Friday, October 2, 2015

Kodaline Show (Featuring an Interview with Guitarist Mark Prendergast)

My post on Wednesday was all about grabbing life by the horns, a cliché piece of life advice that I finally decided to take last week. My little revelation led to one of my coolest life experiences thus far (and one of my favorite shows as well). Long story short, last Tuesday I inquired about reviewing the Kodaline show for our newspaper, Friday I found out that I had the opportunity for an interview, and the next Wednesday (or rather, this past Wednesday) was the show! A lot of things happened within the matter of eight days, and I'm still a bit floored by it all.

It was my roommate/friend/partner-in-crime and me going to the show and conducting the interview with guitarist Mark Prendergast, quite possibly the tallest and nicest human on the planet. Anybody who offers to share their chips and salsa is an absolute angel. I'm so glad that I had her with me because if i'm being honest, I was a bit of a nervous wreck before hand. I was a combination of excited, because it was my first interview ever, and scared for the same reason. I don't like making mistake and I was convinced I was going to make a complete fool out of myself. 

The interview, not surprisingly, went fine. I was listening to the audio to transcribe the interview last night and while I could have definitely asked better questions, it could have also been much, much worse. 

Between the interview and the concert, Abby and I got some pretty solid tacos, pumpkin spice lattes, and had a tiny little photoshoot that may or may not appear on the blog soon ;) 

The show itself was absolutely incredible. Since my article for next week's issue of the paper is all about the show, I'll post it on here then for you all to read! For now, let's just enjoy a couple of pictures and a majority of the interview. It's basically everything we talked about besides our favorite taco places for a solid two minutes, Tom Delonge, and Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift (Mark's a fan!)


(Anything bold is said by me, anything bold and italicized is Abby, and everything else is Mark)

There’s a pretty distinct difference between your first album and your second album. Was that just natural or just kind of growing up as a band?

It’s a few things, I suppose. Eh, part natural, part just wanting to kind of mix it up just for ourselves. Because with the first album we did the whole album with one producer. ….Steve Harris and a friends of ours called Phil McGee. And then with the third album we kind of worked with a lot of different people in a lot of different places in such a short space of time. We moved around a lot. We did a lot of it in LA. A lot of it in London and Dublin. We’re constantly on the move with different people so that’s why it sounds so–even from song to song, it sounds different. Sometimes it might sound like they’re on the first album, some songs that just sound like crazy synths and stuff.

Would you say that this is your version of going electric? 

Like Bob Dylan? 

Yeah, like Dylan! Y'know, adding some synths in?

I don’t know what happened. We had two months off from our first album and just went straight into the studio to record that whole album. Synth was never a plan, it just kind of happened. I think on the next album we’ll drop the synth and go back to kind of a more organic kind of sound and record the whole album in one place with one producer. And create more of an overall sound for the whole thing. That’s what we’re going to aim for the next one.

Do you think keeping yourself nailed down to one sound is limiting or is your thing? Like it’s natural? 

We kind of let the song take us on a journey. Each song for us is its own thing. So if one song needs a huge synth section, if it’s calling out for a synth section or a brass section, we tend to just throw the kitchen sink at it and just be like “yeah, that’s cool.”

Would you say the music comes first or the story and the lyrics?

It changes from song to song. The most important thing for us is the story, the lyrics, and the melody. That usually happens first on either piano or acoustic guitar. And then someone will bring it to the band and then we’ll dress it up any way it kind of needs to be.

Your album just came out in February, so are you guys working on other things? Is it a constant progression of music where you just work on it whenever?

We’ve got a lot of songs already. We kind of keep writing. What’s actually happening now is that we’ve got time off because we’ve been on the road for three and a half, four years non stop. We’ve had two months off, but in those two months we recorded the album so we haven’t had a chance to just kind of sit down and do normal sh*t for a while. 

So do you have the winter off? 

No, we’ve got November off then we go back on tour until the end of March. And then we’ve got six months off next year. 

That’s a nice break!

Yeah, it’s great. But again, in those six months off we’ll write and we’ll record and travel. I was gonna live in New York for a month. And the lads are planning weddings and stuff.

That’s exciting! New York’s cool as well though. I think it’s about the same. 

I know what’s going to happen though. I’m going to be off the road and I’m going to get really bored about being at home in Dublin. I’ll be like "I just wanna get up and do something."

Does it feel more normal being on or off tour? 

