Paul Wilson is looking forward to the band’s first big outdoor show of the summer. No, not the festival circuit. A date instead with a rather larger audience – BBC’s One Show.
“I’ve not seen it in years,” confesses Wilson – Pablo to friends and fans – “but I think you play outside now.”
The BBC teatime slot is probably more like a big glass fishbowl, perhaps aptly.
“At least we’re doing it live, thank god,” says the bassist.
Gigs are something of a novelty for Snow Patrol following an extended hiatus. But now, they’re raring to go, just back from Ireland – “quite a varied eight shows, one was 700 (capacity) – it’s so much fun being close to the crowd... but for the big shows we can do a big production.”
“Everything’s come on so much since the last time we toured, “ he continues. “We used to hire lasers that cost 100 grand, now it’s all LED screens and everyone has amazing lights, so there’s a lot to play with.”
The band have just announced a UK arena tour starting late this year, and despite his enthusiasm for “a big production”, Wilson recalls some less-than memorable past live experiences. The Glasgow show will be in the custom-built SSE Hydro, rather than the SECC - “a big barn of a place”.
“Indie bands are always suffering,” he says,”the sound guys aren’t always up to scratch, so we’ve got someone who’d done stadium and arenas - it makes such a difference.”
Wilson should know, having seen the band from both sides. Once part of indie combo Terra Diablo, he spent a while playing in both acts, and is well used to shows in small venues – literally playing to three men and a dog.
He recalls a show to 10 people, “doing ‘Run’ in the Victoria Arms in Derby with an alsatian drinking my beer and I couldn’t do anything about it apart from thinking ‘I can’t afford another one!’”
Those hand-to-mouth days are long gone now, with Snow Patrol a platinum-selling household name. But for fans of the band it must have seemed that they never get back in the saddle again given the six-year gap between ‘Fallen Empires’ and new album ‘Wildness, as singer Gary Lightbody suffered what he calls “not so much writer’s block as life block.”
The rest of the band kept busy – “Nathan has Little Matador, I was with Nate Mendel of the Foo Fighters (in Lieutenant), plus I have my recording studio in LA, so I was busy with that,” Wilson recounts.
Meanwhile, Lightbody slowly pulled an album’s worth of material together...
“A lot of the songs were ready and I think he wasn’t happy with the lyrics,” Wilson reveals.
I speculate whether frustration came out in the songwriting, have been taken aback by some choice ‘language’ in their Jools Holland performance…
“I think a lot of Snow Patrol albums have swearing,” Wilson points out. “The last two had Parental Advisory stickers!
“We’ve been a band for 25 years, so everyone needs to have a break,” continues Wilson brightly, “having kids and the like, so it’s been nice to have that little bit of time.
“I just didn’t expect it to be five years!”
Wildness is out now. The band play a UK arena tour at the end of 2018.
'Wildness' is out now. Snow Patrol play a UK arena tour at the end of 2018. More at snowpatrol.com
Wed December 05 2018 – NEWCASTLE Metro Radio ArenaFri December 07 2018 – BELFAST SSE ArenaTue December 11 2018 – DUBLIN 3ArenaFri January 25 2019 – BIRMINGHAM Arena BirminghamSat January 26 2019 – LONDON O2 ArenaTue January 29 2019 – LEEDS First Drect ArenaWed January 30 2019 – MANCHESTER ArenaThu January 31 2019 – GLASGOW SSE Hydro