As modest and self-deprecating as the four members of Kodaline are – describing themselves as “not great musicians but getting better” – it’s an unsurprising ascent. Their 2013 debut “In a Perfect World” dropped at number three in the UK album charts, with track “All I Want” featuring in “Vampire Diaries”, “Catfish” and “Grey’s Anatomy” here in the States. Meanwhile, their sophomore album “Coming Up for Air” has reached number four, followed by a sold-out UK tour, dates across Europe and two months in the U.S.
Right place, right time
“I would never class us as famous; we’re just chancers,” pipes Kodaline’s Vinny May before reeling into yet another celebrity encounter… “When we met Courteney Cox and Nicole Scherzinger, it’s like holy s--- they’re superstars but once you meet them and have a drink, they’re just lovely people.”
While Kodaline’s excited backstage A-list chatter is akin to the average guy telling his friends for the umpteenth time about when he bumped into so-and-so from the movies, the Irish indie-rock quartet is actually becoming a part of the planet pop "scene."
Overcoming the sophomore slump
Clearly the looming self-doubt that seems to plague so many bands on the run-up the release of the so-called "difficult second album" didn’t cause Steve Garrigan [vocals], Mark Prendergast [guitar], Vinny May [drums] or Jay Boland [bass] to falter. “When we started talking to a producer we already had forty demos because we never stopped writing,” explains Boland. The band recorded with U2 and R.E.M.’s producer Garret ‘Jacknife’ Lee in LA, while also spending time working with Snow Patrol’s guitarist Johnny McDaid at his studio in fiancé Cox’s Malibu home.
What happens in Vegas
It’s where the boys got to enjoy a bit of Monica Geller hospitality firsthand: “I was like ‘f---ing hell that’s Monica from 'Friends,'"” blusters May. “She said, ‘Congratulations’ and handed me a bottle of champagne. And I thought, ‘I like you already.’” Just days before, May had proposed to his girlfriend of eight years at the top of the Rockefeller Center in New York. And yes, he even got down on one knee.
The celebrations didn’t end there for the now London-based band who, as the bassist puts it, “were doing some music” with One Direction’s Harry Styles and recording their new album when they got a call on a Saturday to head to Las Vegas. “We were told there were some free hotel rooms, so we just got a car and went to a 21st birthday – that was probably the most rock ‘n’ roll thing we’ve done,” he confides.
So what 21-year-old lays on free rooms? “Niall,” mutters Boland, who is acutely aware that celebrating with 1D’s Niall Horan is by no means you’re average shot-sinking 21st in a questionable club. “We didn’t put our hands in our pockets for the whole weekend – he paid for the lot.”
Compare and constrast
The only people who don’t seem to succumb to their Irish charm are the critics, often disparagingly accusing Kodaline’s music as a poor imitation of Coldplay (the whooping in new single “Honest” is often likened to, and lampooned for, sounding Chris Martin-esque) and countrymen U2.
“For comparisons, it’s a compliment; we sound like one of the bands we grew up listening to,” Boland reasons, with May adding ballast: “I would rather be compared to them than f---ing Justin Bieber or someone. We’re not forcing anyone to listen to us.” But then again, plenty are.
If you go:
April 21, 8 p.m.
Theatre of the Living Arts
334 South St., 215-922-1011
New York City
April 25, 8 p.m.
610 W. 56th St., 212-582-6600
April 22, 8 p.m.
House of Blues
15 Landsdowne St., 888-693-2583