Walking on Cars talk to us about their new album 'Colours' and about having their songs featured on 'Home and Away'
Walking on Cars are poised to release their second album 'Colours' later this week and their second single 'Coldest Water' is currently tearing up Irish radio stations across the country. We caught up with Pa, Sorcha, Paul, and Evan about all things related to songwriting, travelling between Kerry, Dublin, and London, and how things have changed since their debut.
Last time I met you all was at the 2fm Xmas Ball before Christmas - how did the night go?
Sorcha: Great! It was nice to be back in the 3Arena.
Paul: I really wanted to stay, but I had to drive home after the gig, I had something on…
S: You had to go to a wedding.
Paul: Oh, that was it.
Pa: He was getting married! (everyone laughs)
Paul: Ah, yeah… what was her name… (laughs)
And how did ‘Monster’ go down, the first single from the album, when you played it?
S: Really good. There’s such an energy in the song, every time we play it, we’re like “Yeahhhhh!” It feels good.
Evan: It’s aggressive.
S: Yeah it is. The intro - from the moment you start playing it - you know there’s no f*cking around. Straight in there.
I had a listen to your new album ‘Colours’ already - which isn’t out until April 12th - and loved ‘One Last Dance’ which is a cracker. What was the process like on this one compared to the last one?
Pa: Different, very different. The last one, we spent writing it in cottages in Dingle, and then ended touring Ireland playing these songs - and then you know if it’s working or not. This… was very different. This was kind of like we came on tour and then focused on actually writing an album - and it was tough going. Being honest with you. There was a bit of pressure involved and you’re showing up for a purpose to make a hit or whatever. Whereas before, we just rocked up, got creative, expressed ourselves, and it all just happened.
So maybe it wasn’t as organic as writing your first album, would you say?
Pa: Well, initially it wasn’t. We’d written a batch of tunes, went back to them… and we just scrapped the whole lot of them. And we started again. We started to get real, get honest. Then we wrote ‘Monster’ and after that we knew where we were going.
So ‘Monster’ was the first song on the album that you wrote?
Pa: We had ‘Coldest Water’ written already, and then ‘Monster’ -
S: And ‘One Last Dance’ that was one of the older ones too.
Paul: Think you’re the first one to mention ‘One Last Dance’ - bonus points to you!
Were you writing the songs over in London this time around too?
Pa: Yeah, at first we were kind of reluctant to write in London with writers. Because we’d written our first record at home, on our own, we were a bit protective of our work. And then we eventually just decided to actually go over-
Paul: Take everyone’s advice (everyone laughs)
Pa: We had a batch of tunes, they weren’t working - and it was great for us. To actually sit down with people who are in the industry years, and they just have a different way of thinking, a different way of writing. And it opened our minds up, totally. And we learned loads from it - and we got some great tunes out of it.
How do you find the going over and back from London?
S: It’s nice. We recorded the album over in the UK as well. It’s nice to change your scenery a bit. Because when you’re in the same place continually, you kind of get into a certain, I dunno-
S: Yeah, comfort zone. And it’s good to get out of that comfort zone, and even just place yourself in a different room. Because there’s always different energies.
London can be overwhelming too - to go from Dingle to the big smoke.
Pa: Yeah I remember when we were writing records in Ventry, I’d only leave the house to go to the shop and to go meet these guys. And I’d only speak to the man in the shop and us every day. And then you go to London and there’s thousands of people walking towards you… it can be shocking.
Paul: Especially for us simple, country folk.
Do you find - because you’re not from Dublin - that it’s a bit more difficult for you to make it?
S: Yeah, or a lot of artists are based in Dublin.
Paul: We were just thinking about that earlier, because the music scene is here (in Dublin). And we kind of orbit it, and then we head back home. You know, we’re not in the pub hanging with-
S: Bono! (laughs)
E: It’s actually harder to get a gig down at home. If you were starting out, definitely. There’s more opportunity here.
Paul: It was such a big deal when we had to come up here to play a gig.
Pa: *whispers* The lads are going to Dublin at the weekend.
Paul: It’s not even All-Ireland weekend, what are they thinking? There’ll be nobody from Kerry up there.
S: I suppose it is kind of good and bad, really. In a way, it’s nice to be separated from it because when we go home to Dingle it’s normal, very grounding, and we kind of just have our own little bubble. And that can be good… but it’s nice to get out of it too.
Pa: Yeah it's nice that we have a bubble - but not to be in it the whole time.
Has your music been on some TV shows? ‘Made in Chelsea’ perhaps?
Paul: Yeah. And ‘Home and Away.’ Crikey!
Pa: ‘Home and Away’ have been using our songs consistently for a while.
Paul: I think there was some deal done with our old management and ‘Home and Away’ where they could use our song-
S: That’s the theory anyway. We don’t really know why.
E: We were on ‘Coronation Street’ as well.
Paul: Oh, and we were on ‘Match of the Day’ one time with United vs. Chelsea (cracker of a game). And we came back to watch the show and OUR SONG WAS ON IT. That was the best day ever. TV-wise anyway.
Paul: We were on a movie as well, ‘Mum’s List’, and a German Amazon show, ‘We Are Watching.’
Pa: And we were playing at the premiere of the show, on the red carpet while everyone walked in. It sounds luxurious but… but it wasn’t what we envisaged.
S: It wasn’t like the Oscars, let’s say.
Paul: We didn’t even get a goodie bag.
As a band, do you like to do activities together, other than song writing?
E: Me and Paul go golfing and playing pitch and putt the odd time.
Paul: And me and Sorcha have gone sailing before.
S: We actually don’t do too much together… we go for pints!
Paul: And getting food together. If we’re touring and we know we’ve a day off the next day, we’ll go for a nice meal.
S: Our meals are the biggest part of our days away basically. What you eat, where you eat… we remember places by what you ate there. Like some random place in Germany, can’t remember where that was… “You remember, you had the schnitzel!”
Paul: That really narrows it down…
You have quite a big German fan base don’t you?
S: Yeah, we’re actually going there next week for our promo trip.
Pa: ‘Speeding Cars’ really took off there, before anywhere else. It’s a great place to be.
S: Great place to tour - they’ve really got it down.
Pa: Great venues, and great catering. And great fans as well. And they clap in time, I kid you not.
Paul: And the fans are actually there for doors opening. It’s not like in Ireland.
S: They don’t really drink that much at gigs over there. I find that they’re there for the music.
So tell me about your tour for the rest of the year.
S: We start in Poland, then all over Europe - it’s pretty extensive. And then we finish up in the 3Arena. There’s Latitude in the UK and Irish Independent Cork too. In the past, we’ve always done our biggest show at the start which never made any sense - so this time we’re going to be ready.
Are there any other Irish artists you listen to and think are worth a listen?
Are there any other Irish artists you listen to and think are worth a listen?
S: All Tvvins, their new stuff is great. Their stuff is always so slick.
Paul: James Vincent McMorrow. Love his stuff. And he’s worked with All Tvvins too.
S: Yeah, he produced their album.
Pa: I like When Young. A Limerick grungy band.
S: Oh, there’s this punk band called Just Mustard who I saw at Other Voices and they were class. It’s great because what I’m seeing is that a lot of Irish artists are collaborating with each other and it’s amazing. There’s a whole community of people there supporting each other.
Are there any other Irish artists you are friendly with?
E: We’re pretty friendly with The Coronas and Riptide Movement.
Pa: And Ham Sandwich, we did a couple of gig with them.
Paul: Again, we’re kind of in our own little bubble down in Kerry. The lads from The Coronas spend a couple months a year down there to write so we hang with them a good bit.
Have you got anything planned for your album launch in April?
Paul: We’re in the midst of putting something together… Have you any plans, any good ideas? (Everyone laughs).
Pa: Yeah, the week the album is coming out, we have stuff planned but you’ll have to wait and see.
Walking on Cars will play Waterfront Hall, Belfast on 21st May; the 3Arena, Dublin on May 23rd; and Irish Independent Park, Cork on June 21st . 'Colours' will be released this Friday, April 12th.