Former Keane frontman Tom Chaplin on his new sound

Charlotte Pearson catches up with the former Keane frontman about his new sound.

British singer Tom Chaplin on Beachy Head road, East Sussex, England Derek Hudson
British singer Tom Chaplin on Beachy Head road, East Sussex, England Derek Hudson

Charlotte Harding catches up with the former Keane frontman about his new sound.

Tom Chaplin is probably best known for being the singer in Keane - the alternative band who won an army of fans with a string of catchy hits.

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But with the release of his solo debut album ‘The Wave’ last year this is sure to change.

Derek Hudson

“Recording the new album has been quite refreshing,” he admits.

“When you are in a band you all have your roles and know what you have to do.

“With these songs they were a blank canvas and we could see where they went.”

While working on ‘The Wave’ Tom was very conscious of not recreating the same sound that people would associate with the band, whose debut album Hopes and Fears released in 2004, won the 2005 Brit Award for Best British Album and was the second best-selling British album of 2004.

British singer Tom Chaplin, London, England Derek Hudson

“I didn’t want it to be piano heavy,” he explains. “I grew up in Keane and wanted to do something different.

“It was great being able to use strings and wood instruments or a sax or guitar with a bit of piano.

“This album, I suppose, has just been about my desire to work with a range of different instruments.”

However experimenting with a range of instruments on what he calls ‘complex songs’, did initially provide a bit of a headache when it came to touring.

“You do have to stop and think about how it will work on stage all these different musicians in one place,” smiles Tom.

“Last year I found four great musicians - a drummer and then three others who can turn their hand to pretty much anything be it a keyboard or guitar.”

Tom’s battle with addiction is well documented and he says when he stepped away from the band in 2013 ‘creatively he didn’t have anything else to give’.

“I wasn’t feeling anything creatively,” he reveals. “I realised I had to look at my problems with addiction and get myself better.

“Part of my recovery involved therapy and writing songs became an extension of that process.

“When I came out the other side I felt more energised and inspired, and I began writing properly in 2015 as I felt I have so much I could write about.”

The result is an album which Tom says is very personal and he hopes that it can help someone else with what they are going through and make them realise that they can come through the other side.

“If it resonates with people’s lives it will have been an achievement for me,” he says.

“I was just very open and candid about it all when I was writing.”

“It is about looking back at what you have done and coming to terms with it.”

Tom was born in Hastings but grew up in Battle, and now lives ‘just over the border in Surrey’ with his family.

“I think it is important to remain connected with the people and places that have shaped you growing up,” he smiles.

“Sussex holds a special place in my heart and growing up there has formed a part of who I am.”

Written by Tom ‘The Wave’ was produced by Matt Hales who has worked with Aqualung and Lianne La Havas in the past, and debuted at number three in the UK album chart.

“There was a certain level of nervousness before it came out as it is different to what I have been used to doing for the last ten to 15 years of my life with Keane,” he reveals.

“It was exciting but I had a myriad of emotions before.”

So are there any songs that stand out for the singer?

“See It So Clear is one of my favourites,” he says. “It is about looking back over your past - the sad times as well as the happy memories and embracing it all.

“I really hope it is one of those songs that gets the crowd singing out loud. I woud love at the gigs for the songs to bring everyone in the room together.”

Let’s just hope that more dates are added so more of his fans can experience the powerful album live.

Tom’s debut solo album ‘The Wave’ is out now.

He is also embarking on a tour in May and will be playing the Palladium in London on May 17, Southampton Guildhall on May 20 and the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on May 24 and 25.

For information on tickets visit or Tom’s website

Pictures: Derek Hudson

This interview featured in the January edition of etc Magazine.