The band Coin have been on our radars for awhile, and seeing how they’re playing some of the best and most relevant festivals in America, we were incredibly lucky to be able to chat with the band on the peak of their rising fame and worldwide tours. In another awesome twist of fate, we had two interviewers and managed to get responses from pretty much the whole band. What follows includes philosophical quandaries on alien communication, the greatness that is Nashville, unorthodox party methods for album recordings, and a whole lot of festival-talk. Enjoy!
Taylor Wong for The MAT MAG: As a band, if you were to run into aliens, how would you describe your music?
Coin: Have you seen Arrival? That’s where my head went straight to.
You know the children’s toy vacuums? The poppers? I would show them that to start. I’d be like, “This is noise” and then you talk to them about toys.
Why are you talking to them like they’re children? They’re obviously intelligent since they made it to Earth. They’re more intelligent than we are.
Taylor: The aliens came to us. We made contact. They understand sound but they don’t understand genres and what your music would be like.
Coin: I would play them guitar and show them a video of like, Jimi Hendrix playing the “Star Spangled Banner” and be like, “Like THAT, but not as good…”
I would use Youtube, then the aliens would be like, “Oh, like the ZEATLES!” since that would be like their version of The Beatles. They’d get it.
Taylor: So you formed in Nashville, how would you compare that scene to LA, NY, Chicago…
Coin: All of those cities are difficult to play to because of all the talented people in entertainment. Nashville moves slower. There’s lots of co-writing but they’re trying to say more than a pop music scene. There’s more storytelling.
Even in the production and gear, it’s very much people taking their time.
It’s refreshing going back to Nashville. We’re jaded.
Very collaborative and supportive. It’s probably more competitive and cutthroat in the Country scene but the lane we’re running in, people are pretty cool. There are people writing like, thousands of songs for people in one spot but it’s just tougher in NY or LA. Nashville is more supportive. It’s the South, so it just seems people are warmer.
It’s less about people pitching pop songs with millions of writers. In Nashville, if the song is good enough, it’s going to be the best anyways so I might as well be friends with everyone and foster relationships.
Taylor: I’ve got a friend in Nashville, the drummer of Future Thieves and he says a lot of the same stuff. The band also played Bonnaroo recently too just like your band. How did you like playing there?
Coin: I don’t think it was all it was cracked up to be.
Well, I think that being from Nashville, it was a bucket list for us. It was humbling to play it for us. When you have these great life goals, it’s never what it lives up to be, it was great but not what you expect ever.
It just felt really normal.
If it were the first festival we played, it would have seemed bigger.
It’s one of the biggest festivals in America, and before you even start your band you think it’d be awesome to play this giant festival, and you think of it as this lush, extravagant thing if you’re the artist. But then it’s just not. But then it’s also a complete honor to play things like that. It seems so crazy because it’s something where you want to do forever.
It’s fun to have friends there. We’re 40 minutes from home.
Shane: So by being that band that looked to playing a fest like Bonnaroo, and then you’ve attained that goal, what are you trying to obtain next?
Coin: The first thing that came to mind was go back and do it as a headliner.
Yeah, my bucket list went from play Bonnaroo to headline Bonnaroo.
You keep little steps of time. That’s the key.
Taylor: Since you’ve played so many festivals now, which was your favorite fest to play?
Hangout Festival. Personally.
Lollapalooza was the first big festival we played. I look upon that with rose colored glasses. Just such a fond memory.
That was a crazy feeling.
Hangout Festival was on a beach. It was absurd and so awesome.
Taylor: You worked with Jay Joyce who produced your first album. He worked with FIDLAR, Iggy Pop, Cage the Elephant. How was working with him?
Coin: We weren’t ready for him. He’s a genius.
Very happy that we did our first album with him. We learned more about ourselves, our creative process and weaknesses. Hopefully we get to work with him again.
Shane: Can you talk through that process more? What did you gain from working with him?
Coin: He made us play our instrument a lot, loop sections over and over. He’d make us keep doing takes and look for the best one.
Very much just the producer aspect of that.
One day we were really tired and had no energy. He stopped everything and threw a big party. He had us record while it was going on. We invited friends and a lot of people into the studio. He took the recording for the first song on the album from that and used it. We were being boring and just had isolated vocals and recordings and you’d never think, “Ok let’s just throw a party and get everyone in here.”
Sometimes though he’d just disappear for hours while we were playing and we’d be like “Do we just keep playing going or??!”
He does things that break the rules of production. He does things that catch you off guard so you just genuinely play and not think too much.
At the time, we thought it was like mental games, like production tricks
Shane: It sounds like he was your Mr. Miyagi.
We could be cracking up too much. He could have been down in the basement watching Desperate Housewives.
Taylor: So that was your first album. You have your second album that was just put out. What’s next for Coin?
New music! Our biggest U.S. headlining tour and U.K. tour as well.
And there you have it! It’s rare we get to interview a full band live at a fest but when it comes together, it’s cosmically wonderful. Catch the band on their international tour now.
Photo by Taylor Wong, interview by Taylor and Shane Scully