Good news ahead of Good Things! The legends in The Amity Affliction have returned with …
There’s a rare solace to be found in the self-discovery that follows grief, loss, and many of life’s tumultuous happenings. And for Brisbane alt rockers The Comfort, it’s this very fact that powerfully drives their impending new sophomore album Experience Everything. Live And Die.
MORE: PARKWAY DRIVE: “It’s About Encapsulating The Beauty In It, Through The Darkness” // DUNE RATS: Dance Lessons and Thinking Outside The Box REVIEWS: SLEEPING WITH SIRENS: Complete Collapse // blink-182: EDGING // FREEDOM OF FEAR: Carpathia // ARCHITECTS: the classic symptoms of a broken spirit // SLIPKNOT: The End, So Far // THE GLOOM IN THE CORNER: Trinity // THE COMFORT: Experience Everything. Live And Die.
An outing harnessing self discovery and a range of cohesive yet divergent sonic flavours, Experience Everything. Live And Die was recorded back in March of 2020, right on the cusp of the world going mad, and also following The Comfort’s temporary hiatus at the end of 2019. And, as The Comfort lyricists, songwriters, and longtime friends Liam Holmes and Dom Harper recently shared with Hysteriamag.com, the unexpected extended time off was potentially just what the musical doctor ordered.
“It was definitely a weird spot for music,” says Harper of the pandemic years. “But it also feels like we never really missed a beat. I guess for a little while there though, even as we were doing stuff for this album, it was a bit of a drag to get up and get motivated for it each time and stuff like that. But having that time off really refreshed us, and let us fall in love with making music again. And releasing and playing music as well.”
“I didn’t even realise that we missed playing music until we played a show, and I was like: Oh that’s right, I like this!”.
Previously announcing a hiatus in 2019, with the group almost considering at the time to call it a day, an underlying notion still remained for The Comfort in and amongst any uncertainty: they were always going to write another album.
“We kind of went into that hiatus with plans for an album,” reveals Harper. “Initially we were talking about breaking up or maybe relaunching as a different band or something. But we decided to reevaluate, take some time off and then we’d write an album and see what we could do. And I think we already had maybe two or three songs before we even announced a hiatus.”
“We knew we were taking time off. We just wanted to have that pressure taken off when we had to write it by, and release it by a certain time. If it took us a year, it took us a year. If it took us two, it took us two. It ended up not taking us very long at all, but then COVID happened, and we probably didn’t even need to announce a hiatus because every band had an accidental hiatus anyway.”
“It was more us taking a hiatus from the music industry,” adds Holmes. “Dom and I, we’re the two main lyricists and vocalists for the band, but we do also have other musical help. But when a band becomes something other than fun, when the business stuff comes in and takes a lot of your attention…it probably took too much of our attention away from what we were actually meant to be doing.”
“It got a bit too much,” Holmes continues, “and we realised how much we don’t love the music industry. We decided to just go away and be like: “Let’s just worry about the thing we’re meant to be here for, which is the music, and just see what happens”. And then unfortunately what happened next? The pandemic. And three months turned into two years. But now here we are.”
Starting life releasing multiple EPs, including their breakout EP Love, which also snagged The Comfort over five million Spotify streams worldwide, the absorbing quartet have continually showcased over the years their inbuilt knack for crafting vulnerable yet powerful oscillating hues in and around indie, rock, and emotive waters. And the journey that has ultimately shaped The Comfort’s increasingly signature sound and ultimately led to their second full length album in 2022 itself reaches far back to both Holmes and Harper’s teenage years.
“The way we wrote the first EP Ghosts back in 2013,” says Harper, “was basically: Liam had been writing his own music for years and working on stuff. I was playing in some other bands and he was just like: “Hey, I need a bassist, this guy has just left. Can you play bass for me just for like a couple of shows and we’ll see how it goes”. And I was like: “Yeah, sure, send me the songs”. But I’d never played bass in my life, I’d never played guitar. So, I bought a bass and I went along to some practices. I really liked the songs, and I started putting a little bit of my flair into little bits and pieces – and that was how the first EP was kind of born.”
“It was largely a Liam process,” Harper adds. “And then just this tiny little bit at the end with me, and the guitarist at the time putting some stuff in there as well. And then from there, we lost some members and it became just me and Liam writing constantly for everything.”
There’s nothing crazy to reveal just yet … but we do have a lot of background plans in the works, we might be doing some stuff later in the year to showcase next year and then hopefully early next year we’ll put together a headline run where we can go out and play a full proper set.
[ Dom Harper – The Comfort ]
“Liam and I have been writing together since I was maybe 14 or 15 and he was 17 or 18, so it’s gone a long, long way back now. And for this album, it just was very natural to get back into that space of sitting in each other’s bedrooms, writing like we were kids and in our parents’ garages and stuff like that. It was kinda nice to pull back into that zone. And since then, we’ve picked up Marcus [Parente] and Izaac [Calrow]. And now Marcus has taken over maybe like 80% of the music writing and we come in with our vocals and melodies.”
