Eimear Coyle and her brother Kieran had a kick about a few weeks ago with Gianfranco Zola, as you do.
Despite it coinciding with the World Cup, the former Italy and Chelsea legend took time out from enjoying the tournament to spend time with the Derry musicians as they shot the video for their new song with fellow band members Cheylene Murphy and Ryan McGroarty. It was the least that Zola could do, really, given that they’d dedicated a whole song to him.
Eimear, Kieran, Cheylene and Ryan all met when they were students at Lumen Christi.
In 2010, the four piece burst onto the music scene as The Wonder Villains and their introduction to the footballing hero is just the very latest in a string of good news stories about the Derry group.
One recent review has described them by saying: “They take pop and electro and ‘smush’ them together with surprisingly pleasing results.”
Their debut album, ‘Rocky’ hit the shelves this week. Lead singer and bass player Eimear says the band are thrilled that their first album is now available to buy.
“For any band, having an album is the ultimate goal. We’d been doing a lot of gigging since 2010 and we had thought about bringing it out a few years ago, but we decided to wait. After all, you only get one chance to bring out your first album. And now that it’s there, it’s an album that I think we’re all proud of, it’s a collection of our favourite twelve songs.
“I think it’s definitely a growing up album,” laughs Eimear.
She’s referring to a previous quote about writing about coming home from school and watching tv.
“That was all we knew really at that point in our lives,” says the Derry songwriter. “And let’s face it, you write best about what you know. But I think people really identified with those lyrics too and that’s what we were all about.”
But back to that Zola thing.
“It was totally crazy, we still can’t actually believe it happened,” says Eimear. “But we have the video to prove it!
“ We wrote the song three years ago and at the time we were talking about how amazing it would be if we could actually get him to star in the video.
“Obviously we didn’t think for a million years that that would happen,” says Eimear, who re-recorded the song ‘Zola’ with the rest of the band in time for the release of the new album.
The footballing superstar heard about the song from his teenage daughter and when approached to star in the video he apparently didn’t hesitate. The video was then shot in London last week.
“He was just so nice to us and so nice to work with.”
The video shows the world famous player in a training session with the Derry musicians.
“He was really into it,” laughs Eimear.
“He had to teach us to play football and he really got into it. It was great fun, and now that we’ve done it and the video is finished. It’s all a bit surreal, it was a massive thing for us all.”
There have been quite a few ‘massive’ things in the life of this relatively young band over the past few years.
They’ve supported names like The Human League and OMD and toured extensively in Europe and America. And according to Eimear, if these four young people from Derry can do it, then anyone can.
“We had no connections at all, it’s not like we knew anybody in the record industry. We had a piano in our house but that was about it! And before we knew it we were playing at the same concert as Snow Patrol when we performed at Sons and Daughters at the Venue last year. It’s been amazing and we’ve been really lucky so far.”
Eimear’s brother and fellow band member Kieran agrees.
“At one point, when we were out in America we were just sitting there and I remember thinking that we were very lucky. It’s great to be able to do this as our job. Hopefully it continues like this for us!”
“This is the dream,” agrees Eimear. “We are just a band who got together and we love what we do.”
Rocky is currently available at Cool Discs and to buy on i-tunes.