Kodaline’s Steve Garrigan Talks New Album, ‘The One,’ Favorite Lyrics + More
When we spoke to Kodaline frontman Steve Garrigan, he didn't just mention how Harry Styles happened to go all Hamburglar on him one time. (Although that did happen, and you can read more about it right here.)
Nope, we also spoke to the Irish singer-songwriter all about the band's upcoming sophomore album, Coming Up for Air (which drops here in the U.S. on April 14), his favorite lyrics, the most meaningful songs on the album and more. Check out the full interview below!
Congratulations on the upcoming release of Coming Up for Air!
Yeah! It's come out in Europe and the response so far has been amazing, so we're super excited to tour America.
Tell me a little bit about the direction of your sophomore album.
We didn't want to make the same album again, so we made a conscious effort to mix it up a little bit and just change a bit and use more sound than we've ever used before. We're very proud of the outcome and we're excited for the release in America!
When I was listening to it, I could hear a lot of Coldplay influences in the sound. Where did you draw inspiration?
We never usually… we don't set or stick to any certain sound or an overall sound. We kind of look at the song and what the song calls for… a kids' choir or anything really, we'll just put it on the song. I don't think our inspiration comes from anywhere [specific] … all the influences from all of the bands. Coldplay would be one of the bands we grew up listening to. But as a band, we have so many it's hard to pinpoint just one influence.
Let's talk about your single "The One" — I read that you wrote it for a friend's wedding but only decided to include it on the album after you heard fans covering it.
A really good friend of ours — a guy called Phil — he had a little studio. He did sound for the band and stuff like that in school when we were teenagers. … The first person we ever recorded songs with was Phil. He's just a childhood friend. He engineered our last album and engineered this album as well. … We were just back from the tour, and it was the night before his wedding. I said I'd write him a song. I forgot to get him a present. And I sat down and wrote "The One" and we played it at his wedding. It was pretty nerve-wracking to play it at his wedding because we had never sung [it] before and had many friends there. It was quite nerve-wracking. Luckily, he liked the song … it's basically a dedication to him and his now-wife.
We were never going to put it on the album until we played a show in Toronto and a guy, a fan, proposed to his fiancé onstage. This was right after the wedding so we still had the song fresh in our minds. We thought it would be appropriate to play the wedding song for the couple on stage, and we played it that night. And then that was the last time we thought of it. And then somebody sent us a video — somebody in the crowd in Toronto — and then made a video on YouTube of them covering the song. It wasn't until we saw that cover on YouTube and thought it was quite cool and decided to put it on the album.
That's so cool! Does the fan who sent it to you know that they inspired you to put it on the album?
I don't think so, but I can't remember their name but… I don't think so.
Hopefully they'll know now!
Yeah, they will! [Laughs.]
My favorite song on the album is "Honest." What is the story behind that song?
Well, firstly, I'm glad you like it. Thanks! The story behind "Honest" is it was written about someone who was very close to the band and then for various reasons is not close to the band anymore. It's really just about being honest, you know? … That's just what it's mostly about.
What is the most meaningful song to you on the album?
I think the most meaningful song on the album to me would probably be "The One" because of the story behind it, and I wrote it for my friend and his wife. Either that or "Love Will Set You Free," which is the last song on the album. I'm not entirely sure why… there's just something about that song that really, really speaks to people.
Do you have a favorite lyric on the album?
Um… that's a really good question! There are so many lyrics [laughs]. Off the top of my head… Our bass player, Jason, is here. [Talks to Jason] What's your favorite lyric on the album? [Laughs].
I know, it's a tough one! It's my favorite question to ask, but it's tough.
I know! When you asked that question, I just went completely blank.
It's like, "What are my lyrics?" [laughs]
Probably from our song "Lost," "'cause we are ordinary people beautiful as we are." Yeah, probably "Lost." I think anyone can get lost, in the sense that everybody has a bad day and feels down…
What can fans expect from the tour?
We have people who listen to us already and know of us, mixed with old fans from the last album and new fans on the new album. … Hopefully we get some new fans! It would be great to get some new American fans.
What is the meaning behind your band name?
It's not a very interesting story! I mean, we were out having a few beers and we came up with loads of names. Some of them were weird. I don't know what time it was, but probably late at night and after a lot of beers and we came up with it and thought it was terrible. We woke up the next day and still thought it was terrible. A few days later, we were like, "Actually, it's not so bad." And then we were Kodaline! And that's how we came up with the name. It's not a very good story! [Laughs.]
Anything else you'd like our readers to know?
We're really excited about coming to America and hopefully gaining some new fans. And hopefully, like our old fans [they will] like the new album and come to see us live. We've got more singles off the album pretty soon. Over the next few weeks we'll be releasing more. And I'm sure we'll be coming back to America at again some point this year!
Coming Up for Air drops on April 14. You can catch Kodaline on tour in the U.S. starting on April 15. Be sure to check out all of their tour dates here.