Global-brand groups work at a sedate pace these days and Snow Patrol fans are still waiting for solid news on the follow-up to 2011’s Fallen Empires album.
But there have been compensations with Gary Lightbody’s side project Tired Pony releasing their second album The Ghost Of The Mountain last summer while guitarist Nathan Connolly stepped into the spotlight last month as front-man of Little Matador.
The rock press made all the right noises about their self-titled debut and Nathan is relishing his role at the helm of a band who are heading for Coventry’s Godiva Festival on July 5 as part of their biggest tour to date.
“I’ve always wanted to do my own record,” says the Irishman. “I wanted to make a record with bite and conviction, swagger and integrity, a fresh, gritty, honest, modern rock album.
“And Little Matador is that record. It’s me out in the open, raw and exposed… and it’s everything I hoped it would be.”
There’s no hint of musical differences in the decision to temporarily branch out.
“The guys in Patrol were hugely supportive,” says Nathan. “Every musician wants more opportunities to create something different and this feels like the right time for me.
“Little Matador is about trusting your instincts and having the confidence to act upon your convictions. People might have perceptions of who I am, based on what they know about Patrol, but this is the first time that people will hear exactly where I’m coming from.”
Little Matador is far from an ‘all my own work’ effort. Drummer Paul Brennan and bass player Gavin Fox honed their rhythm-section partnership in Idlewild and The Frames, Troy Stewart plays alongside Lightbody and fellow guitarist Dave Magee of LaFaro has known Nathan since their teenage days in Belfast outfit F.U.E.L.
“I’d handpicked this band and I knew who I wanted straight away,” says Nathan. “The chemistry has to be right. I was just hoping that it would gel and it completely did.
“We did three separate weeks of writing and then I was like ‘let’s go do a record’. We had an energy and connection that I knew would translate into a great album.
“I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, the Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, The Clash, Pixies and Nirvana, the music that I assumed everyone loved, so when it came time to make our record we went in there like, ‘right, here we are, this is it – bang’ without over-thinking what we were doing or being too self-aware of the references or influences on there.
“We just let it all come out because that’s who we are. We can’t pretend to be something we’re not, because people will see through that.
‘‘But I didn’t want it just to be a homage to all those legendary groups. I love bands like The Kills, Queens Of The Stone Age and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs too, and the point was to make it fresh and raw and dirty, the sound of a band playing in the room. And I think we managed to bottle that magic.”
“I never really thought about fronting a band but if you’ve got something to say, which I felt I did on this record, then you want to say it yourself.
“It’s different being the focal point for the band, but I’m enjoying it.
‘‘We achieved everything we set out to do with the record, so now it’s about getting out there and having fun with it as much as possible. This record is important to me – now it’s time to show the world exactly why.”
Read the article at CoventryTelegraph.net.