Fri, 22 Jun 2012 08:26:26
Keane pianist and principal songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley went mano y mano with ARTISTdirect.com's Amy Sciarretto about Strangeland, his British piano rock band's latest (and fourth) album. The idea behind Strangeland is somewhat philosophical, encased in a rich, lush sonic package of expansive, complicated yet pleasurable-to-the-ear rock music. If you like Muse, Coldplay and Radiohead, then there's no way you can't appreciate Keane. Despite the music's complexity and tendency to indulge a melancholy mood, it's never, ever pretentious or miserably smug. There's a pulse, as well as tangible and palpable emotions, coursing through the records fortified veins.
Rice-Oxley spoke about navigating life via music, the challenges of fostering his own personal agriculture and more.
Where is Strangeland? What is Strangeland?
Life, really. The feeling of being on a journey of space and everybody has their dreams and desire to be happy and all of us are trying to make our way through life as best we can. I like the idea of trying to navigate an unknown country. Things never turn out the way you plan or expect. You do everything blind, trying to get through this strange territory with a bit of dignity and grace.
It's the same for everyone, though.
Is this the soundtrack for traversing strange territories?
I hope so. Music is powerful, isn't it? It's good to know that someone else is experiencing the same thing as you. Whether it's a good or a bad thing…that depends. We wanted to take a good look at ourselves and where we got in our lives. I just turned 36. We are at a point where you think about where you've gotten, where you've been. Are you happy? Are you a good person? I think these are the questions people ask themselves when they are a few good years into their lives. It is nice to know that others think the same thing. I don't pretend to have any great wisdom to pass down. It's just comforting.
Pick one song from the album and put us inside of it!
One of my favorites is "The Startling Line." It is a representative song. It has a melancholy setting but it is full of hope. I wrote it after a show in Boston. I got on the bus, the sun was going down and it was boiling hot. I wanted to crack open an ice cold beer at the back of the bus and play a song. It came quickly. It was absolutely heaven for me. A cold beer on a hot evening, too.
That is when being in the band is the best thing in the world. Do you have non-music talents?
I am obsessive about music but I am growing my own vegetables. It's not a rock 'n' roll thing to do, but I find it therapeutic. I am into food and love the idea of growing my own food. I find that I like being out in the fresh air, kind of, persuading things to grow from tiny seeds to a big vegetable. I only started last year. It was hit and miss. It was a lot of tomatoes...We have potatoes as well, eggplant. It's harder to get stuff to grow in the U.K., since it's always cold and rainy.
It has to be akin to songwriting, work on a song, get it to grow, much like a vegetable.
Exactly! It's similar to go from nothing to something.
What's on Keane's docket for the rest of 2012?
Pretty busy. Touring! We have been around the U.K. We're not massive in America, but we are lucky enough to be big enough to come here. and play.
One last thing. I love British accents - they sound so polite.
We're programmed to be polite.
Why is that?
I don't know, but it goes away when you start drinking.
Do you like Keane?