Sunday, 7 September 2008

Mark interview - HT&E

Despite the name, The Script don't follow the usual stereotype when it comes to the story of a band.
Three Irish lads from the wrong side of the tracks reach fame and fortune with a number one debut album in the UK and Ireland. The writing team behind The Commitments movie would have thought the plot too outlandish.

Somehow the formula has worked this time with former producers Mark Sheehan and Danny O'Donoghue striking gold after teaming up with drummer Glen Power to create the surprise hit of the summer. The Script's eponymous debut album is a complicated mixture of styles that transcends genre and gives the music press a tough time pigeonholing their vibe. Hip-hop, rock and soul are all neatly wrapped in slick pop production with O'Donoghue's vocals a true asset to the band. We caught up with Mark Sheehan to talk about the album, influences and rock and roll moments...

HT&E: Your debut - do you see it as an album about hope or an album about loss?

MS: I think we have a lot of songs about loss but there's been alot of that in our lives, but there's always an undertone of hope in them. I'd rather people have that than just focusing on the loss, they should hear about the recovery too, or the coping skills. This is what our song The End Is Where I Begin is all about. Every end is also the beginning of something new.

HT&E: As producers originally does that make the writing process easier?

MS: No, production doesn't make the song. A crap song is still a crap song with production, but when the bare bones is a killer song and has that raw emotion then the production only enhances that. In my opinion the production should back the song up, if you're clever with it.

"To me a great song is when you don't notice the genre or production, just the song"
HT&E: Does it make you more of a perfectionist when it comes to playing on the other side of the desk?

MS: Yes, its like a movie producer once said to me, "you never see the movie how everyone else does, you're constanly behind the camera so you have a different perspective" same with music, you dont hear it as a song after picking it apart, its never one unit. You break it up from bass to drums and vocals etc, but then years of production has you listening to FX like reverbs and EQs, that's all we hear sometimes. But you know what? To me a great song is when you don't notice the genre or production, just the song.

HT&E: There’s soul, Hip-hop, rock and more in your songs. How do you define your genre of music? Who are your influences?

MS: It's hard when you're in the band to define what your sound is, we just make music we love. I find it kinda' funny how every interview we do we get called, Timbaland meets U2, or The Police jamming with Kayne West etc. So many comparisons are coming at us but, you know, I think its because people can't put their finger on it - and why should anybody? Its just music. I think we are the Internet generation, like iTunes and iPods, nobody is loyal to a genre any more. In my head I see 50 Cent walking down a New York street with his big platinum chains, bullet proof vest on but on his iPod he's listening to The Sound of Music. Our influences are so vast, being producers it has to be, but we love Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Bob Marley and Kayne West. Anyone great from hip-hop to rock.

"I got a wee little excited recently and smashed the shit out of a guitar"
HT&E: You’re Irish, you’re within the music industry and you’re successful, what’s your most “rock and roll” story to date?

MS: Apart from the usual hotel parties and drinking sessions that seem to surround The Script... a lot, they are the normal rock 'n roll stereotypes. I got a wee little excited recently and smashed the shit out of a guitar and f**kin' loved it! Cut the shit out of my hand though and then had to go back on stage and play. Something I've always wanted to do but couldn't afford to do it, probably not so rock 'n roll but it was a great release. I may hate myself for it one day.

HT&E: Were you expecting this success from your debut album?

MS: No not at all, you can't predict these things. You hope and wish blindly but you can never know. We made this record in my old shed at the back of my family home in Dublin hoping to one day get played on local radio, and now look! We just cant believe it.

HT&E: What’s on your iPod at the moment?

MS: My most played is probably David Bowie, but I love my Bob Marley too. I've got so much music its sick! Foo Fighers get alot of spins, Jay Z and Nas would be faves of mine too. A bit all over the place really.

HT&E: As producers or as a band who have you most enjoyed working with thus far?

MS: We went through a stage in our lives where all we worked on was Jamaican Dance Hall artist, Beany Man and Mr Vagas etc, but amongst them we worked with a 3 piece girl group that played acoustic guitars and sang like angels, unreal. They where like the Jamaican Destiny's Child. Anyway, I loved it because we where from so different backgrounds yet music was the common ground and they where wicked. They say alot of things that we from Dublin say too. Me this, me that... and ting, tanks and tirty tree. Plus they're into Guinness too!

HT&E: You’re touring for a few months this year, what happens after that? Piss up or back to work (or both)?

MS: We've actually been touring for over a year now, constantly since V Festival 2007. It seems like there is no end to it either. When we finish our UK and Irish tour were back on the road again around the rest of the world. Live is who we are really, take that away from us and I'm afraid there is no band so we're just happy to be employed to be honest. We fit the piss ups in-between so no worries there.

HT&E: How much of your songs come from real life experiences? There’s a lot of heartbreak in there.

MS: All of them, I've learned that when you don't write from your experiences it just doesn't connect with other people. And if we don't believe it how will you. There is alot of heartbreak in there, yeah but that's life sometimes. Some people are dealt a bum hand sometimes. With me, Its never really "will I fall?", but "how will i get back up?".

HT&E: Thanks for talking to us.

MS: Thanks so much for chatting with me.

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