#NextUp: Kodaline Talk Beginnings and Milestones, Perform ‘All I Want’ and ‘Love Like This’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS]
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The origin behind Kodaline‘s moniker is top secret.
If you try and pry it from the members of the band (and trust us, we did), the four men will insist it’s confidential. Here’s what they did divulge during their #NextUp shoot with PopCrush.
The name “Kodaline” is the result of a “Dublin night.” (Or was it London? The details are hazy.) It was the kind of night bassist Jason Boland describes by saying: “I woke up with something on my phone.” Kodaline admits that other iterations of the band’s name exist but are also tightly guarded because, they confidently assure us, “they were devastating.”
The quartet converse and banter with the ease of brothers. It’s not surprising, then, when they tell us that all four men — Jason, Steve Garrigan, Mark Prendergast and Vinny May — have known each other since childhood.
“I started playing guitar when I was about eight,” recalls lead vocalist Steve. “Same as Mark, I played piano, but I wouldn’t consider myself a great player. I remember the first time, we used to skateboard together and then Mark got a guitar and he was like ‘I got a new guitar, do you want jam?’ And then I’d turn up to his house and we’d just jam. That was when you got your electric guitar. Playing AC/DC and all the rock songs. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
Having four different personalities with a myriad of musical influences (they list Van Morrison, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel and Eminem, amongst others) benefits the depth of Kodaline’s own sound.
“We’ve got to come up with something different because we’ve all grown up differently and all grown up listening to different music,” drummer Vinny May explains. “You’ve got four different takes on music. We never tried to sound like anybody. We just kind of put the four of us in a room and that’s the noise we make.”
"We’ve got to come up with something different because we’ve all grown up differently and all grown up listening to different music. You’ve got four different takes on music. We never tried to sound like anybody. We just kind of put the four of us in a room and that’s the noise we make."
Or, in some cases, you put all four of the band members on tour and watch them challenge themselves to find inspiration.
“The last time we traveled around the States — the first time we traveled around the States – we gave ourselves the challenge of trying to write a song for everywhere we went through and we didn’t realize how many places we were going to end up driving through,” Jason says. “We got a bit of the way there, though.”
He adds, “We spent so much time kind of fact-finding for the songs that we didn’t really do anything. We spent more time finding out what you could do in all of the cities and what the cities were famous for and then we didn’t see any of it. We ended up experiencing a bit more towards the end of the tour. I think we just had an overall experience.”
They admit there is one major benefit to studying up on the states: “We know a lot of facts about cities now, so we’d probably do pretty well in a table quiz,” jokes Steve.
Watch Kodaline Perform ‘All I Want’ Live at PopCrush
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There’s a good chance the guys brushed up on their Elvis Presley trivia when they visited his Graceland home. Except Steve, who admits he was forced to sit out on the excursion.
“I only brought one pair of shoes,” he begins.
” — to America,” interjects guitarist Mark.
“I brought like one pair of shoes and I didn’t get the chance to pick up a new pair because we didn’t go by a shop,” Steve continues. “And then it started flashing down rain and I had tape around my shoes and there were puddles everywhere, so the guys went off to Graceland and I took one step out and my feet were soaked. So I just stayed. I couldn’t go to Graceland. I could see it though!”
From the way that Kodaline describe their shows, it’s clear that the love their American fans have for them is mutual. In fact, the band is endlessly amused by the enthusiasm of their U.S. audiences, who love to heckle the guys with positivity.
“I’m having a great time! You guys are awesome!” Vinny mimics good-naturedly.
“We were playing in Boston and someone just shouted ‘America!’” adds Jason.
Kodaline have also clocked in a lot of hours playing festivals in Europe. While the band’s following continues to grow, the members remain humble and, yes, even a little starstruck at times.
“The great thing about festivals is that you’re playing with hundreds of bands and you’re all kind of backstage and stuff like that,” Vinny says. “Your dressing room can get put right beside some really cool bands and idols and stuff like that. There’s a few festivals we played with Queens of the Stone Age and Tame Impala.”
And upon occasion, they resist the urge to fangirl over the other artists playing the festivals.
“I tried so hard not to and I think I succeeded,” explains Vinny. “I talked to him for about 10 minutes, but I was just like in the back of my mind like, ‘Oh, my god, it’s Josh Homme [from Queens of the Stone Age]. Oh, my god, it’s Josh Homme.’ So trying trying to talk to him about normal stuff for ten minutes. I think I did.”
“Oh, I met David Byrne from Talking Heads in Ireland,” Mark recalls. “I was with my dad. When we play at home, our parents come to the festivals. I was walking by — I was too nervous. I don’t usually get pictures with people, but my dad dragged me over there because he knows how big of a fan I am. He’s the sweetest guy ever, so that was cool.”
Watch Kodaline Perform ‘Love Like This’ Live at PopCrush
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Of course, when asked about off-stage musican encounters, Kodaline fondly remember the time they played football with Macklemore in Luxembourg.
“There’s a game called Crossbar Challenge on this U.K. TV show where you try to hit the crossbar of the goal and we were playing it with Macklemore,” Mark explains. “He was a really sweet guy, but he was awful at football.”
One of Kodaline’s tech guys ended up winning the game, “and Macklemore just disappeared,” Steve concludes as the rest of the band laughs.
Football games with Macklemore aside, the band continues to add to their list of accomplishments. So far, that includes performing at Glastonbury (“It’s this mythical kind of festival that you dream of playing,” Jason says), helping a fan propose during a show in Toronto, touring America and selling out the O2 Arena in Dublin.
But Mark can’t resist adding one more milestone to the growing roster: “I was in a doctor’s office the other day and Michael Bolton was there.”
Despite everything Kodaline have accomplished, PopCrush challenged them to name one non-musical item on their bucket list.
“Sing with Michael Bolton, but that’s a musical thing,” Mark says.
“Or to play chess with Michael Bolton,” Steve adds.
“I don’t know, I’d like to skydive,” Vinny says.
“We might as well aim ridiculously high,” Steve says, to which Vinny responds, “Drive a Formula One car. That’s never going to happen. I’m never going to drive a Formula One car.”
“With that attitude, you’ll never,” Jason jokes.
As the band continues to tour and write new songs, it’s clear that the four different personalities behind Kodaline all have the same focus.
“My music bucket list is so long, that I can’t think of any non-musical bucket list things,” concludes Jason. “I’m getting through the one I have. I just haven’t worked on the other list yet.”