Interview: Little Comets

By on Wednesday, 11th November 2009 at 3:00 pm

Little Comets (side)Newcastle’s Little Comets are quickly coming up the ranks of indie bands going places at the end of 2009, and have been picked to play Topman’s CTRL gig this month at Korova in Liverpool, next Thursday November 19th.

On CTRL each month a different band edits the blog then curates a live show. This month is Passion Pit, who are live on the site now and have chosen Little Comets, Airship and Bicycle Thieves for their show.

CTRL sat down with Rob from Little Comets for a quick interview on dancing in petrol stations and drumming under bridges

Can you start by describing your sound?

Rob: I think we try and make pretty melodic, percussive music dealing with quite dark subject matter, but with jaunty melodies. It’s hard to do!

So disguising the dark subject matter?

Rob: Yeah, you could say that!

The phrase ‘Kitchen Sink Indie’ has been used to describe you, care to comment?

Rob: It might just be lazy journalism, as we do mention a kitchen and a sink separately in a couple of songs, so they could have just put the two together, or it might be an interesting description.

So it’s not a reference to classic ‘kitchen sink dramas’?

Rob: I think a lot of the lyrics do deal with an objects perspective on a relationship or social situation, so there might be something in it.

There are a diverse set of influences listed on your website, people like Roald Dahl and Ella Fitzgerald, did you write that or is someone else responsible for it?

Rob: Yeah I think you could site those as some of our influences, like the imagination of Roald Dahl and with classical music as well, like Elgar and Debussy. There’s a lot to take from it.

So what do you take from things like Classical music?

Rob: We do our own recording and Michael, the guitarist, produces it.

What I love about classical music is it takes so many instruments and so many ideas and interweaves them all, yet it still works and every instrument has its place. When we’re recording, we try to imitate that idea, so even the tiniest sound is thought about and has it’s place and relates to the other instruments.

Are you going to carry that concept through with the debut album, and produce it yourselves?

Rob: Yeah, it’s all done, we’ve been recording over the last few months, quite a lot was honed in strange creepy places in Newcastle, and we finished it in a studio in France. It was mixed by Rich Crofty who has worked with MGMT and Glasvegas. So at least from a sonic point of view it should sound good!

Has the album got a name yet?

Rob: We’re trying to do the artwork at the moment, and we’ve got a couple of names, so we’re going to see which will work visually.

So when can people expect to hear it?

Rob: I think we’re going to release a single in February, and then the album should hopefully be released at the end of April start of May.

They mentioned in NME that you were in 3 or 4 bands before this, is that right?

Rob: I think we have in the same way that everyone has. We found that quite a bizarre article.

Fair enough how much has your sound been a progression? Or is what you’re doing totally different?

Rob: Yeah, I remember when we first started writing songs, we had this conversation with a guy who worked at our college in Liverpool, he said that he thought it took songwriters 300 or 400 songs to write their influences out of their system. We thought he was totally insane!

Now we’ve got to the stage where we’ve written a lot of songs, I think we’re starting to find our feet as writers, and because we listen to such a wide range of music we’re constantly adopting new ideas and changing how we think about writing a song.

As you know, Passion Pit have chosen you for Topman CTRL. You both share a label and they obviously like you, is the feeling mutual?

Rob: Yeah, they did an EP called ‘Chunk of Change’, we had that on in the van a lot and even though it’s different music to ours, I like the choral polyphony aspect that there’s so much going on, but it works and balances well, and I’ve seen them live and they’re really cool.

If you had to choose 3 bands to play at your own gig, who would they be?

Rob: I think I’d choose ‘Everything Everything’, ‘Micachu and the Shapes’, and ‘Wild Beasts’.

We’ve played ‘Everything, Everything’ a few times, when you listen to it you think there’s no way they could do it live, with the intricate vocals and musicianship, but they nail it live, so as a live show they’re totally immense.

We played with ‘Micachu’ in Cardiff, where she had a vacuum cleaner on her face during a song, which was pretty class! She’s also got a song called ‘Open Phone’ which I think is amazing.

I saw ‘Wild Beast’ on Jules Holland the other week, and they did that song ‘All the Kings Men’ and I love the lyrics of that song, they’re really cool.

Can you name a place, anywhere in the world, which is special to you in relation to music?

Rob: There’s a bridge in Newcastle, next to a venue called ‘The Cluny’ which we’ve done quite a lot of recording under. If you go there at like 3 in the morning when it’s dead and there’s no wind or anything, you can record drums really well. It’s in the middle of nowhere, so we’ve had a few cheeky recording sessions down there!

So are you completely open to the elements when recording there?

Rob: Yeah pretty much! You have to huddle around the mic, picking a nice summers night usually works!

Could you name an album you love, and describe how you got into it?

Rob: As a band we’d probably pick an album called ‘Places Like This’ by ‘Architecture in Helsinki’.

How did you come across it?

Rob: We get given a lot of free CDs, and that was one of them, and it found its way onto the CD player, and we had it on repeat for about 3 months!

We did a bit of dancing to it at service stations, blasting it out and dancing around the van. It’s a really good album, it’s got a track on it called ‘Heart Races’ which is cool. It’s a grower, at first we thought this is pretty crazy stuff, but it gets into your head.

I think as we didn’t know the band, we didn’t know if it was a single, or which tracks we’re supposed to listen to, where people usually skip to the tracks they want to hear, we listened to it as a body of work which was really good.

Last question now, can you name us one of your favourite things?

Rob: I’d say my favourite thing is coffee, I’ve got this little coffee machine and we know this really crazy guy from New Zealand who owns a coffee shop in Edinburgh, who roasts the best coffee beans. So we import this coffee from Edinburgh, and I’ve got this little morning ritual, it’s really sad! It delivers me caffeine in the morning and that’s what I love.

I don’t drink that much of it, but it’s just when I make it, it’s like my little 5 minutes.

So quality not quantity?

Rob: That’s the way forward!

If you think Little Comets are going to be big in the coming year, why not go ahead and vote for them in our poll – ‘10 for 2010? – which is set on finding the biggest bands of 2010

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