How long has the band been together?
The Comfies have been a band for years upon years but have only become a “serious” band in past year and a half.
Tell us about the band:
The Comfies formed out of a cosmic explosion and spent billions of years floating around the universe evolving and mutating until it landed on Earth and took the form of Benjamin Adam Harper. The Comfies continued to evolve and change until one day it realized it was missing vital organs. Ben searched the world for The Comfies’ missing parts and found Nathan Hansen ice fishing in the Artic, Gabe Pigg living a fast and furious life a Tibetan monastery and Raf Cevallos on a floating big wheel on the rings of saturn. Thus The Comfies became complete and rocked the world.
In short Ben moved to Nashville and started The Comfies. After numerous line-up changes over the years he cemented the band with Nathan, Raf and Sam Smith (who recently left to join Ben Folds on tour) and recently found Gabe Pigg to carry on the drumming torch.
The name? Does it mean what it would imply and where did it come from?
The Comfies is just a name that came from the word “comfy” which is short for comfortable. Aside from that the name has no real significance or meaning. At one point we tried to tie in the meaning of the word “comfy” to our music and what not, but it just ended up cheapening the music. It’s just an unusual name that seems to be pretty familiar.
To anyone who’s never heard your music before, how would you describe it?
Diverse rock and roll influenced by the Abbey Road Beatles, early Elvis Costello, the Kinks, the Zombies, early Bowie, some 70s rock, a tinge of 80s danceability, some 90s familiarity and the new millennium’s freshness. Or rock and roll that isn’t too serious or too frivolous.
Your EP CLOSE TO ME is available now. Can you take us through the tracks?
The EP opens up with the title track and is one of our newer songs. It’s a short and catchy rock number and is the closest thing we have that you could call a “single.” I like this song a lot because it’s the first the song that the band truly collaborated on. It’s also
really fun to play live.
The 2nd track is called “That’s What She Gets”. This seems to be everyone’s favorite song on disc and live. The EP version is very subdued compared to the live version, but both are good in their own ways. The song is full of harmonies and is carried by a solid bass groove and pulsating drums. THe drums are my favorite part of the song.
Track 3 is Medicine. This song started out as “Edison.” It didn’t make any sense and I think Sam suggested Ben sing medicine. From there I don’t think he had any trouble writing the lyrics. It’s about anti-depressants. I consider this to be our Franz Ferdinand song with the dueling guitars.
Track 4 is In My Room. A sweet song between Ben and our friend Andrea. This sounds very influenced by Motown to me. It’s about a couple breaking up and then realizing they need to get back together.
Track 5 is Your Sunshine. This is my personal favorite song musically and lyrically. I think it sounds very British and hope we can do more songs like this. Some people have mixed feelings about the beat-boxing in the beginning and throughout the song, but it works w/o being too distracting.
Track 6 is Understanding 23. This is apparently our best live song because it’s much more heavier than the record. We definitely want to show people that we’re not just a guitar band. It’s definitely influenced by The Zombies.
Dear Miss Anderson was basically written in the studio and recorded immediately. It’s not something we’d usually do but it’s so simple and haunting. We couldn’t put it on a record so figured it’d be best to throw it on the EP to show a bit of our range.
What is your favorite song on the EP?
My personal favorite is Your Sunshine
Where can people buy it?
It’s available most anywhere, but for bigger chains I think you’d have to get it ordered. Otherwise it’s available at indie record shops and on i-tunes. I recommend everyone support their local indie shops and buy all their music there.
You are getting ready to make a video for your song “Close to Me” and you’ve sent out the message that you want the fans to be involved. Can you explain the concept and how fans can get involved?
With the recent YouTube phenomenon i figured it’d be pretty cool and possibly for people to take a camera and record themselves singing to our song. THey don’t even have to be singing they could be doing something crazy or funny or weird. It can involve pet tricks, paper airplanes, etc. Just anything. We dont’ want anything distasteful though. The idea is to get people to do these things and send us their tapes. If we get enough material we’ll most likely edit it to make some kind of collage that will hopefully work. It’s definitely not revolutionary but i think it’d be fun for fans to be the stars.
If you want to get involved just get a camera and get some friends and be creative and send us the tapes. For more information you can write to us at email@example.com.
What is the normal writing process for the band? Is everyone involved?
For the longest time The Comfies was mainly just Ben. So he amassed this huge catalogue of songs. He’s a demo-holic that will record drums, bass, guitars, and harmonies. Over the past year its started to be more about the band dynamic so he just demos his voice and guitar and gives us mp3s so we can figure out parts. It’s a lot more fun and creative this way because it helps keep the music fresh.
Who/what would you cite as band influences?
The Beatles obviously, but more so from Rubber Soul and onward. Elvis Costello. Early Bowie. The Zombies. The Kinks. Ben Kweller. Ben Folds. Superdrag. New Pornographers. The Posies. Billy Joel. Personally the things I do in the band are influenced by Radiohead, and most other British bands. I just think their guitar players know how to be guitarists without being Hendrix/SteveRay clones.
In a market that is saturated with new bands and new music, what sets The Comfies apart from the rest?
We’re not about having some kind of gimmick whether it be emo fashion, or wearing make-up. We’re first and foremost about the music. We’re out to make records we like and play songs we like that general music lovers will like. As tempting as it is to start writing really trendy fleeting music we’re aiming for longevity. We’re nice guys who want people to have fun and relate to songs about love, loss, understanding, peace, etc. That sounds very hippy-ish, but it seems the best music is all about that. Hating the world and life and being angry all the time is the sad sad trend in music right now and it’s not how it should be.
I’m not sure what our best gig has been, but a favorite would be our EP Release show in Nashville. All of our friends came to see us and a bunch of random people we didn’t know. We played in pajamas and just had a great time.
We played some metal bar in NYC. The first band was a Tool Cover band. After they were done they heckled us and left. We played to 1 person. Heavy drinking ensued.
Touring Europe with or without a big act.
Ultimate goal as a band?
Make records that we like and to just make a living off of playing music. We’d like to be able to tour and have crowded smaller clubs. And if anything bigger happens we’ll have to see how we feel about it then.
What do you think of the current state of the music industry?
Major label mainstream music is at an all-time low. Rock and Roll is now represented by Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco in America and it’s utterly depressing. Even a lot of the popular underground music is just hardcore/screamo/noise nonsense. Kids need to re-introduced to melody and what “real” music is all about. We refuse to believe these kids listen to this music in bed with headphones on. I am hopeful though because there are a handful of greats bands that manage to make their way to the top and the indie movement is still healthy.
Myspace Blessing or Curse?
Myspace is a great promotional tool if you can actually use your account. Unfortunately for us we were flagged as spammers and can no longer send out friend requests, messages, or comments and sometimes our picture shows us a a delete account. All attempts to fix this have been met with automated responses. Myspace has the worst technical support. It has definitely hurt our promotional ability. If you have a working myspace account then its awesome because you can expose millions of people to your music and get messages out to them in mass quickly. Of course there are a lot of really really bad bands out there so it’s hard to find the great bands.
We’re taking February off too rehearse intensely with our new drummer and to possibly demo new songs and book spring dates.
Message to your fans?
Thank you for buying our EP and for seeing us play. We do what we do for ourselves and for you. Also we are looking to build our comfies team. So if you can or want to help us book shows for the spring please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We want to be in direct contact. Or you can send a hello. Play us to your friends, strangers, put us on mix cds, support your indie record shops, and be safe.