Now touring in support of Trust The Wire, the band’s fifth album, The Coronas recently celebrated its first-ever #1 album. Following four consecutive double-platinum albums in its native Ireland, The Coronas also turned a new corner with Trust The Wire being the first release from its own ADA Distribution-affiliated label So Far So Good Records. Two singles have already been released from Trust The Wire — “We Couldn’t Fake It” and “Real Feel’ — which both have music videos by John Broe.
The North American tour of The Coronas kicks off with two already-sold-out shows at Toronto’s Drake Hotel on November 4th and 5th. The tour continues through major markets like Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. before going west to Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Having the chance to see The Coronas in such intimate venues is especially interesting when considering that The Coronas played a sold-out gig at the 15,000-capacity Royal Hospital Kilmainham on July 1st.
I had the pleasure of speaking with The Coronas’ guitarist/vocalist Danny O’Reilly via e-mail. The quartet also includes lead guitarist Dave McPhillips, bassist Graham Knox and drummer Conor Egan.
Watch the band’s music video for their single hit “Real Feel”
The Coronas is headlining festivals in Europe and releasing music that easily hits the top of the charts. When touring North America, it’s almost like starting over in a way. Does that bother you? Or is that a fun challenge?
Danny O’Reilly: Yes, we love the challenge of trying to break other territories. It was a slow process at home in which we built our fanbase slowly over a few years, through all different size venues, so we’re so excited about doing that again in North America.
I remember hearing you on Jarlath Regan’s podcast a few years back, but when did you come to the States for the first time? Was it as part of a tour?
O’Reilly: The very first time we were there was just as friends on a J1 visa in San Diego. We had a great time and wrote a lot of music that became our first album. We then toured after our first album was released, and we had a blast.
Are there any specific restaurants or spots you’re hoping to check out if you have a free moment on tour while in Canada or the States?
O’Reilly: We’ve never been to Toronto, and we’ve heard it’s awesome, so we can’t wait to get there. We’ve spent time in New York, Chicago and San Fran, so we’re looking forward to heading back there.
Is playing to a North American audience any different for you than it is elsewhere?
O’Reilly: Yeah, the American audiences are amazing. There’s usually a good few people in the crowd who are Irish or at least feel Irish, and they make the shows a bit like the shows at home. But every city has a different vibe about it, so the crowds are different within the States too.
Your second album was called Tony Was An Ex-Con and your third album was produced by Tony Hoffer. Before I ask about how you first encountered Tony Hoffer, did he ever laugh about that title?
O’Reilly: Yeah, Tony Hoffer thought it was a funny name. He knew it wasn’t about him. We had a crazy bus driver on the first U.S. tour called Tony who we thought was just a bit strange at first. But as the tour progressed, it became clear he was actually a very scary guy, and we found out he was an ex-con. We wrote a song about him, which became the title track of the album.
So that said, how did you come about working with Tony? Had you been fans of his prior work with Beck?
O’Reilly: Yes, we were huge fans of the Kooks album he did, inside in/inside out, and a lot of the other albums he had done. So we basically just contacted him, sent him a couple of the demos we had and he liked them, so he agreed to do it.
Trust The Wire is your latest full-length. Do you have a favorite song on the album?
O’Reilly: Personally, I’d say “Give Me A Minute” or “A Bit Withdrawn.” I love how “A Bit Withdrawn” turned out sonically, and I’m proud of the lyrics in “Give Me A Minute” — it’s about giving yourself some credit and not being too hard on yourself.
Check out the group’s video for their song “How This Goes”
On your upcoming dates in North America, will you be playing a lot from Trust The Wire?
O’Reilly: Yes, we’ll be playing a good few off the new album and lots of the back catalog.
Is a follow-up to Trust The Wire already in the works? Do you write music outside of the band?
O’Reilly: So far I’ve only written a few small bits and bobs for the next album. We tend not to write too much when we’re on the road touring, but when this tour is all done and dusted, I’ll probably lock myself away somewhere and start writing the next one.
When not busy with The Coronas, how do you like to spend your free time? Any surprising hobbies?
O’Reilly: We love sport; football and golf, especially. We play a bit, for fun. We’re lucky that we get on so well within the band and crew so we like just hanging out, even when we’re not working together.
Finally, Danny, any last words for the kids?
O’Reilly: Write music, play music, listen to music, love music, love each other. Wow, that’s deep! (laughs)