Interview: Kodaline Talks New Album, Love for Singapore and Its Street Food

Our favourite indie band Kodaline is back – and they’re ready to serenade us with a whole new slew of songs.
Kodaline Singapore Scape Big Box
Photo: LAMC Productions

It’s been four (very, very long) years since Irish rock band Kodaline held their debut concert in Singapore.

Since then, they have released plenty of new material, including their latest album ‘Politics of Living’, which sees the band taking their sound in a new direction.

Consisting of singer Steve Garrigan, guitarist Mark Prendergast, bassist Jason Boland and drummer Vinny May, the band will be returning this March, for a concert as part of a world tour in support of the new album.

With ‘Politics of Living’, they had some of the biggest production and writing talents on board the project, including hitmaker Steve Mac (Ed Sheeran, Liam Payne), pop guru Johnny Coffer (Rag’N’Bone Man, Beyoncé), Jonas Jeberg (Dizzee Rascal, Kylie Minogue), Stephen Harris (Miles Kane, Kaiser Chiefs) as well as long-time collaborator Johnny McDaid (P!NK).

ZYRUP caught up with band member Jason Boland ahead of their concert at ZEPP@BIGBOX.

Kodaline Singapore Scape Big Box
Photo: LAMC Productions

Your fans were thrilled when they heard that you guys are returning to Asia. What made you guys want to return to this part of the world?
It’s just been an absolute revelation for us that we have such an amazing audience over there. We never expected to go to Singapore and play to as many people as we did, and that was absolutely incredible. So yeah, we just jumped at the opportunity to come back. We’ve been [hoping] for a long time for it to happen and we’re really happy that [it is].

You’re about to embark on your Asian leg of your world tour in just a couple of days. Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to?
The best part of travelling the world for us is that [travelling brings us to places] that are so different from home, and [experiencing] cultures that are so different. We really, really love to travel as a band – it’s the most fun part of touring, just going to places and experiencing the culture. We can’t wait; we’re going to a lot of places for the first time. South Korea for us is going to be very interesting. We get to go to Seoul, but we only get to spend about 24 hours there, but that just means we have to go back again someday.

What can fans expect from the concert this time around?
Really for us, it’s just having so many new songs to choose from. The setlist is getting really really fun to play. There’s so much stuff for us to pick and choose and you have the best songs and your favourite songs – there are no fillers, so it’s going to be a very exciting set.

Congratulations on the release of “Politics of Living”. I’ve been listening to it all day in preparation for this interview. Which songs from the album are you most excited to perform?
There’s a song called ‘I Wouldn’t Be’, which is just the four of our voices. Whenever we play it live, it’s such an incredible feeling to not have instruments or anything like that, and just have the audience go completely silent. I’m very excited to play that in Asia because the European crowd has really enjoyed that, so hopefully, the Asian crowd will love it as well.

Speaking of the album, how has the sound of Kodaline evolved for this album compared to the previous two?
I think on Album 1 it was very funky and it was just using instruments that we had available to us. On Album 2 we had a slightly bigger studio with more stuff to play with. For Album 3, we tried to work with more people. I think that’s the main difference. We’ve let more people be involved in the creation of this record. They all brought their own specialities. There were some incredible producers that we worked with and they pushed us in new directions. I think the songs are still exactly as they would be before on any other album, it’s just that the sounds are a little different.

How was it like working with big names in the industry like Steve Mac and Johnny Coffer for this album?
You know, the thing is, no matter who you work with, it’s all about the relationship. The second you walk in the door you forget about everything they’ve done before. It’s just about whether you get on with those people. We’re really lucky that we did get on really, really well with people like Johnny Coffer, Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid – these are just lovely friends that we have. It was just a really good experience working with these guys.

Were you guys nervous about how fans would receive the new sound?
Well, I think we’ve always changed. I think bands have to evolve. I don’t think we were that nervous; we were quite proud of what we’ve made. So we just hoped our fans will like it as well – I think that’s all you can ever hope for. We’ve never tried to make something that’s going to make other people happy, it’s to make us happy, and then hope that people like it.

You guys have said that this album is one that you’re extremely proud of. Why is that so?
It’s that evolution that’s very important to us. I think we’ll get very bored if we try to make the same album again and again. So the fact that we can try our hands at a different sound and still make it sound like Kodaline at the heart of it, that’s what keeps us happy.

Last question. I’m guessing that your schedule in Singapore will be really packed, but do you have anywhere that you are hoping to explore?
I just want to get to the night markets! That’s my main plan. I just want to get out away from the hotel and go explore and eat some gorgeous street food. That’s all I’m looking forward to.

Catch Kodaline in Singapore on 5 March at Zepp@Big Box Singapore. Tickets are available at SISTIC.

Portions of the interview were edited for clarity.