Music interview – Danny O’Donoghue of The Script: ‘This is an amazing journey we’ve been on’

The Script. Picture: Andrew Whitton
The Script. Picture: Andrew Whitton
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Danny O’Donoghue is a positive person, in his own words.

The Dublin-born singer-songwriter and frontman of The Script doesn’t particularly like to dwell on the past and what might have been; when recalling a scare with his voice in the months running up to the release of his band’s fifth record Freedom Child, he addresses it with the sort of buoyancy once would expect to find in a man told he has just won the lottery.

It makes for a refreshingly easy-going change of pace in contrast to the more politically-occupied peers of his generation.

“You just have to roll with the punches,” he aurally shrugs with a carefree lilt.

“I don’t want to think negative, or preoccupy myself with what might have been if something truly bad had come to pass.

“I know that I have a great group of people around me that I can lean on, a multitude of incredible folk.

The Script. Picture: Andrew Whitton

The Script. Picture: Andrew Whitton

“If I hadn’t have been able to sing anymore, it wouldn’t have been the end. Mark (Sheehan) and Glen (Power) could easily be the lead vocalist for another band.”

The 37-year-old pauses and clicks his tongue.

“I don’t class myself as a singer as such; I class myself as a songwriter. I’ve always gravitated towards lyrics, melody and music as such.”

He mulls it over for a moment before continuing. “I’m more of a producer than anything; 90 per cent of what I do is sitting behind a screen editing vocals and whatnot.

It’s funny because within the band itself, we never actually change our performance; we always give 110 per cent on stage.

Danny O’Donoghue

“I play piano, the guitar, the drums, and that’s not just work for The Script too.

“I mean, I’d definitely be devastated if it had come to pass (that I could no longer sing) but I’d still feel certain that I’d be able to work in music in some capacity.

“You have to always have a back-up plan in music, in a way, because it can vanish in a flash. But I’ve made my bed here; I’ve got to lie in it now; it’s part of my skill-set.”

The band put out Freedom Child last autumn, and promptly returned to Number 1 in the UK Album Chart ahead of a sold-out arena tour.

Has the meaning of the release changed for him now after over half-a-year on release?

“I think, yeah, everything means something different six months down the road; life moves on. I think every record you make, you’re writing about the time that you’re living in.

“We tour for a year and then we write for a year, so when we’re writing, it comes back to the 12 months we are living at that time; every record we make is almost a time capsule of that specific span of days.

“Where we were when we were writing the last record, that’s in the past now; we’re already almost moving on to the next record.

“When we tour, it’s a celebration of the finished album, of being able to play it to everybody – but it also signifies that we have come to the end of that particular creative process.

“As soon as one finishes, we start fresh on the next; any idea that we have, any lyric, any riff, it ends up being immediate fodder.”

What does the future hold for the trio?

“We’re already getting back into the studio; when we find ourselves at a loose end at the weekend, we all just gravitate back together to mess around. We’ve already got a few songs down that we think are pretty good for album number six.

“We were never a band who started off knowing that we were going to have 10 albums and quit. We were only going to do the one, which became huge, and triggered the domino effect.”

O’Donoghue is silent for a moment before continuing, almost reverently. “This is an amazing journey we’ve been on.”

The Script are in the midst of an extensive European trek that opened at Leeds’s First Direct in February. They return to Yorkshire next week to play Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre.

How do the band differentiate between large and small venues, between indoor and outdoor?

“It’s funny because within the band itself, we never actually change our performance; we always give 110 per cent on stage. But the production has to be treated as different. Playing a venue under skies is always going to have a knock-on effect on your light show, for example.

“You have to really make sure that your performance is underpinned by a great singalong, for example, rather than visual tricks. You’ve got to use the power of the people; milk it for all it is worth.

“Inside though, it’s a much more theatrical spectacle, a Broadway performance in a sense.

“There’s a primality to both for me; you’ve always got to go big to make it work.”

The Script play at Scarborough Open Air Theatre on Thursday June 21.