Johnny's on Patrol after taking Berlin

Performing live for three million people one week and kicking off a winter tour with a superstar indie band the next may seem like a hectic workload, but for one Derry man it's simply living the dream.

For the next three weeks, musician, songwriter and producer Johnny McDaid (pictured) will be touring Britain and Ireland for ten dates with indie giants and "good friends" Snow Patrol.

The 33 year-old Culmore Road native had little rest in between performing his anthem to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate on Monday of last week and the opening of the Snow Patrol tour in Brighton on Wednesday night. However, he did spare some time to speak to the 'Journal' about his life in the rock and roll fast lane.

The Derry man - who fronted the popular Vega4 before leaving the band which enjoyed success in the US - revealed that he has just entered into a music production venture with Snow Patrol.

Johnny spoke candidly from his studio in London, where he's lived since embarking on a career in music at the age of 17.

"Snow Patrol set up a production company recently and I've signed with them - its called Polar Patrol Music. The guys are some of my closest friends - for years we've worked together, toured together, written together, we even live in the same street."

It's been a hectic time for the Derry talent recently.

"When I came back from Germany, I was straight into rehearsals for the tour - there was no time to spare. The tour's called 'Reworked', we've been tearing all their songs apart and putting them back together in different ways. I'm used to performing with them so it will be great to go on the road - we do secret pub gigs all the time and hang out in each others houses. It'll be like the old days for me. I love being on the road although I don't do it much anymore, I mostly write and produce songs now for other popstars, films and TV."

Johnny has performed in 15 different countries this year with Germany's king of trance, Paul Van Dyke - with whom he collaborated on the Berlin Wall anniversary anthem 'We Are One'.

Berlin anniversary

"We were mostly performing at club festivals including Creamfields and in Central Park."

However, Johnny - who remembers his first guitar lesson with The Undertones' John O'Neill at 'The Collective' at Northland Road (forerunner to the Nerve Centre) - described the Berlin performance as "truly amazing".

"Three million people turned out in the lashing rain to celebrate a massive moment in history . . . it was a pretty nerve wrecking experience. To take part in something that size, which meant so mush to so many people, was truly amazing.

"Just to look out and see the people in the streets for miles and miles - people turned out in their millions to take part."

Johnny and Paul (Van Dyke), who co-wrote 'Time Of Our Lives' from the Grammy nominated album Reflections and number one club chart hit 'Home', penned the anthem in the summer and, when it came to performing it live, the Derry man even tried to speak a little German.

"I don't know whether I had a John F Kennedy moment, but I tried."

As well as the millions on the streets, including Johnny's mum and dad, about 700 TV channels from around the world covered the concert. Johnny performed alongside a line-up that included Bon Jovi and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.


Johnny's success in the music industry is not new-founded. Vega4, which was signed to Columbia in the UK and Epic in the US, enjoyed great success before calling it a day.

Vega4's single 'Life is Beautiful' was featured on popular TV series Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill and Defying Gravity while 'You and Me' was used by RT 2fm to re-launch the station's new look and line-up. Vega4 tracks were also used on the films Into the Blue and My Sister's Keeper.

Despite all his success Johnny remains single - something he attributes to heavy workload. He quipped: "I don't have a girlfriends at the minute so I suppose you could say Johnny needs love, maybe the Journal's readers can help me out!"