Comfort Decade (photo: Evan-James-Ceretti)

Comfort Decade

Talking Bands | by Evan James Ceretti

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With music reminiscent of late ’90s and early 2000s alt-rock, Comfort Decade is bringing their up-tempo energy along with a unique and engaging sound to stages on PEI. The band is Paul Atwood (guitar, vocals), Henry Orford (bass), Phillip Mulligan (drums), and Matthew Kays (lead guitar).

Comfort Decade’s music feels like it’s a soundtrack to a revelational coming-of-age film, where the characters are about to lose their virginity to adulthood, riding the highs and lows of the inevitable reality of change and growth. In a way, this is true. Atwood turned 20 last year, celebrating the passing of one decade and the beginning of another. “Music was my main source of relaxation and comfort and an outlet for things. Comfort Decade is just a mishmash of two words that at the time were applicable to me.”

The project started with Atwood writing and recording songs in his bedroom. “Around a year ago, I was just casually writing songs and recording them just to have, just because it was something I was interested in.” He soon reached a point where he felt comfortable sharing the material, upon which he released Comfort Decade’s first EP, Murmur, in September, 2018.

The band’s sound pleasantly varies from song to song—at times sounding dreamy and ambient, at others folky, and with hints of classic rock and other genres mixed in, all the while maintaining a particularly unique indie-pop/garage rock sound. “I like it to be dynamic in terms of volume and energy,” said Atwood.

Atwood writes Comfort Decade’s lyrics. “Usually writing is the result of whatever I’m feeling or thinking about at that time. Sometimes it will be conceptual and sometimes it will be literal to my life.” In general, said Atwood, he tries to keep the overall tone not especially dark or serious, but more about just trying to describe day-to-day life and what that might mean for an individual.

“A common theme could sometimes be loneliness. Sometimes if I’m having a day where I feel I need some social interaction, I’ll just write about how it feels to be lonely,” said Atwood. “I fell like it’s inevitable that people will interpret what you’re saying in a way that can be relatable to them, but also I like to keep that in mind while not letting it dictate what I’m writing.”

Mulligan partly gives credit for the band’s sound to the local music community on PEI and to the band members’ friends in other local groups. “The music scene here is very thriving and we’re influenced by a lot of people here just at home,” he said. Atwood added that the abundance of work from PEI’s talented pool of musicians has been motivating and encouraging for his own creative process.

Heading into summer, the band is planning on picking up as many shows as possible. “Since we’re still at a very embryonic stage of being a band it’s kind of hard to do anything aside from play shows and write music,” said Atwood. Mulligan added that he’s excited to share the band’s energy with listeners and is looking forward to getting their feet wet.

As comfort is the main ethos of the group, said Atwood, all that really matters is that listeners can experience and enjoy Comfort Decade’s music in a comfortable environment. He hopes that people will be able to connect with the music and take something away from it. “Hopefully it’s not something that will not be immediately forgotten; something that will stick around.”

Listen to Comfort Decade’s newest album, Orbit the Room, on their Bandcamp page. Catch them live on May 25 alongside Sorrey at Baba’s.

Evan James CerettiTalking Bands
Evan James Ceretti

Evan Ceretti is a photographer and writer based in Charlottetown. He’s a proud vegan, guitar player in local band Ultrasvede, an ultimate frisbee and disc golf enthusiast, and lover of this Island’s endless beauty. One of his greatest passions is traveling, which has taken him to 6 continents while racking up 1100 days of international travel. A graduate of Holland College’s journalism program, and of UPEI’s print journalism program, Evan enjoys writing about the local food and music scene, and capturing the Island's essence in photos. He operates Evan Ceretti Photography, and you’ll most likely see him strolling around town, camera in hand. Check out his work on Instagram @evanontheroad.