Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Feature: Little Comets (07/04/15)

Indie rock trio, Little Comets, are living proof that hard work and good songs can get an independent band to break the Top 20. After releasing a trilogy of EPs over the past year, they have just released their highly anticipated third album 'Hope Is Just A State Of Mind'. Strong radio support from Steve Lamacq (6Music) and Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1) and a popular UK tour shows 2015 is going to be a huge year for Rob, Michael and Matt and hopefully the start of something even bigger.

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?

I was about eight when I started to play the violin - someone came into our school and asked if anyone would like to learn a musical instrument. I volunteered and after they'd done a test to make sure I wasn't tonally challenged, let me have a go. I started going to a little orchestra on a Saturday morning and that was it really. When I was a bit older I started to play the piano and eventually the guitar.
My Dad used to write songs in the house as a hobby so when me and Mickey would play together we would try to emulate him by making up our own little tunes.

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you've been to?
Erm... That is a hard question... I went to see Kate Rusby in Hexham once and she was pretty immense, watching an Orchestra in the Sage Gateshead is special, going to see the Lightning Seeds at Newcastle City Hall was great as one of my first gigs, and then just wondering round Latitude taking it all in was a nice experience too - lots and lots of different ones I suppose.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Just loads of vinyl - Radiohead, The Bends, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Cat Stevens, Carole King. Anything really!

3 Questions for Rob:

1. Out of all your tracks, which are you favourite five and why?

Haha, this is a truly impossible question: they are all our babies and when we wrote them they were all our favourites so it would be wrong to pick out different songs - I would feel like I was letting my earlier self down. I always prefer the later stuff but I think that is just conditioning.

2. What has been your favourite/best musical experience so far?
Again, that is tough - to try and consolidate the last seven years and pick a zenith, I mean: it is impossible. We've been fortunate enough to do lots of things which we'd never believed - from hearing our songs on the radio to touring in different countries, to playing lovely gigs in our town, to having people like Steve Lamacq say positive things about our music, to seeing people singing words back, or send emails to let us know that our songs have helped them through tough times. I could not possibly single anything out.

3. What process did you go through writing and producing 'Hope Is Just A State Of Mind' and was it any different to previous releases? 
It was pretty similar to the second album. The first album was written in a rehearsal room with a drummer - we wanted to capitalise on the energy of the situation so didn't interfere with structure too much.
The songs were completed there and then - if we reached a brick wall we'd just keep going until the problem was solved. Then we recorded the song later and the production was focused on refining the parts we'd written live - retaining the energy but giving a little more order.
After the first album our drummer Mark left the band and so me and Mickey went back to writing together in a bedroom. We found that we could be far more flexible - if we wanted to make a change we didn't have to explain it, it would just be made. Mickey would drive the melody whilst I'd sort out the rhythm.
Also, if we reached a problem we could just work on the soundscape and start to record what we had - so it always felt like we were moving forwards. Doing it this way the production and writing really became interlinked. Percussively, Mickey would write down the drum parts around the guitar and so that made the songs sound a little strange as Mickey is not a drummer.
We carried this process into the third album, the only changes in sound therefore come from the fact that this album reflects a different period in our lives rather than as a result of a change in approach.

Random Q:

A lyric/quote you live by?

I don't...

'Hope Is Just A State Of Mind' Review:

Little Comets' third album summarises their sound and message so well. Catchy guitar riffs, head nodding beats, vocals perfect for any tone of song and lyrics that focus on challenging topics and make you think. 

One thing I will always praise Little Comets for are their incredibly well written lyrics, for me, music really can tell a story and Little Comets are my go-to for fighting that argument, they're honest, clever and they really do hit a chord when listening to them, so if you're going to listen to this album or any of their songs, please do look into the stories and messages behind them.

It opens with 'My Boy William', introducing the album slowly but surely and builds in the catchy Little Comets trademark drums and guitars, with personal touches of home recordings it leaves an honest and hopeful tone to start with. 
'B&B', 'The Gift of Sound' and 'Formula' follow, all again with memorable guitars riffs and drums to get stuck in your head and melodies you'll be singing for days after. 

The previously released 'Little Italy', 'The Daily Grind' and 'Salt' (one of my favourites) are grouped together in the middle of the album. Two upbeat melodius songs sandwiching a slower, stunning song. 'The Daily Grind' offers a stripped back, softer side of Little Comets' music, which throughout the album you do get glimpses of but not to the extent shown in this track. 

'Effetism', 'Wherewithal', 'Fundamental Little Things' and 'Don't Fool Yourself' start bringing the album to a close, just how it opened with skippy overlapping guitars, drum beats and vocals all coming together really flipping well! (If you weren't a fan of Little Comets, you'd probably find the album repetitive at this point, however, if you like Little Comets, you'll pick up on the uniqueness of each song between lyrics, guitar, drum and bass lines intertwining.)

The album finishes with one of my favourite songs of theirs, 'The Blur, The Line and The Thickest of Onions', I first heard this as all the hype around 'Blurred Lines' was coming about and fell in love with the structure of the song as well as the lyrics, even if it wasn't meant to link to that as much as I felt it did. Overall, a brilliant album and one that I highly recommend listening to all the way through, great for the summer and they're bloody brilliant live as well (so if you ever hear they're on tour near you, be sure to grab a ticket or two!) 

Little Comets' Links:
'Hope Is Just A State Of Mind' (physical)http://www.thesmallestlabel.com
'Hope Is Just A State Of Mind' (iTunes)https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/hope-is-just-a-state-of-mind
Website: http://www.littlecomets.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littlecomets
Twitter: https://twitter.com/littlecomets
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/littlecomets
Blog (info on lyrics etc.)http://www.littlecomets.com/news/

Thanks for reading! 

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