Interview: Coasts

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Citing Foals, Arctic Monkeys and the Cure as their main influences, Bristol-born 5 piece indie band Coasts have resolutely resisted the overtures of the major record companies and embarked on a unique and independent path. I spoke with keyboard player David about the history of the band and what they are busy with at the moment.

The next 12 months promises to be absolutely huge for Coasts. A 12-date headline UK tour beginning later this month, including a stop at Heaven in London, is just the beginning. The tour coincides with the release of their second EP, A Rush of Blood (released 1st December), the title track of which has already gained widespread attention. Then it’s just a matter of finishing their debut album and heading across the pond for a North American tour, during which time they’ll play 2 festival dates including a slot at the legendary Lollapalooza. Their album gets released in June – perfect timing for the European festival season. Amongst all the touring they will find time to perform live on Made in Chelsea and maybe even take a couple of minutes to sit down.

The members of Coasts met at the University of Bristol and began playing together in 2011 after moving to Bath. None of them had any serious musical experience, but their passion for music brought the band together. In their own words it also seemed “better than getting a real job”. They began rehearsing over the summer in the crypt of a church, something they felt heavily influenced the band’s sound. Playing in that underground space with the sun outside definitely “gave a darker tone to those early songs” and helped create their own brand of indie pop: big choruses, dark lyrics and beautiful melodies. The band draw heavily on dance music, principally Calvin Harris, but try to “bring guitar and drums to that sound”.

The early years of Coasts were spent focusing on rehearsing and writing rather than touring. David explains that they wanted to really make sure “all the music sounded great” before playing it for other people. 2012 saw the release of their debut EP Paradise, which received a huge boost when a song from that album, ‘Oceans’, was featured on Made in Chelsea. David told me how appreciative they were of being on the show:  “they’ve been really good to us; the support they give to new artists is fantastic.” Relentless touring followed, and they developed a strong fanbase. Despite this success they stayed with their independent label Tidal Recordings, choosing to maintain a creative control.

Two more years of songwriting and touring have got the band to where they are now. Hitting the studio in January, they recorded the tracks ‘Let Go’, ‘Wash Away’, and ‘Lions’ before returning later in the year to re-record ‘A Rush of Blood’, this time with James Rushent (Does It Offend You, Yeah?’s frontman), who added “synthesizer madness” to the song. The band were incredibly excited to work on the new EP with producer Mike Spencer (Emeli Sande, John Newman, Foxes), whose impact on the British music is already evident. Having found early on that a democratic approach to music created difficulties in getting ideas across, their method now centres on a guitar riff from which lyrics are added, and the song is built from there.

The band is unashamed in their ambition. When I asked David where they’d like to be in 5 years time he said: “We want to be a couple of albums down the line and to be headlining arena shows. We want to be the biggest band in the world; we want to be the next Coldplay.” The response to the music so far would suggest they are perfectly capable; ‘Oceans’ has already received nearly 2 million hits on Spotify, and the band’s hard-work ethic, combined with their musical talent, will undoubtedly pay dividends. A big step has undoubtedly been signing to Capitol records to release their music in North America and organise a US tour next year. The band felt “there is a bit of glass ceiling if you’re not with a major label – the clout they can bring you can really make a difference.”

Coasts’ new EP A Rush of Blood will be out on Monday, week 9, and they will be playing Sound Control in Manchester on the following Sunday.

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