Most everyone has heard of the Cranberries. The unmistakably haunting voice of Dolores O’Riordan paired with clever songwriting made the band a ‘90s music staple. Their hiatus seemed sudden — perhaps many of you don’t even know there was one, thinking that the band was gone for good. After what was to be a one-time gig at Dublin’s Trinity College, the Cranberries felt the itch again; they needed to reunite. From there, the Irish quartet set up what has turned into a greatest hits tour before releasing their new yet-to-be-titled sixth album. Co-songwriter and guitarist Noel Hogan chatted with Real Detroit Weekly about new beginnings.
What were the reasons behind the hiatus?
It was a few things. We’d been together for 13 years and we went in to start what would be the sixth album, and it got to the point where no one wanted to be there and the enthusiasm had gone out of it. So we sat down and talked about it, and thought that if we [would] go off for a while and [do] the things we wanted to do, we’d learn so much more and we’d get it out of our system.
You and your brother started the band and Dolores joined after, yet she became the focal point of the band for many years. Did that cause any friction in the group or did you just accept it?
When we started the band it wasn’t to get the notoriety that comes with it; it was just to write and play. So it was a lot easier for us to be in the background. We got to go home and not be hounded by people, like Dolores [was]. I often felt really bad for her; she really got the worst of it. When you wanna have your time out and you can’t, it’s just always there. It didn’t cause any friction in the band but I know it was a lot harder for Dolores than it was for the rest of us.
Have you begun writing for the new album? What are some of the emotions and experiences that are focused on?
We kind of did before there would be another album (laughs). We’ve been talking the last three years and every now and then I’d get a song and I’d send it to Dolores. None of them are finished; they’re all a verse on one and a chorus on another. Now that we’re back and doing it more full-time we can finish these songs properly. Lyrically, for Dolores, she’s spent time concentrating on personal relationships, so that comes through a little bit more than the later albums. We didn’t write about personal lives, we really didn’t have any; we were constantly touring. It’s very easy to lose focus on what it is that keeps you grounded and you really, really need that I think.
Do you think it’s a possibility for the band to be active in 10 more years?
We’re all a lot older now than, say, 10 years ago when we were very, “This is it. We do nothing but this.” Now we all do things that are outside the band. I’d like to think we’ll keep going but it won’t be non-stop every year. It’ll be every couple of years. Do a great album, take some time out, go back and do it again. From working with so many other people the last two years I’ve learned so much more that you can bring back to the writing process and it hopefully takes it to the next level, or else it’ll get stale. | RDW
The Cranberries • 11/24 • The Fillmore
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