Hogan and O'Riordan had started writing songs for the Cranberries' eighth studio album during the summer of 2017, and the group was planning to record in earnest, as well as tour in China, during 2018. "It was being written as another Cranberries album," Hogan says. "The last thing on our minds was that this would be the last album we'd write." O'Riordan, he adds, was "in great spirits about the future" after coming out of a rough patch that include divorce, alcoholism and mental health issues and was looking forward to recording again with the rest of the band -- including Hogan's brother Mike on bass and Fergal Lawler on drums -- and original Cranberries producer Stephen Street.
"That summer in particular she kind of turned a corner where she felt like, 'That part of my life is over and I'm kind of moving on, finally' -- which makes (her death) all the harder to deal with," Hogan recalls. "A lot of the subject matter in (the songs) is really about taking stock of that previous three or four years and the end of that time in her life and putting it behind her and moving on from that. Now the songs become something else, even though they're not meant to be about the end of all that. I'm sure people will read more into it than was intended to be there."
The rocking "All Over Now," a song about domestic abuse that opens the album, was one of the first tracks Hogan and O'Riordan demoed for the album. The group hadn't considered what it wanted to do about videos for the project and was somewhat relieved when BMG brought animator and director Daniel Britt's work to the table back in December. "We thought animation was the way to go -- it was either that or have actors in the video," Hogan says of the impressionistic clip, which depicts the light of hope amidst depressing circumstances. "But animation is something we'd never really done, so we thought it would be nice."
Hogan says discussions are also underway about a video for the album's next single, "Wake Me When It's Over." "The record company is really kind of pushing for a mix of old footage of us," he reports. "I don't know if that's something we want to do. We kind of feel a video should in some way represent the song more so than be just a bunch of clips that look nice. It's kind of an ongoing discussion at the moment."
What isn't open, however, is the future of the Cranberries. The Hogans and Lawler will not continue the band without O'Riordan, and they feel that playing together in any form isn't possible, either. "Anything where the three of us are in a band again, it's always going to be compared to the Cranberries," the guitarist explains. "A lot of people said, 'Why don't you just get another singer and move on,' but Dolores was such a massive part of this band, so...it would just feel wrong to us. We just decided, 'Look, we're doing this album. We're lucky to be doing that, so let's put it to bed and move on with our lives.' And it probably will be separate ways. To do anything together, there's always going to be that shadow of the Cranberries. It's a long, very big shadow to try and get out from under."
For his part Hogan plans to explore songwriting with others -- "I've only written with Dolores, basically, for 30 years," he notes -- and try his hand at film scoring and soundtracks. He'll continue to be involved with archival anniversary issues of the Cranberries' albums, with a 25th anniversary edition of No Need To Argue expected this fall. And Hogan says the remaining trio may return to a documentary project that was started a few years ago and put on hold. "There'd never been one made about the band, so we started one and did individual interviews, but then we went on tour and forgot about it," Hogan says. "Obviously last year when Dolores passed away it was the last thing on our minds, but it's something we may look at again; Now that the band is actually finished it will have a conclusion, whereas before it was only going to be up to a point. So we'll see; That's probably a couple years down the road by the time that would see the light of day, 'cause there's a lot to be done yet. But I think it would be worthwhile."