The Dublin based boys of Kodaline have indeed come a long way since performing at various bars back home a few years back. Soaring success has slowly yet surely crept up on the four-piece Irish act that has relentlessly conquered continent after continent with their music and sold-out shows, never slowing down in momentum, all whilst persistently working on new tracks, with a third studio album to be released soon, spearheaded by their newly unveiled single “Brother”.
We chatted with bassist and vocalist Jason Boland of Kodaline ahead of the band’s first ever Malaysian appearance at the upcoming Good Vibes Festival 2017 on the band’s musical journey leading up to Kodaline’s third soon to be released album, and how touring as well as exposure in filmography has completely altered the band’s global prominence for the absolute best.
Q: You transitioned to Kodaline in 2012. How did that come about?
A: It was quite the natural switch for the guys before I had joined the band. We were all in different bands playing various types of music, maybe a bit heavier and not as poppy. Once they got to a certain stage when the guys were really happy with the songs they were writing, it just felt right to create a new band.
Q: How has your journey with the band been like from the beginning and how have you grown together?
A: We’ve had the most wonderful experience on the road for the last couple of years and just being the same four boys that left Dublin. We’ve really embraced everything together so it’s really hard not to grow up together. We’re at this stage where we’re at really good points in our lives and it’s all from what we’ve done just as the four of us. I think we’re stronger than we’ve ever been before.
Q: What would you say is different from your first to second and third albums?
A: On the first record In A Perfect World, we had so much time to get that ready and going into the second album Coming Up For Air, it was not so much rushed, but we came up with it very fast, with many songs being written on the road. Going into this third record, we’ve kind of gone back to how we made the first one. We spent a lot more time on it and everything that got through this time around is something we’ve really loved. I think we’re back to where we started musically.
Q: Are there any changes in the musical sounds and styles?
A: I think so. It’s very hard not to change. We haven’t tried to make synth music, but there’s a lot more electronic elements and I myself use a lot of Ableton, which a lot of dance producers use. We also got to work with some of those guys since we worked with Kygo last year on “Raging”. It opened our minds to where the music can go. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an acoustic guitar at the heart of everything. We tried a lot more things on this new record.
Q: Your music is distinct and your lyrics carry so much emotion. Are you happy with the current band profile and would you ever venture into something new music-wise for Kodaline?
A: I believe this record is us venturing into a new space. We really want our music to be everywhere and we want as many people as possible to hear our music. We’re not too precious about how the music gets out there. It doesn’t have to be four guitars, as long as the four of us are on the track and we made the track. It doesn’t matter if it’s all based on drums and guitars or if it’s a few keyboards and drum machines. It’s whatever helps us get the music as far as possible.
Q: What are your thoughts about where your band stands internationally?
A: It’s pretty incredible to us. We come from such a small country and to be able to go around the world and have people really love our music is absolutely amazing. Hopefully, we can just keep travelling. Every time we go to a new place we haven’t been before, it blows our minds that there are people waiting for us.
Q: Is it difficult to write lyrics like yours and do you ever feel pressured to supersede that of your past work?
A: There’s always that same pressure. We are our worst critics in the world and anything that makes it through the four of us is going to be pretty good and we’re going to believe in it a lot. Nothing makes it through the four of us unless it is of a certain standard. So yeah, the pressure comes from inside.
Q: What are some of the most memorable things fans have said to you about your music?
A: It’s amazing how other people can take our songs that mean one thing to us and becomes part of other people’s lives. We’ve had people who have used our songs for weddings and also as comfort after somebody had passed away. When someone says that our songs help them get through a hard time in their lives, or even a happy time in their lives, that’s one of the best feelings in the world.
Q: Any unforgettable bad encounters with fans?
A: Actually, no, we’ve been really lucky and I’m not just saying that. Everywhere we go, I’m one of those silly people who leave my location on on Facebook. People could come and find us at the hotel, but they just don’t. People have been really lovely to us. I think I have to be more careful in the future though..
Q: What has been the biggest moment of your career so far?
