Tucked away in Kismet Cafe’s loft, The Daily Texan talked to local band Comforter about hot tubs, average middle-agers and the process of releasing their first full-length album.
Ryan Curtis, BJ Thomas, Russell Cole and accounting junior Hunter Thompson created Comforter after connecting on Craigslist. The offbeat, surf-pop four-piece has since released a live recording of their set on KVRX Local Live and an EP titled Extra Pure.
Although the band has not yet named its freshman album, which will come out in June, Thompson said the album shows how Comforter has matured since the band first formed in February 2014. Thompson said the band members’ live performances and latest two-song release — “What You Run” and “Angela” — are more indicative of their musical direction.
“Our first stuff is pretty disjointed because we didn’t know each other at all,” Thompson said. “Then we started playing more, and it kind of fell into something.”
Listen to "What you Run/Angela" now:
The band members are playing at the West Campus Block Party on April 25 before they leave for a 10-day tour, which will take them to cities such as Nashville, Tennessee; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Dallas. Curtis said touring will be an opportunity to spread the band’s sound and face new audiences.
“We don’t want to get too comfortable playing with the same people over and over again,” Curtis said. “Austin’s cool, but every city is so different. [Touring] is just something you have to do.”
In Austin, the band members appeal to audiences with their quirky onstage antics and minimalist aesthetics. Geography sophomore Kouros Maghsoudi first heard Comforter when they played on Local Live in October.
“They have a beachy, chill vibe, but they’re also upbeat, and you can dance to them,” Maghsoudi said.
Maghsoudi said he was intrigued by the band’s slightly strange performance on Local Live. The band paid “average middle-ager” Victor Steele to dance during their set.
“Not only did [Steele] do it, but he committed, and he loved it,” Thompson said. “He’s figured it out. He wasn’t outrageous with it, but he was definitely confident.”
The band members’ laid-back attitude seeps into their branding. Curtis designs the band’s minimalist album covers and logo — a baby-pink Jesus sandal over psychedelic wicker. Upstairs in Kismet, Curtis wore a pink button-up with a flamingo on the pocket, and Thompson had on a T-shirt from the 1996 Olympics. They described their sound as “safe-sex fraternity surf.”
“Safe sex is key to that, though,” Thompson said. “It’s very safe sex.”
The band is not always a hit with the critics. Gerard Cosloy, co-owner of indie-label Matador Records, caught one of Comforter’s shows last year and posted a negative review online.
“He dissed us hard, dude,” Thompson said. “He’s like a 45-year-old dude and he said, ‘They’re so pedestrian you can’t wait to run them over.’”
Laughing, Curtis and Thompson said they have since proudly used the adjective pedestrian to describe Comforter.
Although the band members are excited with their success in the Austin music scene, Curtis said they ultimately want to perform for a larger audience.
“I think we need to go on tour and step it up,” Curtis said. “We’re realistic about it. Not to say I’m not stoked about the progress we’ve made, but there is a long way to go.”
Comforter is part of local indie-music collective Merderhaus Records, which includes bands such as Loafer and Hola Beach. The duo said the supportive community of young, talented musicians challenges Comforter to work harder.
Comforter’s upcoming tour may have a hectic schedule with nine shows in different cities every night, but Curtis said the band is just looking forward to opportunities to relax on the road.
“We’re gonna get a hotel room, hopefully one with a hot tub, and just sit in the hot tub,” Curtis said.
- What: West Campus Block Party 2015
- When: April 25
- Where: West Campus
- Admission: Free