Velvet meets: The Script's Danny O'Donoghue
Bringing all their biggest hits to Newmarket Nights on July 15 - including The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, Hall of Fame and Superheroes - The Script have clocked up six billion streams, 30 million single sales and 10.8 million album sales in the last 15 years. Frontman Danny O’Donoghue takes time to reflect with Velvet
Your first show back live in 2021 was Isle of Wight Festival - are you looking forward to the summer shows this year, as it would almost be like a full circle moment, having had a year back touring?
I honestly can't wait. I just feel like the energy this time around... you know, I guess when we were playing shows before we were trying to figure out "What's my connection to the crowd, and how do they connect with this music? Did they go through hard times? Have they been through hard times?"
But there can be no doubt that we've all been through some harrowing stuff in the not-so-distant past. It gives us all a common enemy to be able to fight against, and come out and try to be optimistic again. So I feel like that's a great backdrop - for shows, for music, for The Script songs in general - so I just feel like I can't wait to get back out and perform these songs.
One of the really great things about Newmarket is the fact that it's a full day out: you've got the six-card race in the afternoon, everyone gets dressed in their absolute best, you'll come on stage as the sun is setting on what's hopefully going to be a really nice summer’s day. What is it that you love about doing shows at Newmarket and outdoors?
It's the energy! In a stadium it's kind of contained or quite controlled, and I feel like the energy of just letting music go out into the world - there's something really special about that. Also the day that's in it too - I feel like there's going to be anticipation building up during the day to the performance.
If you're coming to a show normally, you'll maybe get a taxi there at 7 or 8pm, try to get as drunk as you possibly can, then the band come on. But this is going to be like a slow-paced day - I feel like it's a festival vibe and there's always a little bit more magic in the air.
People have had more time to connect with each other before the band come on stage too, so I feel like when we're stepping on stage, it's already going to be warmed up from the whole day's proceedings and people are just hopefully going to want to dance into the night.
So do you reckon you might get there a little bit earlier and place a cheeky bet yourself?
Probably yeah - I reckon so. You'd be mad not to at those types of events. I don't really gamble that much - when I do I'm pretty lucky to be honest.
The Newmarket Nights show is part of the tour for your Greatest Hits collection that you released back in October. As you've said previously, it's like a massive celebration, so did the forced time off the road give you time to reflect on everything that the band has achieved?
Yeah, that's all we had time to do! It's been an incredible 14 years that we've been out as a band. [People ask]: "Looking back, did you feel like you knew what you were doing?" But we had no idea.
When you look back you can trace out the lines of the lightning bolt, but at the time it's happening nobody knows where it's going to go, where it's going to fall, where it's going to hit - all those kinds of things. To be able to look back on that lightning bolt now and just be like "Wow, what a bright one it was, what a shocking one" you know? Nothing went down in flames, not yet anyway!
But yeah, I think everybody had a massively reflective period during Covid where they could look back on their life and take what they need to go forward. That's what I feel has been the most... like to spend time processing what is going on? What has gone on? Then how do I change the future? You know, or how do I bring those good qualities forward and keep the bad ones back there?
When you released the album back in October, it went straight in at Number One. Especially considering what everyone had gone through the past year, how did it feel to still have such incredible success almost 15 years on?
It feels incredible, like each one of these albums - every time it comes out and we have a Number One I'm left gobsmacked. I'm left very humbled by it. Our fanbase is one of the most loyal that you'll ever get out there, but I feel like we haven't really changed too much with the times either - we've always just stuck to our own style of music, just trying to explain what's going on in our life.
I feel like we have this almost cult following of people who absolutely adore this band, they love what we stand for. We have a family called ‘The Script family’ who I class as family because they've been there through the whole journey, from the death of parents to the births of children, so they know us inside out. It's funny to think like, "What are we going to do on the next album? Oh I dunno let's go back to like a mysterious-" You can't! Just do what you do well and hopefully the rest will follow, but am massively humbled by the success that we continue to have.
I come in here and it's like a religion for me. I'm in the studio right now - this is what I do pretty much every day now: I play piano, play guitar, and just sit there looking at the sky waiting for magic to happen. My method of how much I believe in it really does work so that's what I'm most proud of.