A: In the last year and a half, we got to play in the biggest stadium in Ireland with Ed Sheeran and I proposed to my girlfriend on that stage. That’s kind of the highlight for me and I don’t think I’d top that for a while. Hopefully, I can. And then, we got to play at the Hollywood Bowl with Kygo (for “Raging”) last year, which was out of this world as well.
Q: You guys are big on touring. How has this changed the way you see the world and your music?
A: It’s definitely changed how we see the world, because we’re from such a small country, from being able to travel and getting the opportunity to spend time in these places. When we went to Indonesia last year, myself and Mark just booked new flights and stayed for a week.
It’s really terrific to just have that time to go out and see the world while it’s still beautiful, to see all these places you’ve only ever heard or read about. It opens your mind quite a lot. It’s the best thing in the world.
Q: What are some tour destinations you’ve particularly enjoyed?
A: We had a really good time in Holland. It was one of the first places that ever listened to our music. We got played on the radio there first and every time we go back, there’s this special feeling, but we’re really hoping to get to the Philippines, Thailand, and just around Asia.
We played in Japan for the Summer Sonic Festival and the crowd was absolutely amazing. We hear it too from other bands who get to travel around Asia and they just say that the crowds get better and better the more you go. We’re hoping we can get back out there next year.
I’ve also travelled to Brazil and that was one of my favourite places. It’s just so sunny everywhere and so happy. The music is marvellous as well, so hopefully we can get there soon.
Q: Your music is featured in a lot of films and television series. How important is that to you as a band as far as exposure is concerned?
A: It’s crazy how different the music industry is now, but those opportunities are the best way to get your music in front of people that wouldn’t have heard about you otherwise. From being on The Fault in Our Stars and Catfish, we have amassed a huge amount of fans in the U.S. that just wouldn’t have ever heard about us because we’re a little Irish band. It’s almost as important as music videos and YouTube these days. It can really change your career.
Q: Have you guys ever anticipated this kind of success and positive reaction towards your music?
A: I think you’d always hope for it but I don’t think we’ve ever anticipated it. This is the most nervous we’ve ever been releasing a new album and the reaction so far has been so good. “Brother” has already got a million and a half views on YouTube and a ton of streams on Spotify. It seems like people are really loving it, so we’re very happy and relieved.
Q: Let’s talk about your music videos. Who comes up with these unique concepts and how do you translate your music into videos?
A: I wish I could tell you that it was us, but we have an spectacular group of Irish directors that we work with. There’s a guy called Stevie Russell who did “All I Want“, “High Hopes” and also the “Brother” music video. He is such a brilliant writer. He actually played the monster in the “All I Want” video, while he was directing and writing. He’s multi-talented, and we have a lot of trust in Stevie, so he is always the first man we call.
We have another production company called Bold Puppy Productions from Ireland and we do a lot of our acoustic videos with those guys. They just get us and we’re friends, and they understand what we’re trying to do.
Q: What do you guys do together to bond when work is out of the way?
A: On this album, we all took up archery, which is quite funny. We had a lot of space outside to play, and on the last record, I broke my arm because we had a motorbike, so we stayed away from all that kind of crazy stuff. Archery is a bit safer, haha.
Q: Kodaline is no stranger to Malaysia and many of us adore your music. Are you stoked to be a part of Good Vibes?
A: We can’t wait. Every time we come to a country for the first time, it’s so crazy, especially when fans have been waiting for you for four to five years. You can just feel the energy in the field and we can’t wait to get out there.
Q: What have you heard or read about us that you want to experience?
A: Malaysian food. We’ve gone to a Malaysian restaurant in London and it tasted so good, so we can’t wait to get to the real stuff, not the stuff that gets travelled over here. Whenever we get to go to countries like this, we have a habit of leaving our flights and booking new ones to stay for a little bit of a holiday. I think that might happen this time too.
Q: Any particular places you’d be thrilled to visit?
A: I really want to see the temples. I’m really big on just getting out there and exploring. I’d love to find something abandoned and the jungles just look fantastic.
Kodaline will be performing at the two-day Good Vibes Festival 2017 on August 13 (Sunday) at The Ranch, Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands. For ticketing details and to learn more about the other big acts performing at #GVF2017, access www.goodvibesfestival.com.
Learn more of Kodaline via the band’s official website and on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.