Snow Patrol's new album Wildness is their first in seven years. Here singer Gary Lightbody discusses some of its finer details.
Making it both broke me and healed me. I’m loath to say it’s the best album we’ve ever made because that should go without saying, however it’s the album I’m most proud of. I went through a lot to make it, but I’m glad I did.
We tried something different sonically — less clutter, fewer instruments taking up space to create more space, width and size. Turns out if you leave some things to the imagination, it helps. We didn’t know that until this album.
Lyrically, tonally, its essence is one of hope. Light in the darkness. The Lightbody family motto (well, the crest that hung on the wall when I was young...) said “clarior e tenebris” which means ‘brighter after the darkness’. It’s a motto that sunk in. It only took 40-odd years!
On Life on Earth:
My favourite song is Life on Earth. It took five years to write from start to finish, so it symbolises the grit and graft of this record as much as the craft and ambition. I think it’s the best song I’ve ever written — perhaps that’s for others to decide, not me — but it’s certainly the song I like the best. Life on Earth showed me the way for the whole album. It reminded me I could still write a song when perhaps I thought I may never write another one.
On writing 600 songs:
I go through a lot of crap to get to the good stuff. I always have. It doesn’t come easy for me. I’m not an instinctive writer anymore, like I was when I was younger. I have to write and write and edit, but the 10 songs out of the 25 we ended up recording did pretty much pick themselves. They were the best 10. There wasn’t even any debate between us — it was so clear.
On its title:
More than anything, Wildness symbolises trying to remove myself from the modern world. It’s about finding peace in conversation and communion with friends, with nature and with myself. Solitude can be peaceful and liberating, rather than isolating. I’m trying to change my relationship with technology to become less reliant on it. Wildness harks to a more primal time when we all knew that we needed to have each other’s backs because there were literal wolves at the door. I want to feel connected to humanity in a way I think has been a bit forgotten.
On album completion:
I was confused. I thought I would feel relief and when none came I felt very isolated. It was maybe the hardest time of the album-making process because it took me by surprise. I knew making it would be tough, so I steeled myself, but I didn’t think finishing it would be so hard. That passed and relief and joy came eventually, but it took its sweet time.