Music Q&A: Kodaline

Kodaline perform in an intimate gig in Manchester this week. Here drummer Vinny May tells Big Issue North about the songs he wishes he'd written

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What informs your music/songwriting?
Life. I mainly write about experiences I’ve had or how I feel about something at any given moment. Occasionally I’ll make up a story, but my favourite songs are the ones about real life experiences – it’s very difficult to fake that. I always start with a story or a lyric, melody and chords usually just fall into place. I never second-guess a melody – after that building the music around the song is the fun part.

How have you evolved as a band evolved over the years?
We’ve grown as individuals, we’ve known each other since we were eight years old, in a way we’re like brothers from different mothers. Musically it’s all about making compromises, trying to keep everyone happy but at the same time pushing our boundaries as a band. We’re always evolving and challenging each other and we’ve come a long way. We’re better songwriters/musicians now due to touring all over the world and playing countless shows, but we’ve still got a lot to learn.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
Right now I’m sitting in an airport – I usually write lyrics while I’m on the move. I’ll probably sit down and flesh them out into songs later on in my hotel or during the week. I’m listening to a lot of new music, Post Malone, Khalid, Sigrid being a few. Most importantly we’re gearing up to release our third album on the 10th of August. It’s called Politics of Living.

What’s on your rider?
Few Beers, some fruit and occasionally a bottle of gin. We’re not very fancy.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
I’ve gotten locked out of my hotel room in my boxers a few times and had to walk down to reception – that was embarrassing. U2 invited us into their rehearsal room in LA, they played a full private show for us, and halfway through their set Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard walked in. That was incredibly surreal. Bono was telling stories in between the songs and cracking jokes.

What song do you wish you’d written?
That’s a tough question. I’d probably say Imagine by John Lennon, Always On My Mind by Willie Nelson, My Way by Frank Sinatra or Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. In terms of newer artists I’d say Beyoncé’s All Night, Macklemore’s Same Love or Ed Sheehan Perfect.

What’s your worst lyric?
Hard to choose a lyric although I once wrote a song about my girlfriend getting scammed online, it was called Scam Diana… it was more of a joke than a song – catchy though.

Kodaline play at the Deaf Institute in Manchester on 12 July

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