If you haven’t heard of Australian band “The Comfort”, you’re missing out. As soon as I heard “Love and other Drugs” I was hooked by the genuine and honest song writing and the polished production. This is a band who have worked extremely hard and believe in what they’re doing and haven’t succumbed to the “fame at all costs” marketing strategies. This is a band I definitely wanted to know more about, I am now a fan and was extremely grateful to Liam for agreeing to answer out questions.
Could you tell us a little about yourselves and how the band formed?
Well my name is Liam Holmes and I do one half of the vocals and play guitar. I guess the band began with me recording a few demos on my laptop a few years ago, these would eventually become our debut EP ‘Ghosts’ with the help of Dom Harper (Bass and Vocals) who I had already been friends with for a long time. We had some other members come though but it was a never a perfect fit so It got to the point where it was just Dom and myself for a while and we wrote and recorded our last EP ‘Love’ by ourselves, which is our best work and we’re incredibly proud of it. However we have just added Marcus Parente on guitar and Izaac Calzone on drums, and they fit with us perfectly.
Who have been your biggest inspirations both musically and personally?
Musically it would be Angels and Airwaves and Brand New as my two major influences. The original goal of the band was trying to to fuse those two sounds together.
Personally, people like Graham Hancock and Terence McKenna, people that are aware of a whole other part of life not many people know about.
You’re on tour this September with Young Lions, how did that come about and how are preparations going for the tour?
We’ve been friends for a while and have played a few one off shows with them in the past, but we’re very excited to finally do a full tour with them in support of their new album Mr Spaceman, I’m so excited to be able to watch them every night. Our preparations for tour haven’t really started yet haha, we’ve spent the last few months writing new music instead. But it is shaping up to be an amazing tour, we will probably have some new music out by then too so it will be fun to play that for the first time.
“Love & Other Drugs” has had over 450,000 views and it’s something a number of people can relate to, but what inspired you to write it? Was it a personal experience?
We’re very overwhelmed that it has received that many views, it seems to just keep going up, unfortunately the song isn’t about the happiest of subjects haha, I wrote it at a time I was struggling with my mental health and felt very guilty about the fact I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be and had to rely on someone else to keep me afloat for a while.
Who did you work with on the production of “Love & Other Drugs”?
We did it with Sonny Truelove and Evan Lee at STL Studios, we did our whole ‘Love’ EP with them and it was an amazing experience. We just recorded a new song with Sonny and his new engineer Nicholas Page a few weeks ago too, that hopefully will be out soon.
You very much have an honest and genuine approach to writing your music, do you feel that a number of other bands lose their way in an attempt to become either popular or more “Marketable”?
100%, music should be an art not a product, we’ve played with bands that care more about their image and trying to get popular than their art, and everyone knows it. I don’t know if I/we just think differently about things than other people, but I couldn’t live with myself if I compromised my art just to water it down so more casual music listeners would like it. Music should be a reflection of yourself and I guess it is if you put being popular on top of creating something real.
You’ve been involved with the Beyond Blue Charity a great deal, do you feel that society has made improvements with regards to mental health issues, but support is still fairly limited?
I think progression is slowly being made but my perception is that people have a one size fits all approach. It’s not as simple as calling a helpline or taking anti-depressants for a week and everything is sorted right away, most of the time, you’re just managing your condition, every day can be a struggle inside your mind, regardless of what it looks like on the outside, it’s a very complicated issue and it can be hard enough for a person to accept that their mind works a different way to other people.
What I need to feel myself can be very different to what someone else needs. It can obviously be difficult to understand for people that haven’t felt the despair of mental health issues themselves but more needs to be done. I myself am for further research into psychedelics as a means of treatment for mental health issues, especially depression, anxiety and PTSD. I myself have had life changing experiences with Ayahuasca and Huachuma in a Shamanic Retreat in Peru and can honestly say I might not be here without those experiences. We live in a very backwards society where very damaging substances can be approved to treat people yet there are means available to treat people in a natural, healthy, lasting way, under the right circumstances that are being discounted for no good reason. Of course these things aren’t for everyone either, but they worked for me and have worked for a lot of other people.
But another issue is the availability and affordability of helping resources, on-going medication can be expensive, seeing a psychologist can cost around $150 a visit, some people can’t do that all the time, it shouldn’t be another stress simply trying to get the help you may desperately need.
The Australian music scene seems to have an incredible wealth of talent, what are your thoughts on this. Are there any bands that you particularly recommend we listen to?
Definitely, there are so many good bands in Australia at the moment, I could name about 50 if I really thought about it but off the top of my head, some that I don’t feel get the recognition they deserve are Young Lions (obviously), Storm the Sky, Stepson, Belle Haven, Deadlights and Aburden. They’re all bands that if they happened to be from Europe or America would be a lot bigger than they are, it’s just hard to make that jump from Australia.
After the September tour are there plans to record an album soon?