The Script

The world as an office, the tour bus their home


At the heart of the “future of audio” are people – inspired individuals who dare to give shape to their creative vision and artistic imagination. Decision makers who prefer to reach their audiences and customers through great audio. Audio lovers who work relentlessly on innovative projects, who redefine and recreate sound experiences that touch the very souls of their listeners. “People” is dedicated to all those musicians, artists, engineers, producers, decision makers, owners and audio designers who fill and shape our world with sensational sound.

They are on a mission, and their success seems to be a full time job: We talk to the Irish band The Script about inspiration, fan loyalty and life on the road.

  • Author: Mia Wenner
  • Photos: Moodmacher
  • Video: Moodmacher
  • Editing / Post Production Moodmacher
„Their concerts sell out, often within minutes.“

When Danny O’Donoghue wakes up in Brighton on this early March morning, he momentarily thinks he is in a warehouse at rush hour: Next to his bed, shouts and thuds of 12 truckloads of equipment being unloaded. Seven hundred or more boxes. Stacks of metal cases. The entire mobile empire of The Script, the band, O’Donoghue’s is the lead singer of. His trailer sits in the middle of all of the hustle and bustle. What a way to start the day.

It’s how he starts most days, actually. The noise, the busy, seemingly never-ending moving... All are part of The Script’s life (on the road). And, for sure, their success, too.

Today is March 10, 2015, a sunny spring day in Brighton, one that marks 2500 days since The Script’s first song charted — at number 9 on the Irish charts, 15 on the English. During those nearly seven years, Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan and Glen Power have become one of the most successful Irish exports ever. They’ve gone platinum, multiple times, their songs have regularly topped the charts, and more than 6.5m people have „liked“ them on Facebook. Their concerts sell out, often within minutes, and the band were named 2010’s „Best Live Act“ at the acclaimed Irish „Meteor“ music awards, usurping this other famous Irish band, U2.

Today in Brighton, they will perform in front of 6,000 people, which will likely feel downright cozy in comparison to their appearances at, say, the O2 Arena in London and its audience of easily five times the size.

Whatever the venue, The Script’s shows sell out. What is the secret of their success: Luck? Extreme talent? Perhaps a bit of luck and certainly talent, but moreso hard work and meticulous planning. They fit in several gigs a week when on tour, and travel throughout South Africa, England, Scotland, Germany, Japan, and beyond. „The world is our office,” Mark Sheehan says.

Singer Danny O’Donoghue shows up for the interview in an almost aristocratic outfit: Vest, high collar, coat, slim jeans, all black. As rock pop stars, he and his bandmates have to maintain a certain image, including indulging in some pretty salty language from time to time. But clothes and curse words seem to be the only extravagances for this trio: They perch on a simple leather couch behind an improvised catering area, in a plain meeting room with dull windows.

They’ve carved out 25 minutes for the interview. After that, you will have to run after them, literally, as they sprint down the stairs, doors smashing, through the hallways, and up onto stage for sound check. As Sheehan passes waiting reporters, he tosses a few guitar picks as souvenirs; always showtime. Quiet, please. Their dedication is immediately apparent: The men clearly strive to be flawless. They want to sing impeccably.

The elevators and hallways to the stage are papered with time tables: Last call at 10:30pm. Dinner served after sound check; O’Donoghue will have chicken with pasta, as he does every day. Workouts, another daily regime, before stage time, the men all being in their thirties, „and if you want to get through a concert like this, you have to be really fit,” Mark Sheehan says. Giving less than a hundred percent is not an option. Shortly before the show, he allows himself a bit of Scotch; his „equalizer“, he calls it.

As showtime approaches and British rapper Tinie Tempah, the second support act, starts his final number, The Script’s tech guys nervously mill about backstage: 8:25 pm; they will have 30 minutes to prepare the stage for the main act. Down the hall, cell phones start flickering; a few girls in the audience are near-fainting after such a long wait in the crowded room. The curtain falls as Tinie finishes his set, the lights go out, and the roadies go to work. Tinie Tempah was just playing one part of the stage, as behind the curtain, there is already show equipment for The Script. While his crew pack his stuff and remove seven or eight boxes, they look like an amateur theater compared to the cavalcade of serious black metal cases The Script’s crew roll in.

