Since their 1998 debut, Songs for Polarbears, Snow Patrol have established themselves as giants of power-pop.

They have racked up an impressive number of critical and commercial accolades including 15 million global album sales, more than a billion global track streams, five UK platinum albums, and Grammy, BRIT and Mercury Prize nominations.

Now they are back with their first album for seven years, Wildness, and are celebrating with a tour which swings into the SSE Arena Wembley tomorrow (Saturday, February 2).

After their Fallen Empires tour ended in 2012, band members decided to take a step back and focus on their own projects. continued his work with his Tired Pony side project with members of Belle and Sebastian, R.E.M, Reindeer Section and Fresh Young Fellows and moved to Los Angeles to begin writing songs for movies

The extended break from Snow Patrol proved to be a source of inspiration, and writing songs that were not pulled directly from his own psyche helped heal what Gary Lightbody considered to be not so much writer’s block as life block.

Wildness taps into something raw and primitive.

Gary says: “There are many types of wildness, but I think it can be distilled into two: the wildness of the modern age and something more primal, something we were born with but forget so quickly now because of our addiction to ourselves, to social media, to everything faster, everything now.

"The level of hate and confusion and illogic and anger and spite that have come up like a torrent recently.

"That’s the ugly kind of wildness. But there is a beautiful side of wildness, our connectivity to each other, our passion, our love. It’s more and more being forgotten and dulled, because the modern noise is dialled up so loud that we can’t hear the other kind. I want to remember.”

And he said he was enjoying the tour, which has seen them played packed out arenas. Especially now he has conquered his earlier stage fright.

"You know it’s funny, when I first started out, I had no confidence in my stagecraft," he says.

"I couldn’t even call it stagecraft. I just used to get on stage and stare at my feet and had a big red face the whole time, like I was embarrassed to be there.

"I guess I probably was, I was still probably questioning what I was doing and I didn’t really have any self-belief.

"Then over time, over many, many gigs, many, many years, as the gigs started getting bigger the confidence kind of grew, that outer shell began to thicken a bit, and I was able to look at the crowd to begin with, and then interact with the crowd, and then cause a reaction in the crowd, go out there and try and make sure that everybody has a great night, make sure everybody has fun and get people singing along.

"Sometimes it happens naturally but other times it’s not a bad idea to start a sing-a-long, you know.

"Freddie Mercury showed the way on that one. Towards the end of 2012 when we were finishing the last tour, I think I was a very good frontman, and getting back into that has been an interesting thing.

"I sort of feel with the smaller shows, I was closing my eyes a lot, maybe feeling a little shy. The sort of thing that took maybe 15-20 years to happen where I went from no confidence to lots of confidence has happened in the last, there’s been like a microcosm of it in the last sort of three months, where I went from the first small shows, I went from somebody whose not really had that much confidence again to blossoming.

"We’ve had been playing festivals and I felt 'oh, here’s that guy again, I can do this again, you know?'

"So it was like this really interesting shift from the smaller shows to the bigger shows. The smaller shows you really see everybody and sometimes that makes you feel like you’re very exposed especially when you’re saying the personal things that I am.

Oxford Mail:

"The bigger shows are different. After the first few rows everything starts to blur a little bit. My eyesight is not that great at it, so you’re able to come out of yourself more and I think in the last few shows, I’ve really felt like my old self on stage again.

"I’m really looking forward to this arena show because you really feel like you have an opportunity where you can make a big arena into a small space; you can make the people at the back row just as close as the people in the front row.

"We toured with U2 for many years, and I watched them every night, every single night.

"I watched the two-hour set and it’s a master class, and then every night I realised I was bringing what I was learning from those shows into ours, I was doing what Bono was doing on stage, not as well as Bono of course, but I was bringing people into this small intimate gig, and I still have that in me to make a big gig feel intimate and I think by the reverse, we have the ability to make small gigs feel massive.

Oxford Mail:

"Some people are born great front men, I wasn’t, I’m an introvert by nature. You learn over time how to make a gig feel the way you want it to feel.

"You want the audience to have a good time, then that’s available to you, and I want the audience to have a great time every night, and I feel like they can see us having a great time and I can transmit that to them."

So what are they planning?

"We’ve been talking about that for a while. We’re trying to finalise some things for the arena show, that’s how much thought goes into it. We don’t just turn up with our equipment and a couple of lights on the night and go 'Alright, well, where do you want us to set up these lights?’

We’re thinking about the visuals, we’re thinking about the staging, thinking about how the stage looks, we’re thinking about how everything is presented, we’re thinking about the lighting of course.

Oxford Mail:

"We’ve got one of the best lighting directors in music (he’s won many awards) working with us. We call him ‘jock for life’, he’s been with us for 20 years, so he’s learned with us and we’ve went along.

"He’s the best in the business as far as I’m concerned, and the show will be spectacular. We’ve got some lovely, lovely little tricks up our sleeve and some things that we’re very excited to bringing out on this tour."

Snow Patrol play the Wembley SSE Arena tomorrow (Saturday).

Tickets and details here...