They’re both as weird as each other. Being on tour is strange because the whole new city every night is great. I absolutely love it. But sometimes you can get really attached to one city, and sometimes you might even hate a certain city. So it’s cool to jump and change. But I think on this tour we’re going to 12 cities we haven’t been to before.

Is Cleveland one of them? 

Yeah, it’s our first time here. 

Did you guys have time to hang out here other than the interviews? Or did you guys just get here and do press? 

We’ve kind of been doing stuff since we got here but I wanna see the Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

It’s so gorgeous. Even the outside is gorgeous. And the pier behind it is so nice. A little windy, but it’s nice. 

Yeah? I’ll wear a hat. Is it far from here? 

Not really. Maybe like twenty minutes? Not even.

Maybe like a ten minute walk.

Oh really? 

Yeah, everything’s kind of within walking distance in Cleveland.

Everything is pretty much within a twenty-five minute walk depending on what shoes you’re wearing. This *points down to heels* might take a little longer.

I like that street that’s right over there. 

East fourth? It’s really nice.

We did bowling last weekend. It was an old school bowling where you roll down a wooden lane and there’s a guy at the end who puts the pins up. The ball is really small. It was there for like 110 years.

It’s good to do something that’s not musical all the time. We played golf the other day. I found it so boring to be honest. I don’t really get it. Last tour we went go-karting. So it’s nice to kind of just step out of the touring world for a few hours and do something different.

*insert me and Abby giving him info on our favorite taco place around the corner for far too many minutes*

They play sweet music there [Barrio].

Honestly, they probably play you guys. 

Oh, we have to go there then. 

Speaking of, does it get weird when you hear yourself? 

It’s weirdest when you don’t know when it’s going to happen. Because obviously at the start of our career we were told “okay you’re getting a spot play here, you’re getting a play here.” So you’d tune into the radio to hear or if you’re synced up to a movie or TV show you know it’s going to happen. But when it catches you off guard. When you’re off your you sink into normal life a bit. And you’re watching TV and then you pop on in an ad and straight away it just takes you back. It’s great though. It’s an amazing feeling. It means people are interested. 

So you were saying that some cities you really don’t like and some cities you get attached to. What’s your favorite and least favorite and why? 

My least favorite city?! 

We won’t say which one it is. We’ll bleep it out. 

Off the record!

Off the record doesn’t exist! My favorite city, apart from Cleveland...

Good answer already. 

It’s probably New York. It’s just manicked, that many imaginations and crazy people just packed into a shoebox. 

I love LA. I couldn’t live there. I like walking. 

All right, least favorite city. 

In the world or America?

America. We’ll narrow it down for you.

If there’s somewhere with not a lot to do, we found something to do. I honestly couldn’t name somewhere. We had one of the best times in Arkansas. 

Little Rock? 

No, in Hot Springs. Our tour manager was like “f*cking hell, we’ve got a day off in the middle of nowhere.” 

We pulled into this caravan kind of site and we met these guys. They’re all in the 50s and 60s. And they were just like shooting guns and listening to country music. It was amazing. We had like southern breakfast and they had grits and stuff. And I was just like sitting around in a barrel fire at night time and just drinking. 

In Ireland when we watch movies of America, the way it’s pictured and stuff. A lot of the times it doesn’t live up to what it is on TV. But that was like, “okay, I’m in like Stand By Me” or something. 

Do you guys preferring playing small clubs, little arenas, or festivals? 

I love festivals the most, mainly because you get to hang out with all of the bands that you’ve met over the years. Because the dressing rooms, you’re literally like door, door, door, door, door. It’s either bands that you really respect or bands that you’ve become mates with or just bands that you’ve heard of. You get to kind of map out your day a lot more. Like today we do interviews and stuff. It’s great fun. We get to just have food and get to walk around where as a festival you could be playing and Prince could be headlining. 

Do you guys have a dream onstage collaboration? 

We had a dream one that came true like literally like two months ago where Ed Sheeran was playing two nights in Croke Park. In the stadium. 

He followed us on Twitter and he was a fan of ours and we’ve met up with him a few times and hung out and stuff. And he was playing this venue in Dublin for like 80,000 people. He wanted us to swing by with us on stage to do our song “All I Want” as part of his set. It was mind blowing. You can find it on Youtube. It was like 80,000 people singing our song with him.

