Belfast Telegraph

'I didn't think I could get any closer to Snow Patrol until I became a member of the band' - Ryan McMullan on selling out venues and performing with his heroes

Ryan McMullan was first in line to fill in as an honorary member of Snow Patrol while band member Johnny McDaid recovers from surgery.
Ryan McMullan was first in line to fill in as an honorary member of Snow Patrol while band member Johnny McDaid recovers from surgery.

By Eimear McGovern

Musician Ryan McMullan didn't think things could get any better until he was asked to join Snow Patrol.

As the band's supporting act, he was first in line to fill in as an honorary member while band member Johnny McDaid recovers from surgery.

It's the next step in the Portaferry native's career as he embarks on a tour of Australia, New Zealand and Asia with the band.

With his own concert planned for Belfast’s Custom House Square on August 17, he's currently at home in Northern Ireland before he leaves for Oz on Thursday.

It coincides with the release of his second single ‘Rebellion’ from his forthcoming album, along with another new track 'Belfast City'.

"I had been on tour for a while and I was staying in Malibu. I was there with Foy Vance and I was trying to write a song and couldn't find anything I liked," said Ryan.

"He asked me where my head was at and I just said my head was at home. I hadn't been home in a while and I missed Belfast and I missed home and my friends."

He said the new track is about "being in a situation that you really don't want to be in but having to put on a smile while you're doing it.

"I've been in situations like that. The world that we live in now is pretty crazy and mental health can be a struggle."

The 29-year-old has done his fair share of travelling, having lived in Australia before coming back to Northern Ireland to do a degree in civil engineering. He then decided to pursue music full-time and has been travelling ever since.

The new track is about
The new track is about "being in a situation that you really don't want to be in but having to put on a smile while you're doing it."

He went from playing to 60 people in New York to joining Ed Sheeran on tour, playing to 16,000 people.

It led him to getting the opportunity to go on tour with Snow Patrol, his favourite band apart from The Beatles.

"Snow Patrol are a dream, I'm such a huge fan. I've been to their tour parts one and two as a fan so to play with them onstage in part three was just surreal.

"I didn't think I could get any closer to Snow Patrol until I became a member of the band. Johnny had to get neck surgery so they've asked me to fill in on piano for a while."

Ryan says the relaxed atmosphere on tour is what he enjoys, along with the close relationship he has with the band's members.

"After shows is quite tame, we pack up and go to hotels and have a drink to wind down or go straight to the airport to get the next flight to the next city.

"After the first tour they said they hope I've learned and to always remember to pass on what I've learned, because it's not just about us it's about the future of music and Northern Irish acts - so pass it on," he said.

Away from the whirlwind of touring with a globally famous band, Ryan said he loves catching up with friends and talking about comic books, superheroes and football with his friends when he's at home.

He'll be releasing 'Belfast City' digitally on August 2 ahead of his biggest headlining gig to date, at Belfast’s Custom House Square on August 17, before he heads off on his own UK tour in autumn.

"It's kind of mad because the Ulster Hall was always the goal for me. I've sold out the Ulster Hall now so it's been surreal. Custom House Square is the next one and as long as I can continue living the dream , that's all I can hope for," he said.

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