We sat down with guitarist Mark Prendergast from the Irish band Kodaline before their show in Munich. We talked about touring, The Weeknd, what advice he has for young artists and a lot more.
First of all: How’s your tour going so far?
Great. It’s going really well. Yeah, I think we’re halfway through today. It’s been awesome. We toured with a band from Spain up until today – called LA- who were great, but now there’s an Irish band coming who are from the same town as us. We’re kinda friends with them, so it’s gonna be even more fun now, because we have more of our friends on the road. But it’s cool, it’s been really fun. We’ve been up to Scandinavia, we’ve been to Italy, so now we’ll go to Switzerland after Germany and then Portugal and Spain. Everywhere. It’s great.
You’ve been in Munich quite a few times right?
We’ve been here probably four or five times, yeah. Last time we played Muffathalle. We’re actually staying in the hotel across the road from that place so I kinda had an idea where I was. I went for a walk around yesterday. What’s that big building in the city centre? It’s got like a net and it seems like there are characters… ?
Glockenspiel? The Marienplatz?
Yes, it’s amazing! Jay and I went for a walk and we stumbled across that and it was beautiful.
What else did you do in your spare time here?
I was sick so I spent most of the day in the hotel, which I absolutely hate doing. Usually when we got a day off, we get away from the bus or the hotel and see stuff. We went for a walk for two or three hours around Munich, we went to a piano shop… I bought a cuckoo clock – a cheap one. There were some really fancy ones there, but I just got a tiny one.
Is that what you do when you’re on tour? Buy one souvenir in every city?
There was a thrift store near this piano shop that had loads of weird things and I love buying secondhand and weird little things. That’s what I do quite a lot. My suitcase is always packed with stuff. It’s already full. The cuckoo clock takes up some space, so I had to throw a few t-shirts in the bin, but that was worth it.
What’s the funniest or craziest thing that has ever happened to you on tour?
We often get asked this and we never can think of anything right on the spot…
*Someone reminds him of the ‘Baden Baden phone call’* Oh god, yeah! That was hilarious. We’re in Baden Baden – which is beautiful and we’re doing quite a big TV show and there’s this crowd of like 500 people and our drummer’s phone rang and the interviewer (Pierre M. Krause) – a really nice guy – took advantage of the situation and he made Vinny answer the phone into the microphone and Vinny’s mum was on the phone and she became a part of the interview and she didn’t know what was going on. It was very funny.
You played a lot of shows during the last years. What was the most memorable gig you played?
There’s been quite a few to be honest – usually whenever we play at home. It’s always very special. Our family and friends are there… we did two nights in the arena in Dublin before christmas and that was huge. We’re not an arena band, we play theatres, but to do two nights there was very special.
How do you fight boredom on the tour bus?
We watch a lot of movies. It’s either you drink downstairs or you watch movies upstairs. But on this tour I’ve been drinking less and I get up early and get off the tour bus and just go see whatever city I’m in. So I only use the tour bus for sleeping now. On some tours you spend the whole day driving somewhere, but on this tour we only drive at night time and we actually arrive in the city in the morning so we have these little electronic scooters and we just zip around the city by that.
You spend a lot of time on the road. Pick three songs that should be part of every roadtrip soundtrack.
‘On the road again’ by Willie Nelson. Anything by Tom Petty. I love Tom Petty. The Traveling Wilburys! There’s ‘The End Of The Line’ and in the video they’re all in a train, that’s a real kind of driving song. And ‘Home’ by Michael Bublé. Joking.
If you could pick one artist who does a cover of one of your songs, who would it be and which song would you choose?
I really like The Weeknd at the moment. I think he’s awesome. Hearing him cover our song ‘All I want’ would be kinda cool, because it’s not really his style of music, but he seems to make anything he does – whether it’s his own song or someone elses song – sound like The Weekend, so that’d be kinda cool.
So far – what’s the best thing that happened in your career and what are you looking forward to in the future?
The best thing I think is the fact that we’re all still friends, because you hear horror stories of bands who travel for two years and then they hate each other. We’re just lucky that we can have a laugh. Today where it’s kinda cold outside you can’t really walk too far and we just hang out in the dressing room. What I’m looking forward to the most is getting into the studio again.
Which advice would you give to young artists who are only just starting with music?
Well if you’re a band that’s starting to tour, the only advice would be: Don’t pack so much clothes in your suitcase, because you’re only wearing half of it. But I’m still a victim of it. Everytime you see me I’m wearing this – or a leather jacket.
People who are starting with songwriting: just make sure that you’re comfortable with what you do, because we have been put in situations where we’ve been uncomfortable. Love the music you’re making. You have to visualize that when you write a song and people like it, you have to sing this song forever.
Before you put something out, put your heart on your sleeve and make sure that you´re 100% in love with it.