While life on the road has it share of pleasures, for the Irish pop-rockers The Script the constant grind also delivered a hefty dose of home truths.
Speaking at the picturesque Nasimi Beach before headlining Friday’s Sandance Festival, the guitarist Mark Sheehan describes the heady experience of visiting nature contrasted against stark economic climates.
“It does play in your mind. You can see the extremes in rich to poor, it’s so diverse,” he says.
“We’ve just been to India and Johannesburg, both beautiful cities, but then you come here and it’s like “there is so much money here it is absolutely crazy”.
It was the gloomy economic backdrop of Ireland that informed the Dublin group’s second album Science and Faith.
Powered by uplifting singles For the First Time and Nothing, the singer and keyboardist Danny O’Donoghue says the group wanted to create a passionate pop album speaking of current issues.
“We want to reflect the times, to reflect what is going on,” he says.
“We are not singing about walking down red carpets or ‘look at my Rolex’. Music is escapism - well that is what art is in that you can escape through art - but we like to be more of a mirror to a society and say that you can be born with nothing and feel extremely happy in the inside. Our music is about letting that pain, anger and anguish out.”
While The Script may have officially formed in 2001, the genesis for the group lies in the already successful songwriting partnership between O’Donoghue and Sheehan.The duo were already principle songwriters for the successful mid-1990s Irish boy band Mytown, a talent admired by leading American pop producers who invited them to collaborate on songs for artists such as Montell Jordan and TLC.
Sheehan says the experience working with their production heroes was integral to The Script’s pop-savvy sound.
“Teddy Riley, for example, likes the kick and snare in your face, where someone like Dallas Austin, when he starts a song, he wants to sit down and listen to a bunch of diverse music before he wants to make a song … while someone like Billy Steinberg is all about the lyrics,” he says.
“You basically have to take the best qualities from each person and leave the rest behind.” Sheehan credits the experience for defining the “hip-hop” attitude The Script bring to their songwriting. He says: “We don’t have boundaries. The song is king for us.”
While flattered with comparisons to U2, O’Donoghue says many other Irish bands struggled to emerge due to the Irish giants’ global profile.
“For every U2, there were a thousand other bands that couldn’t make it that were just as good,” he says.
“If U2 came out from America, they would be up there with a whole host of different bands that made it to the same level. But because they came from such a small place like Ireland and they were such an important band, then it was different.”
But O’Donoghue says the optimistic spirit embedded in The Script’s songs is simply the Irish way.
“I am going to be biased,” he says. “But there is something when you put an Irish man in the room and people gravitate towards them. We are such open-hearted honest people, we just say what we think and we don’t care if it’s cool or not. We will say it because it’s the truth and that’s how we feel.”
welcome to jakarta, @TheScript and @BenjaminSarge. :)
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