A certain amount of honesty either in the lyrics or the vocal delivery goes a long way.
Kodaline. You’ve probably heard the name, and unwittingly the music, as well. Here is what you may not know:
Kodaline is a Dublin-bred four-piece who in July released its second CD, Coming Up for Air, on RCA Records. Although dubbed alt-rock, I personally find Kodaline’s sound to be more indie-pop (which, incidentally, is more to my liking). Kodaline’s music is widespread here in the U.S., which placements on Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago PD, Modern Family, and others. They have recently released a concert video, Live from the Brixton Academy, which was recorded at a sold-out London show. New single “The One” reached No. 5 on the U.K. charts and is the second-best single by a band. (Yeah, they’re kind of big in the U.K.)
Drummer Vincent May—the band also includes Steve Garrigan, vocals; Mark Predergast, guitar; Jason Boland, bass guitar—took some time before hitting the North American road (dates below) to answer a few questions.
You’ve had numerous songs in movies, trailers, and TV shows, the first big one being on Grey’s Anatomy. Was that the moment you realized you had “made it”? If not then, when?
VM: I don’t think we ever had a moment where it all came together because we were in tour mode for so long. As everything was happening, like the movie and TV syncs, we were just keeping our heads down and playing shows.
It’s a huge compliment when someone else uses your music and it gets it out to an audience that we would never had had the chance to play to normally. I think the syncs have nearly done as much in spreading the word as our own videos have at this stage.
In fewer than three years, you’ve released two LPs and five EPs, suggesting you are highly prolific songwriters and performers. Do you remember the songwriting process for the very first song you ever recorded? Where do you most like to write and record these days?
We record in the back of the bus these days, but really we can record anywhere. A lot of the first and a bit of the second record were done in houses and makeshift studios in the middle of Ireland. There’s a different energy when you’re recording in a real studio. There can be pressure involved with cost, etc., but the way everyone makes records now give you a bit more freedom to take your time and get it right.
Think about a band whose music you admire. What have they taught you about the ingredients for a great song?
We all grew up with very different influences, but it’s our collective filter that makes us sound like we do. I think it’s very hard to break a song down to its core parts, as most of the time it’s very different per song. Obviously, for us, a certain amount of honesty either in the lyrics or the vocal delivery goes a long way but there are great songs with amazing melodies by people who don’t have the best singing voice. Music is so opinionated anyway, so we can say one thing and be completely wrong. [smiles]
What are your favorite parts about playing America? Least favorite?
America is just an adventure for us. It’s such a massive country that we’ll probably always feel like that. We’ve been incredibly lucky that every time we’ve come back to the States, our shows have kept growing. It’s very rewarding to put a show on somewhere you’ve never been, or maybe never even heard of, and have people buy tickets a few months in advance! Just makes it all feel worth the traveling. We can’t really complain about anything over here, but we have had our Aircon break down in the middle of the polar vortex and driving through Texas, so we understand how important that is to get by over here now.
What is the best show you ever played? What made it so special?
We recently got invited to join Ed Sheeran on Stage in Dublin at his two sold-out shows in our arena, Croke Park. Even though we only got to play a few songs there, it was one of the most incredible experiences we’ve ever had as a band: 80,000 people are loud!
And Jay our bassist proposed to his fiancée on the second night, just to make it a little bit more exciting.
How did the RCA signing come about? How supportive has the label been?
We had been sending off demos to labels as everyone does for a few years before anyone started to pay attention. We were lucky that we found a small label in the U.K. that believed in us enough to stick with us through all the bad songs and demos. They introduced us to our producer, Steve Harris, and we started making recordings with him for about nine months before the Sony deal came about. By the time we signed to RCA, we had the first record ready to go. It’s been an amazing couple of years and there are a lot of people involved in the journey. The label has been great to us, and long may it continue.
In the past couple years, your fellow Irishmen seem to be exploding musically. In your opinion, who are the three best bands from Ireland with international success?
That’s probably the hardest question! There are a few incredible bands that we’ve had the pleasure of playing with, and a few that we don’t even need to mention because they’re doing pretty OK on their own.
Firstly, there is a new band called All Twins that we are loving in the bus at the moment. The two guys used to be in some of the best indie bands Ireland has produced in years.
Then we’ve got Gavin James; he’s a great friend of ours and we’ve brought him out to America with us. He’s a great singer and his first album is just about to come out.
Thirdly, there’s a great band called Otherkin who are just starting to release music now. They sound like they should have been brought up in New York, but they are only from down the road in Dublin. | Laura Hamlett
Kodaline North American tour dates:
09.18.15 | Music Midtown (Piedmont Park), Atlanta
09.19.15 | Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
09.20.15 | Soundstage, Baltimore
09.21.15 | The Met, Providence, RI
09.23.15 | Rebecca Cohn Theatre, Halifax, NS
09.25.15 | Imperial, Quebec City, QC
09.26.15 | MRCY Festival (Espace), Laval, QC
09.27.15 | Algonquin Commons Theatre, Ottawa
09.29.15 | London Concert Theatre, London, ON
09.30.15 | House of Blues, Cleveland
10.01.15 | Deluxe at Old National Centre, Indianapolis
10.02.15 | Bogart’s, Cincinnati
10.05.15 | 3rd and Lindsley, Nashville
10.06.15 | First Ave., Minneapolis
10.07.15 | Majestic Theatre, Madison, WI
10.08.15 | The Ready Room, St. Louis
10.09.15 | KC Power and Light District Outdoor Stage, Kansas City
10.10.15 | Gothic Theatre, Denver
10.12.15 | House of Blues, San Diego
10.14.15 | House of Blues, Anaheim, CA