Liam Holmes & Dom Harper make up the brains behind Brisbane outfit, The Comfort. The duo recently released their new single ‘Everstone’, to much acclaim in the local scene. In support of the new tune, which comes from their upcoming EP, ‘Love’ (released on September 16th, save the date people), The Comfort will be touring down the East Coast later this week, with support from fellow locals, Grim Indiana. So as it’s a very exciting time for the band right now, we spoke with Holmes about ‘Everstone’, the band’s ever-changing sound, and on what Grim Indiana song they’d cover, because why the hell not?
A lot of listeners and press have been digging the new single since its release. Do you focus on what a lot of the media and press say and think about the band’s music, or do you just keep the end goal of playing/writing music in mind and not focus too much on the peripherals?
Yes and no. No in the sense that if someone writes us off we’re not going to stop doing what we’re doing and it won’t change how we operate creatively. Yes in the sense that, and I don’t know if other people or bands do this, but everything almost anyone says about us online Dom and I will show each other and discuss, If you’ve tweeted or Instagrammed something about us chances are we’ve seen it, screen shot it and sent to one another. We sincerely appreciate everything anyone says about us and we don’t take for granted the fact that people have even listened to a song of ours. It wasn’t so long ago that this band was a collection of demos on my laptop so I always try and keep in mind the way I felt about music when I was younger and wished I could be in a band and have people listen to what I create.
In the press release sent out for the single, it ends with a quote from Terence McKenna – “There is nobody who is so enlightened that they don’t need to work on themselves.” So with that quote in mind, and hopefully my question represents it well, what do you personally think you need to work on or develop in your own lives and in your own music?
It represents it very well, it’s a quote, or more so an ideology that is very important for where I am in my life at the moment and it tied in perfectly with Everstone. Almost my entire life, but the last three years especially, I’ve been dealing with depression and I was almost at the end of the line. So about four months ago now I took a leap of faith and travelled to Iquitos, Peru and worked with Ayahuasca in a Shamanic Sanctuary over there and it was transformed my life in ways I could never have dreamed. Since then mostly, but even before, I’ve always tried to be as self-aware as possible. When you have depression you are very, very aware of your own faults, but it’s hard to really get a good perspective on them sometimes, whereas now I can not only identify them I can try to improve them, which I try to do as often as possible, whether it is through meditation or simply reading and listening to as much as I can about our consciousness and the universe, from people much smarter than myself like Terrence McKenna or Graham Hancock. Practicing mindfulness is an extremely important tool. Dom and I both look at our culture and society at the moment where not many people take accountability for themselves and their actions and almost pride themselves on how bad a person they can be. Of course being happy as who you are is important, but as that quote suggests, there is always room for improvement, you just have to find what works for you.
Musically, Dom and I have really only just figured out our strengths and how to merge them together while writing this new EP, from here it’s just going to be building on that and hopefully perfecting the process while constantly challenging ourselves, we don’t want to write the same thing twice.
That’s some very honest self-analyzation there, man. I really appreciate that. While we’re on your music, you’ve also said that you’re “excited to show everyone the real The Comfort”. So what is the real side of The Comfort then? Do you also think that that statement will come back to bite you in the ass if you change your sound in the future?
Hopefully not, but it probably will now [laughs]. It’s not that we don’t like our previous songs, we’ve just grown. It ties back to your last question, we want to constantly evolve and improve. I hope in a year or so we say the same thing for our new music. For us music isn’t a genre that we’re locked into forever, it’s an expression of our emotions and our mental state, if we’re writing the same sounding songs over and over it means we aren’t progressing as people either. I’ve always half-jokingly said to Dom, I hope we end up sounding like Coldplay because that will mean we are the happiest we can be as individuals…but I also really like Coldplay! There are not as many angry outwardly focused songs on Love as there were on Ghosts because that’s not where we are as people, it’s more introspective and isn’t as full of angst.
Cool! And I’m actually a big Coldplay fan myself. Anyway, who are the names of the other guitarist and drummer in the band, and do they have any part in the writing and recording processes? Also, your promos and the information on the band only mentions you and Dom, how do they feel about essentially being “guns for hire”?
Marcus Parente is on guitar, he also plays in Bayharbour. Nic Osborne is on Drums, he used to play in First Sight who took us on our first full tour. We’ve been good friends with both of them for a long time now and it feels pretty natural that they are with us at the moment, we owe them a lot because if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be able to continue doing this. But Dom and I wrote and recorded this EP by ourselves so we really just wanted to see out this cycle on our own terms as this release means a lot to us, nothing against those guys at all!
Ah, good to hear those guys fit in so well. You worked with Sonny True Love for ‘Everstone’, as well as ‘Roses’ last year and now this new EP. What does he (and Evan Lee to an extent) bring to the table for your band’s music and sound, apart from the two parties having a solid working relationship, obviously.
Working with them was amazing, we don’t want to leave honestly. They didn’t change too much, just refined and improved what we had, whether that was telling us we let a part go too long, or suggesting extra vocal or guitar parts. I had reservations going in originally and Dom did on my behalf as I can be a bit of a control freak, but Evan and Sonny are both such good guys and really understood what we were about that it made things so easy.
Ah, nice! There’s a strong back and forth, a strong call and response style to the band’s vocals and music overall. Do you ever argue over who will sing the verses and who will sing in the choruses? Or do you have that part of the writing down pat by now that it happens very naturally?
Dom and I argue very little, we’re on the same page with mostly everything, it just happens naturally. Like with Everstone, Dom had the chorus lyrics written so just started singing them then I wrote the verses around that then sung them. It follows lyrics a lot too, we generally let each other sing what we wrote as they’re pretty personal but most of the time we have Dom sing the chorus because he kills it. It’s also why on Ghosts and Roses it was mostly my voice as I wrote most of it lyrically whereas, on our new EP, Love, we were 50/50 on lyrics so Dom sang a lot more. Actually for what is going to be our next single, we had the song completed musically and I had the lyrics which I was planning on singing them, but Dom said ‘Hey mind if I try this out?’ and showed me something he had and it was too good not to use so now the song has his lyrics and he sings 80% of them. We try to remove our egos as much as possible.
Less ego is always good and I’m very keen to see what you guys do next. With the music video for ‘Everstone’, was there a particular meaning behind all of the light bulbs hung up around the room, or was it just because it looked cool?
Mostly just the cool thing [laughs], but how they’re showcased is all down to Nick Hargans who shot it, who also plays in Vitals. He killed it and we love the double exposure stuff he does. The idea for the video was pretty simple, we just wanted to showcase what this bad is, some guys in a room playing music
Also, was the singles name taken from one of the evolutionary stones found in the Pokémon universe?
[Laughs] Yes it was, as the song is about change and growth, or someone not changing or growing, or not evolving if you will. I jokingly suggested we call it Everstone as it fit pretty well. We always intended on changing it but we couldn’t think of anything better so it just stuck.
I thought so! Finally, I find that Grim Indiana are a really good tour buddy to have as they really compliment your sound. What would you say is your favourite song from those guys, and what song of yours would you like them to cover given the chance and vice versa?
That is a great question. I would love to hear them cover Roses, mostly because it’s the most sonically different from them and it would be interesting to see how they approached it. Of their songs, I would probably have to say Nazarene. When we were down recording with Sonny, Grim had just recorded before us so he showed us that song and we were all just like wow, these guys are good. We actually met them the day or so after when we went out to some local pub with Evan and we’ve just grown the relationship from there. We can’t wait to tour with them and watch them every night.
Sounds good, and I think you guys would do a killer job of covering ‘Youth On Repeat‘. Thanks so much for your time Liam and I sincerely hope that the tour goes well for you and band!
Thank you man, I really appreciate the in-depth questions.
The Comfort are touring down the East Coast this weekend. Tour dates below.