Catching up with Irish band Kodaline
Kodaline are an Irish alternative rock band who have been gradually hooking the world with their catchy lyrics and uplifting, relatable hooks. After an American headline tour in the fall to promote their album In a Perfect World, they’ve returned for another run before they play before huge crowds in Europe. I spoke with bassist Jay Boland ahead of their upcoming dates.
So, I saw online that you guys are working on a new album right now. How’s that going so far?
We’re only in the demo stages right now. We’ve been demoing on the road for the last couple of months. Since we released album one, we’ve really been working towards album two. It’s going really good. We’ve got a bunch of songs that we’re really happy with, so we’re just trying to write a bunch more so we can pick out the best of the bunch in our opinion and then start on it later in the year. We’re still demoing, so it’s really good.
Great. So you basically have your entire career to write your first album, so what did you learn from that experience going into writing the second album right now?
I don’t know what you can take away from it. I think every time I’ve ever made an album—I’ve worked in the studio for quite a long time—every time you make an album, you learn one or two more tricks, but you realize how many more tricks there are out there, you know what I mean? It’s like you’re never going to make the perfect album, and when you get to the end of an album you realize you’re not going to be done with an album. It’s never going to be finished. We’re quite perfectionists, really. You have to let [the songs] go. It’s a bit of separation anxiety at the start.
Does that mean that we won’t hear any new songs on the tour, or are you going to try a few out?
Oh no. After we do this American tour, we have our biggest tour in the UK to date, so we’ll play The O2 Arena in Dublin, which is 14,000 people, so we’re really going to be testing ourselves on this American tour, really get in there and keep ourselves on our toes, really, trying to up the game a bit.
I believe the last time you were in New York was when you were playing the CMJ Music Marathon, right?
Yeah, CMJ, that was the last.
Right, so what was it like for you with so many shows in New York in so many places over just a few days?
It was crazy. I don’t know if we’re ever going to have a harder week than we had at SXSW the first time. Every time we’ve been to one of these festivals, we’re kind of dreading it. But it was a breeze. It was so much fun. I think it was probably because it was in New York, you know? Very hard to get bored in New York. We were kind of flying around the place, and it was fun. You could walk it and get a subway on the way if you needed to. When you get to Austin it’s like, “You’re doing six shows today.” Whereas in New York it didn’t matter as much. There was more to see on the way in between.
Is there anything you want to see or do while you’re in America that you didn’t have a chance to do last time?
Every time we get to New York, we try to get into the High Line.
Oh yeah, the High Line. That’s a great park.
We just got to it the last day, and as we walked up the stairs, a guy comes along, and he’s like, “Yep, closed again.” Every time we try to get there, we’ve gone just a little too late and missed it. So I’d love to have a really sunny day in New York and walk on the High Line.
I don’t know if it’s going to be sunny while you’re here. It’s been pretty cold.
No, not this tour. It may be a long-term goal.
Whenever bands tour America, it usually takes a while. I guess you’re here a bit over a month. How do you stay sane on the road with so much driving together?
The first year and a half, we were in a van. I think anything beyond that is luxury in our eyes, you know? We were really crammed in like sardines for so long. We’re now on a bus. If we complained, we’d be the biggest assholes in the world. The driving is the least stressful part for us. We even get to write on the road, so we love it. The only thing is we never get to see anywhere because we drive to everywhere. Like the last time we were in the States, we drove by Niagara Falls. We didn’t get stop at Niagara Falls.
Not everyone gets to see you on tour, so it’s important to have your music reach different people. How important is it for you to have a visual presence, like with music videos? Because I’ve seen that some of your videos have five, six million views on YouTube.
You know, it’s always very important for us. The bands that we grew up on and love, Radiohead and U2 and Coldplay, the music complemented the video in such a great way that you kind of forgot they were separate, you know? It became this entity. I don’t know if it’s been done for quite a while, and we really wanted to make videos a storyline again that could connect with the songs. With the way YouTube has gone and the way music is being delivered now, YouTube’s probably got more plays than our Spotify page or something like that. It’s very hard to know where people are listening to your music, so you have to be representing yourself in the best light possible at all times, and I think a video is a huge part of a band’s image. You have to play a big role in it or it just becomes something you don’t understand.
Is there anything you want to say to people who may have heard of you and aren’t quite sure if they should come out to a show while you’re here in America?
If you have maybe heard of us, come down and have a pint with us. We’ll definitely want to come back after that.
Kodaline play Webster Hall on February 12th. Tickets are available here.