We chat with London-based jazz/electronica/funk/psychedelic rock trio The Comet is Coming about pre-game rituals, spontaneous composition and the macrocosmic scale of the universe.
What do we need to know so we can prepare properly for the incoming energy explosion that is your live show?
King Shabaka: Space is the place.
Danalogue the Conqueror: That you are already us and we are already you before we arrive in Australia and after.
How do you prepare for a show as a group?
KS: Generally we engulf ourselves within a cosmic haze and let the spiritual world guide us from there.
DTC: I try to envision at once the macrocosmic scale of the universe, and that I am a community of billions of cells within my body, and within that notion life is fleeting and potentially pointless. But it’s also the perfect length of time for its scale and infinitely meaningful.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
KS: Sometimes we stretch.
DTC: I love a beer.
Your music is not easy to categorise neatly into a single genre. How would you describe your sound?
DTC: Immersive DNA restructuring.
Each of the three band members go by some pretty awesome pseudonyms – “King Shabaka”, “Danalogue the Conquerer” and “Betamax Killer”. What’s the story behind these names?
King Shabaka was the last Nubian king who united upper and lower Egypt, and this is who Shabaka was named after. He tries to channel this energy when performing.
Betamax is a piece of mechanical equipment that has been disregarded and dismissed into the sands of time. Rediscovered like a ghost of ancestral knowledge, this ancient drum technology returns to haunt Babylon.
Danalogue the Conqueror comes into the hazy, post-sincerity era with a lost generation of deep analogue synthesisers, and shoots intuitively for the heart. As we all know, love conquers all.
We’re using your song “Space Carnival” as the soundtrack for some of our Festival videos – it’s such a fun, energetic track! Can you tell us a bit about what inspired this song? When and where did you write it?
KS: All the tunes on our album were improvised in long form jams. The arrangements solidified through live performances but are more or less as we created them on the spot. So there wasn’t a specific inspiration other than the joy of performing in that moment which felt like a carnival in space.
DTC: Also, we record to reel-to-reel tape through a mysterious, home-brewed, esoteric method, and when we hit record on this tune, there was only five minutes left, which is, scale-wise, the same time humans have left on the planet. So, are you gonna cry or dance?
What is your approach to recording versus playing live?
KS: Our previous recordings have been the result of spontaneous composition, which relies on all our musical sensitivities being in tune with arrangements forming in real time. When performing live, we try to take this material and use it to channel spirits from a realm that can’t be articulated within the constraints of orthodox language. We believe that the energy created from this undertaking is a force for good in the world.
DTC: Making a record is about creating a document of your place in space at that time, combined and multiplied with your co-conspirators and steeped a little in the broth of your civilisation, pushed through an organic equation machine powered by the imagination gift we receive from the hyper-dimensional force.
Playing a concert is about inviting folk to an interconnected human mind experience, creating the soundtrack to a movement through spaces that occur both simultaneously between everyone, and also uniquely within the one person. As artists we can direct the flow of attention from a mind space, to a body space, from a carnal energy, to a neo-cortex intelligence space, always driving towards a positive uplift in human energy potential and spirit.
How much of it is improvised and how much written/planned in advance?
KS: Quite a lot of the music is pre-planned but we have space for improvisation and we’re always open to tunes taking their own course if the situation demands it.
Who would you consider your biggest influences musically?
Betamax Killer: CAN
DTC: Led Zeppelin/Flying Lotus
The Comet is Coming will play in the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent on 28 January at 7.30pm. For more details and to book tickets, click HERE.