Place: at home
What I’m listening to: Kodaline – Talk
When I was in college, I was running my own online magazine. That was 4 years ago. My first pick for the cover and interview was a 4-piece band from Dublin, Ireland called Kodaline. I loved their music immediately and I was almost their 5000th follower. I reached them on my favourite social network and they agreed on answering my questions. Enjoy!
This is the original interview from 2012: [Special thanks to Lou Le Guilloux for her amazing photos and Cheryl Wyngaard for helping me write the story.]
Your love for music started at a very young age. What made you gravitate to music so young? And when did you decide you want to be musicians and seriously started building your career?
“Well we all started playing our instruments at quite a young age. When you start out an instrument usually you’re playing other people songs. We started writing pretty young too and because of that we started a band.”
Having come from the same neighbourhood and practically growing up together, do you feel that has somehow made an impact on your music? Does everyone collaborate together when writing a song?
“Yeah definitely, because we’re all such good friends we work very efficiently together musically. Sometimes we all write together but most of the time the songs are written by Steve stripped down on an acoustic or a piano.”
Who were your greatest musical influences growing up?
“The Beatles, the Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Sam Cooke, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Etta James, radio head…. And well many many more..”
The band’s first appearance was on the reality TV series “You’re A Star” in 2006 as 21 Demands and even though they failed to win the competition they had succeeded in gaining valuable exposure. They reappeared in March 2007 to release a download single called “Give Me A Minute” which reached number one in the Irish singles and made chart history by being the first unsigned band to reach number one in the Irish charts. Was it a conscious decision that you made to walk away from the music industry after the instant success of 21 Demands and was that an easy decision to make?
“We didn’t exactly walk away from it, we just weren’t ready for it. We were very young, still in school and we didn’t really know what we were doing, so we went away and grew up a little. More importantly we started writing music that made us feel good, writing about various experiences that we had.”
Writing their own material has proven to be the key in helping give this band their own identity and putting the Kodaline stamp on their music. Kodaline’s music has a broad appeal that doesn’t sell itself out to the bubble-gum pop songs that one has grown to expect from a group of young good-looking lads instead you feel the emotion in every line of their music and I think that is what sets them apart from other newcomers and what will continue to set them apart from artists. Their clever use of harmony and beautiful lyrics is far more mature than what you would’ve expected from such a new band but it’s also such a pleasant surprise.
What do you think makes that difference between getting noticed and being signed and not being able to get a record deal? Is it about hard work, style or live shows? Or is it just about writing the right song?
“It’s an early days for us. I think the best thing to do is love what you’re doing and put your heart and soul into it. Regardless of what that might be, football, accountancy, knitting….? As cliché as it sounds do whatever it is that makes you happy and on an even more clichéd note…..”You only live once”, don’t you?”
In 2011 the young Dubliners re-emerged onto the music scene. After recruiting the last member of the band and bassist, Jason Boland, the band reformed as Kodaline and released their debut single ”All I Want”. Their first self-titled EP contains four songs with “All I Want” being the lead track and one of their most popular songs thus far, having already reached the number one spot on the Last.fm Hype chart. “All I Want” showcases Steven’s remarkable voice while he expresses the raw emotions and feelings of sadness after a break-up and that glimmer of hope that we’ll find love again. Upon hearing this song it’s immediately apparent why the directors of the hit show Grey’s Anatomy have chosen to feature “All I Want” during the promo of the series. Grey’s is well known for featuring cutting edge music on the series and I think they’ve succeeded once again.
“Steve was just out of a breakup. He wrote about how he felt at the time. Songs can come at any moment, all our songs are about our lives and how we feel. It really depends on the situation. Each song we write is about something real, every song has a real life story behind it, we write for ourselves and if that affects other people too, that’s really great. It’s like writing in your diary and then passing it around to people, a very strange feeling.”
Now very honestly! Were you fans of Grey’s Anatomy also before they chose “All I Want” for their promo? :D
“No we never watched the show before, it’s not our cup of tea, but I have bought Grey’s anatomy soundtracks before, as the music is cool, we’re happy they put one of our songs on the show.”
You have that power to impress people in a few seconds. We think it’s the pure truth in the emotions and genius combination of sound and lyrics. What do you think?
“Thanks, we are brutally honest in our songs, but we don’t know, we just want as many people as possible to hear our music it’s up to them to make a decision. They might like it or they might not.”
“We stayed together as a band only because we really love music. We’ve had dodgy jobs before while in the band but now were just lucky that we have a chance at doing it full time. Regardless of what happens or whatever happened we have always loved music and will always love playing/writing music. It’s hard to stop doing something you love doing.”
Will you experiment with your music in the future? Could we hear a completely different style from you in few years?
“We never stop experimenting and we’re open to anything, we change a lot. It really depends on how we feel.”
Where is that you would most like to play a gig? When playing at gigs, do you prefer a big audience, or do you like the intimacy of a smaller venue?
“We were supporting The Cranberries in France and one night the audience was quiet which was cool. I just hope they were listening, well it’s either that or they were bored? I don’t know, it was fun though. Every gig is different; it all depends on the room and the crowd really. We could be playing to 20 people or a lot more, the Paradiso in Amsterdam is cool, Shepard’s Bush in London and the Olympia in Dublin. They’re like old theatres in a way, I suppose we like the character of venues like that. Hopefully we’ll play in them someday.”
What has been the craziest or most embarrassing moment on stage? J It’s ok, we won’t tell a soul. ;-)
“We’ve had moments were things went wrong like guitars or keyboards just not working but you just have to go with it. Things can and do go wrong, I suppose you just have to hope for the best. Nothing really embarrassing has happened yet, fingers crossed it stays that way, but i know it’s only a matter of time before something bizarre happens :-P.”
You had some European shows recently. Can you say something more about it?
“We had a few shows in Holland and France and Belgium. It’s great to see the different type of reactions we get in different countries, it keeps us on our toes and as I said its very early days for us at the moment in a way we’re just finding our feet.”
I noticed on your website that you have the option to buy either the vinyl copies or to download the mp3’s. Do you think that CDs and Vinyl sales still have a future in the age of digital music? And if you had to choose a format, for example vinyl or cd’s, which format would you choose?
“I think eventually everything will be digital, CD’s are dying out fast. It’s all based around downloads for the most part these days. In terms of vinyl, it’s really an acquired taste, we’re big fans of vinyl.”
When can we buy your CD and what can we expect from it?
“We have another E.P coming out in early March and then an album on March 18th. We just finished the album and we’re happy with it. We hope you guys like it.”
What is your message to people that listen to your songs?
“Thanks for listening.”