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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I Was Featured On My Favorite Radio Station!

plA few days ago, I entered in a contest through 94.7 fm, my favorite alternative radio station. The contest required you to enter five of your favorite songs you’d like to hear on the radio, a short description as to why you chose them, and a little bit about yourself. Of course I entered, since this type of thing is right up my alley! 🙂 I listen to this station every day, and love hearing other people’s playlists that are highlighted.

To my surprise, I was chosen to be featured on the radio segment last night at 6 pm! The segment, funnily enough, is called 94.7’s Perfect Playlist, and if you’d like to listen to last night’s episode to hear the five songs I chose, as well as a little bit about me, you can do so by clicking the image on the left! (Photo of me by Kendra Siebert.)

If you’d like to listen to these five songs more clearly, here are the individual links.

“Phantom Limb” by The Shins

“Bridge Burn” by Little Comets

“Packed Powder” by Blind Pilot

“She Moves In Her Own Way” by The Kooks

“Linger” by The Cranberries

Enjoy, and thank you so much 94.7 fm for this awesome opportunity!

Soundtrack To My Summer 2016

Hello hello!

Today I thought I’d share with you a few of the albums I’ve been jamming out to this summer. Every year, I seem to find a new abundance of insanely good records that keep me smiling (and singing) all throughout the hot summer months. Enjoy, and please tweet me your favorites this summer! 🙂

Life_is_ElsewhereLittle Comets–Life Is Elsewhere

This album is a few years old, but for some reason, I’ve become obsessed with it this summer. When it was released in 2012, I briefly gave it a listen after meeting the band at the Skype Live Studio in Portland. Although I did enjoy it back then, I have grown to like it even more over the past few months–definitely my type of music now. The album features echoey, booming choruses and witty lyrics that AllMusic claims “straddles the line between experimental art rock and dance-oriented indie pop.” I absolutely love all the tracks on this album, but my top three favorites are definitely “Bridge Burn,” “Violence Out Tonight,” and “Worry.”

poolsPorches–Pool

What first drew me to this album was the cover art. (It reminded me a bit of the style of my favorite band, The 1975.) The dreamy pinks and purple hues of the photo parallels the sounds of the record–the lead singer, Aaron Maine, posseses a funky, captivating, almost-lonesome-sounding voice and he is backed by some hypnotizing bass as well as snynthesizer. This album came out in February of this year, and is the band’s second studio album. With a sound similar to The xx and Beach House, this record serves as a great playlist for napping, studying, or just spacing out.

packshotBand Of Horses–Why Are You OK

Before the release of this album in June, I hadn’t listened to much of this band’s material. But when I started noticing the hype surrounding this new record, I decided to give it a shot…and I love it! According to Pitchfork, “much of Why Are You OK? was inspired by Bridwell’s experience as a father of four—recording all night and taking his kids to school looking like the ‘fucking scariest dad.’ Fatherhood teaches some to put their own problems aside and recognize what’s really important when other people are depending on you.” Each song on the album is spacey in a sense, yet each track seems to tie itself together through the band’s prominent guitar riffs, Death Cab For Cutie-esque sound, and lead singer Ben Briwell’s brilliant vocals.

the-rocky-horror-picture-show-51f816242f710The Rocky Horror Picture Show Original Soundtrack

If you’re not familiar with this popular cult classic, I encourage you to look up showings (with alive shadow cast!) in your city and check it out. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a 1975 musical-comedy- horror film which flopped when it was first released, has gained a massive following over the years. During my first year of college this last year, my best friend introduced me to the film, and invited me to a screening which featured a live shadow cast. After one show, I was hooked. The film, which stars actor Tim Curry, is fascinating, hilarious, and just plain entertaining. So naturally, I’ve had the soundtrack on repeat this past summer. Pretty sure my parents and sister are tired of me belting “Time Warp” in the kitchen.

emily-king-the-switch-lp-stream-715x715Emily King–The Switch

If you read my recent concert preview about the fab Emily King, you know how much I love this album. It came out on June 24th of this year. The record is climbing the charts through the record’s killer bass, simple-yet-deeply-emotional lyrics, and hypnotizing harmonies sung by Emily herself.  Emily’s has a unique voice that is both breathy and compelling, and just plain beautiful. Currently, my favorite track on this album is the sassy, yet clever “BYIMM,” (which stands for By You I Mean Me.) Check out the amazing video here, which features The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Tituss Birgess. (My fave.)