Out of the box

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - EGuide Music - NEALA JOHN­SON

SNOW Pa­trol front­man Gary Light­body should not be left alone in a record­ing stu­dio.

‘‘ Things tend to catch fire when I touch them,’’ the North­ern Ir­ish­man ad­mits.

‘‘ And not in a Jimi Hen­drix kind of a way, more in an ‘ I ac­ci­den­tally ex­ploded the stu­dio kind of way’.’’

With this in mind, there’s a piece of equip­ment Snow Pa­trol will bring to Aus­tralia for two acous­tic shows in Septem­ber/ Oc­to­ber that Light­body should keep his dis­tance from.

‘‘ Johnny McDaid [ key­boardist and gui­tarist] has built a ma­chine and built it from scratch, as in from blue­prints to build­ing it with his own two hands that is go­ing to make this show some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary,’’ Light­body says.

‘‘ It’s a box with an or­ches­tra in it. I’m not al­lowed to touch it. The box is off- lim­its to me. I have to wear gloves at all times, even when hold­ing the box by the han­dle.’’

The shows will see a stripped- down Snow Pa­trol, just Light­body, McDaid, gui­tarist Nathan Con­nolly and the or­ches­tra- in- abox de­liver hits such as Chas­ing Cars, Run and Spit­ting Games in a unique for­mat.

Their first tour here in al­most four years, it comes off the band’s own bat, af­ter last year’s al­bum Fallen Em­pires failed to reach far be­yond their ded­i­cated fan­base.

‘‘ This al­bum didn’t re­ally con­nect with Aus­tralia, not yet any­way, so it was on my de­mand­ing that we go, and it’s on our own dime,’’ Light­body says.

‘‘ It’s gonna be a very dif­fer­ent show than any­body else in the world is get­ting. We’re think­ing about it in a com­pletely new way. So you’re get­ting some­thing unique.

‘‘ Yes, I apol­o­gise, you’re only get­ting two shows. But those two shows will be prob­a­bly the most dif­fer­ent shows we’ve done in 10 years. You’re get­ting more than most, but by no means more than you de­serve.’’

When Snow Pa­trol re­leased Fallen Em­pires, they al­ready had a se­quel al­bum in the can. But with time, the plan to re­lease that long- player has been su­per­seded.

‘‘ The songs we’re writ­ing now are light years bet­ter than those,’’ Light­body says.

‘‘ We might sneak those out on the in­ter­net, but un­for­tu­nately those guys won’t make it [ on the next al­bum].

‘‘ Those poor lit­tle songs, they had notes from their mums, they didn’t want to at­tend.’’

Light­body suf­fered writer’s block while cre­at­ing Fallen Em­pires, but says he now can’t stop songs from gush­ing out.

That in­cludes writ­ing with other artists, some­thing he’s rarely done.

‘‘ A lot of peo­ple have asked over the years would I write songs for them and some­times I say that I will and just hope that they won’t get back to me, be­cause I never re­ally wanted to, but I didn’t want to be im­po­lite.

‘‘ But re­cently, a few peo­ple have chased me down. And cer­tain peo­ple I’ve bit­ten their hand off when they asked me to write some songs with them, be­cause they’re ex­tra­or­di­nary song­writ­ers that I re­spect and love.’’

The most un- Light­body of the songs, he says, is one writ­ten for a very pop­u­lar fe­male pop star.

Song­writ­ing with oth­ers is not the only new thing Light­body is try­ing out.

A cou­ple of weeks ago, he tweeted a pic­ture of him­self in me­dieval cos­tume on the set of cult sex- and- vi­o­lence- filled TV drama Game Of Thrones.

‘‘ I’m friends with the creators so I asked if I could be an ex­tra.

‘‘ But in­stead, this part came up. I can’t say much about it, but re­ally, it’s blink and you’ll miss it. If I’m on the screen for more than 20 sec­onds I’ll be happy. It was amaz­ing to be on set and see be­hind the scenes.

‘‘ And I’m very proud it’s made in North­ern Ire­land; our coun­try has never looked bet­ter on screen.’’

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