Gary Lightbody, the lead singer of Snow Patrol, only wanted to make a country album but accidentally ended up assembling an indie super-group.

 

He recruited R.E.M. axeman Peter Buck, Belle & Sebastian drummer Richard Colburn, R.E.M. producer Jacknife Lee, Editors frontman Tom Smith, and M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel from She & Him. And with that, Tired Pony was born. Metro spoke with Lightbody about the new album, The Place We Ran From.

How comfortable are you with the label super-group?
Well, I don’t know, I guess we’re a big band, so on paper that’s what it seems like. But it’s not an ego-driven project, it’s a song-driven project. We just started a band and discussed in the band how it should be. We don’t want anything to do with other bands. It’s just a bunch of really tender beautiful songs, and not a bunch of egos.

 

How was the band born?
I’d already done a project like this with The Reindeer Section a few years ago. I just wanted to make an album and there were a few people I wanted to ask, and I did.

Is The Place We Ran From really a county album?
That’s what I originally said when I was starting a new band called Tired Pony, but that’s before the band got together and we recorded everything. Now it really doesn’t sound country. It has a certain American kind quality in it, it was recorded in America and the songs are about America. In that sense, it's very country. But it’s not an original country record.

Where does your interest in country music come from?
I think it’s in the incredible stories, it comes a lot from the heart. I wanted to see if I could make an album with that kind of edge, and not to write a record about myself, but based on characters. Country music is very character-based.

 

What about the other musicians — are they your guests or full members?
Both. Some of them just popped in and played, others we invited specifically to play on the record.

Who was the first person you invited?
The band was originally me, Richard Colburn, Troy Stewart and Garrett “Jacknife” Lee. Then Garrett suggested Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey. Then everybody else came along, but all the others weren’t just a collection of people. We were a band.