I discovered the ‘kitchen sink indie’ band Little Comets in 2012 just as their career began to blossom, then re-kindled my love for them 4 years later. The Geordie trio consists of Robert Coles (vocals & guitar), Mickey Coles (lead guitar) and Matthew Halls (bass). When I asked how they met they said;
‘Me and Mickey are brothers…Matt used to pop his head round the door…he had a really nice guitar we wanted to borrow so we convinced him to join the band.’
Whilst recently on tour they have been joined by Matt Saxon (keys & guitar) and Nathan Greene (drums). The name creation,sadly, wasn’t quite as exciting as anticipated; ‘Ah, it is a really bad story. Mickey went to the theatre once and he misread a sign. When he came home Matt had been to the same place and misread the same sign.’ Oh dear guys! Since 2009 when the band were signed to Columbia Records they have been with a selection of record companies including Dirty Hit and Smallest Label.
They released their first single ‘Joanna’ in 2010 along with ‘Isles’ which led to their first EP in 2011 called ‘Worry’. Their first album ‘In Search of the Elusive Little Comets’ was released in 2011 followed by ‘Life is Elsewhere’ a year later. After a 2 year gap Little Comets released their EP ‘Salt and Its Gentle Corollary’ which was a real teaser in preparation for their 3rd album ‘Hope is Just a State of Mind’ (2015) since the EP featured acoustic versions of ‘Salt’ and ‘Little Italy’. ‘Worhead’ their newest album was released in 2017 and certainly represents the musical journey they have been on since 2010.
I must say I have never heard of any other band quite similar to Little Comets their unique sound and performances set themselves aside from any other band. When I asked what their musical inspirations where they replied;
‘…we get them from all over the shop whether it be experiences in our own lives or stories that we hear that leave a mark, then when we come to write however we feel in the moment tends to spill out – I like to write like this as it feels unencumbered and true.’
This certainly reflection some of the more emotive songs like ‘My Boy William’ (my favourite song). When they were kids they were influenced by artists such as Bowie, The Beatles, Eurythmics and Paul Simon but what really surprised me was the fact; ‘We also used to love listening to stories so Roald Dahl certainly helped our imaginations.’ It begins to explain how they create their beautiful collages for their albums covers and lyric booklets!
‘Sometimes if I have a lyric that I feel really represents the song then I will try to base the artwork around that :)’
In all of their albums they produce a range of songs from the more upbeat rhythms of ‘Dancing Song’ (2011) and ‘Common Things’ (2017) to some of the more serious, empathetic songs such as ‘Violence Out Tonight’ (2012) and ‘The Blur, the Line and the Thickest of Onions’ (2015). Every song whether is sounds cheery or dark has a story behind the lyrics. I was rather curious around the band’s song writing process so when I asked them how they came up with their ideas, they replied;
‘Me (Rob) and Mickey write the songs by just playing together in a room, if we wake up the next day singing what we played the previous day then we know it is something worth working on. It’s often quite upbeat and cheery sounding… then I go away and do the lyrics which are often a little more gritty.’
Since I had grown up listening to Little Comet’s first 3 albums I had fallen in love with the range of interesting, quirky guitar riffs and beautiful harmonies and the release of ‘Worhead’ certainly came as a shock to me. I was glad of their return and after a nervous wait on Youtube for their daily release of a new single I began to fall in love with their new sound. When I say, ’new’ they still uphold their funky guitar riffs, however I knew something was slightly different. I found out that;
‘The recording was a little different though as a lot of songs were done with the bass/guitar and drums together to give a more lively feel-like the first album. Also, the songs were all demoed very roughly whereas for albums 1,2,3 a lot of the demos became the basis for the recording and helped with the writing’
They also stated that quite a few of the lyrics where influenced by the political situations going on in the world such as Trump’s election and renewal of Trident and their confusion over the government’s priorities ‘why you’d want to put however many billion into a weapon that is purely to kill, instead of education or health.’ (an interview with Narcmagazine). The lyrics in their song ‘A Bientot’ was ‘influenced a lot by Charlie Brooker’s 2016 Wipe and the section on the refugee crisis’.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Little Comets twice on tour and have booked to see them again this year!
I was curious to find out what their favourite songs are to perform, I was expecting ‘One Night in October’ or ‘Hunting’ but actually;
‘At the minute A Bientot has a real power when we play it live so that one for me personally. In the past Violence Out Tonight and In Blue Music… have also been pretty transcendent – I get lost sometimes onstage when we play those. But in a really good way – like I get a real rush.’
I don’t know about them but whenever I’m at one of their gigs I definitely feel transported. The atmosphere at a Little Comets gig is honestly magically, everyone knows the words, the bass hums across the floor and your transported into an indie heaven. Butas soon as the first note of ‘Dancing Song ‘ is played thats it! The mosh is a sea of people all jumping to the riffs, fists punch the air and the room begins to shout ‘hands up in the suburbs if you want to be alone’. Beautiful. I don’t think there is a gig I’ve ever felt to proud to be a part of ever… and I have been to a fair few gigs in the past 3 years! And as for the members themselves… There are the most down to earth, friendly Geordies I’ve ever met. They must be if they agreed to be interviewed by a ‘mere’ fan. I didn’tget chance to meet Mickey by Matt, Matt and Rob were such class guys, of course I got them all the sign my ticket and have a cheeky selfie!
But I look up to them; their song writing skills, devotion to their fans and the ability to make everyone smile by a single chord. Oh and Matt has some lovely Beatles tattoos- I swear I didn’t mean to ‘diss’ The Beatles when I said the Beatles were ‘good’! While waiting for a photo I was chatting to Matt about his colourful array of tattoos and I was so nervous the only thing I could reply with was; ‘the Beatles are good’! They’re the saviours of rock and roll what was I talking about!
I saved my favourite question and answer till last:
-What is the most interesting event that has happened whilst on tour?
‘Ah…. a lovely moment was when we played a festival in New York and we had no idea really about it, we turned up and it was a massive festival and we were on the same stage as Damon Albarn. We aren’t very retrospective people when we are work but we did have a moment before wewent onstage where we talked about being little and if someone had said when we were listening to Blur albums that eventually we would arrive at this point we would have been blown away really. We’re not a “big” band but we’ve had some lovely experiences for a couple of song-writers from a little town in the North East of England and we are really grateful for that.’
If you haven’t already, I would seriously consider listening to them 🙂