Thanks to the breakthrough hit “Breakeven” from its 2008 debut and tenacious touring, Irish pop-rock trio the Script has managed to carve out a solid career on this side of the pond, bumping up on each trip from clubs to theatres to bigger venues, including a show at the Agganis Arena on Friday.
The band — fronted by keyboardist Danny O’Donoghue and rounded out by guitarist Mark Sheehan and drummer Glen Power — has also made fans of famous folk like U2 and Paul McCartney with its mellifluous sound. O’Donoghue has also broadened the Script’s profile by working as a coach on the UK edition of “The Voice.” We recently chatted with O’Donoghue from a Boca Raton, Fla., tour stop about “#3” — his band’s new album of tuneful pop anthems with hip-hop flourishes — working with the Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am, and living in the moment.
Q. Your fellow coach from “The Voice,” Will.i.am, appears on the first single, “Hall of Fame.” Did you just lean over between contestants and ask him to swing by the studio?
A. I was playing Will songs and he really gravitated toward that song. It’s this anthem from the second you hear it. And he was like, “I want that song.” He wanted it for his own album. But I was like, “Not a chance.” We were just kind of hanging out and we said, “Do you want to do a duet?” And he said, “Yeah, let’s do it.” I said, “But let’s do a real proper duet, let’s do it line for line.” So I got him in a headlock one day, because he’s a very hard man to pin down, and we recorded the song. And it just sounded so good. I remember a point where me and Mark were trying to keep it cool in [the studio], and as soon as he got out and we had the hard drive and the door shut we were fist-pumping the air. It was a smash already but to have him jump on it as well, it was just like, wow. I’m a big Will.i.am fan from years ago as well, even before Fergie was in the band.
Q. The album is titled “#3.” Obviously, it’s your third album and there are also three band members but are there any other threes that are meaningful for you?
A. We just wanted something that was really fresh on the surface. It was more to do with the studio where we recorded it. It was studio three. We were joking, you know Adele had her record out, “19,” and that was supposed to represent the mental age she was at that time, and ours is “3” because we’re all 3 years old. (Laughs).
Q. At least you’re owning it.
A. Exactly, if you can’t laugh at yourself who can you [laugh at]? (Laughs.) I love the title as well because it’s a coming together of head, heart, and feet. You’ve got something to think about, something to feel, and something to dance to.
Q. The song “If You Could See Me Now” was in part inspired by the passing of your dad and Mark’s mother, but it feels like it could apply to anyone’s loss.
A. Thank you. That’s why we wrote the song: It didn’t matter who you’d lost, you just wonder, what would they think of me now? It’s a never-ending question because you’ll never know. That’s what I think is special about it, we got to articulate things about both our parents and how proud they would be of us, but also how much of a father figure and how much of a parent they would be. Would they come to us and say, “You know what. You’re drinking too much, you’re smoking too much.” Sometimes they’re your fans, but sometimes they’re your parents. (Laughs.)
Q. You have a knack for nailing the imagery of heartbreak, I’m almost hesitant to ask why.
A. I spent hours and hours of getting heartbroken by women. (Laughs.) I really don’t know. We try to search for the words to best describe [a situation], that’s what writing songs is — trying to get the context down into very small 3½-minute songs.
Q. “Good Ol’ Days” talks about how in the future you’ll reminisce about this time. Are you able to stop at all and drink in the good fortune now while it’s happening?
A. That’s what the song’s about, about just savoring the moment. We do it every night: stand onstage, take the applause in, because in a few years time you’ll be sitting at the end of the bar chewing on these stories.
Q. “Breakeven” is a popular karaoke and singing contest song. Have you heard any horrible versions of it?
A. Maybe the stuff people put up on YouTube is laughable, but I have to say that end of the day, thank God that they’re doing it. It’s obviously the highest form of flattery. No matter how bad it sounds, I’m just sitting there going, “Holy [expletive], someone in Botswana is playing [my song ] on a one-string instrument.” It may not be in tune, but I’m impressed!