Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Rob Coles. I sing and play guitar in a band called Little Comets. I come from a place called Jarrow in the north east of England.
Who are your favorite artists from home?
It’s lovely to come from a place where we have people to look up to. The Futureheads and Maximo Park have really drawn attention to the musical output of our region in recent years. They also have a very distinct northeastern identity in their music which helps. Sting and Dire Straits have some absolute tunes – I think a lot of that stems from traditional Northumbrian music though – lots of borrowed and adopted bits of phrasing.
What’s it really like touring?
For us it is a mixture of a few things – coping with a routine, which can get monotonous, the impact of your work day ending with a huge rush of adrenalin (at home I am up at 7am and in bed by 10pm so it takes a while to adapt to being wired at 11pm having just come off stage), missing home (me and Mickey have young families), trying to be productive in a van, fitting in a bit of exercise and eating well.
We don’t really go in for the clichéd lifestyle, plus we aren’t ever away from home for a long enough period to develop a substance-based coping mechanism.
What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?
Everywhere is different really – most of time it’s the gigs you don’t expect to be great that are. A couple of years ago we did a secret gig in a pub in Sheffield for the Tramlines festival. We thought it would be a total disaster, but it ended up as the gig of the year. It was a reminder of playing in people’s front rooms – the audience was so close and that’s what made it.
What’s your ideal festival line-up?
We’d have a stage made out of compostable Joan Armatrading albums to infuse all the performers with her voice. Morrissey would do the catering, security, ticketing and the terms and conditions. We’d resurrect Hendrix to bookend it – leading the performers into the arena on elephants. During the day Neil Young and Bob Dylan would play – while Damon Albarn would have to come onstage in between acts and improvise on instruments that he couldn’t play (Jocelyn Pook would get to curate this bit). Then at night Prince, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Bowie would play. Aretha Franklin and Tune-yards would come onstage at random intervals. It would be the perfect disaster.
Tell us a tour story…
We don’t really have any good ones – on the last US tour Matt broke his foot; I left my passport in Denver and again on a plane; Mickey drove round a half marathon course in Louisville; we met a bloke who wanted to open a discount airline for only working class people or the military, but you had to bring your own food (he hadn’t finalised it yet); someone introduced themselves at a gig who had named their child after me and Mickey, and we met a talking robot called Bimble in San Francisco.
What has been your biggest achievement of the year?
Ah, it’s only February … I built a Lego suspension bridge and went for a run the other day…
What was the worst piece of advice you were given?
Always provoke sharks before you go swimming with them.
What do you do to relax?
Ah, play with the baby, listen to some music, go for a run or a walk, read a nice book..
What are you reading?
A book called Peepo by Janet and Alan Ahlberg – it’s really short and nostalgic.
How about TV, anything good on the box?
Yep, the second series of The Bridge on BBC4 and Borgen before it finished was cracking.
Do you have a favourite YouTube video?
Maybe the breezeblock in the washing machine.
What website do you visit most? (Discounting email, etc.)
BBC Sport, I think.
What is your favourite…
That changes every day. Probably Rumours by Fleetwood Mac at the minute.
At this minute, if I listened to a song, it would be ‘Beautiful Boy’ by John Lennon.
…lost classic song?
‘Shelter from the Storm’ by Bob Dylan.
One that doesn’t charge artists for water coolers probably.
Who is your favourite current artist?
A new artist that you are most excited about?
The band above – we played with them in Denver and they have some really interesting soundscapes.
What was the last great gig you have seen?
the.embassy at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle in 2001.
I don’t know, negative vibes are no good…
What should we expect from your Irish shows?
Hopefully an honest representation of our music, that’s all we try to do really.
Little Comets play the Academy on 9th February.