HE HAS played stadiums and arenas around the world with Snow Patrol, but next week Nathan Connelly will return to his sweaty rock club roots with a gig at Guildford’s Boileroom.
His new offshoot band Little Matador are on the road to plug their self-titled debut album – a collection of louder, rockier songs than Snow Patrol hits like Run, Chasing Cars and Chocolate.
“I thought I had a record in me and I needed to write it and get it out,” says Nathan (right). “Anyway, I think it’s healthy and essential to work with other people to keep writing and learning.”
Little Matador also includes Idlewild bass player Gavin Fox, plus Troy Stewart, Dave Magee and ‘Binzer’ Brennan.
“I’d always wanted to make a record with these guys – I formed my first band, File Under Easy Listening, with Dave and we’d always wanted to work together again.
“I’m so glad I did. We’re incredibly proud of this, we’ve made a great record.”
Little Matador is a harsher sound than Snow Patrol, earning comparisons instead to people like Queens of the Stone Age and The Stooges.
“It’s a harder sound,” he admits. “But I’ve always had melody in me so it’s still tuneful, that’s the way I write. But growing up I was always a rock fan at heart.
“Individually and collectively we listen to all sorts of music but I knew it was likely to head in this direction – that’s where my heart is and there’s a lot more of my personal taste in this than in the Snow Patrol records.”
Nathan is now a frontman and he says he’s enjoying the experience.
“It’s different. I do sing in Snow Patrol but for 20 years I’ve been a lead guitarist standing on one side of the stage so you have to get into a different head space. It’s a bit odd.”
He’s also returning to his tiny venue roots after years of stadium tours and headlining festivals, but once again he’s loving it.
“It’s completely different but it’s a lot of fun and you’re right there, right in front of people. It’s a long while since I’ve been doing that but of course it’s how we started and we did it for a long time.
“Arguably it’s more thrilling because the fans are right there and you’re really, really engaging with people. Sweaty rock clubs are where I grew up so I’m loving it.”
Nathan says Little Matador is more than a one-off project – but he’s also sticking with Snow Patrol.
“It’s our intention to keep Little Matador going,” he says. “We definitely want to make another album and this feels like it’s just the start.
“But I’ll be going back to Snow Patrol, I haven’t left, we’re just all taking time out to do other things.
“We’ll be back with a Snow Patrol album, but not yet. This year will be dedicated to Little Matador for me. I’m really enjoying learning from other musicians and other writers – all bands should do it.”
Little Matador play at the Boileroom in Guildford on Monday (March 31).
Other upcoming Boileroom gigs include Emma Stevens tomorrow (Friday, March 28), Toseland on Tuesday (April 1), Ruarri Joseph (Saturday, April 5), Empress (Monday, April 7), and Scritti Politti (Thursday, April 10).