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We grew up and went to school together in and around a small town called 'Battle' in the south of England. There is not much to do in Battle, but in the late 1980s, during school holidays spent playing football, we discovered music, like most kids do, and pretty soon were swapping our favourite new albums and artists.
Tim had a few piano lessons at school, but quickly bored of the endless scales and classical music, so gave up trying, only to discover that he could play Buddy Holly tunes with what he had picked up. That was it, the start of years playing the songs he enjoyed listening to on a Casio keyboard, programming a pocket-sized sequencer, and trying to write his own songs to play to his friends. As soon as Rich started out on the drums we started playing together, recruiting a guitarist; Dominic, and soon after, a singer; Tom.
Music was the only thing we all wanted to do. We had nobody to teach us aside from the tapes in our walkmans, and our Beatles songbooks, so it took a while to get the hang of playing and writing. By 1999, we moved to London to seek a record deal and conquer the world.
The lure of a real band that was getting played on the radio and touring the UK was too much to resist, and pretty much all of the big labels had got their chequebooks out. We signed a deal that offered us total creative control over our music, and went to a small local studio called Helioscentric to record and co-produce (with Andy Green) our debut album 'Hopes and Fears' in late 2003, and headed back out on the road.
We released 'Hopes and Fears' in May 2004.
The continuing tour we embarked upon led us around the world for another eighteen months. In 2004 we played four UK tours, and by October 2005 had played 5 American tours which included playing alongside U2 at Madison Square Gardens, visited Mexico, Japan, Australia, toured Europe, played festivals all over the world, and played at the London 'Live 8' show.
'Hopes and Fears' sold over 5 million copies worldwide. We won two Brit Awards in 2005 (British Breakthrough Act and Best Album); Q Magazine's Best Album award; and were nominated in the Best New Act category at The Grammys, but the touring was taking its toll - we needed to get back into the studio, and back to our homes. During every break we could find since 2004, we had been recording bits and pieces, and in October 2005 we headed straight back into the studio for the new sessions with Andy Green, finishing off in December.
The new album, 'Under The Iron Sea' was recorded at The Magic Shop in Soho, New York, and back at Helioscentric Studios, near Battle. We wrote Under The Iron Sea because we needed a record that was going to make us feel alive again.