“Music is magic,” lead vocalist Danny O’Donoghue of The Script told us. And on the eve of the release of their fifth studio album, they are relying on that to be a vehicle promoting freedom. “We finally have a reason to travel around the world with a worthy message,” Danny explained, “And here we are, we’re back and we ain’t going away for a long time.”
Their new album, entitled “Freedom Child“, was sparked by a simple inquiry from a child. “What is terrorism?”, the son of guitarist, Mark Sheehan asked. The answer gave birth to the title song, which quickly grew into an album that is an expression of the same. Danny elaborated, “It’s freedom to do what you want to do, to say what you want to say, to love who you want to love and so on.”
We sat down with this incredible group of veteran musicians and artists for a powerful conversation about their music, songwriting and what they hope listeners will draw from their new album. They also reveal what they struggle with, what brought them back together stronger than ever and exclusive insight into behind the scenes pre-tour planning.
Read our entire conversation below and be sure to get your copy of “Freedom Child” available September 1, 2017 on all digital service providers or by clicking here.
Marian: The Script has had tremendous success with previous albums released. With this experience, how would you say the band and/or your artistry have evolved, as you’ve grown in the industry over the years?
The Script: Our artistry hasn’t changed at all, as in the way we write songs. It’s just the production that has changed I think. Every album you take a look at modern radio and streaming and think, where does The Script fit in amongst this? We always have a massive amount of fun trying different approaches to songs to find the best vehicle to get them out to the fans. Making the music relevant enough to be played on radio whilst keeping the integrity of the song writing is a challenge, but we love it.
M: Let’s talk about the new album, Freedom Child. Is there a thematic story behind it or is it more easily classified as a collection of songs inspired by life?
TS: A bit of both really. Mark’s young son came to him and said, “Dad, what is terrorism?” and he found it hard to explain to a nine year old. The best way we can do it is to write a song about it and speak that way, so we started to write a song called “Freedom Child,” which became the mantra to the album. Freedom of expression, freedom to do what you want to do, to say what you want to say, to love who you want to love and so on. In turn we finally had a reason to travel around the world with a worthy message and here we are, we’re back and we ain’t going away for a long time.
M: What is something you hope fans and listeners take away from listening to this body of work?
TS: We don’t overthink it. I just want people to use our music like I do others’, for sharing ideas, feelings and emotions that can’t be articulated with words. I hope people can press play and come out an hour later feeling like they went on a journey. Music is magic.
M: As a band, you seem to consistently generate hits. What is your formula as a band that has brought so much success?
TS: The formula is just talking. The issues we deal with on a personal basis, are the same that the world experiences on a whole – love and hate in all forms and the eternal search for balance between the two. Every session starts with asking, what’s going on in your life? And normally, the things you want get off of your chest are the first things to find their way to paper.
M: With all the success you’ve had in Europe and the US, what do you consider personally one of the most defining or favorite moments to date?
TS: Eh, we’ve had amazing times so far, but one I was reminiscing about the other day was singing David Bowie’s “Heroes” to the Queen of England. She stood about two meters away from me while I sang the lyrics “I ….. I will be king ….and you, you will be king!” It was a very surreal moment that I’ll take to the grave with me.
M: Are there any challenges or obstacles you still face in the industry? If so, would you feel comfortable sharing what those are?
TS: I think the difficulties come from within. We have a blessed life traveling and playing music, but I think if you’re not in harmony with the others in the band it can cause cracks and make it hard to go for as long as we have. That’s why we took a little time off just to recharge the batteries and reconnect with family and friends, which I have to say probably saved the band in the sense that we all came back hungrier than ever. Frightening because even on our worst day we still work harder than most.
M: What are some of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ things that go into preparing for an upcoming tour?
TS: Oh man, everything! Choosing the merchandise to sell, such as what color t-shirts, what style/type, picture/no picture, etc. Should we do badges all the way to the lighting set up, what colors/lasers/layout on the stage back drop? Then comes the set: which songs do we do? What order are they going be in? How long should we play for? Every single tiny detail is chosen by us, so it takes a while to agree, but we know when we do it’s going to be magic.
M: What are essentials you take with you when traveling extensively, or guilty pleasures you indulge in to survive the long haul?
TS: Anything and everything, we’re a rock and roll band so anything goes really (laughs)! I guess something I take everywhere is pads for boxing and a jump rope to work out and loosen up before a show. Anything else I can beg borrow or steal.
M: What’s currently in rotation on your personal music playlist?
TS: The Grim Shutdown playlist is one I’ve been listening to heavily, I love the energy in it. It’s smart, funny, and tough all in one. Some great stuff coming out of the UK as always.
M: If you could songwrite or tour with any band or musician (alive or passed on) who would you currently choose? Why?
TS: Bob Marley and The Whalers. I picked them for obvious reasons: the music, the movement, the groove. We had the amazing experience of being able to book The Whalers to support us in Croke Park when we played. It was a no brainier when we were asked – what an honor to hear them playing those songs just before we took the stage.
Listen to lead single “Rain now: