Despite being at the start of their careers, Little Comets (Robert Coles – Lead Vocals & Guitar, Michael Coles – Guitar, Matthew Hall – Bass and Mark Harle – Drums) have already had their fair share of up’s and downs. Handed a major label ‘Golden Ticket’ by ‘Big Nobs’, Columbia Records early in 2009, the last thing they expected was 2 years in legal limbo.
Now with a new label and a fresh start we talk to a band who were definitely worth the wait.
Where are you at the moment?
I am sitting in a venue called Fruit in Hull. It’s an old converted fruit warehouse and so it’s absolutely freezing… should be a good gig though as Hull crowds are always pretty crazy. With the added cold it should give them an extra excuse to move about. How has the tour been so far? The start of a tour is always a strange mixture between not having had an argument yet, exceptional early gig personal hygiene, and not being quite tight on stage.
We were pretty ropey in Liverpool but Glasgow was much better last night. It was quite a bizarre experience to play a headline gig in Glasgow too, at the end of the set we almost felt like we should go offstage and the main act should go on…. so it was really nice to have that many people there to see us.
On the tour is there somewhere you are especially looking forward to playing ? We look forward to different places for different things: Hull for the enthusiastic crowds, Newcastle for a comfortable bed and sausage sandwich, Edinburgh for coffee at Artisan Roast, Manchester for vintage clothes shops and nice food…
Why did it take 2 years from being signed to releasing your debut album?
That’s a good question… I think on signing to a major label we assumed rather naively that we’d be able to retain the same amount of creative control over producing and mixing that we had beforehand. Columbia also didn’t really grasp that an essential part of our recorded sound and song-writing process was having Michael, our guitarist, producing the album.
Beyond taking a while to begin the recording process because of this we had delays with mixing (Rich Costey was unavailable for 3-4 months) and then eventually Columbia decided for a few reasons that they no longer wanted to release the album….
After this bombshell we had to wait an extra few months to get the rights for the album back and then find a new label which was compatible with what we wanted to accomplish…
Are you happy with the way ‘In Search of Elusive Little Comets’ has come out?
Ideally we’d have released the album earlier but other than that it is lovely to have a collection of songs that we have written and recorded in exactly the way we envisaged. We haven’t had to make any musical compromises along the way despite setbacks in other areas and so it is nice to have a very true representation of our music.
Your videos are always quite inventive, are you involved in the shaping of them?
Not really. Upon signing to Dirty Hit we chose the director for ‘Isles’ together but didn’t get involved in the conceptual or editing stage because the initial idea was so strong. I think it was really important for us to trust the director (Aoife McCardle) to make the video as she saw fit…
We’d had the same experience of someone telling us how we such realise our musical ideas and didn’t want to put someone else under the same strain. We loved the video and were fortunate enough to be able to get Aoife to do the video for Joanna as well.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Everything Everything, a band from Newcastle called Grandfather Birds, Big Sleep who we are on tour with at the moment and Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park.
You have a great facebook page (here), do you think this helped spread the word?
Erm… hopefully…. we’ve always tried to use any idea we have and make it relevant to the music. I think it is really important to be personable with people who like our music – it’s such a lovely thing to have people listen to things we’ve made and enjoy them that it’d be a bit rude to not have any sort of interaction with them. Also, Matt and Mark are quite hyperactive so they really need an outlet for this excess energy.
What are your plans for the rest of 2011?
Lots of gigs in new places hopefully. We’re playing in Ireland in March and then at SXSW in Texas. Beyond that it would nice to play at some festivals in the summer in the UK across Europe… We’ve got quite a few new songs so it’d be nice to find a little time to do some recording.
After the success of the ‘1 Guitar – One Night in October’ video (WATCH IT HERE), can you afford more than one guitar now?
Little Comets are on tour in Feb.
03 Feb Bodega Social Nottingham
05 Feb The Haymakers Cambridge
06 Feb O2 Academy Birmingham
08 Feb The Cavern Club Liverpool
09 Feb Audio Brighton
11 Feb Arts Institute Cardiff
14 Feb Joiners Arms, Southampton
15 Feb XOYO, London
16 Feb Jericho Tavern, Oxford
18 Feb Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh
26 Feb University of Northumbria, Newcastle Upon Tyne
05 Mar The Stiff Kitten, Belfast
Little Comets – In Search Of Elusive Little Comets is out now!