Ko­da­line

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

RTÉ Guide - - Contents -

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?

Mark:

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?

Vinny:

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?

Mark:

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.

Vinny:

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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