FORMING in 1996 in Hoylake on the Wirral, The Coral have gone on to become one of the UK's most consistently brilliant and successful bands over the last 20 years, with nine top 20 albums and countless hit singles, including Goodbye, Pass It On, In The Morning and the classic, Dreaming of You.

Back in 2010, the band announced a long-term hiatus, which lasted until 2016 when they made a hugely successful return with the Distance Inbetween album, before the revitalised Coral followed it with last year's brilliant Move Through The Dawn.

"I'm so grateful," says keyboardist Nick Power. "I had five years off from it and I'd been in the band since I was 14, so it was tough at times.

"When you are away from it you have doubts about whether you'll be OK as a band because things change so quickly in terms of the climate and attitudes. I think we've always had a really good fanbase and that's what keeps us going really - if we can reach out to anyone else that's a bonus but I'm so glad we've got these people who really get what we do."

What the band have always had is the knack for writing great tunes that combine sneakily good hooks, the jangling interplay of the guitars, and James Skelly's powerful vocals. Their rambunctious sound deftly mixes together elements of 60s garage rock, psychedelic pop, and folk-rock, spicing it with bits of Merseybeat, Motown, vintage blues, and even sea shanties.

"We were all doing stuff and it wasn't like we sat in the garden for five years," laughs Nick. "We were match fit really and even when we started out I always envisaged we'd be doing it for this long. With all my favourite artists I've gone with them through their careers and all the ups and downs. A lot of the time I actually like the down points!

"There were doubts at times, but now it feels like we're plain sailing again and we've come back strong."

The Coral's second album, Magic and Medicine (2003), produced four UK top 20 singles and hit the top of the charts, but since then the music industry has undergone a massive change, meaning many alternative bands can no longer even dream of reaching the upper reaches of a chart, now dominated by downloads and Ed Sheeran.

"Thanks for reminding me," chuckles Nick. "There was a bit of a 'year zero' around 2008 and the business turned on its head. I still think everyone is working out what to do now and where they fit in if you're a certain type of band.

"Luckily when I joined the band I had to really work at getting up to the speed of the others, because they were almost like prodigies when it came to playing. The live thing really kicked us off when we started and I think for many people it was like we were playing music from a lost era."

For a band who even managed to incorporate a bit of Russian polka into their early sound, it seems to make sense that The Coral will play their first gigs beyond the iron curtain this year.

"I've never been and I'm really excited," says Nick. "We always get people asking us to go to South America too but logistically we've not been able to work it out there. We seem to have quite a big fanbase in Brazil and Mexico and I'd love to go there."

When it comes to playing festivals, The Coral are old hands and even held their own back in 2003 when they staged the Midsummer Nights Scream, held in a big top on the New Brighton promenade. This summer will see them making appearances at Isle of Wight Festival, Belladrum in Scotland and Cool Britannia at Knebworth, as well as Llanfest in Llangollen.

"I think the days of slipping rare B-sides into a festival set are a thing of the past," he says. "We do sprinkle our set with new tunes though because you don't want to fall into that thing where you are just a nostalgia group. At the same time it's a festival and it's about the crowd - they're the ones paying, so you have to do a set for people who want to enjoy themselves.

"We still do the long jam on Goodbye and all the singles go down well but loads of the new tunes are popular too. I think we've reached a bit of a new audience and there seem to be some younger people too."

The band raised eyebrows last year with the artwork to their new album, Move Through The Dawn, which included everything from Hawaiian shirts, a luminous pink colour scheme and an actual real-life lion. Nick has no regrets.

"It was the worst album cover of all time, but that was what we were going for," he admits. "Ian (Skelly, drums) drew this really classy cover which we chose but then we did this photo shoot and we decided to do the worst album cover we could. We were trying to do a version of when all those 60s acts went s**t in the 80s - I'm not sure if anyone has done that before, so at least it's original. We were in France when it came out and they really didn't get it, but I've always wanted some humour in our music."

As for the future, Nick has just published his second book of tour diaries and is looking forward to the band continuing their successful reunion.

"I want to just keep going," he adds. "We always have a million songs knocking around."

The Fratellis, The Coral, The Pigeon Detectives and Dodgy will appear at Llanfest 2019 at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod on Sunday, July 7, 2019. There will be live performances from a range of artists from 2pm on the outside stages and support acts The Pigeon Detectives and Dodgy will perform in the main Pavilion, before The Fratellis and The Coral take to the stage. For more information and to buy tickets visit

or call the box office on 01978 862001.