Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: The Script

Pick one: Astronomical. Meteoric. Rocket-like. All would accurately describe The Script’s (let’s go with … ) blistering rise to the top of the music world. While rapid acceleration of this kind can sometimes be disorienting, the Dublin-based trio has been fortunate to have some guidance from someone who’s traveled the trail of overnight stardom himself  – Sir Paul McCartney.presspass

Pick one: Astronomical. Meteoric. Rocket-like. All would accurately describe The Script’s (let’s go with … ) blistering rise to the top of the music world. While rapid acceleration of this kind can sometimes be disorienting, the Dublin-based trio has been fortunate to have some guidance from someone who’s traveled the trail of overnight stardom himself  – Sir Paul McCartney.

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The Script (Photo: Courtesy Alexandra Dunne)

“When we played with Paul McCartney, he was really interested in that, going from a small band to a band playing stadiums all of the sudden,” says guitarist Mark Sheehan, when the knighted musician sat down with them before The Script opened his set at New York’s CitiField this July. Sheehan and his bandmates Glen Power (drums) and Danny O’Donoghue listened with rapt attention as McCartney regaled them with tales from his own path to the top. Of course, not all of them may have stuck …

“Every time he said, ‘When we were playing …’ I’m sitting there thinking, this f—ing ‘we’ he’s talking about is the Beatles … and this ‘John’ he’s talking about is John Lennon. You almost don’t hear the rest of the sentence because you’re that focused on those things.”

In between his attempts to orient himself, the starstruck Sheehan did pick up some points on stage presence that he feels will help out, particularly as he and his ‘mates make the adjustment from small-show band to the sold-out stadiums they’ve seen since inking a deal with Epic Records and opening for Sir Paul and U2 in the wake of their debut album release in March.

So far, the trio has been able to keep it up by keeping it simple. When they first started the group in a garage, they focused on building a connection with each other and with their audience. All the added elements that a stadium show brings, that’s just window dressing according to Sheehan.

“All the microphones, the amplifiers, they’re just there to amplify who we are as a band,” he says. “We just try to play tight and keep our energy up and that hasn’t changed.”

The Script flaunts a sound that audiences will likely find familiar, but veers slightly before you can put your finger on it. For the most part, the band features a Maroon 5 type vibe, but close listeners could recognize some hints of David Gray (“Talk You Down”) and some American R&B with O’Donoghue’s super smooth voice paving the way to that conclusion.

“Art is basically copying all your heroes, and by getting it wrong and f—ing it up, you’re basically creating something unique yourself,” Sheehan says. “We were just striving to be like our peers and by getting it wrong we stumbled across what was best for these songs.”

Sheehan says the group turned to R&B early on out of appreciation for American artists like Stevie Wonder, but also partly out of necessity.

“The love of hip-hop and R&B in America was because you could make it so cheap,” he says. “Rock music in Ireland, you have to use a studio, get musicians and it’s quite expensive to record a song. We found programming and being able to sample made that a lot easier to get songs written on a budget.”

To that end, whenever the band worked with a producer, Sheehan would carry a portable hard drive and trade sound samples, admittedly often getting the better end of that bargain.

“I was so focused on it. It was probably like baseball cards for kids. I wanted what they were using to make up that sonic difference [in quality between America and Ireland]. I just wanted to get into their sounds and find out what the f–k they’re using. So I ended up with all their stuff and they ended up with, well, their stuff.”

• The Script performs live at D.C.’s Rock ‘N Roll Hotel on Aug. 17. Tickets are sold out. For more on The Script, visit www.thescriptmusic.com.