Contrary to popular opinion, Snow Patrol have actually been a band since 1994, when frontman Gary Lightbody met guitarist Mark McClelland at Scotland's Dundee University. They called themselves Polar Bear but were forced to change the name when former Jane's Addiction bassist Eric Avery, who had his own Polar Bear in the U.S., threatened to sue.
Lightbody and McLelland (who left the group last year) dubbed themselves Snow Patrol and released their debut album, the cheekily titled Songs for Polar Bears, in 1998. Their two subsequent albums, 2001's When It's All Over We Still Need to Clear Up (a moderate hit) and last year's Final Straw, made them one of Britain's biggest bands and earned them a devoted U.S. fanbase (see "Winter Storm Warning: Snow Patrol To Blanket The U.S. This Fall").
So while most of the record-buying public considers them some sort of overnight sensation, that's fine with Snow Patrol. They more or less see themselves that way too.
"We were kind of a new band in the U.K. when Final Straw came out, because the first two albums only sold about 12,000 copies," drummer Johnny Quinn laughed. "So it's been fun to see the band take off. It's been exciting to work in America, do three tours in a year, and see it pay off. It takes a lot of work but it's exciting to watch it come together."
Snow Patrol now find themselves in an unfamiliar position: making an album a whole lot of people are clamoring to hear. And after almost two straight years on the road (they began touring the U.K. well before Final Straw was released), they're finally getting down to business. Working once again with producer Garrett Lee, they've begun pounding out a new "upbeat" batch of tunes. These include the live favorite "Chasing Cars," which Lightbody said is a good indication of how the new album will sound.
"Things are a bit louder, a bit bolder this time around. We've been writing this album for a while now, and we can't wait to get into the studio," he said. "We usually take a while between records, but we want to get this one out next year."