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Interview: The Coronas

Irish rock band The Coronas will be playing Belfast’s Ulster Hall on December 6, 2016. They’ve kindly taken time out of their busy schedule to chat with GiggingNI.

Gaining notoriety amongst big name Irish exports such as U2 and Snow Patrol, The Coronas continue their upward trajectory into superstardom. In 2010 even beat out the aforementioned super groups for the Meteor Award for Best Irish Album with Tony Was an Ex-Con. Their 4th studio album, The Long Way has achieved considerable airplay on Irish radio.

GNI:   You’ve made the leap from independent label to signing with major record label Island Records. What prompted the move, and how has that impacted your music?

TC:  “I’d like to think it had a positive impact. We moved to London to see if we could sign to a major and make it work and Island were very trusting in the way they handled us. They liked what we had already recorded for the long way and they wanted to get involved. Whatever bits and bobs they suggested were always welcome and usually spot on.”

GNI:   Once upon a time the only way for a band to get exposure was radio play and gigging. With social media so much a part of the fabric of everyday life it can be a useful tool for reaching a significantly larger audience. How does social media factor into the exposure and promotion of The Coronas?

TC:  “It plays a huge part for us. We try our best to be as active and present as possible but it can be difficult. It’s essential for spreading news about tours, new music, everything.”

GNI:   Everything from audience attendance to sound systems can determine for good or ill the success or failure of a gig. Do you have a worst gig ever story? Same for the best gig ever?

TC:  “Hmmm I remember in the early days we were booked for a show in Dublin that turned out to be on the same night as a huge Irish football international match. There were only 3 people at the show, I ended up telling the rest of the band to go watch the game as well and I just did the gig solo, no point in us all missing it!”

“Best gig ever has to be our sold out show in the 3 Arena last year in Dublin. Amazing to play in such a huge venue in our hometown. We grew up going to shows there so it was definitely a moment to enjoy”

GNI:   Danny, this one is for you; I understand that you come from a musical family. How has that inspired, impacted, and/or influenced your career as a musician?

TC:  “It’s a tough one to gauge, I was lucky enough to always have supportive parents, who had knowledge of a lot of aspects of the industry and who understood how difficult it can actually be. My mam always encouraged me to enjoy it firstly, to write music and to find my own way.”

GNI: Ireland has a country has a lot of good venues and musicians – are there any particular favourites you have, both bands and venues to play at?

TC: “The Marquee in Cork is definitely one of our favourite gigs, we’ve played there every year for the past 5 or 6 years, it’s got an intimacy to it, despite its big capacity, and we’ve always loved Cork as a city.

There’s some amazing new music coming out of Ireland at the moment – Walking on Cars, Roisin O, Hudson Taylor, Gavin James, and Academic but to name a few.”

GNI:   Songwriting can be a daunting task. Is this collaborative? Which usually comes first, the melody or the lyrics?

TC:  “It’s different for every song really, our earlier stuff used to be songs written by myself on the acoustic guitar that I would bring to the guys and we’d arrange and finish it together. These days it’s much more collaborative, anyone can bring an idea to the rehearsal room and we might finish a song in a couple of hours or a couple of months!”

GNI:   As you continue to gain fans and admirers, many of which are fledgling musicians themselves, what advice would you impart to new bands just starting out?

TC:  “Write your own music, rehearse and gig as much as you can. Enjoy it!”

GNI:   Now, just for fun, if you could play with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?

TC:  “Prince, I’ve said that for years, he was such an amazing multi instrumentalist it would be have been cool to jam with him.”

The Coronas play at the Ulster Hall, Belfast on 6th December 2016 – buy tickets here priced £25.50.


NI Music Editor, Gigging Northern Ireland