Interview // Kodaline Discuss Having the Best Job in the World

Irish quartet Kodaline’s music draws from shared and individual stories, feelings and memories of heartbreak, happiness and everything in between to remind people that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Breaking through in 2013 with ‘High Hopes’, the band have gone from strength to strength with numerous chart placings all over the world – including three #1 albums in Ireland and two Top 5 albums in the UK- and 2019 saw them play some of the biggest shows of their career.

Kodaline prepare to release their fourth album later this year as they follow one release with another. Starting off in January with ‘Wherever You Are’, which they describe as “a song about the experience of being away from our loved ones; of missing someone important in your life, and thinking of them wherever we are or they are”.

This was followed by the March 6th release of ‘Sometimes’. The track written by frontman Steve Garrigan is the relatable tale of a bad day. One of those days where you let your anxieties and emotions get the better of you. Finding solace in music, Garrigan’s message of “accepting bad days and staying positive” encompasses the life of Kodaline’s music in its entirety.

As the drummer/vocalist of the band puts it, the message they hope for listeners to take away from their music is “Optimism. Not everything is lost. When it looks like there’s nothing left, you’ll still find joy in the little things. There’s always hope.”

But as the vulnerability of ‘Sometimes’ indicates, this isn’t a generic, empty promise of hope, it’s personable in the best of ways. Speaking of their song writing process, Vinny explains, “Our music is all drawn from experiences that at least one of us have experienced. It’s easier for us to write about things that have happened to us and memories we share, whatever we’ve lived through. It comes across more genuine, and will be appreciated more by fans when it’s not contrived.”

No matter how much they change, this authenticity remains. This is evident when discussing their evolution as a band. Vinny says, “We’ve grown up more. We need to experience life to have something to say. I think our sound has changed because we had the chance to go through happiness and heartbreak. As a group and as people we’ve not changed, it’s just our stories that have changed.”

Despite changing stories, the easy dynamic between the quartet is still similar to what they shared while working on their first album. Explaining what fans can expect from their upcoming fourth album, they say, “You can expect an album we are extremely proud of.”

Reflecting on their own experiences working on the album, they say, “The writing process is very similar to the work on our first album. It’s just us in a studio and everyone has a part to play as we write and talk about things together. Apart from our first album, this album has been the most fun to write and record. There’s no pressure, everyone is there because they want to be there.”
Speaking of “wanting to be there”, Kodaline – who had a massive 2019 in terms of touring – are happiest knowing that there are fans who want their music, in their home country and across the world.

Reminiscing on the past year, they say “It was an incredible year for us. We toured South East Asia and Australia which was the best tour we’ve ever done. Then we got to come home and play festival across Europe and shows in the UK.

“As the last show of the year, we got to go to Pune in India which was fantastic as well. We didn’t know what to expect, but we got such an amazing reaction to our show – a brilliant way to finish off the year.”

Charmed at the different yet equally enthusiastic response they received to their music, regardless of which part of the world they were performing in, Kodaline are beyond excited to get back on the road. In particular, Vinny says “We’d love to go back to India to see more of it, we want to visit South America and Africa as well. We’ve done so much and we’re in such a good headspace so we’re super excited to get back on the road and share music.”

Aside from the buzz of excitement that hits them every time they face a new audience with no expectation of the reaction – only to receive applause and acceptance; the band is most thrilled by the creative process of making music.

On the topic of excitements and frustrations regarding their job, they say “The fact that we get to put out music in itself is incredible. There’s never a wrong answer when you’re writing music. To be able to be creative is such a nice feeling. When we’re away on tour what we want to do is get to the studio but when we’re in the studio we want to share the music – it’s a balancing act.”

But this balancing act and the twinges of anticipation don’t breed any negativity. In their wise words, “It’s hard to be frustrated because we realise how lucky we are to do this job.”

Humble yet proud, seeing every single achievement as a highlight but remembering to put each other in their place when one of the four gets too caught up in minor annoyances, Kodaline are making a striking return – following one massive year with what’s set to be another brilliant comeback filled with joyous, life-affirming music.

Author avatar
Malvika Padin

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