Irish trio The Script are making their presence felt with their honest music from the soul.
One glance at boyishly handsome Danny O’Donaghue, frontman of Irish band The Script, and you’d probably hear the alarm bells go off and think: boyband. But nothing could be further from the truth.
About a decade ago, O’Donaghue, 25, and The Script guitarist Mark Sheehan, 27, were in a boyband. Remember the group, Mytown? Well, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t because they never made it big anywhere even though they did come to Malaysia, twice.
The break up of Mytown turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it led to O’Donaghue and Sheehan’s sojourn to the United States where they worked as producers, alongside many top R&B producers, such as The Neptunes, Teddy Riley and Dallas Austin.
“When we did this earlier, we were very young and we did not have as much control as we have now.” said O’Donaghue when The Script came to town recently. “I mean we were in a band, a pop band, and we got a small taste of the industry. Then we decided to break up the band, and Mark and I went off and produced. We spent a long time in the (United) States (working) with (producer) Teddy Reilly (who produced artistes like Michael Jackson and Jay-Z) and Rodney Jerkins and all these different people. We were just kind of learning the craft.
“This time around it just means so much more because we’ve had so much input from the start – the name, the music, the videos, we produced it ourselves – it really feels like it’s a part of us rather than us just being a small part of something big like how it was before. We really feel like we are on the start of something amazing. And I am a little older and a little wiser, too,” said O’Donaghue.
Experience, exposure and perhaps maturity led the two back to writing music again; they hooked up with drummer Glen Power, 28, who had a reputation as a prodigy in the Dublin music scene, to form The Script.
Earlier this month, O’Donaghue and Power were in Malaysia for the MTV Asia Awards at Genting Highlands where they performed their second single The Man Who Can’t Be Moved to rave reviews; Sheehan unfortunately could not make the trip as his wife was about to deliver their first child.
“I am sure he is kicking himself, wishing he was here with us.
“Mark is a big reason we are here. The guy is just relentless kicking us up in the morning. He is the glue that sticks us all together and he is really, sorely, missed.” said O’Donaghue.
Pegged as the band to watch for, the Irish trio are making waves in the international music scene. Their first single, We Cry, peaked at No.9 on the charts (where it remained for 30 whole weeks) and The Man Who Can’t be Moved is still enjoying lots of air play on TV and radio.
Critics, unsure of how exactly to categorise their music, have described their sound as being “a little bit Timbaland, a little U2 and a little Sting”. Some say it’s “celtic soul” while others describe their music as being “a juxtaposition of hip-hop lyrical, R&B and rock”.
For the boys, it’s just honest music from the soul.
“It’s an honour to be in the same bracket or to be named (in connection) with these guys. They are all our heroes and if I met them I’d probably stutter,” said O’Donaghue. “We listened to The Police, Stevie Wonder, Genesis, and U2 – they were a massive influence. When I saw what they (U2) could do, I thought if they could do all that, then maybe I could do that, too,” said Glen.
Jokingly, O’Donaghue added: “But I’d like to think that somewhere, Sting is sitting in a room getting interviewed, (being told) ‘you know you sound like Danny O’Donaghue from The Script?’ ”
Although humbled about the comparisons, the boys are determined to create their own sound and carve their own place in the industry.
“I think there is a space in the market for a band that has lyrics that mean things, a band that is being very honest.
“We also want to get the message across that we have feelings. A lot of men have deep feelings,” said O’Donaghue.
Added Power: “And that it’s OK to cry.”
The two explain that when We Cry was first released in Britain, the band got some flak for “being wimps”.
“But I just want to say that we are even stronger because we cry,” said O’Donaghue.
Working on the songs is a collaborative effort with all three Dubliners playing an equal role in the writing and production work.
“I think individually we have our strengths and when you put us together, we are just stronger as a force. I think we are clever enough to know that this is something special that we’ve found with the three of us. And it’s a lot more fun, too,” mused Power.
Added O’Donaghue, “We were all friends first and to be able to go around the world with your friends and play music and have fun together, it’s fantastic. I’d never want to do it on my own ... it’d be too lonely.
“Travelling is really hard sometimes and being with your friends helps you keep going. I cannot imagine doing something else.”
So, did the name The Script have anything to do with them coming from Ireland, the land of many literary geniuses?
“No, we basically started in LA where everyone is looking for ‘the script’. Our songs are stories and miniature ‘movies’ so that’s how we came up with the name The Script.
“The other names we came up with before were really bad: Versatile, Hank Wangford and the Rambling Turkeys, and Atlantic Fantasy. So when someone suggested ‘The Script’, we all jumped on it!” explained O’Donaghue.
“A lot of people believe we sound very American because the music is very polished. I don’t know whether to feel bad that nobody would think that something good can come out of Ireland but everywhere we’ve gone around the world, people have been surprised to find out we are Irish.
“Mark and I also spent a lot of time in the (United) States soaking up American culture, and the stuff we were producing just ended up having a bit of a sheen to it. We just felt that these sounds and the way the album was produced was the best way to get these songs out,” said O’ Donaghue.
While they are enjoying the buzz – their recent tour with N.E.R.D, the success of their first two singles and the release of their debut album, media attention like never before and red-carpet appearances – the trio aren’t going to lose sight of the big picture.
“We want to play on stage and have an impact. We want to hit them (fans) you know ... we want to make the hairs at the back of their neck stand up and we want to make people go, ‘Wow... I feel the same,’” said O’Donaghue.