Words by Adam Tudhope
My first job out of University was working for a film producer called Duncan Kenworthy. He had made Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill with Richard Curtis, and when I joined him he’d just set up a new Lottery-funded production company with Andrew Macdonald (Trainspotting, The Beach) called DNA Films.
Keane were my friends from University and I was managing them at this time, but all of us needed to have jobs to pay the rent and rehearsal room costs. I was lucky enough to find a job that was actually right bang in the middle of my interests. I had read scripts for the Pleasance Theatre (thanks to Piers Torday who was the Artistic Director there at the time, now a fantastically successful children’s author, who kindly took a chance on me). I had produced and directed some student theatre at the Edinburgh Festival, and started my own theatre company Openbox to do small shows in people’s homes.
In general though the upper echelons of theatre felt closed to me: cliquey and elitist; where music and even to some extent film were more open-armed. I developed some skills and some contacts working in the film business and I finished up my work with Duncan on Love Actually as the Producer’s Assistant.
So it has been really exciting over the years, particularly with Keane, to find ourselves touching the film business when making music videos. I came across Corin Hardy’s short animation Butterfly through a design agency who did some early work with the band, and the collaboration with him first on the Somewhere Only We Know video, and then the Bedshaped one were projects that we produced. At the time we were known as White House Pictures, and my partner then was a good friend to this day, Kit Hawkins.
Working with film stars and directors in these cases wasn’t just for the attention that they helped bring to the project, but rather because they were exceptional. Giovanni Ribisi in the Crystal Ball video, for example, gives an incredible performance and elevates that story and makes it something that anyone, not just Keane fans, would find rewarding to watch.
The relationship with Spanish director JA Bayona expressed itself both in the horror video for Disconnected – so kitsch, so fantastic – and also a song the band wrote for his take on A Monster Calls, ‘Tear Up This Town’. Tim Rice-Oxley writes heartbreaking uplifting melancholy like no other!
Atlantic - perhaps it seems like quite an unlikely pairing, but there you go Keane have always surprised me with the people that love their music. Irvine Welsh was very committed in the directing of this video, which started off the Under The Iron Sea campaign.. preceding all other music. What an incredible song Atlantic was. It became a key part of the live set.
I’ll never forget the album launch we did for this. Guests were invited to meet on the platform at Waterloo where they found a woman dancing in a red ballroom gown. They were led by her to a doorway on the platform and then down stairs underneath the station. A massive pile of artfully lit chairs and cocktails greeted them. Half way through the playback of the album some huge curtains pulled back and standing in a spotlight in the next room was the dancer in red… and the band playing the second half of the album live.
We didn’t produce these music videos, but we were very proud to facilitate them and to be part of the process.