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Snow Patrol

Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Mark McClelland, am: 15.08.2004 ]

Snow Patrol aus Glasgow haben mit ihrem letzten Album „Final Straw“ eines der bis dato besten Gitarrenpop-Platten dieses Jahr veröffentlicht, das so viele großartige Melodien und Harmonien beinhaltet, dass man sich ernsthaft fragen muss, warum die Platte erst jetzt in Deutschland herausgekommen ist. Wir trafen die noch sehr verkaterte und dennoch sehr gute gelaunte Band an einem Sonntagmorgen, kurz nach ihrer Show auf dem Southside Festival. Es wurde viel gelacht, viel getrunken und teilweise kam dabei sogar ein „ernsthaftes“ Gespräch zustande, das wir in Auszügen für euch zusammengestellt haben. Bassist Mark McClelland machte noch den gefasstesten Eindruck und beantwortete einen Großteil der Fragen. Wir sprachen über große Festivals, britischen Fußball und die Pflicht des Entertainers.


Musicscan: How was the show for you today?

Snow Patrol: It was great, even though it was a twenty hour bus ride. We were on first and it was quite early, but it seemed there was already a fairly big crowd that was open towards what we had to offer. It was great, I could not hope for better. Usually when you have such an early slot you are like “oh my God, there is not going to be anybody there.”

Musicscan: Do you feel comfortable playing big stages like that?

Snow Patrol: Yes, the only downside is that you donÂ’t get to soundcheck and the first few songs is just about checking your levels. But once you come down it is great after that.

Musicscan: Is intimacy important when you play?

Snow Patrol: Yes, you just have to keep it interesting for the people that are in the far back. You have to keep moving and play an energetic set and you should talk to the audience as well. We usually drop a few slower songs that we would normally do and play a bit more upbeat stuff.

Musicscan: So is it about the same feeling for you guys?

Snow Patrol: If the audience is up for it and together it is really great, too, because you have a massive crowd there. We played a big festival a while ago in front of 35.000 people, it was the biggest gig we ever did and it was great. There are people as far as the eye can see. The great thing about festivals is that you get a new audience every time. When you play your own shows you only play to people that are already your fans. There is always that curiosity factor, where some people might have seen your name popping about, but havenÂ’t really been to a gig and that is a good opportunity to come and see you.

Musicscan: How has the response to your album been in Germany? I believe itÂ’s been out for quite some time in the UK?

Snow Patrol: I actually donÂ’t know how much it is selling, but I guess it is doing ok. I mean it has just been released here and it did really well in the UK and I hope it will do as well here once we play a bit more in Germany. We recently did four dates in Germany and there was a good turnabout for all of them and they were good crowds as well. They were up for it.

Musicscan: Do you think there is a difference between a German and say a British audience?

Snow Patrol: I definitely think the crowds are different. A Scotish and Irish crowd is metal crowd, they really go for that. So it is really different. In that sense every audience is really different. Some might be really attentive and listen and other ones will be like screaming all the time and being crazy. I think in Germany guitar music is doing really well at the moment and that is very good for us.

Musicscan: IsnÂ’t it even more like that in the UK?

Snow Patrol: No, no you are right, it definitely is. But compared to a lot of other countries in Europe, Germany has always been into guitar music.

Musicscan: How does your songwriting process work?

Snow Patrol: Gary writes all the lyrics. After that every song happens a different way. He could be coming in only with an acoustic guitar and then we start from that or it could come from a jam or a soundcheck or whatever. Whatever works at the moment, we just want good songs.

Musicscan: So Gary mostly brings in the basic ideas and then you all work on it?

Snow Patrol: Yes, and he always writes all the lyrics. He is very good at that. They definitely bring our songs forward. If we wrote the lyrics, let’s just say they would be a little naïve (laughs).

Musicscan: Were you connected before you started Snow Patrol or did the music bring you together?

Snow Patrol: Gary and I started in university. We had some friends in common and we went to school not that far away from each other. We met Johnny before he joined the band, he played in a lot of bands around Belfast. He put on some gigs for us when we were in Belfast. We knew Tom before he joined from DJing and we always used to get messed up together on Saturday nights. We knew everyone beforehand, but it just happened through the band really.

Musicscan: What inspires you, not necessarily limited to music or art on a daily basis?

Snow Patrol: Crowds. I mean if people turn up to see you. It is great to play to people and see their smiling faces. Just seeing people enjoying your music, that inspires me. And of course, football games like England vs. Portugal inspire me, if you know what I mean (laughs).

Musicscan: Do you consider yourselves artists or rather entertainers?

Snow Patrol: When you look at the album, it is definitely about making a perfect moment and making the songs the best they can be. But when you refer to this gigging thing and it is different every day and you deal with different thing and problems every day, it is a lot about being an entertainer. Hiding everything that is going wrong and still having a smile on and convincing people. It has both sides really.

Musicscan: IsnÂ’t that hard sometimes?

Snow Patrol: Well, in the studio you are really involved with everything you do and you are playing as well as you can. But live, I mean, if you are having your guitar above your head and you are swinging your arms, it doesnÂ’t really matter if you hit the notes. That is sometimes just as good, whatever you feel like.

Musicscan: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being on a major label for you?

Snow Patrol: The advantage is clearly that your record is going to the shops. The disadvantage is probably that people donÂ’t trust the success that you have, because they always think it is manufactured and made up. You may lose a bit of credibility as well. But at the level that we are at right now, it is like that at all. It is basically like an indie label, but it has the backing of major label. We now have money to come to places like this. In the past, even if somebody wanted us to headline we probably wouldnÂ’t have had the money to do that. We get the chance to travel the world and play to people.

Musicscan: Do you feel any pressure from the label?

Snow Patrol: No, not at all. They signed us for very little and we spend almost nothing on our record and we recouped within about three months and everything now is a bonus. Everybody is shocked and delighted for us. There is absolutely no pressure. We definitely exceeded their expectations, so they are happy.

Musicscan: When did you first get in touch with music?

Snow Patrol: My dad played in a covers band at the time when I was growing up and there was always a bass and sometimes drums and other things lying about the house. I have a picture of me with two drumsticks just banging away. It was always there. From the age of ten on I learned to play the Beatles by myself.

  Snow Patrol