In many ways the past couple of years in the life of North East alt-pop makers Little Comets, have been the most thrilling.
On the personal side of things, Jarrow-bred band brothers Rob and Micky Coles - who happen to be attached to Midland-based sisters, Jo and Ellie – have each welcomed a son (William and George respectively), and it doesn’t get more exciting than that (Micky liked it that much, he and Ellie are expecting another baby in March).
Meanwhile as far as the band are concerned, since the release of their second album, Life is Elsewhere in the autumn of 2012, the trio – who expand to a foursome for the purposes of live performance – have undertaken a couple of tours both in the UK and US.
Now while there’s nothing new about the former – they’ve been regularly sharing their distinctive sound across a diverse crop of home turf venues since first unveiling themselves in 2009 – the latter marked a departure from the band’s usual gigging schedule.
Having secured a distribution deal for the aforementioned second album, the band: Rob and Micky, bandmate Matt Hall and their regular session drummer Greenie booked a trip over the Atlantic to see how their sound would go down over there. So how did it?
“Well, they invited us back,” laughs Rob as we take our seats in the Clock Tower Cafe at Hoults Yard in Newcastle where the band are rehearsing for their upcoming UK tour. “During the two US tours, we drove 12,000 miles and went to 32 different states. We are never going to moan about driving here again.”
“We really enjoyed it and wanted to make the most of every moment,” adds bassist Matt. “It was the first time I’d been over there, so I made sure if we had a spare couple of hours, I was doing something good.”
It’s an outlook which blends in nicely with Little Comets’ new mission statement for 2014.
After rejecting a new record deal with their longtime label last year, the band began making plans. And then made some more.
“We’ve got an EP coming out at the end of February, then another one in May, then another one in July. And then there’ll be an album out in August, probably with a tour in the autumn,” says Matt, who has forgotten to mention the February full of UK dates they’ve got coming up.
Speaking as someone who has been known to put off until tomorrow what should have been done yesterday, that does sound rather a lot.
“We’ve never really had a year when we’ve consistently released things or carried out a plan properly, due to lots of different reasons,” says Rob. “I think we just thought that we had the material there and it all coincided with the start of a year, which can be quite a defining thing.
“We were sitting down in December and we just decided to really try and push ourselves... and let go of things a bit more – get them recorded and released. In the past I think we’ve been a bit hard on ourselves,” he continues.
“We are quite productive, but it can sometimes seem like we’re not. We’ve just been protective of what we do – trying to get everything to be perfect.
“But sometimes you can spend too much time on something.”
Well it sounds like that won’t be an option this year. Especially now the band are doing everything for themselves.
It’s not something they’re fazed by though – in fact quite the opposite.
“I think when we started out, it was all about wanting to be in a band and having a manager and a publisher and a record label,” says Rob. “But now we’re at a point where we haven’t got any of those things, we’ve just got ourselves and the music like we had when we started out.
“But it really feels like we can just do what we like.”
And what these Little Comets like to do is put songs out there that have something to say.
“So many songs you hear are literally about nothing,” says Rob. “If you’re going to do that then you might as well just write an instrumental piece of music. Surely the point of a song is to make somebody feel and get across the way you feel to somebody?
“And it’s not like there aren’t any issues at the moment. Culture is such an important way to change things.
“I’m not saying that we are the ones who are going to do that... but I think it’s such a wasted opportunity not to even try.”
Little Comets play Newcastle 02 Academy on February 21. Their first EP of 2014, The Gentle will be released on February 23. Visit www.littlecomets.com for booking and pre-order details.