Nearly half a decade after their last gig in Singapore (including a long hiatus that followed their second album), modern rock quartet Kodaline is finally returning to our shores this March with new music under their belts. Having dropped their latest compendium Politics of Living last September, the rest of the world has been waiting with bated breath to see what the four-piece has in store for us.
Before the show, we caught up with bassist Jason Boland in a phone interview to find out what the band had been up to, thoughts on potential collaborations, and how this bunch of “excited teenagers” – frontman Steve Garrigan, guitarist Mark Prendergast, drummer Vinny May and himself – from Dublin has grown to become the Kodaline we know today.
Hi Jason! It’s been four years since Kodaline last stopped by for a show. Is there anything you particularly miss about Singapore?
We’re going to try more street food – that was my favourite part of Singapore back then. We didn’t have the time to explore the country last round, so I want to spend some time exploring with my camera. I just want to walk as far as I can and see what I can find.
What was your favourite Singaporean dish when you tried the food here last time?
Chicken rice. Absolutely incredible.
You dropped Politics of Living last September, but you were on hiatus for a while. What have you guys been up to?
Both Vinny and I got married to our wives recently, so we had a lot of time to spend with our family and friends – just getting back to our roots. We were still making music, but by the time we actually got back to making the records, it already had been a year or so.
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Do you prefer the downtime or the busy tour life?
I think it’s a very even mix. When you’re on the road, you just want to go home, but when you’re home, you just can’t wait to get back out.
In this album, you also collaborated with plenty of notable producers. As singer-songwriters yourselves, how was it like working with them and how was the entire process like?
Whenever we work with anybody, it’s really about the relationship so these aren’t just our friends at work. If we were to let someone into the Kodaline process, it takes a lot of time because you have to get on with each other – it’s like having a fifth member of the band more than having an outside person. But it was an exciting experience; these guys bring incredible colour to the table and it was nice to be able to try different things.
Despite the number of collaborators on the album, it’s not often that Kodaline works with fellow artistes. Are there any acts you wish to collaborate with in the future?
We’ve never really gotten the opportunity. I think Nina Nesbitt is the only female singer we’ve done a collaboration with for ‘Hold You’, and after that we did ‘Raging’ with Kygo. I think we’re very interested in trying out couple of things – we’d love to collaborate with Zedd one day. We’d also like to work with a big YouTuber. Someone like Ninja (American Twitch streamer) would be nice.
In a previous interview, you mentioned that it’s an album about growing up. How has Kodaline changed throughout the years?
I think at the heart of it, you might find that we’re still a group of big kids who get to play music and can’t believe their luck. So much of it is just us being excited teenagers – that’s what we really feel like, even though the life around you might not look like that anymore (laughs). We also listen to a lot of different genres of music these days. We’re huge fans of pop music now, which we probably wouldn’t have been at the very start; it’s just that your musical tastes develop as you grow up. When we first started out, we set out to be a classic band so we listen to the likes of The Beatles, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin. But now, the meaning of what a band is has changed so much. As long as the music sounds like you, it doesn’t really matter that much.
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You guys are no stranger to selling out shows all over the globe, yet are still able to maintain a relatively low-key image despite your fame. How do you keep the balance?
I think it’s a very Irish thing that no matter how well you do, the moment you come home, your friends bring you right back down to Earth. They don’t let you get too big for your boots. We’re very lucky that it’s kind of our culture – you might see Bono from U2 walking down the street, but nobody is going to care or stop him in his tracks. You can have celebrities out and about in Ireland and no one will bat an eyelid.
What about other countries? Would you get stopped if people recognise you?
We only get stopped on show days; when people kind of expect to see us. I walk around with my camera – it has a pretty good camera flash and no one expects a guy in a band to be taking pictures, so it works out well (laughs).
You’ve achieved so much within the span of Kodaline’s career, but what’s your ultimate goal as a band?
I think the dream is just to be able to do this for as long as possible, you know? Obviously, we want to play at the biggest shows in the world and we’d love to eventually get to stadiums, but even if that doesn’t happen, just being able to play for people everywhere would be the best job in the world. We’re really grateful that we get to do it now.
Any words for Singapore fans who are anticipating your concert?
We just can’t wait to get out and see you guys! Sorry that it has been so long. We’re so thankful that you’re still supporting us, and that makes it possible for us to come all the way around the world and play for you. There’s going to be a ton of great music and loads of fun.
Our 1st show in Singapore and it was Sold Out with 4000 amazing people! Thank you guys so much! pic.twitter.com/ENnyVdrLcl
— Kodaline (@Kodaline) August 13, 2015
Lastly, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
We’re touring up until the summer, then we’re doing a lot of festivals. We’re hoping to get some new music out by the middle of the summer or end of the summer – maybe an EP or a single, we’re not really sure yet, but we’ll definitely make something new.
Featured image credit: LAMC Productions