EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: With Kodaline’s Steve Garrigan

If you grew up in Swords, Dublin and attended battle of the bands prior to 2007, chances are you’ve caught word of 21 Demands. Not only did they partake in many non-televised competitions early on in their career, but they also took home the runner up spot in Raidió Teilifís Éireann’s, ‘You’re A Star’ in 2007. Why exactly are we mentioning this? Well… if you knew who 21 Demands were, you know now that they’ve graduated from smaller stages, changed their name to Kodaline, and have become an unstoppable force in the music industry.

Produced by Philip Magee, In A Perfect World was their first debut extended play. It features widely popular songs such as All I Want, Love Like This, High Hopes, Big Bad World and more. To your surprise, you may even know these songs better than you think. ‘All I Want’  has played a role in Grey’s Anatomy, Google’s 2012: Year In Review video, MTV’s Catfish, The CW’s Vampire Diaries and even claimed a spot in The Fault in Our Stars’ soundtrack and film.

Fast forward to February of 2015, Kodaline’s sophomore LP ‘Coming Up For Air’ made its release. The LP contains favored songs such as Honest, The One, Ready and Love Will Set You Free – all of which are singles that were featured on top of the UK’s official music chart.

Nowadays, in addition to the release of their new hit single ‘Brother’, Kodaline partnered up with Tourism Ireland and VEVO to showcase the best Dublin has to offer. It’s the first of VEVO’s online series called “Real Guides”, a campaign that’s fronted by current music acts in different cities. Ireland is the ultimate home base for Kodaline, so naturally it made sense for them to cover a country they not only know inside out, but feel very proud to be part of.

We had the pleasure of chatting with band member and lead singer, Steve Garrigan; where he spoke about his love for Dublin, upcoming tour, a new album and more. Check it out below.

It’s a pleasure to meet you, Steve. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to chat with me. How are you today? 

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me as well. I’m good, yeah. How are you? 

I’m good, thanks! So you and the band recently teamed up with Tourism Ireland and VEVO to create this video, taking us around Dublin and such. What initially made you guys decide to do so? 

Dublin is our home, you know. Dublin made us who we are and it is just a beautiful city. I think everyone should see Dublin at one point or another. It’s weird because we grew up there and used to not like it. It took us traveling around and then coming back to really appreciate what it has to offer. We really just love Dublin. 

It seems like an awesome place to visit, judging by the video. You even took us to ‘The Sugar Club’ which was where you said you had one of your first gigs ever. Was it a bit emotional for you to go back to where it all began? 

Yeah, for sure. I mean… that first show was pretty much just our family and friends in the audience. I remember it was the most nerve wracking show. I think it was about 300 people? But it was amazing. And then when we walked in just the other week, all of those feelings came back. It was definitely emotional but it was great. Thinking about it now, that show was so small compared to our last show which was like 40,000 people. Definitely a big difference. 

Is there any advice you’d maybe want to tell your younger self, based off of what you’ve learned and know now? 

That’s a really good question. I’d probably just say don’t take things too seriously, you know? Don’t take everything to heart. It’s all good, man. 

You guys touched base with a variety of places that you grew up around and have known for years. Was there any part of you that stopped and thought, “oh I’ve never noticed that before” or “I didn’t get to appreciate this when I was younger but I’m glad I’m able to appreciate it now,” kind of moment? 

Yeah, totally. I think for me it was probably Sandymount beach. We used to drive by that way a lot because that was the way to my Nan. I always remember passing it but I never really looked. You know? I was just a kid, my mind was elsewhere. The view is just amazing, though. You’re kind of just at the center of everything. The beach is almost in the city, it’s really cool. When we went back for the video I thought, wow this is actually really amazing. 

Breaking away from the video for a moment, you and the band recently released your new single called ‘Brother’. Could you maybe elaborate on the inspiration behind the song? 

I think the song is fairly self-explanatory. It’s basically about the four of us. We grew up together and have been each other’s support system for so long. We’re brothers, you know? We love each other. The video is very powerful too. It was directed by a guy called Stevie Russell, who’s directed a few of our other videos. He’s a really talented guy. He’s great at capturing emotions and really creating a story. The first time we watched the video, everyone was crying – simply because it was just so powerful. It goes so well with the song. 

‘Brother’ was the most recent music we’ve received from you guys since 2015. Your fans are practically begging for more! Can we hope for a new album soon? 

Yes, our album will definitely be here soon. Very soon! There’s some happy songs, some sad ones. It’s a good mix. I think Brother is a great introduction as to where we’re going sound-wise. 

Is there anything that you guys might’ve done differently this time around? In terms of recording and the creation of the album? 

Not necessarily. I mean, there’s been ups and downs but if those types of things didn’t happen then we wouldn’t be here. You know? I think sometimes bad things have to happen, in a weird way, in order to come out stronger. 

I noticed you guys are heading back on tour soon after touring a bit over the summer. Are you excited to be back on the road? 

Yeah, of course. I love touring. It’s weird because at the end of a tour, everyone’s usually a bit exhausted and looks forward to going home. But once I’m home, I wanna get back on the road. First day is awesome to just relax. Second day as well. But by the third, I’m ready for it all over again. I love it. We’re touring the world with each other, we’re best friends. It’s great. We don’t have a lot of time, though. We’ll have a show, then we’ll have interviews and stuff, then a soundcheck. We may get a window here and there of about 30 minutes sometimes, so when we do we really take advantage. 

Like you mentioned, by the end of it everyone seems to be a bit exhausted. What really keeps you going when it starts to feel long? 

I do a lot of yoga which helps. I think we all have our own little things. There’s a lot of good T.V. shows as well, which is nice for the long journeys. Game of Thrones, you know. 

Oh man, you watch Game of Thrones?! It’s an incredible show. 

I’ve actually never had a proper sit down to watch it but everybody else that I know, does. I know it’s amazing, I’ve seen a few episodes. I definitely will get around to watching it. I’ll find the time. It’ll probably take me a year to watch seven seasons, so by the time the eighth comes out I won’t have to wait!  

After chatting with Steve, it’s easy to understand why he and the rest of his bandmates have such great success standing behind them. Not only for the simple fact that their musical geniuses, but because they pour their heart and soul into their music. They allow room for vulnerability and honesty so their fans can appreciate them for who they really are, instead of a falsified image. If you’ve yet to check out Kodaline, you can visit their official Spotify page here. Their music is a must have on all of your playlists.

Seriously, it’s a no brainer. 

Are you a fan of Kodaline? Tweet us at @CelebMix and let us know! We always love hearing from you.

An iced coffee enthusiast who loves to write and take photos.