Kicking off their UK tour in support of their album, Hope Is Just a State of Mind, Newcastle indie-rockers, Little Comets, took time out of their preparations to talk to us about their new music and some of the influences behind what they do.
Congratulations on your Top 40 album, what does the title Hope Is Just a State Of Mind mean to you?
Rob (vocals): It was taken from a song title by a band from Newcastle called People of Santiago, there’s is ‘Hope Is a State of Mind’ which is from a speech by Václav Havel, the first Czech president. I suppose it’s quite an optimistic album; you can make something from what’s inside your own head. We’ve kept going for such a long time and it’s because we do love what we do. With this album we just want to be honest – that’s what it means to me. You’ve said this album chronicles the last 15 months as a band, what are the main elements of this time you’ve touched upon?
Rob: Well musically it’s not dissimilar from our second album, lyrically, me and Mickey have both become dads in that period and so that’s changed how we see the world. It’s the most personal album from a lyrical sense and there’s no hiding behind characters or writing songs effectively about nothing which is what we’ve done in our previous albums, i dont know why that is, it’s just every song seemed to be about an issue in this album.
You’ve said you record the parts to your songs separately and then compile them, are you guys excited to finally be on tour?
Rob: It’s so different and that’s the challenge of touring; that’s what’s magic about it. Every night is totally different and the song that takes off on any night changes. It’s nerve-wracking playing songs for the first time because you dont know how people are going to react.
Matt (bass): It’s always nerver wracking because: A) you dont know what the reaction is going to be and B) in rehearsal we usually stand in a circle so we can see each other but when you’re live the drummer and bass amp are behind you and you can’t really hear Rob singing – it’s a totally different environment and takes a lot of getting used to, but it’s a good thing.
You said you guys are nervous, how are you going to conquer these nerves? Any kooky rituals?
Rob: I like nerves, we all keep ourselves busy, so Mickey will harass the sound guy, Matt will check the lights, i’ll write the setlist or write on drum skins; it’s not accidental, we all keep occupied so we dont think of it till we’re on stage.
So nothing rock’n’roll like chucking TVs out of windows?
Rob: There are bars on these windows!
How has the reception to the new album been?
Matt: I take a lot of interest in social media, the reaction has been really heart-warming… The amount of people that actually care… they’ve all been really nice and the support has been amazing. Like you said, to get a top 40 album means so much.
Rob: I think, we’re really lucky that we’ve got a fanbase that’ll give our music a chance and will give it a listen, it’s nice to know people are listening to our music because they want to as opposed to having heard it so many times that it becomes part of the background, part of the fabric. i think, the people that give music a chance, that’s all we’d ask, listen to it and if you like it: cracking, and if you don’t, that’s fine as well, that’s the beauty of music i suppose. if everything was the same then…
Matt: the reaction has been really heart-warming
What can fans expect from this tour?
Rob: New songs? We’re really looking forward to playing them. we haven’t really changed what we do live, it is so different trying to represent the songs live and trying to make them connect with everyone. if you’ve got an album people can listen to it 15 times, and listen to different aspects; it’s indelible, it’s done, live the song is all in that moment; the challenge for us is making the music translate in a way that will feel what the song is meant to be about immediately, and that’s hard but it’s nice that it’s a challenge rather than playing the same set every night and trying to replicate the album in such a way that it becomes mechanical and you become part of a machine.
Matt: The songs don’t particularly stay the same either and that’s the part i quite like, if i went to see a live band and they were the same as a CD i’d be a bit disappointed.
You’ve addressed a lot of political and social issues, do you think music nowadays doesn’t address that?
Rob: I find that I have such strong opinions on things but if I try and have a conversation i get really emotional and finish the conversation thinking I didn’t get my point across well at all. I don’t think there’s not necessarily people writing about these issues, I just don’t think you hear them and that’s the question to ask, and that needs to be asked across the media; there’s so many issues wrong with society and you just don’t hear about them.
Do you hope to influence the fans?
Rob: I think anything that makes people think about something is a really positive thing, anything that engages with an issue is really good. I understand the craic with non voting but I don’t think the solution is to not engage but it’s to engage in such a way that the system changes. if you don’t then you’re giving in and i don’t think you should ever give in, you can always attempt to rectify a situation.
Rob: If you don’t engage.. you’re giving in and I don’t think you should ever give in.
What’s the plan for the future?
Rob: We love writing songs so we hope we can keep doing this for a living. Next year after the tour we’ll hope to go back to writing the next album and hopefully get it finished to release next year.
Matt: We started our own label at the start of the year; you have to get your head around what happens behind the scenes, like manufacturing EPs and albums and logistical things, there’s so many things to do. Moving forward it’s nice to learn, no matter how old you get it’s nice to learn something even if it’s as daft as a new chord or make souffles.