When Keane took the stage in early February to headline a sold-out show at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom, they revealed a band maxim that has helped drive them through the many ups and downs of their rise to success.
"We're about seeing the bigger picture," singer Tom Chaplin said, "and not being weighed down by the sh-- people give you."
To most people, Keane seemed to pop up out of nowhere in 2004 (see "Just Because A Piano Can't Move Doesn't Mean Keane Don't"), filling a void in the piano-driven rock scene that was left by Coldplay, who have yet to release a follow-up to 2002's A Rush of Blood to the Head.
But Keane have been working for this opportunity for years, having come together in 1997 while still in school. In the years between their formation and the major-label release of their debut, last year's Hopes and Fears, Keane dealt with the departure of a guitarist and halted record deals, all of which made them persevere even more.
"We spent a lot of time trying to get anywhere," said Chaplin. "We went through different guises and had different sounds and influences and a lot of them didn't work. I think it just took us time to get to the setup that we have, to get to the songs that we have, but I think that was good in the end 'cause I think that meant we're quite well prepared for what we're doing."
Now, after touring the globe for the better part of 2004, the band is learning to shoulder a new burden — the looming possibility of the so-called sophomore slump.
"There's definitely some pressure," said keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley, "but it's good. We've always responded well to pressure, so hopefully we'll come up with something really fantastic."
The band, which also includes drummer Richard Hughes, has been writing songs for its second album since Christmas, and has since recorded a few demos.
"Everything is in limbo," said Rice-Oxley, "but I think our first proper chunk of recording will be in April."
First, though, they're up for four trophies at this year's Brit Awards on Wednesday in London. And this past weekend, Keane performed as the musical act on "Saturday Night Live," an experience Rice-Oxley was particularly excited about, calling the show "an institution in our life that's even reached us across the Atlantic."
On April 30, Keane will perform during the first day of the Coachella festival, another event they label an "institution." The band will share the stage with Coldplay as well as Weezer, Wilco, Razorlight and a host of others.
"[Coachella] is something you dream about being a part of," Chaplin said. "We can't wait for it."
Currently on tour with the Zutons — a band Chaplin calls "really energetic, soulful ... one of our ideal bands to ask to come along with us" (see "Meet The Zutons: The Best American Band From England") — Keane will tour North America until the end of February, then Europe until April, and then it's back to the States for the summer.
There's no word yet on when Keane hope to release their second album, but they have no plans to work on anyone's schedule but their own. "We're going to really take our time to make a really great record," Rice-Oxley said. "It's a bit too early to say much about it, but you know, we're very excited."