Keane is one of those striking English bands. There is a lineage from U2 to Depeche Mode to Radiohead, Coldplay, Muse and now Keane. Their 2004 and 2006 albums have sold over 8 million internationally and now they have arrived to also take over America as their British band brethren have for decades.
The hits include Is It Any Wonder?, Everybody’s Changing, Crystal Ball and Somewhere Only We Know – Keane lands with an army of tracks to keep America jumping all summer with their latest CD, Perfect Symmetry.
Keane is Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley and Richard Hughes. Hughes phoned SheKnows from London to get us caught up to speed on all things Keane.
Richard Hughes: Hello SheKnows. It says at the top of your website, ‘entertainment, recipes, love and sex, contests, beauty and parenting.’ Now, I’m a modest guy, I’m going to think this is entertainment.
SheKnows: You got it! You are front and center at SheKnows entertainment — that is for sure.
Richard Hughes: Good, because I know nothing about parenting (laughs).
SheKnows: (Laughs). Alright Richard, here goes 10 questions with SheKnows. Given your incredibly unique sound, what is the first band you remember really making you want to be a musician?
Richard Hughes: That’s a good question. I remember getting one of those CD walkman types. The first CD I was given was Depeche Mode’s Violator. It is such a ridiculously amazing record. I guess I just played it to death because it was my only CD and I had a CD player (laughs). That was a huge album for me, that and U2’s Achtung Baby.
SheKnows: What about those records in particular struck you?
Richard Hughes: It was exciting me about how modern those two records were and new and fresh. Bands that were going these amazing new directions and yet making music that is really accessible at the same time.
SheKnows: Those two are on my chart too, I have to be honest. What is you favorite Keane song to play live?
Richard Hughes: We have a song on the new record called You Haven’t Told Me Anything which starts with a drum machine then I play the drums along with it with everybody kicks in too. It really is so pumping live (laughs). I love playing it. It’s one of the fastest song we’re ever recorded. It’s pedal to the floor for four minutes.
SheKnows: To be the rhythmic driving force behind a song like that…
Richard Hughes: Exactly. It’s taken on a new life live too.
SheKnows: From where you sit, is there an aspect of recording with Keane that is the most enjoyable?
Richard Hughes: I think what we did with this record, not having a producer to be the driving force. It was just left in our hands. That was really important. I don’t think we realized what a good thing that was at the time. I think it was only in retrospect. That was the most inspiring side of it, was doing it all ourselves.
Why America loves Britain
SheKnows: You mentioned U2 and Depeche Mode and you guys of course, there is a certain fascination in America with British bands. Why do you think that is?
Richard Hughes: I don’t know. The British bands that are most successful are probably offering something slightly different to what you can get from your own American bands. Whether that’s a link to a side of the culture, I don’t know. Is it our openness? Some of the songs on albums like Violator are just so ridiculously open and honest and petty dark. I guess the thing our music is perhaps known for is maybe just being really, really honest and from the heart. I’m not saying that American music doesn’t do, that, it does. I grew up listening to albums like Graceland (Paul Simon). There’s (laughs) no punches being pulled on that album. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s just our accents.
SheKnows: What for you would be the dream collaboration?
Richard Hughes: I always loved the beat on Dr. Dre songs. I’ve learned as much as a drummer from him and his beats as anyone. I’d love him to produce a Keane track. I think that would be really interesting.
SheKnows: Most drummers I’ve talked to have had really supportive parents — even though the stereotype maybe otherwise. What was it like for you?
Richard Hughes: I had hugely supportive parents. I’m incredibly lucky that they were prepared to tolerate the noise coming from my bedroom for two hours a night. The only stipulation I had was that I had to stop at 8 pm. That is what the neighbors said. They said, it’s cool that you’re playing the drums. It’s cool that you’re into music rather than slacking off and spraying graffiti — whatever a parents’ nightmare would be — but you have to stop by 8 o’clock’ (laughs).
SheKnows: You know, now look at you. They can say they knew you when.
Richard Hughes: It’s true. Musicians require that kind of support. From parents and neighbors too – especially with the drums.
SheKnows: Do you have a favorite movie?
Richard Hughes: The thing that springs to mind is Fargo.
SheKnows: Nice. Is there a most unusual place that Keane has performed?
Richard Hughes: On a boat on the river Seine in Paris. Because you get all these tourist boats going up and down the Seine, they make this big wash. Every now and then, the whole boat starts bobbing up and down. It’s a strangely, queasy experience (laughs) on the drums. You get into a groove, and then you feel like ‘what a minute. There’s turbulence.’ You suddenly feel a bit seasick — so yeah — that’s probably the weirdest one.
SheKnows: You’re truly rocking!
Richard Hughes: (Laughs) That is awesome. We were rocking.
SheKnows: Artists old or new that inspire you right now?
Richard Hughes: There’s a guy named Findlay Brown right now. I think is really awesome. He’s kind of folkie, kind of like Elvis. He’s just released his second album. People should check him out.