Tom Chaplin Compares Writing A Classic Christmas Song Is ‘Like Breaking Into Fort Knox’

As the title might suggest, Keane frontman Tom Chaplin is trying something a little different with his second solo album, ‘Twelve Tales Of Christmas’.

But creating a festive record capable of entering the history books isn’t easy and as Tom points out, timing the release correctly involves sitting down to write the tracks in the spring.

“It was quite weird to be sat in the middle of the English countryside in my studio, in the garden, with everything fully in bloom, writing Christmas songs,” he tells HuffPost UK.

Of course, it goes without saying that a festive hit can also put plenty of money in the bank, just ask Mariah Carey, who makes an estimated £370,000 a year from ‘All I Want For Christmas’ royalties.

But creating a track that could “get into the Christmas playlists for the rest of time so it can pay my pension” wasn’t at the forefront of Tom’s find.

“I think that’s a really dangerous way of doing things,” he insisted. “For the most part, I just try and write about what I know and my view of the world, and my experience.

“If by some minor miracle, one of those songs enters the Christmas ouvre then I’ll be a very, very happy man.

“I do know it’s like breaking into Fort Knox so I’m not holding out for that but it would be lovely.”

Tom’s reasons for making the record – and his voice does ring of genuine sincerity as he says this – come from a far more genuine place.

“Christmas is this light in the middle of a dark, cold winter,” he explains. ”[It’s] being with your family and friends.

“It’s taking a break from the manic, fast pace of life and it’s one of the few opportunities where we have to put the brakes on our busy lives and take stock. All of that gave me lots of inspiration.

“In the end, I wrote quite a few sad songs or songs that are bitter sweet rather than just kind of sunny, jolly Christmas songs.

“My favourite is a song called ‘We Remember You This Christmas’ which is really a song about how Christmas can make us think of people we’ve lost along the way, but not to be completely sad and melancholy about it.

“We can come together and remember them, it doesn’t have to be an entirely negative thing.”

It’s hard not to sound cheesy when talking about festive cheer, but with the album, Tom has managed to take a series of classics and give them indie makeovers, with original tracks peppering the spaces in between.

Take his favourite track from the album, a cover of ‘Walking In The Air’, which he has a new “real David Lynch style, dark Americana vibe”.

“I think in terms of the production and the sound, you’ve got to be careful not to fall into being too overly sentimental, with sleigh bells and big string sections and choirs.” to said. “We did use those elements but we were quite subtle about how we introduced them.”

The big question is, will Tom be pressing play on his own album on Christmas Day?

“To be honest with you,” he laughs. “Through writing it and recording it in such a short space of time, I have had those songs in my head and in my orbit for the last, kind of, couple of months… I need a break from them.”

‘Twelve Tales Of Christmas’ is out now.