MCS Interview: Kodaline’s Vinny May on returning to Manila, the band’s creative process, plans after tour

Vinny May, drummer of Irish alternative rock band Kodaline, sat down with Manila Concert Scene for a quick chat a few hours before their Karpos Live concert on Sept.14. Vinny shared with us his thoughts on touring, being back in the Philippines, and Kodaline’s plans after their Asia tour.

Manila Concert Scene: Welcome back to the Philippines! You first had your show with Wanderland Music and Arts Festival in 2018, and you also had your solo show in 2019. Your Filipino fans had been waiting for almost four years, and we are all excited for your show! How does it feel to be back and reunited with your Filipino fans?
Vinny: The pandemic was like two years of that, so we kinda stalled for two years. But it’s incredible, amazing to finally be back. We were just so happy to be able to put on a tour and shows, and we understand how lucky we are to be able to do this for a living. It’s a real privilege to be back in the Philippines and to be playing shows again, so we’re looking forward it.

MCS: Kodaline released their debut album, “In a Perfect World,” in 2013, and you’ve been together as a band even before that. Could you tell us about the differences in your creative process between how you put out your debut album and your 2020 album “One Day at a Time”?

Vinny: It kind of changes with each album. So I would say with the first album, you kind of have your whole life to write your first album about, and then you only have like a year to write your next one. Circumstances change, personally and with the band.
For our 2020 album … we finished that in March 2020, just before the pandemic hit. We had been working on that for like nine or ten months prior to that. We didn’t want to [delay the release] because you can’t get closure on something until it’s finished and it’s out there. And then it goes from being our songs to being the people’s [songs], and we wanted that. We realized that it had been two years before the last album, so we wanted to get another one out there.

That album was a collaboration among the four of us. We have a studio in Dublin. We kind of treated it like a job — a nine-to-five, from Monday to Friday. Just trying to put a bit of structure on it because you could spend days on end, sleepless nights, on songs, and you kind of end up just going around in circles. It’s better to have a bit of clarity. We finish at 5:00 and go home, and we think of something and feel energized and excited when we come back the following morning. Those were some of the major differences between creating our albums.

MCS: You mentioned that you released “One Day at a Time” in 2020, and because of the pandemic, touring and album promotion were paused. But you had your Europe tour last year and also had shows for the release of your live album, “Our Roots Run Deep.” You had a big show in Cork and an Asia tour this year. What do you miss most about touring?
Vinny: The people. For two years in the pandemic, we basically sat in our homes and questioned whether the music industry was ever gonna recover or thinking, “Does everyone have to get ‘normal’ jobs?”
MCS: And we thank you for coming back!
Vinny: Yeah, absolutely! It’s something that we’ve done for so long, and it’s such a big part of who we are. Our personal identity is Kodaline. So for that to be kind of taken away was awful, but to get back at it, it’s incredible. For this tour, we just wanted to go back to playing a rock show.
The tour has been incredible so far, and we’re kind of halfway through it. And then we go home, and we go back into the studio to work on some new stuff.

MCS: Are there any artists/songs that you listen to the most while you’re on tour?
Vinny: In the dressing room, we listen to kind of anything and everything. We’ve been listening to the new Queens of the Stone Age album a lot recently. Mac DeMarco — he’s awesome. We listen to the Bee Gees one minute to The Strokes, or Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole. It’s quite an eclectic mix on the speaker backstage.

MCS: What can we expect from your show? And any message to your Filipino fans?
Vinny: Hope you enjoy the show! The set is really good, and we’ve been having a lot of fun playing it. We’ve been getting a good reaction from other shows that we’ve been playing so far. Hope people enjoy themselves and forget about their worries. Leave them at the door!

Note: Kodaline’s show, Karpos Live Presents: Kodaline, was held after this interview on Sept. 14.

Special thanks to UMG Philippines.

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