You’ve read the headline and we know what you’re thinking, but it’s really not what you think it is… No, The Coronas is just a band name developed by a few fun-loving musicians, not an attempt in any way of slighting the horrific COVID-19 pandemic that has taken over our world this year. As you may expect, it’s been a bit of a strange time for the Irish group considering their currently inconvenient name, but the musicians have decided to power through and now are set to release their sixth studio album, True Love Waits, on July 31st after a few delays due to the pandemic. Together now since 2003, the record is the first new material from The Coronas since 2017’s Trust The Wire. It’s somewhat of a unique time now for the band, not just because of their name, but also because True Love Waits marks their first album as a trio after guitarist Dave McPhillips unexpectedly left at the beginning of the year.
It’s been a long wait for The Coronas to unleash this new album, not just because of the many unforeseen delays, but also because it was a fairly involved process to write and record. True Love Waits was written in between tours over the course of a year and a half, with work on it beginning in early 2019 in Los Angeles with producer Rob Kirwan. George Murphy later came in and assisted the band in producing their most unique work yet. What really helped the creative process was the assistance of some special collaborators which included Cian MacSweeny of Dublin trio True Tides, and Ryan Hennessy and Jimmy Rainsford of Picture This.
To get up to speed on the latest happenings surrounding The Coronas and their brand new record, we spoke with frontman Danny O’Reilly about sharing their name with this dreaded virus, their new album, and his feelings on the band’s future in light of the current situation.
It’s an unfortunate coincidence that you share a name with the most deadly virus in modern history. What was your initial reaction when you first started hearing the term “coronavirus?”
Danny O’Reilly: “It was a scary time for everyone. It didn’t feel real. And then you throw in our unfortunate band name, that just gave the whole situation an extra layer of strangeness! So it was really just a big feeling of uncertainty and concern all around!”
Has having the name The Coronas brought any negative attention towards the band? For example, has anyone assumed that you named the band The Coronas as a way of making light of the situation?
“No, I don’t think anyone would actually go and name their band after the virus now, so I think most people realize it’s just a coincidence. We’ve been The Coronas for over ten years now, and our own fans and followers have been as supportive and engaged with us as much as ever.”
This may be a difficult question to answer, but have you noticed any signs that your sales or your streams have risen (or even declined) since the coronavirus began to take over the world in March?
“It’s a tough one. Definitely the engagement from our followers on social media has improved, but I think that’s the case with everyone in lockdown. Someone told me that our Spotify numbers have been higher than usual with our new release, but maybe it is just because it’s our best work to date!” (smiles)
The band name The Coronas stretches back now to your early days in the mid-2000s so you’ve had it for quite a while. It would be unfortunate, but have you given any thought to changing the band’s name in fear of forever being connected to this virus?
“No, we’re too long in as The Coronas to consider changing our name, and actually it would be like letting the virus win!”
Let’s stop talking about viruses now and focus on your music. Your new album True Love Waits is due out at the end of July after being delayed because of the virus. When were you originally planning on releasing the album?
“It was originally set to come out at the end of May initially. We finished it in February, and we’re so proud of it. I’m delighted that we’re getting it out soon.”
You fit in the recording of the album in between tours over an 18-month period. Was any of the album written on tour or did you find time to properly write and record at home?
“We started writing at the beginning of 2019, but wrote a lot of the album from the summer into late last year, just before the recording. We knew we had enough good songs for an album so I think then the pressure was off, and the stuff we were writing was flowing easier and sounding better.”
How productive were the writing and recording sessions like for True Love Waits in comparison to your previous albums? Was this a fairly straightforward process?
“I did a lot more co-writing for this record. I wrote with a lot of my friends from other bands which was a cool way to do it. When I’d get a good idea, instead of finishing it straight away like I’d always done, I’d take it to one of my songwriter friends and see what direction we could take it together.”
What would you say differentiates True Love Waits from your other records? What’s new or unique about this one?
“I think it’s our most mature record. I also think it’s our best-sounding record, and I think it has three or four of the best songs we’ve ever written. But I’m always biased towards our newest music.”
How would you characterize True Love Waits thematically-speaking? Is it a collection of new songs or are there recurring themes throughout?
“Themes of friendship, love, and self-improvement are there throughout. Recognizing self-doubt and convincing myself to move forward and not be too hard on myself is another theme that seems to pop up regularly. I think it’s a positive album, about moving forwards and being brave, in all aspects of life, like especially now. It’s a nerve-racking time for everyone, but, in some ways, more so for musicians.”
Are you feeling at all nervous about the band’s future and your ability to go out and play in front of your fans?
“Yes, that is my main concern, that even when concerts do come back that they’ll be so different. Our shows are about atmosphere, energy, and the vibe in the room. It’s arms aloft, sing-along, hug a stranger type music, so I do worry that we might not ever get back to that type of atmosphere again, or at least not very soon.”
If all goes according to plan, what do you have on tap for the rest of the summer and the fall?
“We hope to do some shows in December. I mean, we have tours booked in the U.S., UK and Australia in the fall, but at this stage, I don’t think they’re going to happen.”