Keane have announced a 20th anniversary reissue and 2024 world tour for their debut album ‘Hopes And Fears’ – get all the details and read NME’s interview with frontman Tom Chaplin below.
The album will be reissued on May 10, 2024 – 20 years to the day since its original release, and on the same night that the band play The O2 in London as part of the UK and Irish leg of the anniversary tour. Support at these gigs will come from The Lathums.
“I feel like I’ve lived quite a lot of life in the last 20 years,” Chaplin told NME. “To me, it does actually feel like quite a long time ago. The release of this album was the point at which all our lives changed very dramatically, and it feels like a marker of time, after which so much stuff, both good and bad, has come along. It sticks very clearly in the memory.”
‘Hopes And Fears’ was released in 2004, six years after Keane formed, and Chaplin said that he is grateful in retrospect that the band were able to take their time out of the spotlight and find their voice slowly and organically.
“There wasn’t the same level of access to information at the time,” the frontman remembered. “We didn’t really understand how to make it all work – we were just three kids from a small town in the middle of nowhere, so we didn’t we didn’t have many reference points. We didn’t really know what we were doing.”
As a result, Chaplin said that six years from playing their first gig to releasing ‘Hopes And Fears’ “felt about right”.
“We had to learn what we were best at as musicians, and had to learn how to write songs,” he said. “My voice developed lots over that time as well, and it was a long and fairly slow learning curve for all of us.
“It was a relief in a way that we were able to do nearly all of our early gigs in private, and there’s not very much that remains [online]. I saw a video the other day of us playing at the Bull & Gate [in Kentish Town, London] in around ‘98, ‘99. It’s very sweet, but we definitely weren’t the finished article at that point.”
Across the half a decade between forming and releasing the debut, Keane had to contend with the departure of founding guitarist Dominic Scott, and spent years crafting the songs that would end up on the debut album.
One particularly revolutionary session came in a dilapidated French mansion with producer James Sanger. “I remember thinking that it was the start of an interesting relationship between us and James,” the frontman said. “We were his guinea pigs for this plan he had to turn the mansion into a big studio complex, and he obviously saw something in the songs.”
In the departure of Scott, Chaplin said that the make-up of the ‘Hopes And Fears’-era Keane came together almost by accident. “All the pieces were kind of improving and getting better, but they needed assembling in the right way,” he told NME. “Dominic leaving forced us into this new world of having to do things in a different way. At that point we were a fairly standard rock band, but when when Dominic left, it left us with this quandary of it just being the three of us. With James’ help, and Tim [Rice-Oxley, songwriter] moving from the bass to the piano, suddenly everything fell into place.”
Talking of Rice-Oxley’s songwriting for ‘Hopes And Fears’, Chaplin said: “I remember thinking, ‘Oh god, he’s suddenly gone up a level’. Yeah. I heard everything that he had written and was blown away by it. After two years of working shitty jobs in London, we moved back to our parents’ houses in the countryside and would meet up and write in Tim’s mum and dad’s house. I remember Tim presenting us with a few of the songs that he’d written that summer. I remember hearing ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ and ‘Everybody’s Changing’ and just thinking, ‘Holy shit’.”
The frontman added: “What Tim’s always been very good at is articulating heartbreak. He was able to draw on his many heartbreaks and translate a lot of it into the songwriting, but not in an overly confessional way. His great skill at that point was to write songs that had a universality to them. During those years, my voice also began to grow, and I wasn’t trying to copy other people any more – I began to sing in my own voice.
“I’ve had enough sadness, loneliness, fear, anxiety and heartbreak in my own life for that to feel like a really good combination, my singing and his writing. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact moment when that happened, but it certainly went from being this very disjointed thing to having this chemistry that seemed to really work.”
Discussing the legacy of the album, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is the ninth best-selling album of the 21st century in the UK, Chaplin said: “I still feel very connected to the songs. When I sing them live, they still surprise me, and something will hit me that hadn’t hit me before, like a new way of hearing the song.”
As for how the anniversary shows will look, and whether they will play ‘Hopes And Fears’ in full from front to back, Chaplin said that discussions are still in progress as to the setlist and plans for the show.
“I went to see The Flaming Lips doing ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’ live and I’ve seen David Gray do ‘White Ladder’ too, and it’s an interesting quandary because albums were never written with the intent of playing them live in order. One of our plans with ‘Hopes And Fears’ was not to frontload it, but we ended up putting nearly all of the big singles near the front of the album.”
Chaplin continued: “Until we actually get in a room and start playing it, we won’t really know how it will work out, but we’ve got some ideas about how to make it work. My experience of going to see these anniversary shows and seeing people play the record, it’s nice to hear it from start to finish, because that’s how you know the album to be.
“‘Hopes And Fears’ ends with ‘Bedshaped’ too, which feels like quite a final note to end on, and we often end our [regular] gigs with that. We’ll be figuring it out in the coming months.”
As for the future of the band beyond the anniversary celebrations, Chaplin was looking ahead to what comes after their 2019 album ‘Cause & Effect’.
The frontman ended: “It feels more hopeful and positive and full of ideas than it has done for a very long time.”
Keane will play:
3 – Leeds, First Direct Arena
4 – Birmingham, Utilita Arena
5 – Manchester, Co-Op Live
7 – Bournemouth, International Centre
10 – London, The O2
13 – Dublin, 3Arena
1 – Mexico City, Sports Palace
3 – Guadalajara, Auditorio Telmex
19 – Amsterdam, AFAS Live
21 – Cologne, E-Werk
24 – Brussels, Cirque Royal
26 – Paris, L’Olympia
4 – Berkeley, CA, The Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley
5 – Los Angeles, CA, The Greek Theatre
6 – San Diego, CA, Humphreys Concerts By The Bay
8 – Salt Lake City, UT, TBA
9 – Denver, CO, Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre
11 – Dallas, TX, The Majestic Theatre
12 – Austin, TX, ACL Live At The Moody Theatre
14 – Atlanta, GA, The Eastern
15 – Nashville, TN, Ryman Auditorium
17 – Minneapolis, MN, Palace Theatre
18 – Chicago, IL, The Chicago Theatre
20 – Toronto, ON, The Queen Elizabeth Theatre
21 – Philadelphia, PA, The Met
23 – Boston, MA, MGM Music Hall At Fenway
24 – New York, NY, Radio City Music Hall
26 – Washington, DC, The Anthem
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