Your lyrics as well are almost autobiographical. Everything you're going through, you put out in your music. So when you were going through your back catalogue, when you were figuring out what to put on the Greatest Hits album, were there any songs that you came across that you hadn't visited in a while, or any particular songs that you're looking forward to playing live again?
All of them! No, you know, myself and Mark share the writing responsibilities. I really enjoy him as a writer and I really respect him as a writer because I get the opportunity to sit back with somebody that I think normally, like if I wasn't in the band room, I think I'd probably play his records. I really respect him as a lyricist, and hopefully vice versa. I get to be in a band and I get to stand back and really have like a "Wow" moment or something, and be like "Awesome!"
If I wasn't in The Script, what band would I want to be in? I'd want to be in our band, you know, I love the fact that I'm in my favourite band. A lot of people go "Oh I wish I was in the Beatles or I wish I was in this". I don't - I'm in the band I hoped I was always going to be in.
That's been great to be able to stand back because there's so much distance between me and music as well, I can sit back without it cutting me up because a lot of the stuff did cut me up, so I can stand back and go "Shit, you were really articulate when you were heartbroken, fair play to you". You know what I mean? Or like "Dan, you probably shouldn't have said that, you maybe went too deep - you really went there on that one!"
And I feel like that's all you can do as an artist - is in turn try and turn yourself inside out or try and get what's inside out. That's something I really try to do, but like I said it's the method of it. The method of being open, being free, being a conduit to whatever it is that's going on at the time. We're sitting on six Number One albums in the UK and that to me is like, if you didn't believe what I was saying, I sort of have this proof that it does really work for artists and people really respond to it.
Going back to the tour, by the time Newmarket comes around you've basically done a whole global run - your schedule for the year is absolutely insane. Have you rammed it so full because you feel like you're making up for lost time?
Pretty much, yeah. We don't sit on our laurels, you know. I feel super-lucky that we're in a position where we can go back out and almost pick up where we left off. Going back out and touring these songs is important to me and it’s important that I get back to some normality, although my normal is a different type of normal to be privileged enough to play on stages in front of people as my job!
At the end of the day, some gigs feel like you're working but most of them they don't - I feel like I'm cheating the system, because you don't work music, you play music. I feel really lucky to be able to get back out and do these things again. I think people know what they're getting on the Greatest Hits;they know that, so it's all killer, no filler.
There are some bands that would maybe scoff at doing a Greatest Hits album, but because The Script are your favourite band it's almost like a treat for you revisiting these songs...
A hundred percent - I know these songs already, I know the crowd loves them. There's nothing wrong with giving people what they want! Most people do because normally it signals that "Oh we're at the end of our career and we're going to dust off cobwebs and flog a dead horse”, but I don't feel that at all. I feel like we're right in the middle of something. Who knows what it is, but we're in the middle of it.
We know you're doing the Greatest Hits tour, but you did say that during lockdown you've got enough material for the next album. Have you scheduled plans for when that might be coming out or when fans might be able to hear that?
I don't know - our fans know that when we're out on the road, there's not much to do during the day while you're waiting to play so that's kind of when we plan and plot the next moves. We've already got like 96 shows this year pencilled in and more pending. So I know that there's going to be a lot of time backstage and we penned a lot of material during Covid, but like I said I feel like we're going to be looking back on last year and thinking like, "Okay, I thought I was writing about what I was going through during Covid but I had no idea because we haven't even come at the other end".
It's almost like premature creation in a way, and I think you won't really know what it is until you come out on the other side. So I don't know if that's going to be tied up in a knot until we're back out on stage and things feel like they're getting back to normal again. I can imagine when we're all back together under that scenario it'll just be an explosion of creation. . .
The Script: Greatest Hits comes to Newmarket Racecourses on Friday, July 15. Tickets, which include an evening of pre-gig racing at the July Course, are priced from £39.20 and are booking now at thejockeyclublive.co.uk.
WIN: Want to win Premier Enclosure tickets for four to see The Script at Newmarket Nights? Click HERE
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