The Wave is your first solo album- how does it feel to take a step away from Keane for a bit and be on your own?
Initially, I was excited and felt like it was something I wanted to do for awhile. I wanted to step away from the Keane stuff for awhile and do my own stuff;I stepped away and threw myself into it which was really exciting. Creatively and in my personal life, I ran into brick walls pretty fast after that. Its been a bumpy road but once I got myself well, I kind of got back on track and have really really enjoyed it.
Was it those bumpy roads that kind of made you want to go solo?
Not really no. This question has been asked a lot over the years. People who knew the band well would always ask me, “are we going to hear your own songs?” and that made me feel a little bit of pressure and expectation. For me personally, it is about one to have an outlet. Obviously I’ve got lots to talk and write about. With some of the songs in Keane I kind of went towards doing that, but its not quite the same as actually writing your own songs and singing them as well.
Your single “Quicksand” is a really powerful and empowering song, what exactly inspired it?
It’s a song I wrote for my daughter. It’s a song that I think is written with the benefit of my own experiences of life which if I described to you would be a lot of great moments, but I’ve also had some big problems. I wanted to write a song that expressed that kind of reality. Growing up how I did, I grew up in this image, living on the countryside, and I never really had an idea of how sad, difficult, and bad life could become. With “Quicksand”, I wanted to let her know that life will probably be a whole mixture of experiences- not always good. I do think as a parent its important to equip your kid with that information.
The song is written from the point of view of having got well because my problems with drugs destroyed all the relationships in my life, including the ones in my family. I wanted to write a song that I couldn’t have written when I was in that state. I wanted to write a song that said if you ever need me when life gets tough, I am right here for you. It was a really important song for me to write.
For those who haven’t listened to the album yet, what would you tell those people?
Well, the album is a story. You can listen to it almost like a story from start to finish. It starts in the very worst part of my problems which was about 3 years ago, when I had fallen back into some serious heavy drug use, and didn’t think I was going to find a way out of it. In the beginning of last year I somehow found some clarity and began to get better and repair relationships within my life. The album documents this story from start to finish. The first song is about being in kind of in a place where I didn’t think I would find a way out, and then all the way to the last song on the record there are song’s about coming to terms with who I am, being okay with myself, and trying to go through life with good grace as opposed to always being in opposition to it. I’m really proud of the way that the record sounds. Its not necessarily for people who are addicts but I think anyone who finds themselves in a tough spot or feels a darkness in their life, I hope it can help them find the sense that there is something to be hopeful about and that there is always light to keep pushing through towards; it has a wide appeal.
Was writing the record a therapeutic process for you?
It kind of was. I wanted to find a way to get well- actually going to a lot of therapy and opening up to someone, in an honest way which Ive never really done before. Ive done a lot of rehab over the years but never really have been entirely open with another human being. I did that, and that obviously was the most support process of all- getting well. In the sense, the songs are therapeutic, and an extension of that process. For example, one of the biggest problems I had in my life kind of wrecked the relationship I had to my wife, and I obviously wanted to repair that. Theres a couple songs on the record that talk very much about figuring out that process and trying to win back her trust- very personal stuff but the stuff I was really working on in my life, and very easily found its way directly into my songs.
Could you tell me a bit about the track “Still Waiting” ?
That is the opening song on the record and that song is definitely the very darkest moment. I wanted to have a poetic interpretation of what it was like being stuck in that place of addiction, it was with an endless cycle and I kept finding myself in a very familiar but horrible place which was my own running away, trapped, numbed by feelings, and being numb to the people around me. The song tells that from the perspective of someone being trapped in a broken city with those kind of images.
How are you feeling about the tour and what can you tell fans to expect?
Weve done a few mini shows over here in the UK and around Europe in the last few months. Its been a really good experience; working with a bunch of new musicians an obviously getting to hear how they play is really exciting. There is a fantastic set of musicians that Im bringing with me, and the other thing I’ve learned is the show in a sense being almost like a conversation with the audience. The songs are personal and tell a story, but in between the songs I do a lot of talking with the crowd. Some of it is emotional, and some of the conversations can feel quite profound between people telling their stories, me telling my story, which brings a sense of it being very intimate. Not like a rock show, but more like an evening with which isn’t something I’ve really done before with Keane. It has been really eye opening and interesting for me. The shows out in Canada and the States are basically going to be an extension of that. I want to make it like an evening with me, hopefully people will come and enjoy and feel like its very much like an interactive thing. I think people will get immersed in the songs and the stories behind them. I will also be playing some Keane songs.
Be sure to see Tom in Toronto Tuesday January 24, 2017 at the Mod Club!