Interview: Snow Patrol | Living North

Interview: Snow Patrol

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Snow Patrol
Irish rock sensations Snow Patrol are set to release their first album in seven years on 25th May. We catch up with lead guitarist Nathan Connolly ahead of its release

Congratulations on the new album! How are you feeling about it?
Thank you very much. Very excited – it’s been a little while! But we’re thrilled. We’ve got our first three shows under our belts now as well so it’s great to be playing these new songs live. We’re just so excited for it to come out and then get out touring properly.

Was it nerve-racking to record again after such a long break?
It wasn’t nerve-racking, but it felt a little impatient at times. The longer we took to make Wildness, the more pressure we had – the expectation from people (certainly ourselves) heightens. It’s been seven years since our last album, five since we last toured, so it’s a long enough time to be apart. Although we’ve still seen each other every day and we’ve all still been working in the music industry, so it doesn’t feel quite as long as it probably sounds. But it’s still a long time!

You’ve still had your fingers in the pie.
Yeah – our bass player (Paul Wilson) had another band, I had another band, Gary (Lightbody) was writing songs for some films and some pop artists, Johnny (Quinn), our drummer, was running his publishing company, and our other Johnny (McDaid) was writing for people like Ed Sheeran. So everyone’s been busy. But it’s been nice to bring all of the collective things that we’ve learned over the last five years back to Patrol. 

How do you think your music has developed since the last album?
We’ve certainly got better at our craft, better at songwriting. I mean, I guess that’s up to people to decide! But yeah, sonically it’s moved on. But at the heart of this new record there are still the big, melodic songs that people know us for – they’re just presented differently. Wildness is a lot more at pace and upbeat than some of our previous albums. People will recognise it as a Snow Patrol record, but maybe one they haven’t heard before.

What’s your favourite part about getting back into the studio? 
When the record’s finished! No, when I was younger I did enjoy the studio, but it was just part of what we did to get out and play live. Now I enjoy it much more than I’ve ever done – being able to explore certain avenues and being able (certainly as a guitar player) to get into sonics and tones and really try and find out what it is you want to be and where you’re going. I think we’ve been a lot braver in the studio than we’ve been before. We’re comfortable in our environment now, and I think that’s just come from experience. But ultimately, playing live is where I’d imagine most people in bands are most comfortable. I certainly am. So it is nice when the record’s all done and we can get out and play. We enjoy feeding off the energy and playing in front of people, so I guess we’re just show-offs! 

What’s your favourite track on the new album?
It’s constantly changing because it’s still new. But there’s a song called Life On Earth – I don’t know whether it’s my favourite or not, but there’s certainly something special about that song. It was the first song on the record that we finished and that, as a band, seemed to connect with. It became a stepping-off point for the rest of the record. It took a while, but it was also the first song that we let people (close family and friends) hear where we were going and what we were doing. And it’s a big song live. Powerful. So there’s something special about that. Getting to play that in front of an audience for the first time was amazing. 

Is that why you’ve opened the album with that song?
Yeah, I guess so. For the whole band, it just seemed like Life On Earth was the business card to the whole record. It just felt right and made sense to start with that song – a good reintroduction after being away for a while. 

What other music are you listening to at the minute? 
I mean, I listen to so much. We all do. There’s a Fleetwood Mac album on my record player at the minute. But we listen to everything – rock, pop, funk, soul, punk, country. When we’re in the studio it’s great, because we all have huge record collections so we were listening to music all the time. We’re all huge music fans, always searching for stuff we don’t know, so it’s nice when you’ve got five people like that in a band – we’re constantly swapping records and talking about music.

I bet that feeds into the writing and recording process.  
It does, yeah. It's almost like a healthy jealousy. When you listen to an amazing record, it makes you want to better yours. It makes you want to give as much passion as you can when you're hearing how someone else is doing the same. 

What do you hope Snow Patrol fans take away from Wildness? 
I’m hoping they’ll keep an open mind to where we’re going. And aren’t frightened if anything sounds different! At the core of the album, it’s still our songs. Come with us!

Snow Patrol’s new album, Wildness, will be released on 25th May via Polydor Records. 
Snow Patrol will be touring later in the year. Dates still to be announced. 

Published in: May 2018

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