TALKING TO SNOW PATROL
A seminal sound of the noughties, Snow Patrol returned to our airwaves in 2018 with their first album in seven years, Wildness. We talked to frontman Gary Lightbody before they play dates in the UK this January and February.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK PLAYING LIVE?
Really great. The first gig was actually London back in April. We don’t normally get nervous – we would normally just be cracking jokes and listening to music and having fun before we go on stage – that’s the usual backstage vibe. It’s not really everyone being nervous and shuffling from foot to foot, but that one there was a little bit like that and a bit of silence beforehand, kind of staring at the floor a little bit. Two minutes into the gig everybody looks at each other and we were just like, now we remember, this is it, and it just came back pretty quickly – thank God!
But yeah it feels great to be back on tour and we’ve been around the world already. We’ve done a lot of stuff in Europe, Australia, America, Central America and we’ve still got to do South East Asia and South America, but the main thing that is on our minds right now, the thing that we’re so excited about is doing the UK and Ireland tour right now.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’VE BEEN OUT IN THE WILDNESS WITH YOUR TIME AWAY FROM THE BAND?
I mean yeah, I think a lot of re-learning needed to happen for me personally – I kind of got used to the quiet life off-tour for such a long time. We were trying to write the album and trying to record it but writer’s block has its own timetable, unfortunately. We spent the last six years off the road. From 2003 – 2012 we were either on the road or in the studio and 80% of that time was on the road. It’s unusual for a touring band to be off the road for such a long time so I was a bit worried that I had forgotten how to do it. It didn’t take long to remember but I was a little nervous. It felt like we were maybe on the dark side of the moon for a bit but now we’re back in the sunshine.
WHAT CAN FANS LOOK FORWARD TO FROM THE SHOWS?
It is easily the most spectacular show that we have ever put on and we’ve been working with our lighting designer Davey Sherman who has been with us for 20 years. There are awards for lighting designers and you win an actual lightsaber – that’s how cool the lighting award are – and he’ won two of those in his career, both times for designing our shows. This show that’s he’s designing at the moment is light years better than anything he’s ever done before – it’s bonkers, absolutely bonkers.
With all the love and respect in the world to Davey, as the old saying goes – you don’t go home humming lights, so in terms of the music and as far as the songs we’ll be playing it’s going to be a pretty good spread from all the albums from Final Straw onward. When we play songs from the first two albums, they tend to bring a halt to the proceedings so we leave those for smaller gigs. But for arenas, the set is very densely populated with songs that people probably will know. We’re not there to give people an exam – you don’t need to bring your calculator with you for this one, this is supposed to be fun and our gigs are just about everybody having a great time – that’s what I want from a gig.
I also enjoy being challenged and I enjoy going to see stuff that I’ve never even heard of before, but for a band that’s been going for 25 years you kind of want to hear the f*****g songs you know, let’s be honest. We’ll be playing some songs from the new album of course, but it’s densely populated with songs from our biggest albums.
YOU’VE BEEN QUITE CANDID ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS ADDICTION TO ALCOHOL AND COMING OUT THE OTHER SIDE – HAVE YOU FOUND THAT YOUR SONGWRITING PROCESS HAS CHANGED OR IF YOU APPROACH WRITING IN A DIFFERENT WAY?
I think so. I don’t quite know how to put it into words, but I’ll do my best. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing but I’m much more considered now with the way I write. I was much more spontaneous in the past. Musically it’s always been the same and it always comes pretty easily – touch wood.
It’s the lyrics that are the hard bit – I used to write lyrics without too much editing. Not to say that they were as deep and candid as they are now on this album. Certainly, for this album, I went very deep into myself, into the things that I was afraid to write about in the past. And then it was a process of trying to make that make sense, because the subconscious and the psyche don’t necessarily make much sense and you’ve you got to spend some time in there – that’s one of the dangerous things about writing from that place is that it can be therapeutic but it can also be hellish.
I think some of those doors that were maybe locked in the past have been flung or kicked open finally and I won’t have any trouble accessing that in the future. It remains to be seen of course because I haven’t started writing lyrics for the next album, but there are songs for the next album. There’s a little file on my computer that says ‘SP8’ which is filling up nicely.
I tend to write lyrics closer to when we record – it’s just that the last time I tried to do that it took a little longer than I hoped, five years longer. But here we are – what’s five years between friends.
FOLLOWING THE TOUR WHAT’S NEXT FOR SNOW PATROL?
We’ll finish our tour back in the UK and Ireland at the end of the year and it’s our 25th year, so we’re going to be doing some things to celebrate that. Come January 2020 that’ll be when we get back in and properly making the next record – we’re not going to leave it seven years till next time.
SNOW PATROL UK TOUR DATES 2019
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