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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Concert Preview: Beat Connection

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Beat Connection, a four-piece group originally formed by college friends Reed Juenger and Jordan Koplowitz, began in their garage. Garageband to be exact. After compiling songs and testing out various DJing styles, Reed and Jordan self-released their debut EP Surf Noir in 2010.

The band has evolved over the years in more ways than one–and not just in their musical style. Originally an indie-electronic duo (composed of solely Jordan and Reed) based in Seattle, Jordan eventually left the band and was replaced by drummer Jarred Katz, singer Tom Eddy, and bass player Mark Hunter.

picSince the success of their debut EP, they’ve released two more records: The Palace Garden in 2012, and Product 3 in August 2015. In addition, they’ve opened for bands such as Rhye and Years & Years all over the U.S. With a retro-electric sound similar to bands such as Glass Animals, Alt J and Tame Impala, Beat Connection are a guaranteed to be a concert crowd pleaser on their ongoing Northwest Fall 2016 Tour.

polaroidAn impressive amount of synthesizers and keyboards cover the stage during their live shows, and lead singer Tom Eddy’s gruff, engaging vocals have no problem captivating the crowd. Beat Connection does just what their band name suggests–connects and engages the crowd with a variety of unique beats and harmonies. A few personal favorites of mine are “Hesitation,” “For the Record,” and “So Good.” If you’re into bands like Flume, Grouplove, or any of the bands mentioned above, you’ll fall in love with Beat Connection.

(Photos by Megumi Arai, Conner Lyons, and Beat Connection’s Instagram.)

Follow the band’s tour here!

Wanna see them in Portland? Get tickets to their show at the Doug Fir Lounge here. ($12, 21+ show)

Listen to the band’s latest record on Spotify here.

Follow Beat Connection on Twitter here.

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Concert Preview: Emily King

bBjW2KcvAE19ElVaiForUvmnQvbP26hld-ZXkQxeoCE,qomIi-saXz-sXwe_wF3aZeRhsyVqWHGmf4-Q9dEVNGQ,9kK1BKZdv20Ci6Q_CqrAUBcitjYCNp4_nDy1OzfayC8Singer-songwriter Emily King will be performing at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, OR on August 5th. Want to get to know this talented, Grammy-nominated it-girl before seeing her live? Then you’ve come to the right place. 🙂

Born in New York City, Emily has been surrounded by music her entire life. Her parents, Marion Cowings and Kim Kalesti, were a traveling singing duo while she was growing up, and Emily herself began to pursue music at the age of just sixteen. Her debut album, titled East Side Story, was released in August of 2007. USA Today rated it four out of five stars, and it was even nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Contemporary R&B Album of the Year. And Emily’s success didn’t stop there. Also in 2007, Emily toured with John Legend, opened for a few iconic artists such as Alicia Keys and Chaka Khan, and even Maroon 5! In 2012, she opened for singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. (One of my favorites!)

Egi-F7vB5wni3XQF2Ern1XXy-HHOGEdsricDj-VxKykEmily’s distinct style and image have caught the eyes and ears of fans around the world. Although Emily was initially working with a record label until 2008, she’s worked on her music independently since, and her latest album, The Switch really reflects that. And I’ve got to say, this album is absolutely brilliant. The Switch features some killer bass, simple-yet deeply-emotional lyrics, and hypnotizing harmonies sung by Emily herself. Fans of Alabama Shakes, Kitten, and London Grammar will appreciate Emily’s breathy, compelling voice that truly fills your headphones in a way I haven’t ever heard before.

emily-king-the-switch-lp-stream-715x715Emily will be performing songs off her latest record, The Switch during her tour this summer, which was released just this last month on the 24th of June. A few of my personal favorites off this album are “Already There,” “Off Center,” “Distance,” and “The Switch.” Each song tells a relatable, descriptive story and Emily’s vocals make each song absolutely unique in their own way. This album is heavily influenced by indie, soul, and R&B musical style, and Emily’s soulful  vocals makes this album a perfect soundtrack for your summer. It’s been on repeat for me the past few weeks!

With a strong, charismatic stage presence, some killer tunes, a phenomenal new album, and simply an amazing, refreshing voice, Emily King is guaranteed to put on an amazing show this August. Make sure you grab your tickets now while they last, and feel free to tweet me pics & reactions to the show when you’re there!

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Find Emily here:

Instagram

Website

Spotify

CONCERTS: Tori Kelly

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Last week, my friend Annie & I finally got to see one of our favorite artists live on her #WhereIBelongTour: Tori Kelly! Tori started out on YouTube, and after being eliminated from American Idol, she began working on her own music when her YouTube career took off. She has an incredible voice that seems to have no limits–she can cover every song flawlessly, always adding her own sense of flair to the piece. She is able to sing extremely high notes, and she reminds me a bit of artists like Ariana Grande & Mariah Carey. I’ve been a fan of Tori for about two years, and she’s recently been making music with a few of my other favorite artists, including Ed Sheeran!

Tori’s opener was Us The Duo, an extremely cute, singing couple. Us The Duo got started on Vine, similar to Tori’s career on YouTube. They went viral and eventually gained a loyal fan base of over 4 million people. Now they’re touring all over the world. I absolutely loved their set. They sang a cover or two, and performed a ton of songs from their chart-topping album No Matter Where You Are. Their chemistry on stage was so genuine. They sang into each others’ eyes, and kept sneaking looks at each other as they took turns with their parts. ADORABLE.

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When Tori finally came on, the crowd went wild. She had been teasing us for hours on Snapchat and Twitter, tweeting out things like this:

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Tori debuted songs off her upcoming album, Unbreakable Smile, which really got me hyped for it’s release on June 23rd. Additionally, she belted out a few throwback songs that everyone knew the words to, like her most popular single, “Dear No One.”
My other favorite song that she performed was “Confetti.”

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She had an insane amount of energy on stage. She got the crowd involved and excited during her loud, fast-paced songs, (like her most recent single “Aint’ Nobody Love“) and when she sang her heartfelt, personal songs the audience quieted and it seemed as if she was singing to each one of us individually.

CGoICFVVAAAItwQIf you get a chance to see Tori live, I’d highly recommend it! She aslo loves meeting people, and often has fun meet and greets set up before her shows. I didn’t get to meet her, but I heard about the experience. On this tour, Tori ran a contest for fans to hang out with her before the show & drink tea. She posts a Snap of #teawithtori after each city she visits! (Tori’s SnapChat: KoriTelly)

If you are trying to meet Tori but don’t want to pay, get in line pretty early when going to one of her shows. Rumor has it that she says a quick hello to super dedicated fans waiting outside!

                     Find Tori:

YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

Website