Jan­ice But­ler talks to the pop­u­lar band as their ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated third al­bum is re­leased

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When Ko­da­line (who are Steve Gar­ri­gan, Mark Prendergast, Vinny May and Ja­son Boland) ex­ploded on the Ir­ish mu­sic scene in 2013 with their de­but al­bum In a Per­fect World, the band from Swords, Co Dublin, knew that they had to hit the ground run­ning if they were to make their mark. That al­bum sold over a mil­lion copies world­wide and made them a house­hold name here and abroad. They fol­lowed up quickly with Com­ing Up For Air in 2015 and then were al­most per­ma­nently on the road, play­ing to the many thou­sands of fans they had amassed in such a short time. No sur­prise then that the lads felt they needed some down time af­ter a hec­tic five years – time to con­cen­trate on their per­sonal lives, time to marry their child­hood sweet­hearts (for Vinny and Jay) and time to take a breather af­ter the whirl­wind they had just ex­pe­ri­enced.

Last year, they headed back to the stu­dio to work on al­bum num­ber three, but things didn’t go as smoothly as be­fore and they had to make a group de­ci­sion that they weren’t happy with over half of the songs they had recorded and needed to go back to the draw­ing board. Mak­ing the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to can­cel a Euro­pean tour to fo­cus on writ­ing new songs, they posted a state­ment on Twit­ter to say they were “gut­ted” to an­nounce the can­cel­la­tions but “we need to head back into the stu­dio over the com­ing months to work on the ideas we have.”

The re­sult is Pol­i­tics of Liv­ing, for which Ko­da­line teamed up with some of the hottest pro­duc­tion and writ­ing tal­ent around, in­clud­ing hit­maker supreme Steve Mac ( Shape Of You by Ed Sheeran), pop guru Johnny Cof­fer (Rag’N’Bone Man, Bey­oncé), and their long-time col­lab­o­ra­tor Johnny McDaid ( What About Us by Pink).

With a full sched­ule of tour­ing and pro­mo­tion ahead of them, Vinny and Mark tell us why they’re ea­ger to get back out there and happy they had the con­fi­dence to take their time with al­bum num­ber three.

It’s been a while since your last al­bum, so were you wor­ried that the fans would still be keen?


At the mo­ment, the Ir­ish mu­sic in­dus­try is buzzing with so many good bands that there’s a lot more com­pe­ti­tion. It def­i­nitely feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve done the al­bum cir­cuit. We made the plan to take a break but it ended up be­ing longer than

We wanted to get the al­bum out but we didn’t want to be that band that put out an al­bum we weren’t fully happy with

an­tic­i­pated. We didn’t stop com­pletely, we just slowed things down. We def­i­nitely wouldn’t take as long a break again for the next al­bum.

Af­ter work­ing and tour­ing al­most non-stop for over five years, did you feel you needed the time off?

Vinny: I think be­cause we went from ob­scu­rity to play­ing around the world and had two al­bums out pretty much back to back, there was no real down­time, so we needed that to do some ‘real life’ things, like move out of our par­ents’ houses or get mar­ried.

Mark: We’ll never ex­pe­ri­ence that mad­ness again, where you’re un­known and you have to get the name out there. We’re es­tab­lished now so we can get some down­time. There’s still a good few coun­tries we’ve yet to crack and we’re look­ing ahead to that, but the sched­ule will never be as in­tense as those first few years. You do kind of need a break to be able to look back on it and think ‘Wow, we did all that.’ It’s hard to get that per­spec­tive when you’re in the mid­dle of it.

Two of you got mar­ried last year; does that make tour­ing harder?


My­self and my part­ner have been to­gether nearly 12 years now, long be­fore Ko­da­line were any­thing so she’s been there when we were jam­ming in my par­ents’ house and it’s the same with Jay’s part­ner. They’ve been there be­fore the mad­ness and they know it’s all we’ve ever wanted to do, so they’re ex­tremely sup­port­ive. The nice thing is that we’re in the po­si­tion now that we can af­ford to buy them a plane ticket to join us on tour. At the start, I’d be gone for ages and I would just have to Skype my other half.

With this al­bum, was it the right de­ci­sion to scrap it and start again?


Def­i­nitely – if we lis­ten to those songs now we know we made the right choice. Some­times you just have to make a call on some­thing and be­lieve in it. I think doubt started to set in and then it spread like wild­fire amongst us. We wanted to get the al­bum out but we didn’t want to be that band that put out an al­bum we weren’t fully happy with. The worst part of it was we had to can­cel a lot of con­certs so we could go back to the stu­dio and that killed us, es­pe­cially read­ing the tweets from fans that were dis­ap­pointed. There were songs on there that were good songs but they just didn’t sound right. They didn’t sound like us.


At the end of the day, we wrote the songs so we have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity. In iso­la­tion, they’re good songs but when you put them up against other songs on the al­bum they just didn’t com­pare. So the ques­tion was: did we want an al­bum that was at 40% or one at 100%? I don’t think we’d take that long be­tween al­bums again; we’ll prob­a­bly get stuck into the next one pretty soon. The mu­sic in­dus­try is chang­ing rapidly and you have to keep up.

Many crit­ics are tough on you but fans ob­vi­ously love you – does that bother you? Mark:

I re­mem­ber read­ing re­views for our first al­bum and think­ing ‘How did they get that from those songs?’ I de­cided af­ter that I wasn’t go­ing to read a re­view ever again and I haven’t. Peo­ple will send me pos­i­tive re­views of our shows or some­thing but I don’t ac­tively seek to read them. I to­tally re­spect that’s their job but for us, the proof in the pud­ding is peo­ple com­ing to our shows and our gigs selling out and see­ing our names mov­ing up the list on the fes­ti­val slots. That’s our barom­e­ter of how much peo­ple are lik­ing us. Mu­sic is so opin­ion­ated; you’re never go­ing to please ev­ery­body and we’re not try­ing to.

Pol­i­tics of Liv­ing is on sale now

I think doubt started to set in and then it spread like wild­fire amongst us

Ko­da­line (left to right): Mark Prendergast; Ja­son Boland; Stephen Gar­ri­gan and Vinny May

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