A Music Blog, Yea? favourites Kodaline return to the site once again, only this time we discuss creating their new album while on the road, honesty, crucial touring items, setlists, and advice for young musicians with the band’s Vinny May. Dive into our interview below, and be sure to catch the band touring in support of their sophomore record Coming Up for Air (tour dates here).
AMBY: Hey Vinny. It’s Alicia from A Music Blog, Yea?. Thanks for taking the time to have a chat today – it’s always a pleasure catching up with you!
Kodaline: Of course. Thank you very much.
AMBY: To kick things off, let’s discuss the new record Coming Up for Air. Tell me a bit about the creation of the album.
Kodaline: The album process started out of the blue, really. We went over to LA and worked with a producer named Jacknife Lee who’s worked with Snow Patrol, Taylor Swift, U2, and a huge amount of people. We went over to experiment; we hadn’t even started the recording process. Then we were over at Jacknife’s place for about ten days and ended up having two songs written and recorded. That’s how it all kind of started. We then went into a studio, just outside of London, and from there we got most of the record done. It was done really, really quickly. It was unfortunate that Jay broke his wrist [laughs], but that kind of helped because we got to finish the record.
AMBY: It seemed like the band was touring nonstop in support of In A Perfect World. Where on earth did you find the time to create this new record?
Kodaline: The writing of the album kind of happened between being on the tour bus, in hotel rooms, and in dressing rooms. As soon as the first album was finished, we started thinking about the second record. We constantly write music; we never stop writing music. At the end of the year, we were like “crap, we have to write and record a whole lot of songs.” We had a whole lot of songs written. When we were in the studio, we worked really well as a band. This music was a much more collaborative effort than the first album.
AMBY: You mention writing on the road there – after spending eighteen months touring, were any touring experiences or moments used as inspiration on the new album?
Kodaline: The people that we met and the places that we’ve been all had influence on us, subconsciously. There wasn’t a song written about a particular place or person, but they all influence us and helped shape who we are today. Being on the road for eighteen months, together on a tour bus, you get to know each other a lot better than we did before. We’ve been friends for quite a while, you know? We became better musicians… we weren’t great two years ago, and we aren’t “great” now, but we’re better than what we were two years ago [laughs].
AMBY: In a separate interview, you once said how your “genre is honesty”. Being that Coming Up For Air’s first single was actually titled Honest, I was wondering if you could elaborate on that quote a bit?
Kodaline: We don’t make up stories or fictional things; we wouldn’t write a song we don’t believe in. We don’t write throwaway lyrics since they’re such a huge and important part of us and the songs we write. Honesty is incredibly important. We are incredibly honest with each other, as a band, and with people. If something doesn’t seem right or something happens that we don’t believe in, we’re not going to sing about it. Honest was written about someone who was really close to the band, but aren’t close to us anymore since they weren’t honest. It’s kind of about the music industry as well. Some people aren’t very honest in the music industry.
AMBY and Kodaline: [laughs]
AMBY: When you look back at In A Perfect World, where do you feel you’ve allowed yourselves to mature or experiment more on this new album?
Kodaline: Just in the sounds, instruments, and the way that we recorded… When we first started working with our producer, he really opened our eyes to a new way of recording and how there is no wrong answer in music and when you’re writing. He really emphasized that. We kind of allowed ourselves to be more open to different sounds and instruments.
AMBY: In support of Coming Up for Air’s release, you’ll be on a North American tour which stops by Toronto on April 16th and 17th. When it comes to packing for a large tour, what are some quintessential items you must have with you?
Kodaline: That’s a really good question!
AMBY: Thank you.
Kodaline: [laughs] I’ve actually never been asked that question. That’s a good one. Lots of underwear, socks, lots of clothes in general because you don’t get a huge amount of time to do laundry. I also bring my PlayStation and we play tons of FIFA, Call of Duty, and stuff like that. That’s kind of crucial – to wind down after a show or get ourselves riled up to play a really tense game. I guess music, as well, since we all bring our iPods and headphones on the road. We all share music and listen to music when we’re on the road. Those are probably the quintessential things to bring.
AMBY: Aside from playing those video games you brought up, what are some things the band likes to do for fun while going from city to city?
Kodaline: When we’re in America and stuff, there’s a lot of stuff you can do there that you can’t do in Ireland. We try to experience new things while we’re over in America and Canada. We’ve gone to a few baseball games, we’ve gone to an ice hockey game, and stuff like that. We like doing things that might seem really normal to you but are completely strange to us.
AMBY: Will this tour be the first time you’re playing the new material for the audiences?
Kodaline: Yes, it is. Since we finished the recordings closer to the end of last year, we haven’t been on the road that much. We haven’t been on tour since the summer and playing festivals. This is the first time we’re going to play the new album and we’re going to try to mix it up a bit. It’s so exciting and we’re extremely excited to play it all.
AMBY: That’s great to hear. Are there any songs in specific that you personally look forward to playing the most?
Kodaline: There are a few songs… This album was such a team effort compared to our first record, so there are so many songs… Honest is a really fun song to play live and it sounds huge when we play it, just the four of us! The last track on the album, which is Everything Works Out In The End, is really fun yet simple song to play.
AMBY: A few days back you Tweeted, “Yoyo , hit us up with some new artists / bands to put in our ears”.
Kodaline: [laughs] Exactly.
AMBY: Did you get any good recommendations you can share with our readers? Who have you been listening to?
Kodaline: We’ve brought out some people on the road with us over the last eighteen months and they’re starting to do very well. There’s James Bay, Gavin James, Hozier. Who else? [laughs] That’s a really good question and you’ve stumped me. I’ve got three, so that’s enough.
AMBY: [laughs] Yes, that works. Something I, and fans, truly admire about Kodaline is that with all of the success you’ve gained in the UK and here in North America, you’re still one of the most humble groups out there.
Kodaline: Thank you very much.
AMBY: It’s my pleasure. Many of our readers are in up and coming indie bands, and some have specifically told me that they look up to that quality you all have. With that said, what advice would you give to fans of yours who want to pursue a career in music?
Kodaline: Honesty. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with your songwriting. Don’t say anything that you don’t believe in. I know it kind of sounds really cliché, but don’t give up. Before we got signed, we just played any and every show that we could; it could have been a shitty little dive bar or in front of nobody. Play gigs. You learn so much about your material by playing live and getting people’s reactions. You can be in a rehearsal room for years, but the second you play a gig, it’s completely different. My advice would be to play as many shows as you can and get your name out there. You’ll build up enough hype that eventually, if your songs are good, people will notice you.
AMBY: Absolutely. That’s great advice. I remember when A Music Blog, Yea? spoke with you all for the first time back in 2012 – the success of the band has been incredible over the past couple of years. To wrap things up , I just wanted to say congratulations on everything and best of luck with the new record.
Kodaline: Awesome. Thank you so much, Alicia.
AMBY: Anytime, cheers.
Thank you Kodaline, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout