Nathan Connolly (born 6 January 1981) is an Irish musician, born in Belfast. He is best known as the lead guitarist and backing vocalist for alternative rock band Snow Patrol.
Connolly sang for a gospel church choir when he was 16, and the experience, he says, is what inspired him to be a musician.“ I suppose I was always around music, and like any other kid, teenage kid, 12 or 13, I wanted to be a rock star and play guitar. I kind of fucked around with it for a few years and didn’t really learn much and wasn’t very good for the first two years, but then I started a band with my cousin and two mates from school and it kind of just went on from there. I started taking it a bit more seriously. I mean, I’ve always wanted to play in a band and write music, I just didn’t realize exactly how much when I first started.”
Prior to joining Snow Patrol, Connolly was a member of a band called File Under Easy Listening (or F.U.E.L), who were managed by BBC Radio 1 DJ Colin Murray. The band consisted of Nathan, vocalist Aaron Ditty, Dave Magee and Peter Comfort. Unfortunately, it did not last long; the single “Closure/Dryform” was F.U.E.L.’s first and only release.
While working at the record store HMV in Belfast, Nathan was introduced to the band Snow Patrol. He reluctantly agreed to join, despite the fact that the band had no record deal at the time. He jokingly recalls his mother thinking he “was being kidnapped by rock stars.”
Connolly became a permanent member of the band near the end of 2002. His recruitment played a large role in shaping the band’s new sound. With Nathan as a composer of the band’s new material, Snow Patrol garnered a new record deal and released Final Straw in 2003. The album proved to be the band’s breakthrough and helped introduce them to a wide audience.
In late 2006, he talked about plans to record a solo album, which he said would be “melodic and tuneful”.
Gibson Les Paul Custom – Tobacco 1979
Gibson Les Paul Custom – Ebony (appears in the video for Take Back the City)
Fender Telecaster Custom – Sunburst 1974
Fender Telecaster Custom – Blonde 1977
Gretsch Countryman – Brown 1962
Gretsch Duo Jet – Black
Fender Jaguar – Sunburst 1965
Fender Telecaster Custom – Black ’72 reissue
Fender Telecaster Nashville – Sunburst
Rickenbacker 360 – Jetglo
Hutchins Memphis – Black
He uses Jim Dunlop Tortex .60mm picks
Diamond Amplification Spitfire I Head with Spitfire 4×12 Cabinet
Vox AC30 (Used at Mandela Hall SG#3)
Marshall JCM800 2203 Jubilees
Marshall 3315 Transistor (Used on Final Straw Tours)
Fender Twin Reverb (Also Used on Final Straw Tours)
Connolly uses a setup that is primarily rack based. His rack consists of the following:
TC Electronics D Two (for delay) TC Electronics G Major (for modulation, pitch shifting and compression) TC Electronics M One XL (for reverb and layered delay sounds) Voodoo Labs GCX Audio Switcher
He uses various pedals for his overdrive and boost sounds. They change from time to time, but his consistent setup includes the following:
Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer MXR/Dunlop Micro Amp (for boost) Boss Super Overdrive Boss Blues Driver
He uses a Voodoo Labs Ground Control Pro controller to bring up presets for each of the band’s songs, and has the ability to add/remove different pedals and changes in sound.
He also uses a function in the TC Electronics G Major that allows him to switch the channels on his Marshall Jubilee amp heads for his heaviest sounds.
He also has a small pedalboard containing his ground control for the rack and various Boss pedals including a TU-2, PS-5, DD3, and RC-2.
Nathan is the long-term boyfriend of Laura Donnelly. He has known her before he joined Snow Patrol. He lives in Crouch End, London, nearby band mate Jonny Quinn.