At the end of 1996, The Cranberries were in the top of Pop. They were number one in 30 countries, they sold over 20 million copies worldwide, and Dolores O’riordan, the powerful voice in “Zombie”, was the new Pop diva.
Differing from Sinead O’Connor (addicted to break Pope’s pictures in front of an audience, to later apologize), Dolores conquered Northamerican people hearts, many of them from Irish origin, with original songs and conservative comments about miscarriage and Ulster conflict. O’riordan “muffled up” a lot of sweetness; she was requested by Pavarotti and Bono to sing for Children of Bosnia. Cranberries, because of the magnetic presence of the singer (Dolores), were, supposedly, in the top. Maybe too much for a twenty something band members, founded a decade before in Limerick, one of the most repressed cities in Ireland. Still waters run deep, and in the ’96 tour, the band exploded because they didn’t know how to assimilate pressures from the Rock world. Depreciated by British press, since the success in United States with the album “No Need To Argue” (1994), they were considered (in USA) as the kings of Adult Rock, the band later cured their injuries – Dolores had her first child while Fergal Lawler (drummer) and Mike Hogan (basses) got married with their girlfriend – and they made therapy with “Bury The Hatchet”.
Now the opportunity has changed for the most important Irish band after U2. Dolores even secures that she have similar feelings as their beginning as a band; something difficult to believe if we know that we are in front of the fourth wealthiest woman from United Kingdom. Dolores now is also another person. She has recovered her old look (dark hair), and now, she’s 30 years old, and is very different to that pretentious singer, with the anorexic and capricious woman from 5 years before, or with that rebel girl that got married with Duran Duran’s ex manager 10 days after she met him.
The months in home have been reflected in the positive aspect in the new songs from a band that reborn to request a commercial space used by the packed Pop from The Corrs. According to the familiar life from the band members, The Cranberries have delayed their political problems, to show themselves as “happy and relaxed” in their new album, “Wake Up And Smell The Coffee”, recorded in Dublin, under Stephen Street’s control, producer from the first albums of the band. Street has given stability to an album full of songs with some Folk influence, that makes reference to the maturity of the band.
“Now in my life I have more things than Cranberries. I have two children, and after all what happened, they have changed my priorities. I have found life, love, family…that kind of things that I lost contact with. The entire world should have something of love at the end of the day”, confesses Dolores, concentrated in the album’s release on next Monday.
J: You rated the last album as “Therapeutic”, how could you rate this one?
D: I like very much how this album sounds like. It has been able to make reconciliation with ourselves, and it’s full of positive vibrations. It has been a return to the beginning, because we have worked with our first producer, and we have recovered the original sound, the typical one. The first album was released while we were just meeting each other; the second one was saddest and more social; the third one was an album of a band shattered by success; and the last one was an album of a band that was trying to recover from pressure. This is a happy and album, made by the best of us, because people like to listen music that makes them feels good.
J: What has changed in these last 2 years?
D: “Bury The Hatchet” was about our personal relationships, but also it was about press. That’s why the cover had a big eye that was looking from over the man. It was an allegory to all the people that have criticized us for years. Now we have overcome pressure, and we are more relaxed. We have decided to not get worry about what they (press) say or write about us. They also criticized our last album, and it sold over 5 million copies, so all of that doesn’t have importance.
J: Does the relation with press have gone well lately?
D: Yes, I have a better relation with them and will the entire environment. I can’t torture my friends anymore. I’m not that paranoid android from some years before. When you’re someone famous, you need to learn how to live with fame, but, to get it, you need to stop your career a moment, and notice the good things in your life. Although you’re a celebrity, you don’t have to lose the good thing of you, just act the way you are. I like to sing in The Cranberries, and I like to be appreciated because of my songs, but also for my family, my friends, and little things.
J: The song Analyse sounds like the old Cranberries
D: We have worked as we used to work in the beginning. Songs like “Chocolate Brown”, “Pretty Eyes” and “Carry On” are recorded with the entire band playing at the same time. Sometimes that we didn’t do since a long time ago. “Analyse” is the typical song I wrote at my house with an acoustic guitar. It has that optimistic and happy sound. Is like waking up and say: “This is going to be a great day”.
J: Attempts to United States, forced to remove the video from “Analyse”
D: Yes, because I appear singing in the top of a building, while a plane is over my head. We removed it because it could hurt feelings. Most of United States press is obsessed with that, and they don’t show anything that can remind the tragedy, that surprised us during the promo tour.
J: The album is full of “mid-tempos” and Folkie ballads
D: I wanted to recover acoustic guitars sound which is typical for Cranberries. When you’re young, to have fun obsesses you, but when you’re growing up, the attitude changes, and you prefer tranquility…is noticeable in the album, although there are more intensive rhythms, like in the 70’s music. Most of the artists I like have also that Folkie influence, mixing acoustic guitars with bass and drums. Stevie Nicks was great doing that, also Elvis and bands from these years like Coldplay, Travis or Beck.
J: That’s the reason of doing a version of “In The Ghetto” from Elvis Presley?
D: Is a song that I love. We did it like a b-side for the (“Analyse”) single, although I don’t very well if it will be like a bonus track in some countries. It is about one of my favorites Elvis songs, though we have changed it completely, with that slide guitar that sounds in the background. When you make a new version of a song, you must to try to make it different, especially if the original song is so good.
J: Never Grow Old, Time Is Ticking Out, This Is The Day, Every Morning…there are many songs with time references, does that obsess you?
D: Yes, there are a lot of reflections about it, probably, I’m more conscious about time. When you see your kids growing up in front of you, you say “Oh my God, look how much tall they are now”. The time flies while you live in a family. Also the album’s title allude to time, to the importance of living the present without laments from the past, and without obsessing about the future. What happened with the Towers in United States can scare, but you can’t stay in your seat, and thinking about what kind of world will your kids have in the future.
J: Have you repent about something you done or told to someone in the past?
D: Sometimes, but I also think “I was 22, and I was not enough mature to assimilate about what was happening to us”. I became popular while I was young, and fame made me feel miserable. I lost contact with my friends and with reality.
D: Not Because I wanted, because it uses to happen when you become a Rock star, and you lose your values when you’re always away from your home. So I had to visit my origins in Ireland during two years. I lost contact, and I was afraid to be back. I have had to face and to win my demons, because you can’t run away from them.
J: 96’s crisis started after a very long tour, but the last year you played in over 110 concerts. Will you make a tour again?
D: Yes, but now we will do it in a different way. We take our rests, and we almost never play in a concert after another one in the last night. In that way, we can take a private plane, and return to see our children. Sometimes you are at your home, and later, in front of all the people screaming in a concert, is like being in Shock, like if you forget who you are. Then, I’m back at home, I forget stress, and everything is a pleasure again. We still are a good band in concerts, and maybe we will release a live album. Never a greatest hits album, that makes you feel older and we are a young band. We are not Mick Jagger.