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Danny: Champion Of The World
The Coronas are on the march. Having spent six weeks in LA working with studio guru Tony Hoffer on their third album Closer to You, they are about to embark on a campaign for world domination that will take them right through next year. So what is it that makes the band tick? In a remarklably revealing interview, Ireland’s most down-to-earth frontman Danny O’Reilly tells Roe McDermott about the making of The Coronas’ masterpiece, why he’d never go solo, working with his mammy – and how a certain blonde beauty has stolen his heart.
Roe McDermott, 15 Nov 2011
“The only thing that would bother me is people saying that we’re somehow pulling the wool over our fans’ eyes, that it’s a formula and we sit around going, ‘Oh, well people like slow ballads’, so The Coronas go and write a song like ‘Someone Else’s Hands’ because we know it’ll touch a chord. That annoys me because our stuff comes from an honest place. And if people want to say our stuff is shit, that’s fine. But we’re not manipulative. Never.
“That’s why Tony was great in encouraging us,” he continues. “We had a song called ‘Please Write To Me’ that we all thought was a bit slow, we all called it ‘moist’! We were unsure that it’d make the album but he said, ‘You know, a lot of people are going to like that song, and you can’t leave it out because a few people won’t’. It was just emphasising this thing about art, that it’s out to affect people and you can’t be ashamed of the fact that some things might be sentimental or won’t seem cool to some people.
“It’s about not playing it safe with something everyone will like – it’s about doing what’s true to you as a band. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We are what we are, we write pop-rock music, that’s the music that we love and we’re okay with that.”
There is an impressive sense of unity about The Coronas, a classic we’re-all-in-this-together gang mentality that is of the essence for a lot of great bands. I’m a little taken aback, therefore, when Danny admits that one of the tracks, ‘The Blind Leading The Blind’, is about him moving to London – on his own. All along the band’s unique bond stemmed from the fact that they grew up together, were childhood friends and were largely inseparable – and now their frontman is leaving the country. Officially. Will his move not have an inevitable effect on the band?
“Well, we’re at the stage in Ireland where we tour once or twice, go away and write for months and then tour the world. So it’s not that Dublin has anything huge for us anymore. It’s just that our time off is here. And our Olympia gigs. And maybe our writing and rehearsal time. But we rehearse for a couple of weeks before gigs, so I can be based in London and come for a couple of weeks to rehearse, and move back in with the mammy!”