- 11 Mar 16
Ahead of taking their place alongside Walking On Cars, Little Hours and July Talk on a very special Jameson Bow St. Sessions line-up this Wednesday, Kodaline drummer Vinny May tells Colm O’Regan why they’re looking forward to a spectacular homecoming...
Sometimes music journalism can sound a little bit too militaristic. There’s talk of bands ‘taking over’, ‘conquering the charts’ and ‘invading new territories’. World domination is the ultimate end-game.
But when we check in with Kodaline’s Vinny May, deep in the middle of a continental tour, it seems those terms describe where he and the band are at pretty accurately! “We live together on a tour bus,” he reports. “That’s a little like living on a submarine – you get to know each other pretty well!”
The Swords lads, you might say, are currently on war footing, as they advance through their biggest European tour to date, taking in 34 dates in more than 15 countries. Long periods on the road have their perks – the moment Hot Press leaves him alone, Vinny is off to enjoy the sights and sounds of Munich on a rare day off – but for a gang of home birds, it is not always easy.
“The downside of touring is that you miss your loved ones,” Vinny admits candidly. “For me, that’s my fiancé, my family and friends. But that’s the sacrifice you make to follow your dream. We go off and play gigs for a living – so it’s not something to complain about! Every day is a bit of a ’pinch yourself ’ type of moment for us.”
For a band now well-accustomed to entertaining crowds at some of the biggest venues around, there’ll be more pinching to be done, come March 16. While their last hometown appointment involved a brace of soldout shows at 3Arena – and July will see them soaking up the summer sun in the spacious surrounds of Marlay Park – this week’s Bow St. Sessions show will find them rocking The Academy. When was the last time they played such an intimate venue in Dublin?
“Eh... I can’t remember!” Vinny laughs. “We actually used The Academy for some rehearsals before our last album was released, so it’s a venue we know well. Ironically, it’s one of the few Dublin venues that we’ve never actually played, so we’re really looking forward to it. We’ll have all our extended families there to boot, so it’s gonna be good. ”
While taking the stage at the Middle Abbey Street venue won't hold any fear, it's not all that long since the prospect of performing in their hometown was a frightening experience - October 2012, to be precise.
“We played the Sugar Club,” Vinny recalls, “and we were shitting bricks beforehand! I can remember it being an incredibly emotional experience – it was the first time we’d ever heard the people in the crowd singing our songs back at us. There was a realisation that this weird dream could happen, and that we might be able to do it for a long time.”
Vinny’s delighted that a pair of top-notch Irish acts will also be part of this special pre-St. Patrick’s Day incarnation of the Bow St. Sessions, brought to you by Jameson and Hot Press.
“It’s great to see the Walking On Cars album doing so well,” he reflects. “An Irish band going to No.1 just doesn’t happen enough. It’s wonderful to see fresh Irish talent getting the recognition they deserve. Little Hours, too, are really cool: they’re two amazing guys, with fantastic voices.” It’s not just the bands that Vinny’s looking forward to seeing. For an outfit who spend so much time on foreign shores, being among their own people is a special prospect indeed.
“It’s not to say people elsewhere aren’t fantastic,” he offers diplomatically, “but the attitude of Irish people is something that you just don’t find anywhere else in the world. There’s always a sense of hope – that rings true even when the country is going through its toughest times. There’s a special sense of community here, too. We’re always asked why we’re so proud to be Irish, and it’s because it’s the best place on earth! Ireland can do no wrong in our book.”
Kodaline can do little wrong these days either, it seems. With two chart topping LPs already under their belt, there’s plenty of people clamouring for album No. 3 - but on that score, a little patience may be required.
“A lot of our stuff comes from writing on tour,” he reveals. “We have 10 or 11 ideas that we keep messing around with during soundchecks, which is good. But we’re going to give this album more time, and not do anything until we’re 100% happy. After this tour, we’ll go on holiday, take some time off – and then hit the studio to start writing and working. It’ll be ready when it’s ready!”
In the meantime, there’s more pressing matters to attend to.
“I always went to the St Patrick’s Day Parade when I was a kid,” Vinny enthuses. “My parents would bring me into town every year, religiously. Now, there’s a parade in Swords too, so we’ll be at one or the other – standing in the rain, waving our tricolours.”
Sure where else would you rather be?!
Kodaline play Jameson Bow St. Sessions @ The Academy this Wednesday, March 16, with Walking on Cars, Little Hours and July Talk.