Interview: Little Comets

Little Comets are a band from Newcastle that has come a long way since first single ‘One Night in October’. Transitioning from a vibrant indie style in earlier tracks such as ‘Dancing Song’ to a more emotionally poignant sound in recent releases such as ‘Little Italy’, the band have seen an evolvement in fan base and headlined around the country during 2014.

A new album is widely anticipated by fans to be released later in 2014, following the release of the Gentle EP in February. Little Comets distinct vocal harmonies and eloquent lyrics have enlightened fans throughout their existence and the expectation for the new album is building throughout the indie scene.

With a new EP titled ‘Salt’ set to be released on the 16th June, I caught up with the band about new developments, past experiences and their thoughts on the future.

In the lyrics blog, you state that Salt is ‘probably the saddest song that we’ve ever had to write and also lyrically the most difficult to finish.’ Can you explain a little bit more about how the story of the song affected you and how you went about recording the single?

Well both me and Mickey are parents so reading quite a cold, non-emotional report of child abuse was pretty harrowing and not easy to separate from my own little boy’s life. The constant succession of incidents that Daniel Pelka – the boy who was killed – had to cope with was chilling.

The music for the song was recorded during the winter, starting with a loop that we’d created with vocals. We knew that we wanted to use the piano for a middle section but other than that, things developed pretty organically as we recorded it. The vocals were done last, so the added emotion of the lyrics really helped bring the song together, I think.

Do you think that Salt signals a new direction for the band or is the song more of an evolution of your previous singles?

I don’t know – we don’t really think about that when writing or retrospectively attach labels like that to the music. We just write songs – whatever works for that piece of music is the focus. If it sounds different, the same or evolved is a total by-product. I think naturally you change and learn in whatever you are doing – Mickey is always thinking about how he can add skills and equipment to the production side of things so it will no doubt change over time.

The recent ‘Gentle EP’ was critically acclaimed and has a lot of emotion conveyed through the lyrics, much like your previous work. Do you have a favourite song from the EP? (Mine is The Blur, the line and the thickest of onions!)

Aaaah, I like bits of them all I think. I don’t really like listening to my voice so in that sense “The Blur…” is probably my least favourite as I don’t like the vocal sound so much, but then I do feel passionately about the lyrics. I suppose there’s things I’d change about all of them haha.

Do you believe your sound has evolved since your early days of ‘One Night in October’ and ‘Joanna’? Have the lyrics become more emotional and poignant with you or is it more a sense of changing your sound and developing as a band?

It has definitely changed – I think it is down to a few things. If we played the same thing constantly we’d be bored and we are quite inquisitive people so the music will always change. We are seven years older now, so that extra 20% of living life is going to be impactful. Me and Mickey are dads so again, quite a big change to our perception of life, plus we write music for ourselves now – we’ve worked it out. We don’t have some bullshit cliched lifestyle to support or a record label to make happy – we just like to write songs. I think when we started, the joy of making music was lost in trying to tick things off a list. Now we’ve realised that the list is inert, all we are left with is the music.

Where is your favourite place to play in the UK? I have seen you play at Leeds Festival where you always go down a storm and also in Sheffield on your recent headline tour, but where is your favourite?

We honestly don’t have one – places and venues are good for different reasons: Newcastle is home, Hull is rambunctious, Norwich respectful, Cambridge moves, Sheffield is honest – all lovely in their own way.

It’s funny, out of all the gigs we’ve played the one I enjoyed the most was in a pub in Sheffield before Tramlines. It looked like it would be a total disaster – awful PA, tiny stage, mayhem getting in and out – but it turned out just to have complete magic about it.

How was the recent headline tour for the band? Was it the best you think you have played so far?

We really enjoyed the last tour. Often when we’ve toured in the past we’ve been obsessed with the minutiae and getting everything right, but in February- predominantly because we hadn’t toured for a while – we just had an attitude of enjoying the gigs. We are really lucky to be in a band and play music to quite a lot of people; you never know when it is going to end. This made the tour really special, plus we felt like a proper band playing in some nice venues or venues where we’d only been a support band before.

I know that you have a good relationship with Catfish and the Bottlemen, who supported you on your most recent tour. Do you believe that this band will also see the growth and development that you have achieved?

Haha, who knows. They are just nice people so as long as they still have their minds and integrity intact in five years that’s all that matters really. I think they seem to be on a positive trajectory at the minute but that brings challenges that we just didn’t have. If no-one has an expectation of album sales and ticket figures, it brings a certain level of freedom artistically; when that changes it is always interesting to see a band’s next move.

Finally, how do you see the future for the band? What’s next after the Salt single and EP?

Who knows, as long as we can still make music as a career and enjoy it and get on with each other then we can’t ask for anything else. We are fortunate to have a small but extremely loyal fanbase, so as long as people like our newer music things should be ok.

We’ve got another EP in October and an album soon after that so it’s a very positive and productive time.

 

Little Comets new EP Salt is out on the 16th June. Check out the title track Salt below: