Now firmly established as one of Ireland's most successful bands, Kodaline release their fourth album 'One Day at a Time' this Friday, June 12th.
The album saw them return to their roots after the bombast of 2018's 'Politics of Living' and retreat to their studio in North County Dublin with bassist Jay Boland on production duties.
To mark the occasion, we recently had a chat with frontman Steve Garrigan about both the album and Kodaline's successes over the years.
Hi Steve! It's been two years since your last album release – can you sum up the past two years in one sentence?
Ummm.... errrr... that's an incredibly tough question!
Okay, in one word, then.
That's even harder! (laughs) Erm... one word... the past two years... uhhhhhh... I dunno. Can we come back to that?!
Okay, here's an easier one. What's your favourite song on the new album?
Oooh, it'd probably be a song called 'Spend it with You'. We made up this love story at the end of the world, and the song itself has got a kind of fifties vibe. I really enjoyed recording and writing it, and I just think it's really cool. It's not something we'd usually do, that type of style song – it's very old school. But right now, that's my favourite one.
That song is about a couple who choose to spend the apocalypse together. Who would you choose?
Well, there's a couple of people. But if I could only choose one? Feckin' hell (laughs). I have to pick my family and my girlfriend. I can't choose between them.
'One Day at a Time' has come reasonably quickly after your last album - when did you start writing for it?
The thing is, I never stop writing, really. I'm always working on bits of songs here and there. Mark is the other writer in the band, and he's kind of the same – he'd always be working on ideas. We've never really been short of material, but that said I think a lot of the stuff that we do write, we just throw away. So I think there was ideas floating around for ages. 'Wherever You Are', the first single; I wrote that song around January last year. 'Sometimes' was written when we were on tour in Asia. So we never stop writing. This album isn't even out, but – and I shouldn't really say this – but we're already looking forward to getting in [to the studio] again and doing something new.
You would have been preparing to head out on a long tour around about now - are you worried about what the future holds?
Initially I was worried, but I've kind of come to terms with it. It is what it is, and every musician, band and solo artist is in the same boat. The whole live industry is at a standstill, so it is strange. We did have plans before the whole lockdown happened to tour America, tour Europe and tour Asia, the UK... and we had the Olympia shows in Ireland, they were the launch for the new album. So it's tough. They've been pushed back to September now, and it's still kind of uncertain as to whether they'll happen or not. As of now they are happening, but who knows. So it is strange, but I think as soon as everything gets back to some kind of new 'normal', we'll probably be touring more than we ever have. So that's a bonus for us. But the whole thing is strange, but necessary at the same time. It is what it is.
Kodaline have over a billion streams on Spotify now. Do you get anything special for reaching that milestone – apart from the royalty cheques that you're rightly owed?
Well, I think you can get discs and stuff like that, but we haven't got one yet. A disc would be cool if we got one, but we haven't got it yet.
Sort it out, Spotify! You have various celebrity fans, but who's the most famous name in your phone contacts?
Ermmmmmmm.... Courteney Cox or Ed Sheeran?
Impressive. For someone who's never listened to Kodaline before, what song would you choose as the ideal starting point?
One song? Probably 'All I Want'. That's our biggest song – or 'High Hopes'. Or 'Brother', maybe. One of the slow, emotional songs.
Do you still feel a connection to 'All I Want', despite singing it what must be thousands of times at this point?
I think with every show, it depends on the crowd. When you're singing the same song every single night, it's different every night. It's not the same feeling I had when I wrote it years ago, but it's still there. I appreciate that song and it's done a lot for us. So it's different, but I still love singing it.
What songwriter do you most admire, alive or dead?
I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and I always have been because I grew up on him. He's so prolific and he has so many albums, and he does four-hour shows at the age he's at, which is crazy. (laughs) So probably him, or Billy Joel. Someone like that.
What was the last film you watched?
The last film I watched was a movie with Ben Affleck called The Way Back. It's a new movie and it's a tearjerker. It's powerful, but it's good.
What about the last album you listened to?
I think it was Bon Iver's new one. I put that on a few days ago while I was wandering around. The sounds he uses are amazing.
Can you ever see Kodaline going experimental in the way that he has?
Possibly, on a few songs? Yeah, why not? We could try, that's all we can do (laughs).
On a personal level, you've never really played the fame game - why is that?
Well, from the very, very start of Kodaline, I remember saying to the guys 'Let's stay out of the videos' because we wanted to put the music at the front. That was how we started off, and we always kind of shied away from the media. It just never appealed to me, but I suppose it comes with being a musician in a band. We tour around the world and we do still occasionally get stopped by fans in places. But I've never wanted to chase the limelight, that's for sure. It's always been music at the forefront. I never really saw the point. And I still don't see the point. (laughs)
Does that make stuff like doing interviews tricky?!
Not particularly, because over the years we've done so many interviews that it's become the norm. At the start, I had no idea; I remember on the first album, all of a sudden we had all these interviews and holy shit... I didn't know what to do or what to say. I was like 'Oh god, this is a part of it as well?!' (laughs) I'm pretty quiet and introverted, so interviews are fine sometimes, but they can get a bit overwhelming at some points. But I'm fine with it, it's cool. I realise how lucky that I am and we are as a band to be doing what we're doing, and that far outweighs anything else. I'll do thousands of interviews, it's grand.
What's the biggest misconception about Kodaline?
That's a very good question. Ummm.. that our songs are really, really sad – because we do have a lot of happy songs, too. It's not all doom and gloom. I remember I was around the corner from a venue in America and two people were walking by. It was in a theatre so 'Kodaline' was written above, and two people who obviously weren't going to the show walked by and one of them goes 'Oh, Kodaline!' and the other one went 'They're very depressing.' (laughs) I was like 'Oh, Jaysus...' (laughs) That's what springs to mind.
Finally, why should people check out 'One Day at a Time'?
I know it's just music at the end of the day, but if you've ever been a fan of ours, I think you'll really enjoy it. We've kind of gone back to our roots on this one, and it's an album we're incredibly proud of. Each song is entirely different. I'd like to think that it'd put a smile on your face, or at the very least, make you feel something; make you forget about the world for a while.
'One Day at a Time' is out on Friday, June 12th.