Interview: The Coronas

The Coronas, Dublin Zoo. Photo: Dara Munnis

With a platinum album and a meteor award (beating the likes of Snow Patrol, U2 and The Script) under their belts, IMPACT speaks to proclaimed ‘people’s band’ The Coronas as they come to Nottingham. 

Hello Danny, it’s Katy from Impact Magazine, is this a good time?

It’s fine yeah! How are you?

Yeah, I’m great thanks! How about you?

Really good thanks! Yeah, really good!

So welcome to Nottingham! You’re playing at Rescue Rooms this evening, which marks the official start of your UK tour. How are you guys feeling about it?

We’re excited about the tour! It’s the first night tonight, so we’re really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a busy couple of months for us, straight after the UK tour we’re going to Australia – so it’s going to be busy! But we can’t wait. The last couple shows we had in Nottingham have been amazing; we played the Dot-to-Dot festival in Rescue Rooms and before that we played in Bodega a couple times. But yeah, it’s nice to be back and to have our own show here!

Well we’re excited to have you here! So, first question – The Coronas were once described as “walking a soulful line between Jeff Buckley and the Libertines”, have either of these provided inspiration for your music? If not, who are your main musical influences?

Well, I definitely think for me personally Jeff Buckley will always be a vocalist I am blown away by. I mean, Grace is still a timeless album and one of my favourites, it’s an amazing vocal and song writing performance. I suppose as a band we have a few common influences; the likes of Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac. Then we also have some separate influences that would be a bit more personal to each of us. For me the Libertines, the Stone Roses and bands like that. Our drummer, Conor, is a mad Led Zeppelin fan and Knoxy likes all sorts of crazy dance music. So there are different influences as well as some common ones!

You recently shot the music video for your title track, ‘The Long Way’. Can you give us any clues as to what we can expect from this video?

Yeah well it’s directed by a really good director, Stevie Russell, who did a couple of Kodaline’s videos. He came to us with this simple idea of three young Dublin kids who are trying to build a bonfire. We only had to make a very small cameo – making these music videos probably isn’t our favourite aspect of being in a band. There can be a lot of hanging around, a lot of long days standing in the cold. But thankfully we didn’t have to do too much of that. To be honest we don’t know exactly how it turned out! We’re actually yet to see it, but we have faith in Stevie; he’s really good and he knows what he’s doing!

“I’m impressed with Taylor Swift”

Well one music video you did feature a lot in was ‘Get Loose’, which was released last month. It looked like you had loads of fun making it! What was that like to make and who came up with the concept?

This company called Around the World in 80 Music Videos have been going from country to country, contacting bands and labels with the whole idea of making music videos in one shot. We did that with another video of ours a long time ago called ‘Listen Dear’, and we really enjoyed it so we were excited about the idea! They told us we could possibly do it backwards and we thought that sounded really cool. We wanted a video that, although matched the tone of the song, was separate in subject matter. We didn’t want it to be about partying or whatever, but to fit the music and I think it worked out perfectly. As you said, it was fun; we just walked backwards and had loads of paint and other things thrown at us!

Well it works really well! Okay, next question: who is your musical guilty pleasure?

Oh, guilty pleasure. I’m going to have to say Taylor Swift. I like Taylor! I didn’t really back in the day with her whole country-ish album, but the new stuff sounds good! Some good choruses! I’m a sucker for pop music anyway in general, so yeah I’m impressed with Taylor.

I think we all have a soft spot for her. So, its been a big year for The Coronas! Youve played V Festival, Electric Picnic, Belsonic and loads more, but what has been your highlight of the year?

Electric Picnic was a big one for us, because it was our big festival at home. It was right at the end of summer and we had been doing, as you say, V Festival, T in the Park, Dot-to-Dot, different festivals in the UK and in Europe. They were all going well, but it’s great to go home. As you’ll know, we’re doing a lot better in Ireland than we are outside, and to go home and headline a big festival like that and have thirty-five thousand people out there looking at us was really cool. Then we had the rest of the weekend off, so we just stayed down for the whole weekend and camped. We got to see a lot of other bands, and it was a nice way to finish off the summer after all the festivals we had done. To headline the main stage at one of the big festivals at home was a brilliant feeling!

