Contributor’s Note: Having been a huge fan of Irish band The Cranberries since the release of their debut album their music saw me through a courtship,engagement and birth of my two sons.I even once had my former girlfriend paint the bands logo onto the back of a leather jacket.Although my personal circumstances have dramatically changed since those days one thing remained constant and that was the presence of their music in my life.In 2017 the band announced some Uk dates including one in Manchester where I had relocated to.Cue a bucket list moment …well almost when I was confirmed to interview iconic singer Dolores O Riordan .Unfortunately those dates were postponed due to the singer experiencing some back problems.Unfortunately the band were not able to reschedule those dates and I was unable to have the opportunity to do that interview. Sadly on 15th January last year Dolores tragically died and thus ended a band that had formed a significant part of my life.Their final poignant album has just been released and to discuss that album I was lucky enough to be able to have a chat with the bands guitarist Noel Hogan of The Cranberries for Madness To Creation.
Noel Hogan: Yeah, it was. Initially the first couple of days, it kind of dragged the whole team back up because it was really only, I guess, for three months after Dolores passed away that we went in to record this album. So, it was fresh anywhere then starting that very first day, it definitely dragged it all back, like it only happened the day before again. I think we found that moping around the place and then kind of thinking about all this stuff, it wasn’t going to help the album, but we want to get the vest out of it.
We had kind of started to do this album to finish what we started with Dolores and very much get it to be the best album that we could be. So everybody started to focus on that more and getting the best performance you could on the day coming up with ideas for the songs. Just stuff you normally do for any album. Once you throw yourself into that a bit more, you would expect to obviously remember every now and again everything else that’s going on, but foremost you will be worried about trying to get the best out of the songs, make a good album at the end of it.
Check out the music video to “All Over Now” here.
Mark Dean: Yup. I guess actually then with making the album and now doing this press run of interviews, you haven’t really personally and with the other guys in the band … you haven’t actually been allowed an opportunity to actually mourn and grieve yourselves?
Noel Hogan: Yeah, the drive is a bit of that and I guess I thought about that a bit more in the last few weeks, more than the last year because in one way, this is our way of dealing with this and it was actually Steven Street who produced the album. It was his suggestion to go in so quickly after Dolores passed away and it’s kind of hard to imagine that time now without doing this. How else we would have dealt with this. I guess it has been a distraction for us, give us something else to focus on and possibly in the coming months when everything starts to quiet down, that the reality might creep in a bit more.
I look at it at the moment that we’re lucky to be in this position. That we have these songs, that we have this album that nobody expected to have. In that sense, it’s a great place to be, and I do wonder what the next few months will bring and how it seems to be for us to deal with it, because we have spent a lot of time together in the past year and talking about this. So it will be the first time we won’t be together in the next month or so.
Noel Hogan: Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see. I mean, hopefully it will have had kind of eased us out of that transition and whatever comes next, but only time will tell, really.
Mark Dean: Yeah. I understand from a few interviews that you and the other guys have done recently. you have stated that obviously The Cranberries have ended, but individually, if not collectively, would you personally continue to create music in the future?
Noel Hogan: Yeah. I mean, I’ve spent a lot of this year writing and that’s something I found that since all that happened, that’s kind of what you end up doing, go back to work. It’s a kind of safe place in many ways and in those times you ask yourself, what comes next? I mean, you keep doing what you enjoy doing. We’re musicians, you know, we’ve been doing this since we left school, so the obvious thing to do is continue on doing this and in whatever capacity it might be. I guess taking time out to resume our … those questions will begin to be answered.
Mark Dean: You also, stated yesterday in the bands Facebook live stream, and you touched on the subject of a band official documentary. You mentioned having some interview footage of the band over the years.. I just wondered if you also have some maybe live footage or on tour stuff that would go with those, or do you see it as just being a series of interviews through the years?
This documentary will probably take a few years to get together because there’s such a vast amount of time to cover that it won’t be something that we’ll turn around in a few months and it will take a lot longer, because you won’t it to be as in depth and as good as it can be. As all this happens, we know someone’s going to do something like this and that’s why we feel it should be ours because we would do the best job on it.
Mark Dean: I just wondered, if I could move on and ask a few general questions. Do you recall, thinking back you mentioned 30 years … do you recall hearing a song of The Cranberries on the radio for the first time and what was that?
Noel Hogan: We sent some to a DJ Dave Fanning in Ireland , I don’t know if you know him, he’s on radio, TV radio too, at the time in Ireland that he used to clear some time to play some new bands. Bands would send their demos. You know, you put a bit of a priority and hope that he would play it. We rang in Maine and there was one time we thought, is she ever going to play a song and then it was the Irish version of a song . He played, I think it as “Linger”, the demo version. Way, way back. We were only together a few months at the time. I think that’s the first time we had one of our songs on the radio, and obviously it’s only a demo, but it’s still, to watch it was a big deal at the time.
So it was always something special in that sense. For me, the memory of it is sitting in my bedroom in my parents house, coming up with the original idea, and one of the first things I’ve even done on guitar. Then started to grow and still has, I mean, and my voice is strained. I never talked that much, so one afternoon back in around 1989, and I think of the years when Don, Dolores and I did our … there were songs we knew had something that would be obvious singers. They were a bit more different then other songs on the album, and you kind of just got that gut feeling, and that kind of hook would be there where you’d be humming it or singing it all night long. You know, hours after you kind of worked on it. So, it is something that can be at times, but definitely in the beginning we wrote songs and then got with it, you know, what we wrote was put out and the started to become hits. We were genuinely more surprised than anybody else.
So it’s a great feeling, and hopefully the legacy of the band will be that these songs last long after we’re gone. You know in 50 years time they’ll be saying these songs have lasted and people will still hopefully have fond memories of them.
So she married a guy, a Canadian guy and ended up moving to just for two hours, up to Toronto just to get away from it all really. You kind of felt that it’s really, really not happening at this time, because it was a tough lesson because after the third album, we were all completely bummed out that we hadn’t really gotten to enjoy any of the success we had.
It was at that time we took our first break for a few years and in hind sight, we feel that we should have probably done that after that album, before we went in to do a third album. But there was a lot of pressure on us to keep the momentum going. You know, write an album and record and then go on a massive tour again, because there was a lot of money being made by record companies and management and it felt, I think at one point, that it wasn’t even our band anymore, that we didn’t control any of it.
It was really Dolores, you look at kind of pictures or videos of her at that time, she kind of got so tan and she was worried all the time about what’s coming next. It was Dolores that said, look I can’t do this anymore, I need a few years out. We were all thinking the same thing, but nobody had the guts to say it. She did. Then, it was actually the best thing we could have done, because we came back to do the fourth album. We wanted to do it, and we enjoyed doing it again.