When you think of big Irish bands, who springs to mind? U2, obviously, but more recently we’ve had The Script, Snow Patrol and Two Door Cinema Club, who have all enjoyed massive success at home and abroad. Next year, Kodaline may just be on that list.
Kodaline is Stephen Garrigan, Vinny May, Mark Prendergast and Jason Boland, four lads from Swords who have been making music together since 2006. You may remember them from one of RTE’s many attempts at a TV talent show, You’re A Star, where they went by the moniker 21 Demands. After scoring a number one hit in 2007 with “Give Me A Minute” the band disappeared from the public eye, reforming in 2011 with a new name and a new attitude. Why choose Kodaline? “We went through a load of dodgy names. Band names are a strange thing, is there such thing as a good band name? It’s debatable really,” says lead singer Stephen. “We just liked it cos it has no connotations, I mean what comes to mind when I say Kodaline? Nothing. Only recently I heard that it’s a medical term, you know, when the vital signs go and it’s just “dooooo”, the straight line. But we’re going to ignore that and pretend Kodaline means Care Bears and rainbows.”
Isn’t it kind of apt, then, that “All I Want” was featured in the last season of Grey’s Anatomy? The hospital drama has championed many the indie band, and is responsible for the extreme popularity (and dare we say it, oversaturation) of Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”. “Yeah, we were really happy that they liked the song. We had only released an EP, we haven’t done much, and we’re still finding our feet. For a song of ours to be picked off an EP and put on a show like that was cool.”
On the back of the Grey’s gig, the video for “All I Want” gained almost half a million views. If you haven’t seen it, Youtube it immediately – the story of a lonely outcast looking for love, it’ll break your heart in a minute and put it back together again just as quickly. “For the video for “All I Want”, we contacted a friend of ours, he sent us an idea and we just got our mates in. In a way it was very do-it-yourself; even though we had a label behind us, they gave us full control. Stevie [Russell, the director] is a fecking great videographer,” says Stephen.
How do they feel now about their talent show roots? “I don’t think there’s any problem with talent shows, it depends on what you wanna do,” says Stephen. “It’s a good platform, but if you wanna really write your own stuff – that’s all we ever wanted to do really and all we ever have done – that was the one down point of You’re A Star in particular, even though we did eventually get to do one song of our own. Which was very childish, a shit song!”
Right now Kodaline are touring Europe, supporting the recently reformed Cranberries. “We’re in [makes an attempt at the name of a French town]. My French is awful,” Stephen says with a laugh. “It’s interesting to see crowd reactions, especially because we don’t speak the language, but we’re trying. The reaction each night has been cool. The Cranberries are treating us really well.” Next week, they return to Ireland for a sold-out gig in the Button Factory, then jet off again for Holland, where they are amassing a considerable fanbase: “People seem to like us in Holland. It’s all of the back off the Internet, going viral and stuff. People just like what we’re doing.”
That’s not to say the band are leaving our fair isle behind. “I really miss Dublin by the way, for the first time,” Stephen admits. “I think the Irish music industry is cool but there are more opportunities elsewhere. People are coming out of college and can’t get a job so they’re going to Australia and America. It’s just a bigger market. I suppose in a way it’s kinda similar in music. You just have more opportunities, you can play in more places, you can play to bigger crowds.”
With the release of a debut album slated for the New Year, Kodaline can safely expect those crowds to get bigger and bigger. Meanwhile, the band will be playing our very own DCU in the extremely near future. Keep your eyes and ears open; Kodaline may just be the next Big Irish Band.