An Interview with Little Comets

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I’m thrilled to give you all this post! Little Comets, an English indie-rock band that formed in 2008, have been one of my favorite bands since high school. I’m ecstatic to have interviewed lead singer, Rob Coles, for my blog.

Little Comets, made up of brothers Rob and Michael Coles, plus friends Matthew Hall, Matt Saxon, and Nathan Greene, released their debut album, In Search of Elusive Little Comets in 2011. The next year, the band released their second album, Life is Elsewhere, (my favorite!) under Dirty Hit records. If you’re unfamiliar with Dirty Hit, they’re an award-winning, British, independent label (and happen to be my favorite record label), whose artists include The 1975, Pale Waves, Wolf Alice, The Japanese House, and more. Little Comets were signed with Dirty Hit until 2017. They independently released their third album, Worhead, that same year.

Matty Healy of The 1975 mentioned his friendship with the guys in an 2013 interview.  Little Comets even helped produce some of The 1975’s early tracks.

“Little Comets took us out on the road when we were in our very embryonic stages of our old band and just let us open up for them. We started getting fans off the back of that…Then they helped us produce ‘Sex’ the song, and ‘You,'” -Matty Healy

I discovered Little Comets in 2013 when they performed a show at a small, intimate venue in Portland. I got tickets to the show out of curiosity, and after just a few minutes, I fell in love with the band’s unique sound. Echoey, driving drums, beachy guitar riffs and vivid lyrics that can be interpreted in a variety of ways…that’s Little Comets.

Little Comets started out by playing small college gigs, cafes, and other unusual venues in the UK. Since then, the guys have come a long way. Just this last year, the band teamed up with Catfish and the Bottlemen (another fave band of mine) for a sold-out arena tour. After that, the band spent the winter writing and working on new music in none other than singer Frank Sinatra’s former summer home in California! These days, album number five is in the works, and the guys are planning out their next tour–it will be the first time they’ve hit the road in two years.

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about how Little Comets got started. Have you all been involved in music-related projects since you were young?

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Little Comets (Rob Coles): Mickey are I brothers, so we’ve been writing songs in the house since we were very little. Once we’d finished Uni, we decided to see if we could make a living out of being creative, musically, so we set about finding other musicians to form a band. That was the start of Little Comets with Mark (our original drummer), and Matt, our bassist.

APP: One of my favorite songs of yours is “Bridge Burn.” It’s a super special song for me and a few friends. Can you tell me a little bit about the story behind it?

RC: Ah thanks, that’s nice to hear! That’s a song I wrote in my bedroom while Mickey was mixing songs for our second album. I kind of wrote/recorded it roughly and had lots of lyrics almost immediately for it. The coast is pretty great for providing lyrical metaphors. Theme-wise, it’s just about two people who realize that their time is up. When Mickey heard the song, he really molded the landscape. Initially, it was just a B-side, but in hindsight, we probably should have put a little more faith in it, as it seems to be a pretty popular song.

APP: Your sound/genre has been described as “kitchen sink indie.” Do you agree with that?

RC: Haha, I don’t really mind–as long as people are polite and constructive, they can describe our sound how they like. I suppose that it could mean, in terms of subject matter, that we write about kitchen sink-related things, which was certainly true of album one. In a sonic sense, though, we do use a lot of percussive instruments which are also kitchenalia, so if the cap fits…

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APP: If you could invite one artist/band to be in the crowd at one of your shows, who would it be and why?

RC: We got really excited once at a gig in Oxford because somebody asked that Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) be put on the guest list. It spoilt the gig, though, because we spent the whole evening looking for Jonny Greenwood despite him not actually being there, and probably never having any intention of being there. So I would choose Jonny Greenwood because I haven’t said “Jonny Greenwood” enough in this answer.

APP: Your latest music video, “American Tuna,” is super creative and visually complex in how it was filmed. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience filming? How did you come up with the idea as it relates to the song?

RC: It was fun, but stressful. We had received an email telling us, despite our very polite request, that we explicitly couldn’t use the building. So the whole process was based around being very secretive. This definitely hampered the final product, as we couldn’t redo shots or control timing or lighting. Mickey was in a Paternoster lift in an 18-floor building with the camera. As the lift travels up, each floor is a different scene which tells the story of a relationship. Mickey was in that lift for about 6 solid hours while we chased him ’round the building, doing scenes in non-chronological order to avoid security cameras. We were happy with the final video, but I just wish that people could see the levels of effort and time that just three people were involved in executing. It looks pretty pro, and the DIYness doesn’t come through. I think that given the constraints, it’s amazing. But I’m biased.

APP: That’s mind-blowing. Writing music is super different from filming a visual interpretation of a song through a music video. Has that ever been a challenge for you as a band?

RC:  I think we’ve learned to separate the processes quite naturally. We also like learning new skills, so the challenge of making a video or a piece of artwork is an opportunity to do that. The only problem is time. We are three people, yet we have to record, write, and release the music on our own label, then promote it whilst making the videos and artwork. Because we are novices in many of these areas, it takes us longer to produce these assets. That often puts us behind, as artists at a commensurate level have teams of people and pools of financial resources that we don’t. It does make the task psychologically difficult at times as well, compounded by the fact that we are in a industry that gives credence to having a machine in tow. We often get overlooked and dismissed because we don’t have a manager, record label, publisher, art director, plugging team etc. I think this is where the real challenge lies for us.

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APP: You haven’t toured for two years, but you’re making plans to head back onto the road soon! Do you have a favorite/funny memory from being on tour in the past?

RC: Probably when Matt broke his foot in Texas. We spent the next five days telling him he was fine, but then talking privately about how he was really hamming it up. By the time we got to Missouri, he got an X-ray and found out he had a hairline fracture. We felt TERRIBLE! He completed the rest of the tour perched on a bar stool during the gigs, and he became my hero.

APP: Are there any songs you feel you’ve outgrown that now seem to stray from your current sound?

RC: Ah no, they are all our babies. They popped out for a reason and we can’t really turn them away even when they become slightly haggard/annoying. That would be bad song parenting!

 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Rob!

Listen to Little Comets here:

 

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Single Review: “Luna” by Veludo Planes

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Veludo Planes is a four-piece alternative/indie band from the south coast of the U.K., made up of members Mike, Sam, Chris, and Ollie. According to their Twitter bio, they describe themselves as “disillusioned 20 somethings with guitars.”

Two of the band mates, Mike and Chris, are identical twin brothers. With a sound similar to The Kooks and Oasis, Veludo Planes have won the hearts of fans across the world through their killer guitar riffs, and gruff, intense vocals that seem to transport the listener back in time through the band’s 90’s-esque style. Veludo Planes have previously supported big names such as Circa Waves, Blossoms, The Subways and Spring King, whilst performing at various UK festivals over the past year. (Photo courtesy of Veludo Planes.)

The group have released quite a few singles, such as: “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “Wicker Man,” and their most recent,”Luna,” which they’ve paired with a sweet music video just this past week. (I wrote an article an article on this group in July of this past year on RadSound. Check it out here.)

9smlo3xhbquqbvmzy89vmi2tohbwckmkyrpdg3ayn7yI’m loving the metallic, nostalgic sound of this brand new track, “Luna,” and the accompanying raw footage of the group enjoying their time on the road while touring for fans around the U.K. I definitely see big things happening for this band in the near future–their music reminds me a lot of the style of one of my favorite bands of all time, Oasis. Make sure you get on board in supporting this rad group by following their Facebook, Soundcloud and Spotify page!

Nina Nesbitt’s “Songs I’m Writing For You” Project

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One of my favorite UK female artists, Nina Nesbitt, recently came up with an idea that brings fans even closer to her music. I absolutely love the idea, and I thought I’d write a little blog post about it. I encourage you to check out a few of the songs she recently released for her project “Songs I’m Writing For You.” 🙂 (Photo on the left by Drew Fawkes)

Nina’s idea allows fans to submit personal stories to her, which she then transforms into songs. Fans sent a variety of stories; from breakups, dark/happy times in their lives, and tales of the people and things that mean most to them. Additionally, Nina asked fans to send bits and pieces of details that could help her translate their story into a song, such as memories of particular smells, sensations, colors, and visuals that relate to their experience. I think this is such an incredible way to incorporate the fans into her music–fans will treasure these songs Nina has written for them for the rest of their lives, and I love the idea that she is translating their thoughts and emotions into a song, which is really difficult for people who love music but can’t write their own (like me, haha) to do.

ninaSo far, Nina has released two tracks that were derived from stories submitted by fans: “Ontario,” and “Brisbane.” The titles refer to the places around the world in which the fans live, and where the stories take place. “Ontario” tells the heartbreaking story of two friends who begin to blur the lines between friendship and something more, taking place in a crowded house party where jealousy, lust, and sadness begin to taint their developing relationship. “Brisbane,” however, follows the story of a girl’s close relationship with her aging father. The young girl worries her memories of her father will fade after he has passed, and wonders if she will lose a piece of herself when she loses him someday.

After releasing these tracks, Nina has continued to use this project to give back to her fans. After the release of “Ontario,” Nina put a number of limited edition CDs for sale on her website which were not only all autographed, but also featured a unique lyric from the single written on each of the sleeves.

ninaI just want to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible amount of effort Nina has made over the years in connecting with her fans across the world. She is constantly giving fans the opportunity to be involved in her projects, whether that means helping her write new songs, or submitting pictures of them wearing her merchandise for a chance to be featured on her website. So cool, and such a great way to gain life-long fans.

I’m so excited to see what songs Nina will release next based on fan submissions! In the meantime, though, “Brisbane” and “Ontario” are currently on repeat. Thanks for all the cool things you do for your fans, Nina! 🙂