Interview: The Cranberries

Bevor sie am 8. Oktober in Berlin in der Max-Schmeling-Halle zu Gast sind, hat sich Gitarrist Noel Hogan die Zeit für ein kurzes Interview mit genommen:


Nach ihrer Wiedervereinigung 2009 haben sie vor gut acht Monaten ihr lange erwartetes sechstes Studioalbum "Roses" veröffentlicht. Nach dreimonatiger Baby- und Erholungspause sind The Cranberries damit nun erneut auf europaweiter Tournee. Als eine der weltweit erfolgreichsten Bands der Neunziger knüpfen sie auch Jahre später noch an ihre Erfolge von über vierzig Millionen verkauften Platten an und spielen in ausverkauften Konzerthallen. Höchste Zeit also, Noel Hogan vor dem Gig in Barcelona auf ein Zwischenresumé ans Telefon zu holen und über das neue Album, alte Fans und die aktuelle Tour zu sprechen:




You just started touring in behalf of your latest and sixth studio album "Roses”. What’s been the response towards the new material so far?



Oh it’s been great, when it came out we went down to Australia and Asia and the reaction was great! We worked our way up forward to the States and it has been really great there, too. Now it is time to judge the reaction across Europe - so far it's been brilliant, we are really, really happy with the album. It is an interesting time for us, because you wonder that it is such a massive gap: it has been ten years between our last studio album and this one. You wonder if people will still be interested in it.



Soundwise, "Roses” distinctively seemed to be one decent Cranberries album to me. Your producer Stephen Street is obviously well-familiar with the right tone since doing three of your albums.



Yeah, our producer Stephen Street would have a lot to do with that. From the beginning, he wanted to kind of get back to the roots because the sound definitely changed over the years. But also, he was respectful the moment that I brought new stuff in. I said "Look, we already have new songs, but they are slightly different” (…) like little samples and electronic parts, that weren’t really part of the Cranberries’ Sound years ago, to kind of modernize it as well. So we tried to find that happy medium of both things working and I think we did. The newer things in there do not overtake the original kind of Cranberries Sound. Fans of the band will be happy because it’s still that melodic kind of Indie-Pop that we have always done.


Currently there’s another +30 shows to come. Has there been any concern to maybe fall back into that routine you were facing back in 2003 when you decided to stop?


You know, we nearly had three months off. When we saw the schedule we were going "Right, this is a long run.” We were not gonna keep going for the whole year, so we took the summer off and everybody got time to spend time with their families. Now it is Full On for the next couple of months and then the plan is to take Christmas off until probably January again. It is kind of doing it in blocks(…) You know as we all love doing it, like any job you need to have your time off when you do what we do. It’s nice to kind of have something to look forward to again, where you can get away from it, clear your head and then come back again.



You started to work in music business back in 1990. There has obviously been some major changes for the industry since then. What are the developments you personally experienced?


You can see it first hand, really, with the way records are sold. When we did it the old-fashioned way, you record it.  You release it. It is in a shop. You bought it, and that’s it. Whereas now, in a lot of countries you can’t even find record stores anymore. And if you do it are a few small Independents. (…)

There are kind of advantages and disadvantages to the whole thing, particularly for young bands. I spent a lot of time during the years away from the Cranberries working with new bands and the difficulty they would have: just trying to get their name out there.

When we began, you sold albums and it could effort that you could tour, and do big tours. Whereas now, bands they realistically won’t sell that many albums, those days are gone, which affects touring. If you are a band and have no income, you cannot effort to leave your job to go off on tour for six months, so it is really difficult. We are lucky obviously having been twenty years into it now so it gives you a little more leeway. But the changes are unbelievable; it is a completely different business to where it was when we began.



"No Need To Argue” became your international breakthrough. Back then in 1994 you hit the charts along with acts like Roxette, Rod Stewart or Ace Of Base. What are the bands now in 2012 that moved up to that spot to your mind?



(…) Again, it is back to where bands like the stuff that I might be into struggle a little bit. Obviously you have your big bands like Muse or Coldplay that are probably one of the biggest bands on the planet. I am talking about bands that are a traditional four piece kind of guitar/drums/bass setup. There is not really as many these days that would fall into that category. You have an awful lot of these kind of X-Factor or American Idol-Ones. That has certainly colored the way charts are these days, whether it is a good or bad thing is to question. It might not be my cup of tea and I wouldn’t criticize these bands for taking the break to have. But back in the 90’s, bands seemed to last much longer, whereas now they have a short life of maybe a year or two and they are gone.



Talking about endurance, how about all your fans from the earlier days? Did the majority of them stick with The Cranberries still after all the years?



I guess like seventy percent of the audience, normally there is a lot of familiar faces there and also you are looking at our age group, too. But then we get surprised when we get to see so many younger faces. It is not a big percentage but we were surprised! We did a couple of these signings at record stores when the album came out  and I was amazed that how young some of the people were coming in there that were probably only babies when we began (laughs). It is a good sign that you see, the music has lived longer than I ever thought it would and it is kind of encouraging. I did not really realize that until we came back together few years ago. But it’s nice, we like that!



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