Streams 'racking up' following release of Belfast band's latest single

Members of a Belfast-based band are enjoying their “highest rated song ever” since it was released on streaming platforms last month.
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Search Party released ‘Paradise’ on March 8 with the track- their fifth single to be released- enjoying rave reviews from fans and industry publications over recent weeks.

Made up of west Belfast men Sean McDonnell (vocals and guitar), Dee Malone (drums) and Ryan Pendleton (bass), Gareth Hill (guitar) from Comber and north Belfast resident Chris Anderson (keys), Search Party formed in 2013, with Sean, Dee and Ryan all attending St Mary's Christian Brothers' Grammar School on the Glen Road.

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The band, who have also released one album and two EPs, went through various line-ups over the years, before Gareth joined in 2022.

Search Party released Paradise on March 8. (Pic: Nicole McDonnell).Search Party released Paradise on March 8. (Pic: Nicole McDonnell).
Search Party released Paradise on March 8. (Pic: Nicole McDonnell).

Speaking to this newspaper, Sean explained: “We were just about to take off for our first ever tour shows in England when we asked Gareth to join us.

"He had to learn the set on the way over on the boat and in the accommodation before the shows, but he pulled it out of the bag and has been with us ever since.

“During the first lockdown we began writing songs slightly differently because we couldn’t meet up, so we started sending each other demos of what we had been working on individually.

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"A lot of these demos contained synth sounds and keyboards which weren’t previously part of our sound. This began our search for a keyboard/synth player to achieve these sounds live.

"We jammed with a whole host of keys players and finally we came across Chris who I knew from a previous job and from his time in his former band Chris and Tom.”

Commenting on the positive feedback they have received since their latest track went live, Sean said: “Paradise has been our highest rated song we’ve ever released. We’ve never received this much press attention before with the track being reviewed by over 30 publications and added to over 80 curated playlists.

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"Fans are really enjoying the song too. Over the past few weeks people keep tagging it in their stories and the streams keep racking up.

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"Paradise is a track we wrote during rehearsals for our last tour. At the time we were all busy with work, gigs with our other bands, trying to get our heads around the admin involved in organising the tour and worrying if anyone would show up.

"The song is about being able to park those worries at the door and come home to your own slice of paradise with the person you love.”

Detailing what inspired them to pen the track, Sean stated: “We actually wrote the song halfway through 2022, it was of those songs that came together quite quickly, but finding the right sound was the tough part.

"We made like two or three demos of the track before going to the studio because we wanted to make sure we knew what it should sound like before laying it all down. Even though it wasn’t released, we kept sneaking it into our set to see how people would respond to it and to our surprise everyone loved it so we kept it in there.

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“It’s crazy that you spend a year and a half putting it together and it only takes one day in the studio to record it, but we’re happy with how it’s turned out.”

The track was recorded at Manor Park Studio in Moneyglass, with the band full of praise for producer Neal Calderwood.

Sean continued: “We recorded this track with Neal Calderwood in Manor Park Studio on a frosty morning. We almost died trying to drive up the icy lane towards the studio because the roads were so

slippery. Gareth’s car completely spun round onto the other side of the road and was inches from falling in a ditch.

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"Luckily, we came out unscathed and made this song and another called ‘Cave’ which will be coming out later this year.

"Neal is a very meticulous engineer with a real keen-professional eye for detail, making sure our harmonies weren’t too close in pitch, ensuring doubles synced up and checking the intonation of our guitars throughout the session.

"We have never attempted to achieve perfection in this way before and let me tell you, it was tough.

“However, Neal’s studio is the perfect environment for this level of effort. spacious recording areas, a cosy living space to play pool in between takes and Neal’s calm presence all make the

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experience a joy. It was our first time working with him and we would definitely do it again.”

The band, having played in some iconic venues across the UK and Ireland, including Whelan’s Dublin, The Castle Hotel Manchester, The Belfast Empire and The Jacaranda in Liverpool, will be performing at a number of locations this year, including their “biggest headline show.”

Sean added: "Last year we headlined our UK and Ireland tour playing 10 dates in brand new cities for us. We capped it off with a big sold out headline show in the Ulster Sports Club in October. It was an amazing experience and we can’t wait to get out there again.

“We have lots of shows coming up. We can’t wait to support The Sherlocks on their UK tour in Voodoo on May 12. We’ll also be performing at United Tribes Festival this year, so

anyone who’s got their tickets will see us there.

"However, our biggest show of the year will be our headliner at The Belfast Empire on November 15, it’s our biggest headline show to date and I think it’s the best set we’ve ever put together too.”

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