The Coronas

Dublin, County Dublin

You will of course know by now the Award nominees, significant Irish participants of Oxegen, the band behind the smart 2007 debut album, Heroes Or Ghosts – The Coronas have slowly but surely been embraced by their ever growing contingent of fans as one of the best Irish bands to have emerged in the past five years. Success by virtual word of mouth? Without so much as a planning meeting? It’s enough to make a Marketing Manager resign.

“We just went with the flow,” relates Danny O’Reilly (vocals/guitar).
“We never sat down and discussed what type of music we were going to make, and I think that’s stood to us. Some bands do that, and talk
about image, clothes, hair, and to this day we still don’t do that. We
just worked with the songs we had, and let it happen.” “What we would discuss and agree on,” comments Dave McPhillips (lead guitar), “would be songs that might gradually be left off the set list.”

According to Dave, the band’s overall sense of ambition is wrapped up
in a subdued collective confidence, rather than “any game plan of
reaching a certain goal by a certain time, and being disappointed if
we don’t achieve it.”

It also helped the band, remarks Danny, that they never grabbed any
significant critical acclaim or hype. “There’s a sense in some bands
that they think they’re better than they are, when really you’re only
as good as your last gig. We found that getting responses from gigs
was much more encouraging in a productive way, as opposed to reading a brilliant review about the band. We’re quite a humble group, anyway, and we’ve always had an underlying belief in ourselves. I mean, at this point we’re confident enough that we can win over people who have never been to a Coronas gig before.”

The Coronas have been around in some shape or form for over five
years. Danny met up with Graham Knox (bass) and Conor Egan (drums) while at school and college, and a short time later hooked up with Dave during a working holiday in Vancouver. Come the start of 2007, a flurry of Irish chart activity commenced with their debut single,
‘Decision Time’, reaching the Top 10. This success was enhanced with
three further hit singles (‘Grace, Don’t Wait’, ‘Heroes Or Ghosts’, ‘San Diego Song’), all of which preceded their debut album, ‘Heroes Or
Ghosts’, which subsequently spent over a year in the Irish charts.

Time moves on, though, and the band – following a licensing deal in
Japan with JVC – have trumped ‘Heroes Or Ghosts’ with their new album, ‘Tony Was An Ex-Con’. The debut album still resides in the heart of The Coronas, however, as it positioned them at a particular place and
time. “We were proud of it at the time of release and we still are,”
confirms Danny. “We were, I suppose, naïve at the time, but I wouldn’t
necessarily call ‘Heroes Or Ghosts’ a naïve record. Joe Chester, the
producer of it, really got the best out of us. We were winging it, big
time, of course, but we knew we had to have an album because the
records sell the gigs and vice versa. We also knew we weren’t going to make the perfect record…”

Whether the new album is perfect is open to debate – one thing The
Coronas won’t do unnecessarily is to make big or superficial claims
about it. All they can do is trust in their intuitive pop/rock
instincts, release a few singles, play a rake of shows, light the fuse
and stand back, and see what the reaction will be. Recorded in
Cornwall’s renowned Sawmills Studios (and overseen by
Razorlight/Muse/Supergrass/Oasis producer John Cornfield), Dave
reckons the main difference between the new and the old album is that
the band were far more cool, calm and collected second time around.
Less nerves, more cohesion, less mess, more structure.

“It was great to have the opportunity of trying out new songs,” offers
Danny, “and because of the gap between the first and the second album – the guts of two years - we had lots of time.”

Both Danny and Dave agree that ‘Tony Was An Ex-Con’ – which features more trademark smart rock/pop than you can shake a stick at – quietly boasts a more collaborative feel. The Coronas even more of a band than they used to be? You’d better believe it. But there’s more to come

“We’re happy enough at the stage we are in Ireland,” says Dave, “but
we believe we have a sound that can actually travel. We’re not a
minimalist techno band, what we do is not for a niche audience, and
between the two albums we have a consistency that will make an

“If you improve, then things will happen,” states Danny, clearly in
Field of Dreams mode, “and if we keep getting better then good things
are bound to take place. We’re the biggest critics of ourselves, yet
we feel the new album is ten times the record ‘Heroes Or Ghosts’ was.
We are quietly confident that things will happen for us overseas. We
have ambition to play to as many people as we can and, who knows, take over the world.”

The Coronas are up for two Meteor Irish Music Awards for best Irish band and Best Irish Album

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