“Each Comfort song does take its own way in how we write it, one might be that Marcus will come in with a completely done song and we put our vocals and our lyrics over the top. And other times, it’ll be that Liam’s got this chord progression or something like that. And then we come together and write the full song from that. It does change from song to song, but at the end of the day, once all of those components are there in the same song, it just becomes a Comfort song. It’s got my voice on it, it’s got Liam’s voice on it, it’s got Liam’s spacey Angels & Airwaves leads or something, and it just becomes a Comfort song all of a sudden.”
“We wrote this new record very quickly, it was largely Marcus for this one. We recorded the entire thing in March of 2020, and I think we finished off the drums slightly later in the year – and we’ve just been sitting with it since waiting to release. And as every band can attest to, at the moment getting vinyls pressed is an absolute nightmare. That really blew out the process, but we ultimately just decided that we had to get a release date and just run with it, and get the vinyl sorted for whenever that was gonna happen. And hope for the best, really”.
With Harper and Holmes creatively crossing paths at an extremely early age, the nuanced nostalgia mixed with modern elements on The Comfort’s ever-growing material is entirely no coincidence, with Holmes in particular harbouring a clear-cut mission statement from day one (and beyond) for what The Comfort would ultimately become.
“There was a very clear idea early on of what I wanted The Comfort to be,” shares Holmes. “My brain works in a way that I have to kind of fully plan something out before I do anything. The original idea for the band was to mix the band Brand New, who now have had some not great things that have happened since … but mix that with Angels & Airwaves and hopefully come up with something unique. I was really inspired by the two because they’re the two bands that have really inspired me the most musically, and they’re very different sounding, they just hit the spot for me. That first EP at least was kind of born out of that idea and then once you kind of write about five songs you’re like: “Oh crap, I need some new ideas”, and you’ve gotta change things slightly.”
“But it’s always been that ethos that it needs to be kind of dark sounding, but have these Tom DeLong rip off leads in there. And then Dom and I choose who will write some depressing lyrics on top.”
With the group already releasing five singles in the lead up to the eventual release of Experience Everything. Live And Die, including Bloom, Grace, Love Is A Dying Plant, Conformist, and Supernova, one thing is certainly clear when it comes to the new The Comfort album: the significant yet carefully woven contrasting content and moods lying in wait, including one of the band’s heaviest songs to date.
“From Grace to Bloom,” says Holmes, “I think there’s a pretty clear difference in how those two songs sound, which is something we kind of planned so that you’d listen to Grace and think you’d have an idea of what the album is, and then we’d put out the poppiest song we’ve ever written. And then the next single is maybe the heaviest song we’ve ever written, which is The Portal. I think each song explains maybe another song on the album that sounds like it. Bloom probably sounds a bit like Begin Again and You, but it doesn’t sound anything like Conformist or Grace. That was something we really wanted to do – and it kind of just happened organically as well.”
“We had all these different sounding songs,” Holmes continues, “and then we picked the ones that made as much sense together as we could. But if you listen to the album the whole way through, which is how we like to do things, I think it changes pretty drastically from one song to the next. But it all makes sense hopefully.”
“I guess we chose those singles as well to showcase what styles are on the album,” adds Harper. “Because there’s such differences between song one and song seven…to release things that are reminiscent of something else really kind of gives you a taste of the whole thing. If you like poppier stuff, you’ll like Bloom. But if you like the heavier stuff, then Conformist might bring you in. At least that was the idea behind the process in tying together all the single campaigns for the album.”
Having been able to recently perform once again after a long couple of years away from stages and crowds, The Comfort had previously already been able to play one of their new album’s singles back in 2019, with the album’s opener Love Is A Dying Plant proving to be as much a fan favourite as it was a welcome change for the band to add some new material to their setlist. And while all ears are currently honing in on the upcoming release of Experience Everything. Live And Die, the band are already turning their own gaze to 2023 and beyond. And, as Holmes announced to Harper himself during the chat with Hysteria Magazine, there’s a special secret song potentially on the horizon, with a very QLD-centric working title.
“There’s nothing crazy to reveal just yet,” says Harper of The Comfort’s not-too-distant future. “But we do have a lot of background plans in the works, we might be doing some stuff later in the year to showcase next year and then hopefully early next year we’ll put together a headline run where we can go out and play a full proper set. At so many of the shows we just played in the last couple of months, in different cities people are always saying: “When are you gonna come back and play a real set instead of like 25 minutes, 35 minutes or whatever. Come and play l45 to an hour and play something off What It Is To Be and off Love and some older ones”. Hopefully that’s something we can put into motion for early next year.”
“Yeah, hopefully in February and March we’ll be playing some long sets,” Holmes chimes in. “And I’m yet to message the rest of the band about it, but I keep meaning to message the guys saying: “I think we should record a particular song very soon, and put it out as soon as we can”. Because that’s what we’re meant to be doing, we’re meant to be putting out music. So, yeah, Dom, it’s the one Izaac called Darren Lockyer.”
Harper laughs, before Holmes continues.
“We have really bad working titles for our songs,” says Holmes. “Every now and then we get so attached to them, like: “Should we call it this?”. And then someone goes: “No!”. Usually there’s one person that can stick to what’s important.”
“The voice of reason,” Harper agrees. “But maybe, the new Comfort single Darren Lockyer coming out 2023?”.
A highly unlikely final song name, but regardless, there’s definitely a heap of more Comfort magic to come, both via their brand new album and beyond.