After supporting the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails, Little Matador embark on their first major UK headline tour and are playing at Rock City this Saturday 29th. Just a month before the release of their self-titled début album, Impact Music spoke to front-man Nathan Connolly about his love for scuzzy rock, distancing himself from his Snow Patrol background and their impressive début record.
“We got together in Dublin and I knew who I wanted to work with straight off and they said yes and wanted to be with me which is a good start. We’ve all known each other a long time and a couple of us have been in bands and played together before and we’d always talked about making a record and we got into a rehearsal room in 2012 and then last year made the record. It came about very quickly really”.
Talking about the surprisingly short time-frame within which the album was written and made, Nathan adds:
“A lot of it, I’d have an idea in rehearsals but it mostly came together in the studio and we wrote a lot of it as we went. We had so much fun making the record. At times it was stressful and difficult which I think with any good record happens. We made the record in under 6 weeks in the studio but it was actually six months with us being in different bands as well and different projects so it was really really intense in those short little bursts. I think that comes across in the record with a sense of urgency, a beautiful chaos, you know!”
Released tracks ‘Liar Liar’ and ‘Gimme All You Got’ have shown the angry and dirty-rock direction in which the record is going. Nathan tells me his stand out tracks from the album and his love for rock:
“It changes a lot for me. Certain songs take on more aggressive meanings especially with ‘Gimme All You Got’. I’m sure we’d all have different answers but right now that track stands out a lot for me. Before I started playing with Snow Patrol bands I was in were playing music similar to our sound. I listen to a lot of music but what gets me excited the most is rock and that’s where my inner child comes out a bit more and that was what I really wanted to do now and the people I asked I knew would go in that direction anyway.”
Back out on the road for their first major headline tour Nathan talks about their QOTSA support slots and playing intimate venues compared to headlining festivals in the past:
“That was amazing (QOTSA) we’re big fans of that band and it was a privilege to play with them. The thing that surprised us the most really is that most people haven’t heard of us or know what we sound like and the reactions we got was great. I could see that and feel that happening and that’s what excites us the most and I was lucky enough to play with them in my home town too. We’ll be on tour now for the rest of the year on and off and a lot of festivals coming up over the summer, so far we have Great Escape, Sonisphere which will be great to be apart of in its 40th year. We’re happiest when we’re on the road really.
I think there’s more adrenaline in these venues. It’s a good thing, you’re in the zone and you think about your presence even more so at the smaller shows because you’re right there in their faces which is great for us because it’s well suited to the music. I’m having a lot of fun doing it.”
I ask the inevitable question about the startling obvious difference between the Little Matador sound and band as a whole and Snow Patrol. Nathan explains how he won’t hide away from his background but his priorities lie more with Little Matador right now:
“We’re concentrating on this for sure but I still love that band and I’m still in that band but this is probably a lot more of my personality in this music and I want to concentrate on promoting and talking about this (Little Matador) because we are really proud of this record and we have made a great one and I don’t want to hide the fact that that’s what I do and have done (Snow Patrol) but I think the music speaks for itself and the difference in it. We’ve already started thinking about making another record. When that will be will depend on all our schedules. This is something great and we cannot believe this is only the start for us so we will concentrate on this record first but this is definitely a long term thing.”
After spending the last 20 years as a guitarist in such a well known band, Nathan explains his revitalised passion for what he does and being a front-man for a change:
“I think that the passion is key for everything, to keep things fresh, to work with other people and play with other musicians. All of those things make you better and as a musician I feel it’s essential to work with as many people as you can. It’s a weird position to be in because we are a new band but we’ve all played in other bands for a long time so it’s made me fall in love with it all even more and we’re just really keen to get out there and get the record to as many people as we can.
Being the lead man is certainly different but a good different. I’ve gotta be a lot more aware and connect a lot more. I’ve been standing on the left for twenty years so it’s odd being in the middle but I’m having fun with it and seem to be getting away with it so far!”
Interview by Adam Keyworth of Impact Nottingham. Thanks to our forum member smontague for sharing!