With a very important anniversary to celebrate, Little Comets will play Manchester Gorilla on 17th November as part of their autumn UK Tour. It’s 10 years since the recording of the band’s spectacular debut album In Search of Elusive Little Comets and they will be treating their Manchester fans to a nostalgia-fuelled set featuring songs from both the past and the present.
We spoke to vocalist and guitarist Rob Coles to delve into the recent re-recording of their debut album, as well as how their wallpaper caught the attention of Thom Yorke…
Describe how it felt rerecording your debut album In Search of Elusive Little Comets to release on vinyl. What was it like compared to the very first time?
It was quite emotional really, which was surprising. We’d been prevented from releasing vinyl for so long that I expected the process to be very straightforward and regimented – re-record this, edit that and finish – but when we started listening back to the particulars it really took us back in time. It was so bizarre, thinking about how life had changed in 10 years, from touring to the first time, to playing festivals, to life events like buying a house and of course having children. The first iteration was very much a rollercoaster of pressure and completion but this time we could enjoy it a bit more as it was a lot more about nostalgia and expression, things that we didn’t really expect it to be.
- What’s one memory between then and now that you’ll cherish as a band?
I think as a band, when we played our first gig in New York – after a few albums we kind of felt that the dream of touring America had gone – and then out of the blue a label stumbled across our music and wanted to release it. Touring there felt like touring for the first time again, and the New York gig was the pinnacle for all of us really in the sense of a bucket list-type-thing. For our teenage selves who had started playing in bands just for fun, the idea of one day playing a gig in the US would have been amazing and I think we managed to approach the gig with that youthful enthusiasm and just enjoy it. To be honest though, we’ve got thousands of memories of being in this band that we’ll remember and (mostly!) cherish – we’re pretty fortunate to have been able to have had these experiences.
- You’ve released four songs so far this year. Can we expect any more before the tour in October/November? If not, will you be debuting any new material live?
Maybe, it’s been quite a tough few months…. I broke a pretty important finger in May in the middle of recording which set us back quite a bit and a close friend of mine passed away the same week, it was probably the toughest few months of my life – I couldn’t play or record physically and felt disconnected mentally from the creative process after my friend Jim died. After that, I became a dad for the third time and so have had quite a bit of time at home… the upshot is that the album is quite a way behind… but we’re hopeful of finishing another couple of songs soon and definitely getting them in the set for tour.
- Tell us about the story behind ‘3 Minute Faltz’s dark artwork.
Hahaha…. Hmmm… I’m not sure – is it dark? Oh dear… I just sat down and did a quick collage and that’s what happened. I’ve just had a glimpse into how someone else interprets my thoughts… maybe I am a negative person… Mickey has been saying that for years. This is turning into a very cathartic interview.
- What’s your favourite thing to do in Manchester or what are you looking forward to seeing?
Ah we love Manchester – it’s got a definite buzz just walking about. I went for a run up the canal last time and nearly got attacked by a goose so I might give that a miss. Matt and Mickey went to the Northern Quarter last time and came back with matching coats… as long as we end up in Big Hands it’s all fine by me.
- Tell us a story from on the road.
That’s pressure… an amusing anecdote… hmmm. When we were a very wet behind the ears band we played a gig at Latitude and we had just wallpapered the inside of our van to make it look more homely (as you do…). We were obviously really happy about this and were leaving the festival in the van with the doors open inviting people to look at our wallpaper. I shouted at this bloke: “here mate have you seen the wallpaper in me van like” and when he turns to look at me (with total disdain) I realised it was Thom Yorke – he wasn’t impressed… we shut the door and drove off in silence. We’d blown it. I think that was the minute we realised we weren’t destined for great things after all hahahaha.
- How do you prepare for extensive tours such as this?
Firstly we get the childcare coordinated – we all have partners who work and so when we are away we need to work out who has the children on the days we would normally have them. Luckily we’ve got very understanding parents… plus the eldest of all the Little Little Comets will be 8 soon so he can probably take charge of the others who are 7, 5, 2, 2, 2, 1 and 0. Easy.
Then find somewhere to rehearse – Mickey’s garage is big enough for two so I’ll have to scout somewhere different around Sutton Coldfield – so far we’ve used barns, derelict houses, an old rural working club and my front room… anywhere with power.. after that we close our eyes and go for it.
- Who’s the first one to get homesick?
Definitely Mickey, about 5 minutes up the road after he’s asked where we are going.
- What musicians inspired your individual performance styles?
Hahaha, me and Mickey don’t have performance styles – casually awkward is probably a family trait. Matt Hall on bass is the performer. I’d say he’s probably most inspired by L’oreal hair adverts of the early 2000s, I’ve definitely seen them on his YouTube video history.
- What’s your favourite song to play live? Does that change with every new album?
It tends to change with each gig. Whichever song we all click for really – I think we really enjoy playing a song called ‘A Bientot’ as it is quite different to the recording and also has a subject matter which we can all connect to. I think that’s what we love about playing live – the setlist and audience create such a different atmosphere each night that you never know which song or gig is going to take-off.