“It’s been on the to do list for a long time but we never got the chance to do it,” lead singer Patrick Sheehy says, ahead of Walking on Cars’ first Australian tour.
“It’s going to be amazing. We’ve never been out there before. We all have friends out there that we haven’t seen in years. It’s going to be a really cool trip. It’s a big deal for us.”
Dingle band Walking on Cars burst onto the scene in 2012 when debut single Catch Me if You Can went to number one in the Irish iTunes chart.
They followed this with their debut album Everything This Way topping the Irish charts in 2016. However, their success hasn’t been limited to home shores as singles like Speeding Cars charted in numerous countries, building fanbases all around Europe and in Australia and New Zealand.
Of course, Ireland was in the grip of recession when they formed as a group. If Sheehy and schoolfriends Sorcha Durham (keyboard), Dan Devane (guitar), Paul Flannery (bass) and Evan Hadnett had not formed a band that soon started making waves all over the world, it is likely that some if not all of them could have ended up here themselves.
“It was either get out of Ireland or start a band,” Sheehy said. “Those were the two options we were looking at and we chose to stay and play music and most of our brothers and sisters and friends chose to go to Australia.
“In the meantime some of them have been and come home. My brother is still out here, he’s in Melbourne. He was in Adelaide a long time so he’s been there nearly ten years now.
“I’m going out to bring him home,” Sheehy jokes.
“When we were writing the first album, it was a case of everybody we knew and loved leaving for the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand. It was a tough time for the country.”
The band released their follow-up album Colours earlier this year when it was positively received and reached number two in the Irish album charts.
They say the second album can be difficult for any band but it might have been particularly the case for Walking on Cars as they were shocked when guitarist Dan Devane left the band suddenly and in the middle of recording.
“It was a difficult time for everybody. It definitely came as a shock but once we dealt with it and moved on a little bit, we got the second album right and now we’re a four piece and everybody’s really happy. We can’t wait for the next chapter,” Sheehy says.
Getting it right took time with the band scrapping a lot of material that they were not happy with and starting again before they were happy to release Colours.
“We spent the second half of 2017 starting the process and maybe nine months later we realised what we had wasn’t big enough, wasn’t strong enough. I think we got caught up a little too much in the production side of things and it lacked a bit of heart.
“We got so caught up in what it sounded, we forgot what it made people feel so it was just a case of getting honest and getting creative and going back to basics. When we did that, it was a very simple process.”
Sheehy did get personal with Coldest Water, Colours’ second single, which is about his own struggle with alcohol.
“I’m sober nearly six and a half years now. I was in my early 20s and I was below in Cork. I was in UCC and I was an absolute disaster. I didn’t see the inside of a lecture room. It was full on. I was just writing from that place of hopelessness and that place of depression,” he says.
“Was this going to be me for the rest of my life just being a bit of a bum around the place or was I actually going to do something with myself? Coldest Water kind of captured that little moment in time in my life.”
“I’m very lucky.”
One of the AFL Irish stars hails from Dingle too. Do the band happen to know Mark O’Connor of Geelong Cats?
“Dingle’s a very small town, everyone knows everyone,” Sheehy says. “Yeah, Mark O’Connor is a big deal in Dingle and he’s a really nice dude and he’s absolutely bossing it over there. He’s a bit of a local legend.”
Walking On Cars kick off their Australian tour on November 29 in Sydney.