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Interview: Kodaline


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Dublin has undoubtedly influenced Kodaline’s creativity – Mark told us “there’s so many artists constantly emerging year on year and it’s lovely to be a part of it.”

Kodaline’s versatility is evident in many of their tracks – ‘Love Like This’ is abundant with uplifting indie-folk goodness, and while some of their songs are more acoustically based, their newer records seem more produced. There is an undeniable shift in the band’s style from their first album, In a Perfect World, which some fans have initially been averse to.

In response, Mark promises that Kodaline refuse to forget their roots, “I think our style is constantly changing. It’s really exciting for us to explore new places sonically. Initially, when we release something new we scare a few people, but beneath all the production, the songs are written in the same way. If we didn’t evolve musically, we’d probably go insane!” Synonymous with many fans, Mark agrees that ‘All I Want’ remains the band’s defining song. “We get the same feeling playing it every night as we did when we wrote it”. It has had over 200 million Spotify streams and such a well-received music video, that they made multiple parts to it.

Although the tracks from Kodaline’s second album, Coming Up For Air, are perhaps more visibly exciting to see live, it is the band’s acoustic sets and raw talent that has always shone brightest. There is an influx of beautiful stripped, acoustic sets on YouTube, and it is generally a tradition in live shows for Steve to perform ‘The One’ on his own – “When Steve plays The One live by himself, it’s a very intimate moment. I think it’s important to have moments like that in the set. Dynamics are a huge part of what we do.” Mark also added that one of the band’s favourite things about these moments are the “cheeky toilet break” that they are treated to. Kodaline love the “simplicity” of stripped performances, juxtaposing their full-bodied electric shows. They also told us that sitting down creates more of a relaxing and casual feel, almost making the music and their emotive lyrics somewhat tangible.

When asked about their favourite song to perform live, Mark told us that the band love playing ‘Brother’ – “It always ignites a huge sing-along and people seem to love it”. Kodaline are always humble and appreciative of their individual crowds; Mark’s favourite thing about performing is “when the crowd sing along in a different accent each night”. A standout moment for Kodaline was when they last played in Poland – “a few fans made these little red hearts cut out of paper and they passed them around the rest of the crowd. Then, at a point in the set, everyone held them up in the air. When an audience goes out of their way to do something like that for us, we never forget it.”

The Irish quartet are perhaps best known for their profoundly poetic lyrical ability, which, combined with the passion in Steve’s voice, moves even the hardest of souls. Though all of their songs have intense lyrical qualities, Mark is most lyrically proud of ‘I Wouldn’t Be’, which is a “love letter to our families and friends. One of the rare moments where the song is written in 10 minutes”. ‘I Wouldn’t Be’ features on Politics Of Living inundated with euphoric harmonies: a contrast to the more electronic songs.

Politics Of Living is a collection of songs, each with their own individual personality. “Each song has its own story – ‘Head Held High’ is about going through a dark time in your life and trying to see the positives. ‘Worth It’ is a song about the band trying to find ourselves while on a trip to LA to work on this album”. ‘Angel’ is a song about loss, specifically the death of a fan during a Kodaline concert from a pre-existing health condition.

Kodaline have reminded us that though their style continues to evolve musically, they will continue to create songs with the same lyrical sentiment. Their continual appreciation for their audience they perform to encourages variation of performances, from stripped acoustics to electric based visuals.

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