Support acts generally have a tough job. They’ve gotta entertain a crowd that can’t wait for them to leave the stage so that the main act can start. Make that almost 5 thousand hard core fans who haven’t seen their favourite band in 16 months. That’s what Walking On Cars faced this September in Dublin Castle supporting The Script and I couldn’t help but feel certain sympathy.
I shouldn’t have. They nailed it very much like The Script did when they were in the support act position for the likes of Take That or Paul McCartney.
Walking on Cars is a band of 5, all from the beautiful Dingle, Ireland: Patrick Sheehy the thin singer with the surprisingly deep voice; Sorcha Durham, in her lovely skirt plays piano and provides some haunting vocals; Paul Flannery wearing his baseball cap while mindfully playing his bass; Evan Hadnett rocking out on drums; and Dan Devane with the big hair and the cool hat as the energetic lead guitarist.
It didn’t take long for the crowd to be wrapped in the eerie, charming and honest performance. The catchy choruses allowed sing-alongs for us all who didn’t know the songs beforehand – but there were a number of people around who knew the lines by heart. “Strangers connect tonight”, goes a line in their hit single Hand in Hand, and it exactly what happened between stage and audience. There were no dancers, no fireworks, just playing their songs from the heart. Who could resist that after falling in love with a band who’s done the same through their career?
You played with The Script in Amsterdam, Dublin and Manchester and the feedback was very positive from everyone I spoke to. How did it feel on stage?
The Amsterdam show was actually our first gig outside of Ireland so it was a pretty big deal for us. Sharing the stage with The Script was a big milestone for us. As the support act we weren’t sure how the crowds would react to us but they were great for all three shows.
Did you see The Script live before or was it the first time?
We had never seen them live before so to be able to see their production from backstage was a huge learning point for us. It was great to see how a huge international band like The Script puts on their show, from start to finish. They are serious performers!
Any backstage stories you care to share with us from the tour?
Danny came into our dressing room before the Amsterdam show just to say hello and introduce himself. Basically he made us feel welcome, said if we needed anything at all, beer, guitars, not hesitate to ask. We hadn’t expected that at all, having played with many bands over the last three years, its a treat to meet a sound bunch of guys like the Script!
(If any Script fan is reminded of a story with the band and Paul McCartney, it’s no coincidence: he made the same gesture to The Script in 2009 when they supported him in New York making quite an impression.)
Walking on Cars also played several international gigs recently, so they stuck up on some airmiles, introducing themselves to various audiences, which on paper sounds great but did the schedule allow any sightseeing?
You’ve covered lots of miles these past weeks from Hamburg to LA, did you have time to see any of the places, walking around, getting a feel for them or was it more like in and out?
The Amsterdam and Hamburg gigs were a bit of a whirlwind so we didn’t see much there but we saw quite a lot during our US tour. We did a day of sightseeing in New York which was cool. Its such a busy, mental place with so much happening everywhere. We had one day in San Francisco to walk around, went to the Fishermans Wharf over looking Alkatraz. We had four days in Los Angeles which was great so we got to see loads there. Went to Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, got a tour of the Capitol Records building. A big thing for us while we’re travelling is the food. We love food so finding good places to eat is a priority! Pancakes and burgers were a staple of our US trip!
I’ve read on your twitter that your suitcase didn’t go with you to Germany, I think it was? Who went shopping?
Evan, Paul and Patrick’s bags got temporarily lost on the way to Hamburg so they had to go shopping for new clothes. Patrick’s acoustic guitar and Paul’s bass also went missing so we had to rent new ones for that gig. Thankfully we got them all back before the Manchester show!
Phew, it’s good to know that they weren’t forever lost in the labyrinth of air transport! Stranger things have happened!
But rarely anything is stranger than the inner workings of a group creating melodies like Catch Me If You Can, so I quickly inquired about what it actually looks like. The five them are all from Dingle Peninsula, a picturesque corner on the southwest of Ireland. It was small enough to have known each other for ages and their acquaintance in 2011 led to a rather unusual couple month in a rented cottage writing songs, playing together as a band.
Is there any natural work division among you? Who makes the tea? Who is the peace-maker? Who is always late?
With five of us in the band the dynamic is interesting. Everyone brings their own to group. Evan and Patrick have been known to make a pot of tea from time to time! We have a van so we do the rounds of everyone’s houses, if anyone (Paul) sleeps in we wake them up.
How do you work together when you’re writing the songs? Do you start with the melody or the lyrics?
Usually one of us brings an idea to the table, it might be a chord progression, riff, melody or lyrics and we build from there. We jam it out, sometimes it might take two hours other songs take six months to come together.
Do you produce your own songs or do you work with other musicians?
For our upcoming debut album we worked with producers Tim Bran and Roy Kerr (The Verve, Snow Patrol, London Grammar).
I was very happy to see that you worked with Luke Daly at Bold Puppy. I’m a huge fan of his work, hard not to love the very unique and mostly dark way he translates the Irish scenery to the scene supporting the music. Did you work together on the concept of the videos or did you give him free hand?
We would give Bold Puppy a copy of the lyrics and a recording of the song, they’d then come back to us with a few ideas and we’d pick our favourite. The video idea would go back and forth until we were all happy with the concept.
Patrick is in only one of the videos, Two Stones. Are you planning on moving into the direction to get yourselves featured more so that people can link your music to actual faces or was it just a one-off?
We might make appearances in videos in the future, we’re kind of camera shy. As long as it’s the right setting and we don’t look stupid then maybe. Watch this space.
Sounds great and new videos must mean new songs as well, especially as Walking On Cars have recently been signed to Virgin EMI. (Congrats!)
When can we expect new releases, singles, EP or a full album?
We released an EP Hand In Hand earlier this year and our next single ‘Always Be With You’ is out on December 8th. We hope to have the album out some time next year which is very exciting!
What does music mean to you, why do you write/play? Has it changed since 3 years ago when you hid yourselves away for a couple months to write these songs?
We have all played since we were kids and it’s just what we love to do. The way we approach our songwriting has evolved quite a lot over the past three years. We are constantly growing as musicians and songwriters so who knows where we’ll be in another three years time!
I’m really looking forward to see where the next 3 years will take you guys, thank you for sharing the music with us and thank you so much for answering my questions! 🙂