Nice! Okay, so what would your dream venue be?

I suppose it’d be nice to have somewhere warm! We played New York in the summer, with a great show in the Mercury Lounge. But I suppose Madison Square Gardens would be a great one to play!

If you could pick a guest member of your band, dead or alive, who would it be?

I’ve got to say Prince. He was such a little genius, and he played so many instruments. He could just slot in and play everything. And he was meant to be such a character obviously as well, so he would be a funny man to have around.

“Our drummer, Conor, is a mad Led Zeppelin fan and Knoxy likes all sorts of crazy dance music.”

So it’s been a year since you signed with Island Records. How does releasing songs through a major British label compare to releasing music through an independent label?

Yeah it’s really different, as you say! We always did it independently at home first, but we’ve really enjoyed working with Island Records with this release. They put a good team together; it’s nice to see us getting a bit of radio play and moving up through different venues with the tour! I think Ireland is small enough that you can do it yourself.  You can do the rounds and promote yourself, get a bit of radio, it’s just about a small enough territory. But I think outside Ireland you really do need a label that knows what they’re doing, you need someone to push you in the right places and thankfully Island Records did that. So as I said, we’ve really enjoyed working with them and we’ll see what happens in the future. Hopefully we’ll do some more with them!

If you could give one bit of advice to your band when you were starting out, what would it be?

We had our own indie label, we were very much learning things as we went and we had a sort of naivety that was good for us. We didn’t really know what we were doing, we didn’t go about trying to be cool or critically acclaimed. We just went for it and it all sort of happened! I think that probably was good for us, to a certain extent. I think if we were doing it now we would probably look at it a different way. I suppose the advice I would give to myself back then would be to keep writing as much as possible. When we started out, songs were pouring out of us and we would just write all the time. I think now, as we get a bit older – not too old – we get a bit more critical of ourselves. Like, ‘is that lyric good?’ Whereas, in the early days I’d write a song and if someone said ‘that lyric’s crap’ I would tell them to ‘f@*& off’. It didn’t really bother me. But as you get older you start to think about it a bit more. I’d tell them that that naivety is good, I’d tell myself to write as many songs as possible!

What has been the best moment of The Coronas career to date?

I’d have to say in last February we headlined the 3Arena in Dublin which was a big sellout headline show in our hometown.  We grew up going to shows there and it was really incredible to have all our family and friends there. As I said it was sold out, so to have fourteen-thousand people come to see our little band was just crazy! It was definitely one of those moments that we will never forget. But there are lots of things that have happened that we’ve loved, and we’re so excited about the London show. We’ve been living in London for the last three years, and the show in Shepherds Bush will probably be our biggest ever show outside of Ireland. It’s going to be amazing and we’re really excited about it!

Last question then.  So what does the future hold for The Coronas?

As I was saying, we’ve got this tour in the UK, then straight away we’re off to Australia and we’re touring over there. We’re playing in New Zealand, Dubai, Singapore and all over the place! Then we’re home and it’s pretty much Christmas. We’ve got a show playing at the Ulster Hall in Belfast on the 20th of December that we’re excited about; we’re doing a New Years Eve show in Belfast as well which should be good! Then January and February we’re going to take a bit of a break and start thinking about the next album and start writing some new songs! We’ve already got a few bits and bobs, but January is always a quiet month for us, so it’ll make sense to get our heads down then and try to write a few new songs!

Okay, well were eagerly awaiting your next album!

Well thank you so much, and honestly I really appreciate the interview, thank you for talking to us!

Thank you to you too, Danny. Good luck with the tour!

Danny was speaking to Katy Clifton, whose gig review is also available at IMPACT Music now 

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Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham's IMPACT Magazine.

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