Words: Freya Bromley
Their chart-pushing debut album In Search Of Elusive Little Comets earned the band a legion of warm national praise and have since established themselves as a hot festival favourite both home and abroad. It is, however, fair to say that Little Comets have already had their fair share of up’s and downs as a band. Handed a major label by 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 the IMC talked to Matt Hall the bassist of the band. It was definitely worth the wait…
IMC: What was it like starting up as a band with no money?
MH: Pretty much like it is now, we still have no money! We figured out quite quickly that one of our main assets was gigging live so we started out doing gigs in strange places and that became our ‘thing.’ We did gigs in metros, which are the trains in Newcastle, and in lecture theatres. We did a gig in Durham University where we burst in and got to play thirty seconds of a tune before we were chucked out because we obviously weren’t allowed to do it. We did a lot of house parties as well by just saying on Facebook, ‘would you like a band for a house party?’ It gives you a real sense of worth playing to someone who’s right in your face; you learn your craft a bit more than just being on a stage and metres away from your fans.
IMC: Is it more important to you to have fewer loyal fans than a larger more fickle audience?
MH: Definitely! As much as we are always after new fans, as any band is, we’ve already got a really great core fan base. It’s so rewarding to see fans coming back to gigs three or four times.
IMC: Do you think it’s important for you to have an online presence as a band?
MH: In the early days we did a lot on Facebook and MySpace. It’s a lot easier to get in contact with people and develop a relationship with fans. We’ve spent whole days in front of the computer sending messages to bands and people but it really is worth it because we still have that support from the early days now.
IMC: Do you ever give music away for free online?
MH: Yeah we do. We’re just working on some harmonised re-working’s of some songs to give away for free. But I mean we used to sell our CDs at gigs for three quid which was basically free after the costs of getting there and making them.
IMC: So does all the money you make go back into the band?
MH: It still does now. Each gig we do the money we get paid goes back into fuel for the tour van, hiring rehearsal space or a recording studio. It’s all relative though because although we make more money now our tours are bigger so our production costs are too.
IMC: In a previous interview you said you “didn’t sound enough like Ke$ha” for your label, why did you say that?
MH: Because it was true. We had a major record deal with Columbia and they didn’t think we sounded ‘pop’ enough.
IMC: Was it easy to decide not to pursue a more consumer route?
MH: It was easy because we just told them to get stuffed. It’s our music and we wrote it; I don’t think someone who sits in an office all day has the right to tell us to change it.
IMC: What would you say to bands considering following a more corporate sound?
MH: Stick to your guns and play music that you like playing. Don’t pander to people who know only about what music is selling at the moment not what music really is.