Indietracks interview #6: Comet Gain


Interview with David Feck from Comet Gain, by Andy Hart

Led by songwriter David Feck, Comet Gain have released a string of critically acclaimed records on Kill Rock Stars, Track & Field, What’s Your Rupture? and Fortuna Pop!, establishing the band as one of the most fearlessly passionate and fiercely intelligent British bands around. Unapologetically literate and emotional, Comet Gain seek out inspiration as much in the music of girl-group era pop, heartfelt Americana, British post-punk, and 60s psychedelia, as in the words and images of the beat poets and in the cinema of both the British and French new-wave of the late 50s and early 60s. The aesthetic they have made their own has chimed with and galvanized a slew of iconic bands and musicians; from artists like The Make-Up, The Yummy Fur, Jens Lekman and Herman Dune, to a younger generation of DIY musicians like The Cribs, Let’s Wrestle, Male Bonding, Love Is All, Veronica Falls, and Crystal Stilts, Comet Gain’s influence remains a traceable and tangible thing.

Andy: Comet Gain have played Indietracks previously… or a version of Comet Gain… what’s your take on that ‘episode’?

David: Yeah, well, finally I can tell you how it went down from THIS end…

We were asked to play but pretty instantly me, Anne Laure and Woodie said we couldn’t make it as we’d all booked holidays at the same time – I kinda’ half-jokingly said, “if the rest of you wanna’ do it, it’s up to you” as I see Comet Gain as an ever shifting collective, but only Jon felt like doing it cos he’ll do anything that gets him out of the house if there’s free beer-well, at the weekend, anyway… I think he thought I would still end up doing it and our information centre is rather chaotic and askew and the first thing I knew about it was reading a review of Comet Gain’s gig… I thought if he had done it under a different name or something like Jon Slade’s Comet Gain. It was kinda’ funny and in keeping with our unbalanced version of ‘being a group’ but I could see how it woulda’ pissed off people who’d wanted to see the band play …

What was worse was I seemed to get the collective blame like it was some deliberate “oh fuck them” type prank when I didn’t even know anything about it, sunning my pale thin skin on a beach in France safe from the world of untuned jangling guitars, then I’m suddenly this evil Machiavellian wrecker of indie dreams… the most amazing thing was I think he even got PAID – the blighter… a large part of why we are playing this year is to absolve ourselves hopefully of the bad karma of the short lived Jon helmed version of Comet Gain, although don’t blame me if we go onstage and play the exact same short set that Jon did and leave (we probably shouldn’t though) and please don’t keep coming up to me raging with indignity or even ‘indie-ignity’ about the sins of guitarists since retired. Anyway- that’s what happened… not something any of us were happy about, believe me, and apologies all round but just wanted to point out WE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT IT ‘til after the fact.

Andy: What’s the current line-up of Comet Gain? Are you primed and ready for Indietracks? What gods or demons are you planning on invoking through thee rituals ov magick?

The band will be almost complete as in James H on bass in a flying nun t shirt of his choice; me on gtr and shouting, Woodie drummering, Rachel on more shouting and Ben on guitars a-go-go and gentle background shouting…

Sadly, Anne Laure won’t be playing groovy organ or groovy shouting as she is looking after the youngest member of the gang in France – safe from the hooliganism of Indietracks, we will probably be joined on a few tracks by Mr Gary Olson of Ladybug Transistor on trumpet and human beatbox… there will be no summonings because all the best demons and angels and such are all on a weekend knees-up in Margate.

As for being prepared, this is Comet Gain you’re asking so no… I’m pretty sure we might rehearse possibly even some of our songs and I think I’ve booked that day off work but other than that we will be there and we will attempt greatness and achieve perfection or die trying.

Andy: Following on from the ‘Paperback Ghosts’ LP (‘autumnal’) in 2014 and the ‘Fingerprint Ritual’ EP (‘psych’) in 2015 there’s talk of new recordings… will there be a new release (single/album) this year?

David: I have a bundle of songs in various forms of life and reams of endless words and pockets full of bits of music I wanna’ sound like and a small wooden box with some ancient chords waiting to be smershed together into a lovely beast of a thing… hopefully we can get it all done by the end of the year, Woodie is gonna’ produce I think and the songs are more like – I suppose – ‘Realistes’-type things: a more jagged, angry pop record because these are jagged angry days, at the moment the LP is called “We’re All Fucking Morons’ because right now we are, who knows by the end of recording maybe we will still be Europeans and Trump will be jailed and so on but until then…

Andy: There’s also vinyl releases of ‘City Fallen Leaves’ (for the first time) and ‘Realistes’ (for the first time in 15 years) from M’Ladys Records later this year? Are there any plans for some of these to be available in the UK (I’m aware they’re a limited edition release)?

David: Hopefully, yeh… most of the stuff Brett puts out is easy to find in the UK as far as I know… I will find out and let you all know individually.

Andy: Will you be attending Indietracks for the weekend or are you just being flown in for the day in the Fortuna Pop executive jet? Either way, are you hoping to see any bands in particular while you’re there (or have a ride on a steam train or attend a ‘make some bunting’ workshop)? Any bands you’d recommend people make a point of seeing on the bill?

David: Most of us are running very quickly in our shorts up there Sunday morning as a team bonding effort… we all hope to pogo to Aislers Set and at some point I will find out who else is on….is John Fogerty playing this year? What about Steppenwolf? I’ll be sure to catch those rocking dudes…

Andy: Favourite train song?

David: The Nashville Ramblers ‘The Trains’

Andy: If you could pick any band living or deceased to play Indietracks which band would you choose?

David: Buffalo Springfield… but not the one with Neil Young, Stephen Stills, etc. but the one with just the drummer that toured illegally in the 70s/80s… that would be a hoot… or maybe From The Jam but with just Bruce Foxton

Andy: Your ice lolly of choice?

David: No

Andy: Any fashion tips for the well/unwell-dressed Indietracks patron?

David: Clothes are a good start… space clothes or gorilla clothes are even better

Andy: Who’d play you in a film of the Comet Gain story?

David: Dennis Waterman circa the second series of ‘Minder’ or maybe Blakey from ‘On The Buses’… ask your Dad… as for modern chaps, I dunno’, whoever is hot and grooovy these days