The Comet is Coming

by Chris Bryson

This year on Sunday night of the TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, The Cube in Old Martket Square might just lift-off.

With a killer reputation and cosmic trance grooves, The Comet is Coming is set to close out the festival’s “The New Legends” Sunday night.

The trio are part of a burgeoning London, UK scene that’s been pushing the boundaries of jazz. The band melds funk, psychedelic, and electronic rock elements into a cosmic space voyage that’ll have people dancing and grooving away.

Stylus contributor Chris Bryson caught up with Maxwell Hallett, aka Betamax Killer, drummer of The Comet is Coming to discuss the band’s new album, inspirations, and future plans.

Stylus: The Comet is Coming has a busy touring schedule for 2019 and you’ll be coming here for the Winnipeg Jazz Festival. What are some of the things you’re looking forward to most about touring this year?

Betamax Killer (BK): Firstly, I’m looking forward to getting to see new places I might not otherwise get to visit. Meeting new people, trying new food, finding little places to hang out and drink fresh juice. But I’m always looking forward to the stage, and getting the opportunity to develop the music live, our show is always evolving when we are on the road. There are musical discoveries to experience. Also playing live in front of people for the first time is always like I can hear the sound in a fresh way. 

Stylus: With making the new album, Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery, what vision did you have in mind for what you wanted it to sound like and represent?

BK: I think we all wanted to go a little bit deeper and find an expression that could resonate with people who are trying to understand what on earth is happening. There is abundant information in our daily lives, and modern life is a strange thing to find yourself in. So, we wanted to make music that can centre oneself, give meaning, give feeling and encourage contemplation. For this we had to trust our intuition in the studio and allow spontaneous sound to guide our process so that the sound is free. Free to reflect the world back at us. 

Stylus: Who and/or what are some of the influences that contributed to the making of the new album?

BK: We have been surrounded by so many creative inspiring people it is no good to mention them all. But we have to mention everyone who’s been busy in the Total Refreshment Centre, as it has been a real hub of activity that seems to inspire all who pass through to seek more from their art. We record all our music there as the vibe is strong. 

Stylus: When creating music whether it be live or in the studio, what kind of effect are you hoping it will have on the listener?

BK: I hope that the listener can feel a sense of adventure and then apply this feeling to their own journey. We all need to be brave sometimes and we are all on this planet together. For the survival of the planet we need to find ways we can make a difference, but we also need to be able to handle the future and imagine it how we would like it to be better. If anything has given me the strength and spirit to make positive action it has been music. 

Stylus: What does the band have planned for after touring this year? Will there be a return to the studio? 

BK: Yes, we are planning to drop an EP some point this year and then we will be hitting the studio to make another new album. As always we will be creating the music collaboratively throughout the recording session so who knows where we will be at then, but I have a feeling things are about to go far beyond anything we have imagined before. 

Catch The Comet is Coming at The Cube in Old Market Square at 11 p.m. on Sunday, June 23.

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