Armed with a mass of dedicated fans and a unique sound that splashes Little Comets into an indie infused cocktail. The northern rockers release their third album ‘Hope is Just a State of Mind’ today and commence a tour across the UK. With a few small fan based gigs coming up soon and with the album in its very final stages, we had the chance to speak with front man Rob beforehand who let us know how things were going.
AMBY: Hey Rob, how are you?
Rob: Yeah not bad thanks, just trying to keep out of all this snow.
AMBY: So with new album ‘Hope is Just a State of Mind’ coming out shortly and a tour on the horizon, what have you guys been up too lately?
Rob: Erm, the last couple of weeks we’ve not actually done as much as the previous couple of months finishing the album. We’ve just been doing the little things like getting it ready to be released, the artwork and just having a little bit of time off after it’s all been done and turning our attention to the tour.
Were having a bit more family time, but it’s weird because the times that we are working it’s still pretty intense, were trying to pack stuff in there in a very short space of time. I also think that me and Micky are the type of people as well that can make anything stressful as well.
AMBY: With the new album ‘Hope is Just a State of Mind’ coming out shortly what can fans expect to hear?
Rob: I dunno. Just an honest representation of the last 18 months really. I think we’ve just kinda written down a few songs and…I dunno. It’s very hard to summarise something that’s taken so long to make in kind of a paragraph, just hopefully people will listen to it and recognise its been made with a lot of passion and a lot of honesty.
AMBY: How does this album stand out from previous albums?
Rob: I think the first album and the second album were different because the writing process had changed. The first album was written a lot in rehearsal rooms with a drummer so we really didn’t want to disturb it if something felt good, we’d just continue to work on it without making too many change. Even if we hit a brick wall we’d just keep going. Whereas the second album, me and Micky wrote most of it in a bedroom , so if we got to a point where we found it was difficult then we’d work on the production of it. So we’d step sideways and avoid the issue or we’d start work on a different song and if we wanted to make tiny changes that didn’t really disrupt the flow of writing, we didn’t have to explain it to a second or third person, we just kind of dealt with it there and then.
So I think that was a bigger change between the second and the first whereas we’ve retained the same writing process for the third album, and I think were more confident where it is now. We don’t really feel under pressure and we don’t have a label that needs to sell a certain amount of copies or needs a big hit, we’ve got a fan base that’s pretty open-minded who will just listen to the music and give it a chance, and I think that’s taken a lot of pressure off. There’s no pressure when were writing songs we just sit down and see what happens. These songs lyrically are a bit more personal than the first and second albums and we do feel quite relaxed when were writing at the minute.
Albums change because you’re a different person, I am a different person now to when we wrote the first album six years ago and that’s the main reason that they’ll sound different.
AMBY: Anyone who’s listened to Little Comets, your songs and albums will know there’s a lot of messages and topics explored, what are the topics you’ve really delved into with this album?
Rob: There’s quite a few different topics I suppose, me and Micky are both parents now so that’s really affected how we see the world. Were bringing little people up and are really responsible in their formative years so how we see various issues and what’s important has really changed quite a bit from previous albums.
It’s strange at the minute because I think people don’t necessarily see it as a time of turmoil that we live in but for the first time in my life there’s a lot of issues that I think are quite threatening, certainly politically I think there’s a lack of representation of different types of people at the top end of society which y’know is not a great thing.
The political system we have does not represent the entire country, y’know like where I come from in Jarrow. Peoples votes literally don’t count so politics is boiled down to trying to sway a very specific demographic of voters in particular constituencies.
Many constituencies are not represented by people who come from that area. I remember a few years ago when I was reading lists of people that were standing to lamppost kind of and I’d say like 80% of the people that were standing’s addresses weren’t anywhere near the North East, I’m sure that’s the same for a lot of different constituencies.
People that are representing an area should have knowledge of that area. I think the parliament that we have, its set up to be combative and aggressive in the way that people behave its comic. It’s very much about you against them and I think politicians should work together and I also think parliament shouldn’t always necessarily remain in London.
AMBY: If there was one person that you could have had featured on this album who would that be?
Rob: I think people would say they’d probably not want to do it soooo, or you’d just end up making tea for them then sitting back and watching them. And like selfishly it’s our like little baby, it’s really personal to me and Micky so the idea of someone dropping in, I just don’t think it would work.
AMBY: Before the tour gets fully underway your performing a few smaller gigs one of which being at the Rocking Chair in Sheffield, here the fans pick the set list and it’s to smaller crowd. How do you feel about these gigs?
Rob: It should be good, we did one in Newcastle in November time and we didn’t really know how it would work because normally our set lists are really thought about. I think you really influence an audience with the tempo’s of the songs and what sort of songs come in the set.
So what we did is when people came in they wrote a song down on a piece of paper then we drew them out on stage and we didn’t really know how that would affect the way the set would work on the night. But it was just really nice, because I think everybody knew the band really well that were there so people didn’t mind that they were old songs right next to a new song and we just kinda went and stayed and played for hours. It was nice when we drew out a song as well because we just sort of talked a bit about that song, so this week of gigs where were doing gigs in Oxford, Leeds and I think Brighton as well will be really good.
Were not the type of band that needs to play bigger and bigger and bigger gigs, some of the most enjoyable gigs we’ve ever had have been in people’s front rooms or just random pubs. It should just be good fun.
AMBY: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever come across at a gig?
Rob: We once did this gig in Dundee and the place was called Hustlers. We kinda joked on the way up that it would be a pool hall because of course we thought “we wouldn’t be playing at a pool hall” but then we got there that’s exactly what it was. So we sent Mark our drummer in to kinda check it out, but to pretend that he was a punter not in the band because if it was awful we were just going to go home and kinda say the van had broken down on the way. And for some reason Mark decided he would put on an American accent, and so when the guy worked out who he was and Mark had to keep up this charade of having an American accent the entire night.
The weirdest thing was it was pretty much empty as well maybe 20 people were there, and there was this bloke who was so pissed that halfway through the set he just went and got a chair and plonked it down in the middle of the dance floor to sit on. At this point we were playing this really sad song and in the second verse I just lost it and started laughing and I couldn’t control it, I just burst out because of this paralytic bloke who’d probably fall asleep during the set. And it was just one of them moments where I thought what on earth is this about.
AMBY: Before I let you get back to relaxing a bit before the release of the album and the tour starts, could you tell us one thing about the band that not all Little Comets fans know?
Rob: Mickey used to be a really good tennis player he was like top ten in Britain when he was little, and he played Andy Murray and took him to three sets. And Mickey still claims to this day that in the deciding set -because in junior tennis you do your own line calls- that he’d hit the winner down the line and Andy Murray just called it as out.
AMBY: That’s a great story, thanks for talking to AMBY Rob and I wish you well with the album and tour.
Rob: Cheers Jacob.
Thank you Little Comets, for giving us your answers!
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Interview by Jacob Flannery |