We chat with Kodaline frontman Steve Garrigan on the band’s newest album One Day At A Time.
Kodaline’s fourth album, One Day At A Time, is out today. The band, kept under lockdown due to the coronavirus situation, has taken the album back to their roots – with the majority of their recording sessions taking place in their modest studio space in Dublin. The record has enabled the band, in what they have said, to play to their strengths which are their relatable lyrics, emotional melodies and captivating hooks.
The band have also kept themselves busy during quarantine, playing a series of livestream shows for fans every Friday including an incredibly powerful rendition of their song ‘Brother’ with singing group Voices of Service.
We had a chat with vocalist Steve Garrigan on his thoughts on the creative process of the album, his advice on how to cope with anxiety, his favourite moment during lockdown, and what he would love to do once things get back to normal.
ASL365: Hi Steve! Welcome to the AsiaLive365 interview. How are you and what have you been doing during lockdown?
Steve Garrigan: I’m good. We have a new album coming out – One Day At A Time. It’s strange releasing this album during this weird time with the lockdown. We hope people enjoy our new music and feel a bit better. Particularly our fans, this album was made for our fans.
Lockdown’s been good. I’ve been staying home, working on new music, hanging out with my friends and family.
ASL365: Given the current situation, how has the creative process been like for One Day At A Time?
Steve: Well we’ve finished the album just before the lockdown but we’ve spent a lot of time last year working on it at home in Ireland in our little studio just down the road. If we weren’t touring, we’d come back to Ireland and go straight to the studio, work on some songs and then go back on the road touring. And then we’d come back and have a few days in the studio. That was pretty much our entire year last year. We’ve finished the album at the end of the year, we were getting ready to release it and then lockdown happened. At one point we weren’t going to release it at all because we figured let’s just wait until things get back to some kind of normal. But we decided to go ahead with the release for our fans. We’ve got a lot of messages online from fans saying our music has helped them get through hard times. We’ve figured that if we release it, our fans would appreciate it.
ASL365: Any artists you look up to for inspiration?
Steve: We all listen to different artists. I love Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, they have always influenced our songs. Our drummer loves trip hop and rap. I think Billie Eilish came up many times when we were writing this album because she’s amazing. Every song she’s done has class in her voice.
ASL365: Your music has always been emotionally charged, capturing moments in time which people can find relatable. Prior to the release of this album, we’ve already listened to three songs. One song in particular, ‘Sometimes’, deals with anxiety and mental health. How did that song come about?
Steve: I had a panic attack when I was 19, and anxiety has always been there for me. Over the years I’ve learned to get a better handle on it but it still occasionally creeps up and I have to find a way to deal with it, whether that’d be going to the gym, meditating or just talking it out with friends. One of those things has always been music. For me, when I sit down and start writing a song, it’s escape for me and it feels great to do.
So I was in Indonesia last year, we were playing a show in Jakarta. For whatever reason, I started having these crazy anxiety feelings from panic attacks to shaky hands. I went back to my hotel room to calm myself down and I was like ‘I’ll write a song about this’ and that’s how the song, ‘Sometimes’, came about.
I’ve always wanted to write about anxiety in the hope that if there’s anybody out there who goes through that, they are able to relate to it and I can help them out in some way.
ASL365: I’m sure a lot of people are going through that right now, is there any personal advice you can give to people struggling with anxiety?
Steve: If anybody is feeling low or not quite feeling like themselves, don’t be afraid to talk to somebody. You’d be surprised as soon as you start talking to somebody, you might find that they are in similar situations and you’re not alone on this. There’s a lot of free online resources as well for anxiety in particular. Podcasts are amazing, there’s a lot of people speaking out about anxiety, what you can do by calming yourself down, breathing, meditating, eating healthy. Don’t be ashamed of it because it is incredibly common.
ASL365: We now know the tracklist for One Day At A Time. Could you tell us more about the songs that fans can anticipate? Any highlights?
Steve: One of my favourite songs on the album is called ‘Spend It With You’. It sounds like a song from the 50’s. It was a lot of fun to write, it’s a cute love song with a story about the end of the world. It’s about a couple saying ‘if the world was ending, what would you do?’ and the answer is ‘I’d spend it with you’. I also like the last song on the record, ‘In The End’, it’s a personal song for me and I think it closes the album really well. Every song is different, I just hope people like it and they don’t turn around and be like “This is the worst album I’ve ever heard.” (laughs).
ASL365: You have been doing a lot of activities with your fans during lockdown such as hosting livestreams every Friday as well as asking them to send clips of themselves in quarantine for your music video of your latest single ‘Saving Grace’. How does it feel to have fans from all over the world to join in?
Steve: To be honest, it’s incredible. For us to have fans around the world who are really passionate about our music and who support us in such a big way, it really is what we used to dream of as teenagers when we first picked up our instruments and sat down to write a song. We’re incredibly lucky to be doing what we are doing and we are grateful that we have the support around the world. Thank you to everybody who listens to us and appreciates us as a band.
ASL365: What has been your favourite moment during lockdown?
Steve: We did a version of our song called ‘Brother’ during one of our livestreams with some guys who were on America’s Got Talent. They’re called Voices of Service, and they’re ex-army veterans who formed a singing group to help fellow veterans forget about the wars they were in. We heard about them when they did a gospel version of ‘Brother’. We reached out to them to do a version of the song together. They were streaming from America and we were streaming from Ireland. Every time they were singing a verse, I was like ‘I should step back and not sing because these guys were absolutely incredible’. They took the song somewhere else, and it was really cool to have this collaboration. That was a lot of fun and is one of the highlights for me during the lockdown.
ASL365: Any future plans or upcoming projects for the album’s release?
Steve: Well we’re kind of taking it one day at a time (laughs). We’re constantly brainstorming and coming up with ideas. It’s a strange time for the entertainment industry because without live music it’s hard to know what to do, we usually write an album and go on tour straight away. We’re definitely going to do more streams and possibly listening parties with fans. It would be great to hear feedback from fans on what songs they like. With the livestreams we’ve been doing which have just been acoustic or stripped-down versions of songs, we’re going to try and stream a full live performance with electric guitars and full drum kits like the way we actually do a live show. That’s something we’ve been talking about, but until the four of us can get into a room together, we can’t do that. That should be pretty soon because the restrictions in Ireland are starting to relax a bit and we’ll be able to stream a proper live show.
ASL365: You’ve previously collaborated with Kygo for his 2016 song ‘Raging’. Any artists you would like to collaborate in the future?
Steve: We’ve always been open to collaborations. The Kygo one was amazing. I don’t think we’ve done enough of them. There’s too many out there that we’d love to work with. For example, I don’t think she ever would but Billie Eilish would be an absolute dream. Her songs are awesome and she seems like a really cool person.
ASL365: When can we see you coming back and touring in Asia?
Steve: We are in the process in making some sort of plan but it’s hard to tell when things are going to get back from the “new normal”. Hopefully next year, it’s hard to put a date.
ASL365: Once we are finally back to normal, what would be the first thing you want to do?
Steve: I wanna go and give my parents a hug (laughs) and meet up with my friends. Hug everybody and go meet the lads and play some live music.
ASL365: Wherever you are, you’d be there right? 🙂
Steve: (laughs) I see what you did there!
ASL365: Anything you would like to tell your fans in Asia?
Steve: Thank you so much for your support. It really means the world to us. I really hope you enjoy our new album One Day At A Time. And I really, really hope that you’re all staying safe, healthy and positive. I hope we can play live for you guys soon. Fingers crossed!
Listen to One Day At A Time on Spotify: