Youth is wasted on the young, apparently. Well similarly, the rock ’n’ roll life is wasted on the rock ’n’ roll band. Too often the thought of hitting the road for another bone-wearying tour is met with a sad sigh. Not by Kodaline, though.
The Irish pop-rockers’ guitarist Mark Prendergast had to keep his parents in the dark when he dropped out of college to pursue his dreams of stardom and it wasn’t long ago they were duelling local bands in their hometown of Swords in battle of the band competitions.
But it’s all change. Their debut album, In A Perfect World, sold big in 2013 with a little help from US TV shows Catfish and The Vampire Diaries and (ahem) a session at Red Bull Studios London (see below) for Digital Spy. And ahead of a month-long tour of North America, which begins on February 8, it seems there’s plenty of fizz and cheer left in the band after their vertiginous rise.
Enthusiastic bass player Jason Boland (centre right in the image above) says the four-piece got all their ideas about life on the US highway from Stonehenge-wielding mock-rockumentary Spinal Tap and the Philip Seymour Hoffman-starring Almost Famous, but is it really the same?
“I don’t think anything could have prepared us for the size of the country. The drives are longer than any we’ve done before. But we get to see so much more of the country driving than if we were flying everywhere, and we have a little studio set up with us so we can write and record with the American countryside in the background.
“We haven’t got lost in a maze under a venue yet or had a brush with death on a private jet yet, so we haven’t written off the dreams that the movies gave us just yet.”
The allure of touring North America endures, then, and so do all the experiences and influences waiting to be soaked up. Young British and Irish bands have been having their minds blown and innocence shattered for decades in the US and nothing has changed.
Just before Christmas, The 1975 told us they’ve been getting mixed up in the world of hip hop and the last time Kodaline were in the US they made friends with everyone. Says Jason:
“Last time, we ended up in a town called Hot Springs in Arkansas on a day off and the people who owned the trailer park there just opened their home and town to us. We ended up jamming with the locals all night in a blues bar and woke up to grits and biscuits. It’s people and places like that that really leave a mark.”
What makes touring the US such a pleasure, though? It’s not the food, the tea, the size of everything – it’s the quality of the heckle.
“It’s positive things that get shouted up during gigs,” says Jason. “Like my favourite so far: ‘I’m having a really nice time!’ You don't get that in Ireland so much. You’re much more likely to get a ‘take your top off’ at home!”
Catch the most appreciative, positive, up-and-at-them band in music while you can, then.