The Script talks about taking breaks, getting political, and seeing the world
Irish rock band The Script has been together for over 10 years now, and it’s been quite the decade. Since they started, the band has released 4 chart-topping albums, written songs that are now part of the collective consciousness of a generation (after all, who hasn’t heard “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”?), and played jam-packed gigs all over the world.
In 2015, the band went on hiatus as vocalist Danny O’Donoghue underwent vocal surgery.
Taking a break
“The kind of people that we are, we would have kept going and never stopped, so we were kind of forced to stop, so I think the universe was kind of looking after us in that sense,” drummer Glen Power told reporters at an interview before their Manila concert at the Mall of Asia arena on April 14.
“I think we needed a break honestly, after so many years of being on the road, touring, living on buses and planes,” Glen said.
“I don’t think we would have taken that break only that Danny had to have the surgery done on his voice, and it gave us a chance to maybe digest what we had done all through the years.”
“When you’re working it’s like you’re on a treadmill, you’re constantly going and going. I think it gave us a chance to kind of sit back and realize how fortunate we’d been and the success that we have, and have time to have some gratitude for that and really soak it up, and also just give us time to breathe and live life a little bit, you know?” he added.
Glen said that getting a breather only awakened the hunger in them to get back to performing and doing music. And so after almost a year, the band returned to the music scene in full force, with a new album filled with the kind of music they’ve never done before.
“I think this is the first extrovert album we’ve done because we usually write about subjects that are matters of the heart,” lead guitarist Mark Sheehan said. “This was the first time I think that we started to really focus on what’s happening in the news, what’s happening in the world.”
The album entitled Freedom Child, came about as a response to Mark’s 7-year-old son asking about terrorism.
“To try to explain that to a child is a very difficult thing and the best thing we tried to do was to write a song. While writing that song we came up with 'Freedom Child,' to teach them how to show love in the face of hate,” he said.
Politics and music
The band members agreed that as artists, they have a responsibility to speak about social issues in their music.
“I think more artists should [mix politics and artistry]…Art used to be about standing against political gains…we have a responsibility as artists to talk about our people, the normal people. If we don’t I think we’re doing a disservice to people,” he said.
“We’re not telling people by the way what to do. We’re not commenting. [We’re saying] this is what we’ve seen, have you seen the same? Has anybody else seen this? How do you feel?” Danny said.
“Being preachy is one thing, but just recognizing the times that we’re living in I think is another and that’s what art is.”
The band’s politically- and socially-conscious spirit is certainly evident in their new songs. “Divided States of America,” for instance, talks about the stormy social realities people face in the United States, with pointed lyrics like “another scandal from the man in charge/ another white collar criminal at large.”
In "Arms Open," they sing a sentimental song of support with lines like "And when you're looking in the mirror/ thinking that 'my life is over'/ my arms are open." The song's official music video drives the message home as it features people who found foster families through the organization, A Sense of Home.
Even on the title track, “Freedom Child,” the band says, “Don’t let them take your freedom, child,” “Don’t show them hate, hate hate will feed them,” and “Only love, love can defeat them.”
Expanding horizons, finding home
This theme of unity and coming together is all over The Script’s new album, and their frequent travels over the last 10 years may have something to do with it.
When asked what they’ve learned during their decade as The Script, the band brought up the importance of travel.
“The one thing I learned is that I’d advise you, if you’re not playing music, to travel. Because it broadens the mind, it broadens the horizon, it broadens the heart, the soul. You really get a good glimpse of humanity across the world,” Danny said.
For Mark, traveling is also about seeing how people from different parts of the world are connected.
Echoing the lyrics of some of their new songs, he said “I think the big discovery of travel is we get to realize, we go to every country, all the time, you realize that language is 20 percent of communication. We all are the same actually. And I think the human condition, the way we feel, sadness, happiness across the board is the same thing. And I think when you realize that and affirm that inside your own body, it gives you some faith in the world...When we do stick together, we can do some great things.”
Glen added that traveling helped him redefine his concept of home.
“I used to think, ‘Oh I gotta go home,’ and I’m so attached to home,” Glen said. “I think traveling liberates you from that idea, and I know now it’s really wherever I am and where I’m happy, that’s where home is you know? It doesn’t have to be one place for the rest of my life just because I was born there. That’s one big realization.”
The Script’s Manila visit marks the band’s 4th time in the country, and Danny said that the welcome has been warm from their first visit until today.
“The welcome that we received was unbelieavable considering none of us are from here, we don’t speak Filipino, we don’t have any relations even here so for us that really kind of set off the relationship that we have that every time we have a tour we come back and play the Philippines,” he said.
“I just remember my ears ringing from the crowd singing every song, every word, so we’ve got a great relationship,” he added.
“I think although we are very different cultures, Irish and Filipino, I think we have a lot of similarities on the inside: heart, passion, love, lyrics, music.” – Rappler.com