MY eyes are cast across the musical landscape…
in search of great bands that can fill festival tents and stand in the mind. There is a lot of competition out there but, riding near the top of the pack, we have Comfort. The guys chat to me about their Comfort EP and what sort of ideas go into it; whether there is a song that stands aside; how they all got together – whether we can see them tour this year at all.
I learn which artists inspire them and how they spend downtime away from music; what their base of Brighton is like in terms of opportunities and vibe; they choose a song each to end the album – recommending a great new artist to look out for.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Brendan: Hey! So far, so good. Been writing some demos in my bedroom and getting some stuff recorded, which is exciting me.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are a three-piece born and bred on the South Coast. We’ve been together since late-2016 and have been writing and recording by ourselves ever since. We like to push ourselves, genre-wise, and aren’t really tied down to a cookie-cutter format of writing songs. That’s why it’s exciting to be in this band: we kind of just write and play how we feel in that time, whilst obviously not straying too far to the point of people not recognising the band.
Your Comfort EP is new. Can you describe the stories and ideas that influenced the songwriting?
Yeah. It came out on 2nd April after a string of singles released since January. Well, the four tracks were all the really early solo demos I made and we decided to spend time over the band’s duration to make them the best they can sound but still hold onto the energy of when they were created. That’s why we thought it was nice to release the songs in order and not lose them. The early stuff was very influenced by a strenuous and deeply affecting relationship with my first love, and the songs were just an expression of what I was feeling at the time.
Comfort is pretty literal in that regard and was sort of written as an emotional release; Pass Me the Syrup and Their Laughter Is a Killer were attempts to counteract sadness with wigged-out fun. In the end, we felt they all deserved to be on the debut E.P. as an introduction and expression of that specific time in our lives.
Is there a track from the E.P. you would select as highlights?
I think Comfort. It’s hard to have an opinion on my own songs, but there is something about that track for me, personally. Musically, it’s dreamy and hazy but also directed. Really, it’s a just a vulnerable, messy love song. The person in that song does feel kind of weak and defeated in parts and bold and positive in others; the topsy-turvy-ness I like. Lyrically, it was kind of hard to put out there as it was so personal, but now that it has transcended that emotion, I just like the track sonically. Pass Me the Syrup is probably the consensus, though.
That’s fun to play….
How did Comfort get together? Is it true you are all childhood friends?
It started out as demos by myself. The songs were very different to what I had made in the past and think that was a direct reaction to my messy emotions at the time. Then, James and Jake joined me and we made it work in a live setting and we continued to grow from there. Jake and James adding parts, writing drums and bass lines; working off each other to push the songs to another place.
Yeah, we’re all childhood friends who have had many musical projects separately and together - but we kind of looped back around and started making music again together, which is awesome.
Can you remember the music you were listening to back then? Are there particular artists that inspired you to start a band?
Yeah, for sure. I think the early stuff we got into that made us realise that music wasn’t just the charts were Nirvana, Radiohead; Jeff Buckley…around the ages of sixteen-eighteen or so. I mean, there are loads. I specifically remember listening to Nirvana for the first time when I was, like, eleven and thinking: ‘Woah… this is a big deal’.
What is Brighton like in terms of inspiration and its people? Is it a great city to perform in?
Brighton is just a small, artistic; bohemian, unique little hub of creativity. It’s a great place to perform and just be in. Like any place, it has its ups and downs, but as beach towns go, it’s up there with the best. If it were summer all year round, it would put the cherry on the cake.
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
Our next gig is at The Waiting Room in London. We’re supporting MOHIT alongside Purs. It’s great, as MOHIT are also childhood friends, so all getting to share a space and play together is awesome. We really bounce off of each other, creatively. It’s going to be a good one. Other than that, we are just planning the year ahead gig-wise, with a few exciting things on the horizon.
How important is it to gig and get onto the stage? Can you describe the sensation of being on stage and performing?
It’s, basically, what you do it for. Writing the songs in a small bedroom, recording for countless hours; mixing, mastering…all that, it’s just so we can get on a stage and connect with an audience face to face. As I’m also an actor, the ‘performance’ side of things is really important to me. For me, anyway, it’s kind of a hazy feeling on stage. I blink and the set is over. Not to say I don’t enjoy myself, but all forms of performance I kind of float away. I think I need to ground myself sometimes. Hopefully, that doesn’t sound too silly...
Making sure not to think too much is key, I guess but I also love the idea of real honed stagecraft and showmanship; so, pushing into that direction would be awesome. People not just seeing yet another gig, but a show. We’ll hopefully get there one day. For now, though yeah; it’s just us playing instruments and having fun. The show is kind loose and carefree at the moment, which is a blast.
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
That’s always such a hard question…but I guess I would go with Kid A by Radiohead
I know that’s kind of an easy answer. It’s just a daring record. Divisive, important and timeless. It means a lot to me, personally, and inspired my approach to songwriting, like, hang on; why can’t music just be music and not a tick box of genre pleasing tables and graphs?!
James: Mine is Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk by Jeff Buckley
My reasons for this are because it's the first album/mixtape I heard that didn't have to be a certain way. Capturing the energy and ideas of the songs with so much rawness. Its low-fi vibe makes you feel like you're there. A very inclusive body of work.
Jake: Doolittle by Pixies
I learned to play by listening to that album on-repeat and working out the bass lines. It's pretty much why everything I write is so simple. Alternative answer: Willennium - It's a fuc*ing masterpiece.
What do you all hope to achieve in 2018?
Brendan: I’ll just settle for nice weather and good tele at Christmas. Lots of shows and more recording with new and exciting people would be nice, too. We’re currently working on the follow-up singles and E.P. and would be lovely if we kept up the momentum of releases and get stuff out, sooner rather than later.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
For this band, specifically; I guess recording the debut E.P. We recorded at Nice Weather for Airstrikes Studios in Puburough and just being in the countryside for the weekend, hashing out these songs I wrote on a laptop in my bedroom; it was, creatively, very rewarding. Also, recording and mixing it ourselves was a great learning experience and added to the personal vibe of the songs.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Blimey. I don’t really feel like I can give advice as we’re basically babies in this industry. I guess: don’t ever compromise on your craft, have fun; be kind and polite to people and don’t forget why you wanted to do it in the first place.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I’ve been listening to Anna Burch’s new record, Quit the Curse, on-repeat, so I’d give that a go. A lot of new music that people are fawning over isn’t quite hitting me - but there is some great stuff out there if you look hard enough.
Do you all get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
The other night, I watched, like, six hours of golf, which is like meditation to me. I love the outdoors too, like the woods, especially - but I don’t get myself motivated enough to go regularly. I’m a very frantic person, mentally and physically, so chilling is important, otherwise, I’ll just burn myself out before dinner. Reading. Watching movies. All the usual, nice stuff…
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Brendan: Unknown Mortal Orchestra - American Guilt
Jake: Air – Sexy Boy
James: Ski Mask The Slump God - Catch Me Outside
It's a loose-trap record with references to cartoons I watched growing up - and, also, captures a moment in time