The Coronas blaze their own trail

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

THE Coronas return to Limerick this month and will become the first band to play in the Big Top at the Milk Market for a second time, having been the first ever band to play in the new venue in May.

THE Coronas return to Limerick this month and will become the first band to play in the Big Top at the Milk Market for a second time, having been the first ever band to play in the new venue in May.

That the Dublin four piece will most likely sell-out the Big Top twice in under six months is testament to the band’s popularity and pulling power, making a mockery of those who would decry the band for a perceived lack of originality.

But who cares about the knockers? Not this band, who write cracking tunes, are truly superb live and are all around nice blokes - seriously - maybe the reason why some just can’t warm to them.

Frontman and chief Corona Danny O’Reilly couldn’t give a fiddlers about how the band is perceived in Ireland and abroad.

“Our music is not going to change the world,” laughs O’Reilly, “we are not experimental indie - we are never going to be a massively innovative band, but we love pop music and songs and all we can do is put our own stamp on that.”

The band have just released album number three, Closer to You, and O’Reilly feels that the Coronas have finally “found our sound now”.

“We did the first album when we were very young and we are very proud of it and it did so much for us, but it took us two years after that of touring to release what kind of album we wanted to make next time out and to a certain extent, in a lot of ways that felt like our debut record, because it was the first time we knew what we were doing and what we wanted to do,” he explains.

“Now this feels like our second record where we really knew what we wanted to do. There are lot of different things that come into it - the way people perceive you and the way you think you want to be perceived - we sort of just realised to forget all about that, it is nothing to do with San Diego Song annoying half of the population and the younger half loving it and living by it.

“We have got comfortable with that and comfortable within the band and we knew what record we wanted to make and felt lucky to be in a situation that we could make a good record and work with an amazing producer and go to LA. It was a very relaxed thing,” he smiles.

The Coronas have been busy since they were here last, writing and rehearsing the album in Dingle after the Limerick gig and then jetting to LA to record with legendary producer Tony Hoffer, who has worked with the likes of Air, Beck and Belle and Sebastian. No pressure then.

“He was very much hands on, probably the most hands on producer we have ever worked with,” says Danny. “He was just brilliant at getting the best out of the songs and seeing things in a different light. Sometimes you can write a song and you have it for a while and you think it is something, but really it is better if you change it, and it is hard to be impartial about that, it is like changing your children,” he laughs.

Gone are the syrupy, sentimental orchestral driven singalongs, and in their place are mature pop-rock songs that will have their legion of fans purring with joy. There is an urgency to the record that ironically screams of a more mature, settled process, a band now comfortable in their own skin.

“When we finished Tony Was An Ex-Con, although I was really proud of it, within a few weeks of finishing I was looking forward to doing the next one and topping it,” says Danny. “Now, I don’t know where we will go from here, because we literally gave it everything we had and we are really proud and happy with it. This is definitely a peak for us as songwriters - we are peaking, we are all on the same page, we are all pulling in the same direction and we all know how to get the best out of the songs.”

In a sign of how popular the band are in these parts, they have been asked to turn on the city’s Christmas lights when they arrive for the gig, a “tremendous honour” Danny explains.

“Of course we said yes, that’s a lovely honour and we will be down anyway for the gig so it will be cool, we are looking forward to that,” he says. “We love going to Limerick, we always have great gigs there. From the early days playing Dolan’s it always felt like we were accepted for some reason and we always look forward to going back down.”

The Coronas play the Big Top on November 25. Closer to You is out now.