about the whole process. I met with Adam last week to go through the photos I took on the US/EURO Tour (coming to this website soon!) and we also watched a rough cut of the promo which looks fantastic so I can't wait to see the final version now.