Irish band, Kodaline was recently in town for their first Malaysian headline concert, “Politics of Living“.
It was a pleasure to welcome back Steve Garrigan (Lead singer), Vincent May (Drums), Jason Boland (Bass guitar), and Mark Prendergrast (Guitar) to our local shores.
Many of us took notice of the quartet after their smash hits “All I Want” and “High Hopes” blew up. Their first two albums, “In A Perfect World” (2013) and “Coming Up For Air” (2015), consisted of emotional indie tunes that one could easily identify with. However, their latest record, “Politics of Living” saw an evolution in terms of its sound and lyrics.
The band pushed the envelope by incorporating EDM elements into the record. In addition, the album touched on the realism of life- everyday relationships, mental health, and the duality of life’s ups and downs.
Thanks to our friends from Sony Music Malaysia, we had the pleasure of speaking to Vincent May, Jason Boland, and Mark Prendergrast. Unfortunately Steve Garrigan was feeling under the weather and had to rest up. Regardless, we still had the pleasure of hearing the interesting stories they had to share.
Check it out:
Considering its your third time here in Malaysia, what’s the highlight when you meet your Asian fans? Are they any different from the fans in the US or the UK?
Jason: This fan from the airport gave me this bracelet which is a highlight.
Mark: The Asian fans are incredibly respectful, so even if they come to see us at the airport. They are almost waiting for us to invite them to come over, whereas in Europe, you have no choice.
Jason: They get wild.
Mark: So, it’s really lovely, you know. We really enjoy seeing people when we get at the airport or get back to the hotel. They are just lovely, lovely people.
Vincent: It’s something that we don’t really get to experience anywhere else. You are very good at welcoming. So, to have fans come up and wanna get pictures, or get autographs or cross designs with their albums it’s amazing and a really nice experience.
So, what’s the most memorable performance that you guys have had so far?
Jason: The performance here was great. Someone proposed on stage at a gig and it started raining. The craziest rain I’ve seen. That was an amazing show.
It’s always amazing when you go somewhere for the first time cause you never know what the fans are gonna be like. That was an interesting night. That was awesome and the fact that tonight sold out so quick, means that it’s going to be a memorable one.
Vincent: Yea like on this tour, we are going to a lot of places that we never have done a headline show before. We played first time in Thailand a week ago and we were overwhelmed by the response that we got. That was our very first time. I can’t wait for tonight because it’s our first headline show here.
For each album, you have a theme and would want to step up. So, what was the biggest challenge going into this record.
Jason: Probably cause we moved around so much, we kept changing. Every song has a different producer and even other writers. So, it’s kind of strange to let someone into your world like that to help you with lyrics for your song.
It was a learning experience but it was incredible cause you’re working with people who have written some of the best songs in the world. We were definitely out of our comfort zone a lot.
We did a lot of writing sessions with people that didn’t work. It’s pretty uncomfortable when you’re in a room with someone and after like half an hour, maybe you don’t even like the person which happened. Or you hate the person which happened as well. And you are kinda sat there and have to try to write a song. That was difficult.
But then other side of the spectrum, you meet people who become your best friends. You have to sharp yourself around to find those core people to work with. Although, we enjoyed that and we probably might do that again in the future, at the moment we are just back to just the four of us again. That feels fresh now because we went and did all that for two years now. We are just back to the four of us in a studio in Dublin that’s where we were making this album.
So it’s kinda nice to totally change the surrounding each time. We don’t do that intentionally, it’s just kinda happen that way. We don’t want to make the same album twice.
For this album, in particular, you had a lot of songs. How did you narrow them down into 17 songs?
Mark: It really comes down to what gets through the four of us. Someone might have two or three songs from a session, we might love one from another session. Unless everybody can get behind it, it doesn’t really work.
We all have to play them live. We all have to have them be part of our name forever. So, it’s like a baseline. No matter how many people we work with, it all comes down to the Kodaline filter and if it gets through that, it’s a good thing usually.
In the latest record, there’s a song called “Shed A Tear” that speaks about the importance of taking care of your mental health, how did that song came about?
Mark: I think “Shed A Tear” came early enough in the process but we kinda forgot about it. It was one of those ones that we did like a bit work on it and it just kinda sat there. The more we got to the end of the record, it’s just kinda felt like it fit again. So, we went back into our little studio in Ireland, our tiny little place, and we played a couple things on it. We put all our voices back on it and it’s just kinda felt right by the end of the record.
It something that it’s really important that we feel men should talk about especially. In Ireland, there’s quite a lot of stigma still about mental health. So, it’s nice to just to be able to put something forward from us, from the heart.
Jason: I think we will always sing about mental health. Always. Every album, one or two songs cause it’s still not talk about. If you been through it and you are in the depths of not feeling great, the last thing you wanna do is to talk someone about it. I don’t know if a song is going to save someone but we kinda let people know it’s okay to feel like that.
Have any fans come forth to share their personal experience with mental health?
Jason: People have come to us and said that we saved their life. I don’t take that with a pinch of salt obviously. When people would post lyrics and they make us fan art and they have the lyrics to a song, It’s funny cause when you see one lyric isolated by itself, sometimes you can tell that one line spoke to someone supposed the whole song. And see you it written down, it kinda means more to you. Wow I never saw it like that before.
That’s what keeps us going and making new music is when people come up to us and thank you for this and that. We have songs that we go to when we don’t feel great. That’s the beautiful thing about music. When you are in the room with five types of people and you are singing the same thing, for that moment it goes away.
So, do you guys have a favourite song off the album? Is there a reason why it might mean a lot to you?
Vincent: I think we all have different ones and they change every week I say. Like right now, my favourite track of the album at the moment is ‘Brother’. It’s been going down very well over here. The shows we been playing, there’s an amazing crowd reaction and that song is about the four of us being there for each other. So, it’s just a really great song to play live and the reaction has been awesome.
Jason: Mine at the moment is ‘Angel’. It was written about someone who passed away and we wrote that song in the midst of writing with loads of loads of people on this album, being here and being there. A girl passed us on of our shows and we got together with no one else and wrote that song. I think that’s most Kodaline song on the album.
Hype: That’s my favourite song, it reminds me of my grandmother.
Jason: Oh really? There you go. That’s written about someone specifically. We didn’t intend for it to appeal to anyone. We just send the song to her family and they asked us would we mind talking about and letting people know that it’s about this person. And it’s great live, people sing along which is nice.
Mark: I love a song called “I Wouldn’t Be”. It’s just really simple. It’s just our four voices. Again, its something we kinda did ourselves and by the time it makes it on the record, it gonna reaffirm that something we do together though is just special.
Hope to see y’all again soon 😉
Article by John Tan.