Afterwards the “woah oh” section where we kind of all scream at the end of the song. He said it was the loudest he’s ever heard a crowd in his life. He was buzzing so he asked us to come back and do it the next night as well. And the next night before we sung it, Jay (Jason) got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend on stage. And then Ed Sheeran played “Thinking Out Loud” while the two of them stood there holding hands. 

Awww, see if I watched that I would cry though. 

We were nearly in tears! Like, that’s one of my best friends and there’s Ed Sheeran and 80,000 people and in this moment just…so many emotions crammed in at once.

But I’d love to collaborate with someone like Queens of Stone Age. Daft Punk. 

Ooh, I’m looking forward to a Daft Punk and Kodaline collaboration in the future. 

That’d be great. 

*proceed to talk about Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, and Taylor Swift for far too long*

I’m a sucker for well put together pop music. Pop music is popular for a reason. I think it takes a lot of boxes with you emotionally. And Taylor Swift, she kind of owns the planet at the moment.

What’s the weirdest instrument or prop that you’ve used in your music. This was a couple of years ago, and I’m bringing up the Jonas Brothers, why am I doing this? But they had just a box of props and they just dumped them out and started messing with them and used them on one of their tracks. Have you ever done something like that? 

Which band was that? 

Jonas Brothers  *laughs out of embarrassment*

Jonas Brothers? We did actually on this album. Some of this album we wrote in hotel rooms on the last tour. Which I kind of regret. We used to share a room but now we have a room each so it doesn’t happen that much anymore. Me and Jay…there’s a song called “Autopilot” on the album and we wrote it in a hotel room and all we had was an electric guitar and we had no way of plugging it in so we just put a mic up to it so it sounds really small. And then I got a lot of quarters and put them in a cup and banged it on a table. And then I got cans of Coke and a sharpie and was banging on them. And when you put them all together, it sounds like sh*t. You’re just kind of going *taps on table* like clippy noises. But when you put them all together, you get the sound of the room and you’ve got like a really unique sound as opposed to just using a drum kit, which is in every sound booth. It’s kind of cool to just look around the room and see what makes a sound and try to get it in. So we do that quite a lot. 

So a lot of the last album got written on the road? 

I think because we had a list of songs that we wanted to record and then when we were in the studio we wrote a lot of songs in there. So a lot of it was written on the spot and on the fly. So the album kind of happened really quickly. Where as the next album we’re going to put a lot more emphasis on the songs and actually take a break. Because most bands that have had a good first album or tour off of it take a break and come back. We just came straight back out. It’s working out for us.

I thought it worked out pretty well. 

Do you guys ever get nervous before your shows? 

Yeah. I mean, all the time. Sometimes it catches you off guard. Sometimes you’ll get nervous for no reason. Like super nervous. Or if like your family are in the crowd, or the label are there, or your friends are there or someone you want to impress. You will get nervous. There’s always a certain element of nerves because things can always go wrong. But that’s kind of why we do it, for that butterflies feeling.

I love the House Of Blues. 

There’s a lot of sweet bands here. 

And they’re reasonably priced. 

I mean I paid $100 for One Direction tickets over the summer. 

What? 

You gotta do what you gotta do. It’s their last tour!

That’s their last your until they come back! 

See, I have faith. Obviously. 

I think they will. 

How can they not? As you said earlier, you need proper breaks. It’s been like what, four years on the road? 

I think it’s five. They’ve had five years, but I think they’ve had an exaggerated version of what we have. 

I think they had that one tour that was like 100 shows, eight months out of the year. And then they record on the road. Everyone just needs a break!

Yeah, the whole music industry will just stop for six months. 

Nah, not Taylor Swift, she’ll just keep going.


1 comment:

  1. Great article! I've been a Kodaline fan since Dec. 2013 when I bought their 1st "amazon recommended" album. Seeing them in concert 3 times with the 4th next week. I do agree Mark is one of the kindest, thoughtful musicians I've meet. Winning a meet n greet for Kodalines 1st tour in Columbus May 19, we were treated to tickets, special up front seating, signed tee-shirts and albums. We brought them a bottle of Valentine Vodka from Detroit and Mark was the most gracious and thankful. We just went to the Cinci show and Mark was the only one to greet the fans on a cold and rainy night. I brought them treats and artwork and he remembered me from last May. He is a rare gem! We are flying to Denver for the October 10th show and can't wait.
    We have lots of friends and family that are coming to the show. Thanks for the wonderful article!

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