Comet Control: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Shoegaze/sludge evolving cosmically and projecting outwards towards the Oort cloud.
File Next To: Quest For Fire, Biblical, Black Mountain
Playing: WL 611 a.k.a. “Wavelength’s Endless Summer,” Saturday, August 16 at the Vintage & Flea Market (1251 Dundas St. W)

Since his days in The Deadly Snakes, Chad Ross has been a prominent member of Toronto’s independent music firmament. After that band’s dissolution, he traded in garage rock propulsion for Black Sabbath-style psychedelic heavy riffage in Quest For Fire, which put out two celebrated albums in a six-year run. Now Ross and QFF guitarist Andrew Moszynski have moved on to Comet Control, which has just released their debut long player on Tee Pee Records. Joe Strutt chatted online with Ross about change, continuity and possible vintage scores.

To you, how much continuity and how much change is there from Quest For Fire? What different influences are you exploring more here?

There is a bit of overlap with Quest For Fire. We were even playing a few of the songs on the new record, on QFF’s last West Coast tour. Andrew and I decided to write with a bit more direction for Comet Control. Short and sweet. Whereas QFF was more of an exploration of heavy long jams.

It’s particularly easy for people to try and pin down Comet Control by tossing in that “(ex-Quest For Fire)” right after. Is it ever frustrating that people take such an easy out and don’t bother thinking about the evolutions that make Comet Control a different beast?

It was a pretty natural progression from QFF to CC, since Andrew and I were the main songwriters. It’s only right that the two projects would be close-knit. I don’t get frustrated with the associations… I’m quite happy with the evolution. seamless

How collaborative is the band’s creative process? When you bring in a song, does everyone basically just flesh that out, or does a more radical reshaping tend to happen?

We bring in songs with rough arrangements, and tighten them up together as a band. The more we jam something, it becomes clear that the song has a mind of its own. It’s really refreshing to play with Nicole [Howell, bass], Jay [Anderson, drums] and Chris [Sandes, keyboards] as a new band. Everyone adds a touch.

And once the songs come together, was it an easy process to capture them for the record? I see the album was recorded at Candle Studio (where so much wonderful stuff has been happening lately) as well as at home, so was it a fairly relaxed process?

The bed tracks were done really fast at Candle. In a few days. I have a little recording set-up in the corner of my living room. We did most of the overdubs at home. I recorded vocals myself too. I love the idea of taking tracks home, and getting to know them with no pressure, no clock ticking. Creativity definitely flows at home.

Comet Control can just as easily play alongside synth and noise bands at a Wavelength show as, say, a devil-horn-throwing metal gig. Do you get a different sort of energy back when you play to different sorts of crowds?

Quest For Fire always made a point of playing with bands/projects/friends that inspire us. We never really wanted to be roped in with “stoner rock” and all things heavy, ‘cuz most of the time it feels pretty silly to limit yourself to one thing. Comet Control still maintains that idea. It’s more fun to throw yourself into the dark… we usually have more fun.

Obligatory community question: what are some of the good things going on in Toronto right now?

Panic! Biblical! Surinam! Wrong Hole! Mimico! Highest Order! Rotis! Just to name a few.

The Endless Summer show is taking place at at Dundas West’s Vintage & Flea Outdoor Market and promises “vintage clothing and goods for sale”. What would be your ideal flea market scores?

Broken vintage guitar gear, scratchy old records and maybe an ashtray or two.

Thanks for your time!