Kodaline are known for their upbeat and darn-right catchy tracks, including High Hopes and Love Like This, as well as for being the band behind the theme music for Gogglebox. On the release of their latest album, One Day At A Time, we caught up with Steve Garrigan from the band to chat about all things music, mental wellbeing and, well, lockdown obviously….
Kodaline released their fourth studio album One Day At A Time on Friday to a world still coming to terms with the recent coronavirus pandemic. While the sentiment behind the album and its tracks was always to celebrate the relationship between friends and family, lockdown has made it all the more relatable.
None more so than the single Saving Grace, which was released in May. “Saving Grace is a song that’s about being there for each other – you know, through the tough times and through the good times. We’ve always written songs about trying to stay positive and supporting each other.”
While the inspiration behind the song is in keeping with Kodaline’s positive outlook, the video that accompanies it is entirely new – thanks to the unique circumstances posed by lockdown across the world.
“We like to put a lot of thought into our videos, we tend to create short movies, but with the lockdown we obviously couldn’t do that.”
What the band ended up with was a user generated video from Kodaline fans across the world documenting the ways they’re keeping in touch and getting through this utterly weird time.
“I think the result was really powerful. It was kind of a snapshot of how the world is right now. A friend of ours, Stevie Russell, put the edits together and although I’d seen a lot of the videos individually I couldn’t really imagine how it was gonna turn out.
“I watched the first edit sitting on the couch with my girlfriend, and within 30 seconds I had tears in my eyes. We both did. There’s something powerful about it. It shows that this whole situation, it’s very much a global thing. People all over the world in their houses and apartments, wherever they are, we’re all just trying to keep positive and keep going.”
On the subject of staying positive, Steve and the band have developed a number of ways to keep their mental wellbeing in check over the past seven years touring with each other.
“We are more like a family. We’re really good friends first and foremost, but we grew up together and have known each other since we were kids. We kind of need each other.”
Touring and being away from their families can be difficult to deal with, but as Kodaline has grown, they’ve developed a support system that works for them.
“You know, you can kind of tell if someone’s having a bad day. When we first started touring, we probably wouldn’t talk as much as we do now, but we look out for each other. And it’s not the band, we have a crew, there’s about fourteen people. We tour together, look out for each other, and if someone’s having a bad day we’ll kind of try and call them up on it. If they don’t want to talk that’s fine too.
“I think it’s really important to have a good support system around you, whether that is friends, family or anything like that, just someone you can talk to about everything and anything. There’s one friend in particular, for whatever reason, me and him have always got each other. If stuff gets really bad, we always feel much better after talking to each other. It is extremely important not to be afraid to talk about things. Just switching off and hanging out and socialising helps in a big way.”
The band haven’t always known how to switch off though, finding the always-on nature of the industry to be draining at times. Steve has been open about his struggles with mental health both on and off stage, and it’s something that he’s embraced on the band’s latest album.
“Each song on the album tells a different story. Like the first single on the album, Wherever You Are, I wrote that song about my girlfriend. It can be quite difficult. It’s almost like a long distance relationship because I’m away all the time touring. So I just kind of wrote as a present to her to say, ‘look, I’m thinking about you’.”
“I wrote the second single, Sometimes, on tour in Asia and it was really just about a bad day dealing with anxiety and kind of panic attacks and stuff like that. I sat down and wrote that song to try and get it off my chest because I was finding it hard to cope. So it really was about a bad day dealing with anxiety for me.”
As well as writing, Steve runs as much as possible to help look after his mental wellbeing when things get tough, although it hasn’t always been that way.
“In the past, I never knew how exercise could help. We’ve more or less toured non-stop for the past seven years, and I think over time you learn different things about yourself, like I like to run and exercise and I find that really helps me.”
“It’s incredible what it does for anxiety and mental health in general. Like it’s very difficult, but it’s worth a try if you’re feeling low or going through a tough time.”
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