In two recent interviews from Italy, Rock Star (scans) and A Night With the Cranberries (video captures), singer Dolores O’Riordan and guitarist Noel Hogan talked extensively on what the release of “Stars” means to the band’s outlook. Furthermore, both Dolores and Noel dropped several hints about what they would like to explore in the near future, including several more hints about ethnic music and instruments and studio experimentation. Read the English translations of both interviews below for yourself for more detail.
Thanks to Maurizio for the translations.
Rock Star (Italy): UNDER A GOOD STAR
Exclusive: Revealing Interview with Dolores O’Riordan
Stars is out: The compilation with all the singles of The Cranberries to celebrate the 10 years career of the band. But it’s not just a Best of; it’s also, according to the words of an enigmatic Dolores, the end of an era.
One meter and sixty centimeters tall, enclosed in her totally black dress and apparent frailty, Dolores gladly accepted to spend part of a grey Milan afternoon talking to us about the first 10 years of the Cranberries. Allusive but at the same time also elusive, Dolores let us understand that the future, somehow or other, will be more interesting than the past.
Q – The Cranberries celebrate the first 10 years of their career. How has been this adventure?
A – If I had to draw a diagram, (on the next page) the start of this adventure was not in 1992 but in 1990, 12 years ago! We had a first peak in 1992-93, when our first album went out; than we disappeared in 1996, the year of To the Faithful Departed; After that the ascent restarted: since 1996 I spent much time searching my own dimension and spirituality; And finally now I’m very well and at peace with myself.
Q – What allowed you to reach this higher level of spirituality?
A – The experiences I had, in particular the negative ones. When you are near the limit and all everything’s close to breaking off, and you succeed in getting out of this situation, you feel stronger than ever. The difference between now and before is that nowadays I don’t feel under pressure and I don’t care about the number of copies we sell. When our first album went out, Everybody Else is Doing it So Why Can’t We?, we felt a lot of pressure, we were immature teenagers; Now we’ve grown up and we are able to do our best when we write songs.
Q – But many people say your first album is also the best!
A – This is what people think; now we’re talking about what I think!
Q – In this 10 years have you ever seriously risked splitting up?
A – Yes, In 1996 we didn’t just risk, we really split up even there was no official communication: we didn’t meet each other for approximately 1 year and we had no plans to come back.
Q – And what let you change your ideas?
A – Noel sent me a tape with some songs he had written when I was in Canada, and they were beautiful! So one night, in the middle of a drink, I phoned him and I told that I missed him and that he was an extraordinary person! So we decided to meet and try the new songs.
Q – In Stars there are two new songs: one is New New York, clearly in regard to September 11. Don’t you think you are just one of the people that wrote and sang about it?
A – I don’t care about what the others do. I just do what I like and what is going throuth my mind.
Q – Have you ever thought to write a song called “New Kabul”?
A – No, and I think I’m not going to do it now; I was in New York when I wrote that song and I wrote just the one thing that made sense for me.
Q – Are you worried about the possibility of a War in Iraq?
A – Yes of course. I think that the situation could just get worse not better: bombs are never the best way to achive something good. Instead they are just used to start something wicked! History says this, not myself.
Q – Coming back to the GH, do you think it could synthesize the essence of the Cranberries?
A – It’s just a collection of our singles. It’s a good CD to give as a gift to someone and, at the same time, let him know The Cranberries. There are all our most popular songs.
Q – Do you think there’re still people that don’t know the Cranberries?
A – There’re a lot! Maybe they sing the refrain of Linger or know other songs, but they often don’t know that it’s played by the Cranberries and they have never seen our faces. I often go to shops or malls and no one recognizes me. A few days ago some people asked me for some information. They thought I was a shop assistant!!!
Q – Where did you take the cover picture? It looks like a runway of an airport.
A – It’s a road in Las Vegas. We were there for some shows and we liked the place very much. So we called Andy Earl, our photographer, and he found this road. It seems that part is just the end of the road and behind it there’s nothing.
Q – On the back of the cover the band walks away straight toward the horizon line. Is there a metaphor?
A – Yes. We’re arrived at the end of an era and no one knows what there is beyond the horizon.
Q – What will happen?
A – The world has arrived at the end of an era and ironically, this is linked to the destiny of the Cranberries. I can say that there’s some expectation in the air.
Q – Are you thinking of starting a solo career?
A – I’m not sure. I would like to do many things that I couldn’t do in the last 10 years. Everytime I tried to take a break, I had a baby or I got a nervous breakdown. That’s 2 babies and a nervous breakdown!!
Q – Will you try something different from the Cranberries?
A – I am attracted to ethnic music and ethnic instruments, from flutes to bongos, and every type of steel drum; I don’t like the didgeridoo, I tried to play it but I’m a total disaster; I don’t Indian music, the kind that you hear in restaurants, there’s too much stuff inside. I like the music with many pauses just like African music.
Q – Will you act, maybe in a musical?
A – Maybe I will act, but certainly not in a musical! I hate them. When I was 12, at school, I was asked to do an audition for the part of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, because at that time I already had a good voice; Disgusting! I arrived in a hall with all the teachers looking at me, and all I could do was laugh, laugh and laugh. At that time I already had my strong character; In the classroom I made a lot of jokes and I made a real mess. I was a leader and I was too much of a “bully” to act the part of that idiot Dorothy. Obviously I didn’t get the part! They let me do a peasant, I had to sing offstage and walk across the stage pushing a cart.
MTV Italy: A NIGHT WITH THE CRANBERRIES
Dolores: We’ve completed a circle. It’s been an incredible lesson in life but we feel like we’re at the end of an era and at the beginning of a different kind of era. We started as teenagers than we went to America and we become very big, [only] a few Irish bands did it — we did! Than we played around the world and we decided to take a break because we lost our own identity. And than we got together just for fun and we’ve got the fun back into the band that we’ve lost to become such a big and famous band. We captured that fun again and now we feel like beginning again just like we were teenagers.
Noel: Stars in many ways sounds like the other stuff but some people tell us that there’s something different. It’s hard to say if this will be the direction we’re going! We haven’t thought about it yet.
Dolores: We always start from music, I think that if I started from lyrics the result would be less natural. When there’s something that only involves me, I can start writing music by myself with the piano; Other times Fergal or Noel write music and record it on a tape; then they give me the tape and just by listening I can think about something and I start to write lyrics.
Noel: In the future, I think we would like to, maybe with the next album, experiment with our sound a bit more and see if we can take a different direction for awhile.
Dolores: We definitely know that it’s time to try different kinds or ways of writing because, as Noel said, we have a couple of formulas but we’ve never actually gone into a studio and said, “Oh, let’s experiment!”
Noel: You become a little too comfortable, things get too easy and you don’t push yourself to your limit, so I think it’s definitely what we are going to try over the next year or so.
Dolores: For example we could start from the bass line — dododododo dodod dodod — and continue from it. We’ve never experimented with different music writing; So we kinda need to do that; Just different stuff… and it will be different!