The Script’s entourage has grown a lot during the years. No more „shitty busses“ to shuttle from club to club, as in early in their career when they played for a few hundred people at a time. Nowadays they travel with a huge fleet, including elaborate stage instruments, catering and a mobile dressing room.

Two dozen or so girls have been waiting in front of Brighton Center concrete concert hall since morning with the hope of getting a glimpse of their favourite rock stars, perhaps a smile, handshake, or even a selfie with them. The fans are known for their extraordinary loyalty. Every day the three men check Twitter and Facebook for tweets and notes from their supporters, write back, post comments. They receive many pictures. Some fans send them drawings and home made little gifts, too — online, that is: Fan letters these days are mostly virtual ones.

A life in hotel rooms: Privilege and compromise of being a non stop touring band

During the performance the previous night, O’Donoghue noticed a girl in the audience he had seen before. Many times before. The young woman has numerous times sent him pictures of herself in a fur coat — always the same coat, always the same pose, always with lyrics from a song. #TheScriptFamily: That is what their fans call themselves. And The Script look out for their „family“. The dedication on both sides has been integral to the the band’s success. The Script built their fame, reputation, and record sales on sold-out concert halls, not by wooing professional critics.

These demanding fans plus the ongoing pressure to come up with new and creative songs and performances, is it too much sometimes? On the contrary, Sheehan says: „We wake up every morning with a mission.“ They want to give their best every day, to add new songs to their program, to keep improving the show. Sometimes, Sheehan admits, the crew members find their bosses’ motiviation a bit daunting. But the pursuit of perfection is necessary, he claims: „You are only as good as your next song, or your next gig.“ Yes, the band feel challenged, every day: „But, you know, it all can be over tomorrow.“ They always keep that in mind.

O’Donoghue and Sheehan are childhood friends. They grew up in Dublin, where they met and hung out in the run-down James Street area. Years later they went to Los Angeles, writing and producing songs for Britney Spears , Boyz II Men and other stars. In 2001, they met drummer Glen Power. The three didn’t want to grow old and grey in some studio; they wanted to make their own music. Seven years later, they released their debut album — not a quick journey to fulfilling their dream, by any means, because they’d learned a thing or two along the way about the fragility of success and didn’t want to rush it — nor lose it once achieved.

After the release of their third album, The Script began traveling with a mobile sound studio. After all, you can get inspiration everywhere, often unexpectedly. Why stop touring when it’s now possible to have it all — writing songs, recording them, and performing them onstage — in the same day? When on tour, they take a small sound proof studio and professional recording equipment with them. It is much better, they explain, than grabbing your cell phone when you get an idea for a melody and want to tape it, before it is gone. When on the road, they are now able to catch and hold any creative moment. And seriously, they say, this and fresh air, new inspirations, surroundings and new faces everyday — what else do you need to make good music?

And finally: „We get to check our fans’ reactions to new stuff every night from the stage,” Sheehan explains. That in and of itself is their personal market research tool.

Their are on their side when all is blue – at least with their music

In Brighton, the show starts right on time. Thirty members of the #TheScriptFamily are chosen to carry shiny flags through the crowd. The band joins them, high fiving with the audience, smiling, waving, saying hello. Later in the show, front man O’Donoghue reaches for a young girl’s cell phone. He tells her that he wants to call her ex-boyfriend. When he holds up the display to the cameras, it reads: ASSHOLE. Then he bellows „Nothing“ into the phone, The Script’s hymn about a broken relationship („They say I’m better off now,“ it goes). He does that little routine at almost all of their concerts, it is part of the show.

The fans know The Script are there for them — on their side when all is blue, and part of their happy times, too. The band lets their „family“ be part of The Script Universe, which, of course, would not exist without the fans.

And surely not without all that hard work.