In Universal’s Dublin office, I got the chance to speak to Paul Flannery (bass guitarist) and Dan Devane (guitarist) about Walking On Cars’ last few hectic months.
The new album gives us plenty of new songs to listen to, but after signing with Virgin, were the band convinced to change their sound?
Dan says no, not really, and that there’s always a misconception that a record label will come in and tear a band apart.
The lads seem pretty damn appreciative of Virgin in fact, because they’re all too aware of how expensive a career in music can be; making an EP, buying a van, paying for diesel and hotels.
They’re happy to be getting a wage at the end of the day now, and Dan jokes, “They [Virgin] have better resources than we have to help us achieve our goals, which is of course, taking over the world.”
While the financial side of things is improving for the band, there’s still the challenges that come with touring. Both of the lads agreed that it can be very hard for their lead singer, Pa, who has a baby. But how does touring effect their love lives?
“We all have girlfriends and boyfriends, but I’d say they’re more than happy to have us out of the house for a week or two,” Paul laughed.
Dan added that no matter how difficult the challenges are, you always get past them. “We just did a sold out show over in London to 1,000 people and we were just blown away by the reaction. All the challenges disappear then, and you think ‘Wow, that was amazing’. It’s worth it.”
Anyone who listens to Walking On Cars knows that their music can deal with a lot of personal issues; broken hearts, angst, sorrow. But is it hard to always come up with these type of lyrics?
Paul says that because everyone always has their problems, even when things appear to be running smoothly, it’s easy to put the songs together.
He added, “It’s a lot harder to write a convincing happy song than it is to write a convincing sad song. If we wrote a song about all our happy times, I think people would be pretty sickened with it.”
The band try not to let things get too dreary though, and Dan explained that even though the themes are dark they like to keep the sounds upbeat.
Walking On Cars have been announcing that a debut album would be coming up for what seems like forever, and the lads are really happy that the time is finally here.
They recognised that fans were getting frustrated, and when they got a solid release date Paul said his initial response was, “Yes! Tell the people!”
Judging by the band’s YouTube views, the fans are really liking the new music. Their single “Speeding Car” racked up more views in the first two weeks than any of their other videos had in the first two months.
Paul says that the comments on the videos can put you in a really good mood too, especially when hungover. He said, “You read a few comments and you’re like, yeah, I can get out of bed now.”
Walking On Cars are used to performing live now, but that doesn’t mean that the nerves go away. Paul says that nerves can hit at the weirdest of times, like when you’re playing a small gig in Nottingham in front of 26 people.
Another time you’d be playing in a bigger venue like the Olympia, and you’d be absolutely fine. Dan says that nerves are unavoidable, but that they’re not always a bad thing.
“It takes a few songs to get settled as well, to get the adrenaline up. Then you see one of your friends in the row and you’re like, ‘Stop looking at me!’ You learn to use that though. It’s where the energy comes from.”
Like any band, when they first started out music was just a hobby, but now it’s a full-time career. Do the lads still enjoy writing and playing music as much as they used to? “Definitely,” they said.
When music is your main focus and you don’t have to work in another job full-time, it’s a lot easier. The lads were full of stories of tougher times, but they appreciate the memories all the same.
“We used to drive to Belfast in our really shite van, it was terrible. Sometimes it didn’t even work. One time we had to drive home in it and it kept overheating. It was a bank holiday Sunday, driving home from Derry, and every ten miles we’d have to stop and refill the water thing.
“We had to stop in the shop and be like ‘Can I have twenty litres of water?’ Fill it up, drive ten miles, stop, let it cool down, repeat. Things like that don’t happen anymore. But that was all great craic, it’s part of it.”
And their hopes and expectations for the album? Well they want megabucks, yachts and trips to the Carribean. No really, they genuinely just hope that people will like it. They want to pick up some new fans from around the world, and maybe get some good festival slots this summer too.
Paul told me, “We really can’t wait for it to come out, then we can start working on the second album.”
Get cracking lads!