Little Comets are a brilliant trio full of gripping riffs and vocals. The Newcastle-based band just get better and better with their indie sound progressing through each album. Proving that with the upcoming addition to their family of music, Hope Is Just a State of Mind will no doubt please the incredible fan base and welcome more in. Before they released the album and went on tour, we phoned up Rob from the band to talk new music, Prince choreographing a festival, and working with his brother. Enjoy:
AMBY: Hey Rob! How are you?
Rob: Yeah not bad, yourself?
AMBY: I’m good thanks, so what have you and the guys been up to lately?
Rob: Well we start rehearsing together next week, so me and Mickey have just been having a bit more time off because we finished the album at the start of January and it was a pretty intense few weeks. Since then we’ve just been talking about how we’re gonna do the songs live and try to sort out the arrangements ahead of rehearsing them, like finding somewhere to rehearse and finishing artwork.
AMBY: Just getting everything ready for the release then?
Rob: Yeah, just getting everything ready really, so it’s been a bit more chilled out than the album but it’s quite hard as well because we’re having a bit more family time. So, the time that we’re spending working is still quite intense because we’ve got a lot to pack into limited time whereas before we had a lot to pack into a lot more time. It still feels like when we are working, we’ve gotta be quite on it.
AMBY: Yeah, I know exactly what you mean! So, you soon embark on a tour in February and March. Before heading on the road, you release your third album. Do you think it’s true that there’s a pressure to release albums better than the first?
Rob: Not for us really, I think through the whole process we’ve felt no pressure really. We don’t really have anything to live up to, we don’t have a label that needs to sell a certain amount of copies or demands a hit. I think we’ve got quite a stable fanbase that are really open minded so whatever we release they tend to listen to and I think all of these things have contributed to a total lack in pressure. I think we’ve just gotten to the stage where we can focus on just writing songs.
AMBY: Yeah, just focus on what you like as the artist and all.
Rob: Yeah totally, I think we view the albums we’ve made as like different periods in our life. You know, you’re a different person and you do change quite a bit over the years; so, me as a thirty-one year old is totally different to me as twenty five or twenty six year old making the first album. We don’t sit down and say “we’re gonna make this”, like It’s not something we think about, it’s not brought much themes with the album. Instead, it tends to be just be a collection of songs from a certain period in time and I think that’s what gives each album it’s atmoshpere. Once it’s done, it’s finished, it’s there. And then the next one is a completely different thing, we don’t really follow on. I don’t know it’s quite hard, I’ve never really thought of it (laughs)!
AMBY: (Laughs) Yeah, I guess you just go with whatever works at the time!
Rob: Yeah, I think each of the albums that we’ve done, we’ve loved them. And now when I listen back to the first one or the second one I think “oh I’d like to change that” but, I can’t so once it’s done, it’s there, it’s made! And now we’ve done the third one, it’s like “right, onto the next one”!
AMBY: So what were some of the highlights you had whilst creating this new album?
Rob: It’s very rare that I’ll have a favourite bit on the album but I think it would be the first song; it’s kind of like a message to my little boy for when he gets a bit older. It turned into being a really important song and there’s a bit, I’d say about half way through where me and Mickey recorded both our little boys having a conversation. We just sort of set up a microphone in a room while they were playing and I edited it later and then layered it over the song and so I’d say that was the most enjoyable bit for me. I don’t know, I just felt really emotionable when I’d finished it!
AMBY: Yeah I can imagine! So, if you were to sum up the album in a few words, what would they be?
Rob: That’s hard to say! We just put everything into it and as long as it’s an honest representation of this part of our lives then that’s fine!
AMBY: Yeah, I suppose it’s quite a difficult thing to describe.
Rob: Yeah, I mean I’d say if we wanted to describe it, we’ve kind of written it or spoken it, it’s recorded for a reason. I think the best way to describe it is what we have done by making it. I don’t know, I think the best thing to do is to not listen to me ramble on about it!
AMBY: I suppose the fans will describe it in a way.
Rob: Yeah! It’s weird, like the album exists now, it’s a thing, it has it’s own identity. Like we’ve just made it but now it’ll outlive me, it’ll outlive Mickey. I don’t wanna pitch a hole in this because eventually it’ll be the other way around! To try and sum it up in a few words is a bit impossible really.
