Kodaline’s Steve Garrigan on supporting the Kings of Leon and his rockstar lifestyle…
Humble is the first word that springs to mind when you meet Steve Garrigan. The Kodaline lead singer is modest and down-to-earth and just doesn’t seem to realise just how talented he is. Along with his bandmates Mark Prendergast, Jay Boland and Vinny May, Steve is currently taking the music world by storm and the lads are set to get even bigger this year. Their debut album In A Perfect World was the biggest selling Irish album of 2013 and spent nine weeks at number one while also enjoying 30 weeks in the Top 10. Their first single, All I Want, was featured on US hit show Grey’s Anatomy in 2012, and even Gary Barlow tweeted about them: “Just heard the most amazing song ‘All I Want’ by Kodaline #incredible” – the only way is up for these Dublin lads. Kodaline are gearing up for their first headline gig at the O2 Dublin on 16 March (it sold out soon after the tickets were released) and will support Kings of Leon on 4 July at a sold out gig at Dublin’s Marlay Park when the US band make a highly anticipated return to Ireland. Playing with the American band is a dream come true for Steve. “We got the opportunity to do it, somebody asked us and we jumped at it because we’re such big fans of Kings of Leon. I’m so excited. The biggest crowd so far we’ve played to is 22,000 at a festival and this one is 32,000/33,000 and it’s in Ireland which is even better, I can’t wait and we get to see Kings of Leon.” And he admitted he never in his wildest dreams ever thought he’d be sharing the stage with Kings of Leon – “unless I snuck in backstage and ran on stage, that was at the back of my mind!”, he laughed, “but honestly, no I didn’t. I can’t wait.” And he’s still getting his head around selling out their local arena – Dublin’s O2. “This is our biggest headline show to date so I can’t wait. It’s going to be really cool. We’re going to America but we’re doing preproduction over there, putting the show together, adding new songs so it’s going to be like a proper show, it’s quite exciting.”
When Kodaline first started out, Steve admitted his parents were nervous about his future. He said at the time, “I dropped out of college and my parents were just freaking out saying, ‘What the f**k are you doing?’ There was no deal in place and no money, we just thought, ‘F**k it, let’s have a crack at it’.” They did, and it’s paid off. But are his parents eating their words now? “Kind of,” Steve laughed. “Kind of. Hopefully they stay on my side. They’re pretty happy now. Even when I did have a record deal they still didn’t understand so they were a bit kind of hesitant but they’re on my side now, and long may it last!”
Despite the boys’ success to date Steve told U mag they still have a lot of work to do. “I still feel there’s still so much more to do, we’ve only done one album and I’m halfway through the second album and it’s not coming out until 2015… we’re so busy this year it’s kind of hard to take a step back and take everything in. “Everybody in the band has a goal to get the songs out there, then it’s up to people, they either like it or don’t. We’re lucky in a way people like our music. It’s been a great year. “We’re playing our first tour in Australia in April and Japan so it’ll be interesting to see how they go,” he added.
And he admitted sometimes he has to pinch himself to believe it’s all happening to him. Steve explained: “Yeah sometimes. I haven’t had the chance to really. I’m more excited about recording and playing songs. I’m pretty chilled out and last time we were in America I stupidly only brought one pair of shoes!” he laughed. “We got to Graceland and all the lads were going into Graceland and it was absolutely lashing down rain. Because I only brought one pair of shoes and we’re touring so much – I’m not very materialistic or anything – these shoes got absolutely destroyed so I had tape around them. It’s hard to understand but when you’re touring it makes a lot of sense! If I thought I’d do that three years ago… it seems crazy! “But I couldn’t go to Graceland so I just sat on the bus for a few hours, I was a bit disheartened I couldn’t get into Graceland because I had no shoes,” he laughed, “…and I sat there kind of feeling bad but then I thought, ‘I’m in Tennessee, it’s not all that bad’. The travelling is great, it’s cool and awesome, but the best thing is always playing shows,” he added.
Unlike other singers, Steve isn’t in the music industry for the fame – it’s his passion. “It’s what I do every day, first thing in the morning, last thing at night. Music is what I do on my day off, it’s my chillout time,” he laughed. Despite constantly delivering a flawless performance, he does admit to getting nervous. “Sometimes festivals more so than anything else. I remember we were playing and Macklemore was on before us in France and he just… it was crazy, the crowd just went absolutely insane and I thought, ‘how the hell are we meant to follow that?’, but I think you just do what you do, he’s different, he’s someone else and we are who we are. So we went on and it was fun, it was cool. “Things can go wrong as well, guitars not working or someone falling over, I suppose that’s just the excitement of live… so yeah, I’m always nervous but excited at the same time.” Kodaline’s second album is in the process of being recorded, but won’t be released until next year. The world is their oyster it seems and Steve says he’d love to do collaboration with Ed Sheeran. “I love old school people like Bruce Springsteen, he’s a hero. Or Ed Sheeran, I think he’s pretty awesome, we’ve chatted to Ed Sheeran a little bit so that could happen at some stage. He’s huge in the US, he’s mega… Daft Punk, that’d be epic,” he laughed. And his dream for the band? “I’d love to have a big album in America, that’d be amazing. I love America, it’s just so massive and so different to Ireland and Europe. I want to have the opportunity to do as many albums as I can and do this for the rest of my life, and play to as many people as possible,” Steve added.