As an unsigned group, Kodaline's “Give Me a Minute” topped the Irish singles chart; the track “All I Want” from their debut album “In a Perfect World” has more than 5 million hits on YouTube; and the indie/folk four-piece is getting some airtime on TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy.” Selling out? No, it worked pretty damn well for the likes of bands M83 and MGMT, and it’s gaining the twentysomethings some much deserved exposure on a global scale.
Anthemic like Coldplay and melancholy like fellow countrymen The Script, Kodaline are a band for the weepers: Their tunes befit those lonely train journeys of emotional, romantic self-reflection.
Sitting down with Metro, the boys chat music getting commercial, failed romances (obviously) and the dating app Tinder.
There are some great indie folk bands coming out of Ireland like you and the Little Green Cars. How do you think you fit into the popular music landscape?
Steve Garrigan (vocals): We never really think about it. It’s like 8 to 80 at our shows. We don’t really know who our fans are [laughs].
Jay Boland (bass): It’s very hard hearing ourselves in the pop context because we’re not listening to Radio 1 – we’re still listening to our collections.
It’s fair to say that “In a Perfect World” is a sad record. Do you ever see yourselves writing a cheerier album?
Mark Prendergast (lead guitar): I can’t see us writing a bright album.
Are you all permanently melancholy?
Prendergast: Depressed, I think, is the word [laughs].
Garrigan: I don’t think any of our songs are depressing – they’re sad but they’re uplifting.
Would you ever consider doing something more poppy – a kind of guaranteed hit?
Prendergast: No, absolutely not. If we were promised a No. 1 hit in America with a song we didn’t believe in, we’d say no.
Garrigan: That defeats the purpose of our music.
Boland: It’s an extension of yourself.
You’re been played on television shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Mob Wives” and “Modern Family.” How do you feel about being commercialized in this way?
Garrigan: I remember buying the CD of “Grey’s Anatomy” a couple of years ago because I liked the music. It’s kind of like what happened with Phantom Planet’s track “California” and [teen drama] “The O.C.” – it’s a great way for fans to be introduced to new music.
Vinny May (drums): It’s like Shazam. People don’t realize but you subconsciously take in the song.
What do you think of manufactured boy bands – One Direction, for instance?
Garrigan: We’re not fans of boy bands.
May: Fair play to them. They own the world. They could set up their own country and it would have the healthiest economy.
Is fame and money important to you?
Prendergast: [mockingly quips] Fame is the most important thing to us. We just want to be famous.
Garrigan: Commercial success is important to us. We’re ambitious. The ideal situation would be to do as many albums as we can and tour for the rest of our lives, but it’s such a fickle industry.
You’re proving to be a hit in the U.S. Do you use your Irish charm on the girls?
Garrigan: They’re just great. L.A. girls are just incredible.
Is it because they sound like they’re on a porn channel?
Garrigan: The funniest thing was convincing a few people that milk was illegal in Ireland – and that it was the largest continent outside of America [laughs].
Steve, I understand that you had a messy breakup with your girlfriend. Has she got in back in touch now that you’re a little bit famous?
Garrigan: Yeah, she did.
Fickle. Would you take her back?
Garrigan: No. I haven’t talked to her in four years.
So you’re single now. Have you considered Tinder?
Garrigan: I’ve got it. When you’re traveling, it’s unbelievable. You go to a city and you can see who’s around.
It’s good for a quick shag?
Garrigan: [laughs] It’s just ridiculous. You learn about yourself.
How depraved you are?
Garrigan: [laughs] How shallow you are.
Show me your profile?
Garrigan: [Shows his Tinder profile] I don’t know where this is going but f— it.
I like your creepy zombie pics on your profile. You should probably mention you’re the lead singer of a band and bring in the groupies. Anyway, back to the less seedy forms of social media. You guys are really into Twitter. Why is it important to you?
May: It’s a direct connection with our fans. We put our busking sessions on Twitter. Obviously, not everyone can make it or afford to come to the gig, so it’s a great way to interact with them.
Prendergast: We Snapchat as well.
I bet you get some creepy messages sent to you.
Prendergast: [laughs] When it was coming up to Halloween there was a guy on Snapchat who was pretty naked, with quite an erect penis. He had a sheet over his little fella with a ghost face on it – quite weird.