AMBY: I can definitely see it would difficult to sum up! Like I said earlier, you’re about to head on the road next month. What has you most excited for this tour?
Rob: There’s a few places that we haven’t played in a while, we haven’t played Newcastle, Manchester or Nottingham in ages; we haven’t done a big London one in a while, the last one we did was a wee intimate show. It’ll be nice to go back to places we haven’t been to in a while! And we haven’t played as a band in quite a while because we record everything seperately, so rehearsing next week, that’ll be the first time we’ve played the songs, so it’ll be really exciting playing them live for the first time because we just don’t know how people are going to receive them. It’s a very different thing playing them to an audience than it is to yourselves in a room. I don’t know, it’ll be strange but hopefully really good.
AMBY: I’m sure you’ll get a good reaction, what songs are you most looking forward to performing live?
Rob: I think that’s what I like about playing them live, because every night is different. The gigs we have enjoyed the most over the years have not been the ones you expect to enjoy. Like it’s the same songs every night but there might just be a moment that totally explains it all; whether it’s just catching somebody’s eye in the audience and seeing that they just know it really well, like it makes you just feel connected to a line at that moment in time. I don’t know the song can then just, like you can kind of transcend it a bit and I think that’s what I hope for when we play live. That there’s no gig without a question, it just depends on where the gig takes you.
AMBY: I suppose everywhere has different fans and different crowds so it’ll be different every single night. So, it’s a bit of a random question but, if you were to put on your own festival, who would be included in your line up?
Rob: No no it’s not! I think it would have to be a festival where you get people from the prime time, like I wouldn’t have Paul Simon as he is now, like I’d have him imported from the 60’s or 70’s. It’s the same with David Bowie if he were to play, again, get him from the golden years. Carol King when she was doing Tapestry; just like old classics, Fleetwood Mac definitely.
AMBY: Well, you know that kind of era is coming back in fashion.
Rob: Yeah I’d get Prince to choreograph the whole thing and do the lights, the sound, all the costumes!
AMBY: That would be amazing, I’d definitely buy a ticket to that festival! So, we are now into 2015, what were your more memorable moments of 2014?
Rob: We spent a lot of time writing and recording, it was lovely, looking back on the year as a whole, it’s probably the most productive year that we’ve had. Memorable moments, Mickey’s daughter being born, so he’s now got a little boy and a little girl. Just like playing with my little boy, lots of memories with him. Musically, I think we don’t really get a lot of moments where we’re like “oh that’s good!”. But, I’m kind of thinking when we went to play a festival in New York which was just amazing. Anyway, we got there and didn’t realise that it was such a massive music festival and we just didn’t know what to expect. Me and Mickey were kind of on stage before we were due to go on and Damon Albarn was headlining that stage in the evening so he was just finishing sound check. And me and Mickey were just stood next to him with like a whole load of big flight cases with like Blur stickers on from the 90’s and when we were growing up, we loved Blur. And I remember getting The Great Escape with all the chords inside it and just thinking it was the best thing ever that you could play along. And we just kind of looked at each other, like if you had said to us when we were thirteen or fourteen that one day we’d get to play a festival in New York and bracing the same stage as Damon Albarn you know, we would just not have believed it! I think that was just a lovely moment, like all of our hard work that we’ve put in and that we will until we finally retire from being musicians, there’ll be some lovely memories from it and that was probably the highlight of last year, musically.
AMBY: I’m sure that would be a very memorable moment! Lastly, what is the best part about being in Little Comets?
Rob: Just getting to work with my brother, there’s only thirteen months between us and we’ve been best friends since we’ve been tiny. I mean we do have a pretty intense relationship and there’s been times when we’ve been screaming and shouting at each other but I think the fact that we’re both there to look out for one another, I think that’s the best. Just getting to make things with your little brother, it’s what we’ve done since we were five or six from making up daft games using balls and cars or whatever we could find to making up daft songs; that’s definitely the most enjoyable bit!
AMBY: Yeah, I mean I think that’s the dream for a lot of siblings really! Well, thank you for doing this interview with me, I hope you have a great time on tour!
Rob: Thanks for doing it with me!
Thank you Little Comets, for giving us your answers!
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Interview by Alice Hadden | @alice_hadden