The Nashville based, Belmont University formed, alt pop band COIN, are buzzing since the release of their second studio album, How Will You Know If You Never Try. They are carrying that hype into a summer filled with touring and festival appearances, and I got the chance to chat with them ahead of their set at Hangout Festival. COIN has a lot to be excited about, and that vibe was apparent. See what the guys had to say about their current tour, new album, and emerging from the ever competitive Nashville music scene.
I’ve seen you a couple of times now, and you’re nothing but energy. How do you play a full set? Luckily. Festivals are little bit shorter, but still, you exhaust me.
Chase: You have to pace yourself. It’s not just about the fluidity of the set anymore, it’s kind of like strength training. It’s about picking the moments, choosing your battles. Sometimes I’ll look at Ryan before he starts the next song and signal for a quick breather. You should have seen us when we were playing 30 minute sets. Those were all full energy. So yeah, you have to choose your freak out moments. To you it might still look like a freak out the whole time, but we’ve gotten better a picking those 2 or 3 moments where we exhaust all of our energy.
You are from Nashville, having met and formed out of Belmont University specifically. How did you break out of that Nashville music scene, because it has to be incredibly competitive? Everybody goes to Nashville now to try and be seen.
Chase: I wish I knew. It just sort of happened. I think it helped that our manager was from New York City. We played a showcase in New York City and our A&R from the record label is based in New York City. I think it’s a New York City based record label too. So that helped us break out of Nashville. We’re a Nashville band, but we never went out flashing that we were from Nashville, because there’s so many out there. I mean, everybody’s from Nashville now.
So, ironically, getting out of Nashville helped you get seen and heard elsewhere?
Chase: [short pause] Yeah.
Ryan: Yeah, we say this a lot, that one show led to another, and as we started playing shows out of town, even if just regionally, that made things a little easier. Because at first, we were playing almost every weekend (in Nashville).
Chase: I added up every time we played in Nashville. We played in Nashville 28 times.
Ryan: And most of those time nobody knew who we were at all.
Chase: Getting out to New York, getting set up in New York, it really helped us meet new people and get out there, different shows outside of Nashville.
You just released a new album, How Will You Know If You Never Try, and it has a much different feel than your first. You talk a lot about girls, relationships, and emotions. It’s almost like an emo album minus the emo band.
Chase: We do love emo bands.
Did you have a specific creative process for this album? Or did things just fall in place as you went?
Chase: We definitely did have one. I think for the first, it was rooted in metaphors and material things. Nothing was really real to us, except maybe one or two songs. And this album is extremely experiential. It’s based heavily on experiences this year of creating the album. Everything is based on the past two years.
Would you say that you’re more proud of this album?
Chase: I’d say that this album definitely has more of our life stamped in it, more than anything else we’ve done before.
So, you could term this album more as the signature COIN sound?
Chase: Yeah, because it has more of our life stamped in it.
There’s certainly more pop influences in HWYKIYNT, and you’ve stated that you’re happy with that. Especially for an alternative band, I feel like many would be afraid to venture towards pop in fear of losing their identity. But, you’re not? You embrace it?
Ryan: Yeah, we’re in a cool place where people take pop really seriously, including ourselves. It’s really cool how you can create a song that speaks to someone’s core in 10 seconds. In 10 seconds they can be like, this song speaks to exactly what I want to say. And, we don’t take that lightly that we can make melodies and lyrics that can have that effect.
How has your headlining tour been going so far?
Ryan: I mean, you were there, in St. Pete.
Chase: It’s wild.
Ryan: It’s been a real blessing, everywhere we go.
Have there been any cities in particular that stuck out, or is it all across the board.
Chase: That was really special, a really special night (St. Pete). We’ve played there a lot.
Joe: It’s been surprising. We’ve never headlined one of these cities before. So it’s been pretty special. We’d be happy if 5 people were there and it’s been pretty awesome.
You’ve played a lot of shows with many other artists, Neon Tress and The 1975 to name a couple. Do you have any special relationships with other bands that have helped along the way?
Chase: To some capacity, yeah. It’s a lot. Touring is really hectic, especially touring with big bands. So it’s really hard to find time to hang out with other people. We’re just trying to sleep ha.
Do you have any free time at Hangout Festival? Are you looking forward to any other sets?
Ryan: We have today. We have to fly out tomorrow unfortunately.
Do you note any artists in particular that have influenced your music to date or inspired you in some way?
Chase: Sure. Man, it’s across the board. It’s tough to pinpoint it. We listen to so much music. We’ll listen to whoever is playing today. We’ve also been listening to a lot of Eric Church.
Joe: I think because all of us listen to such different music, we draw inspiration from a lot of different things.
So, you are uniquely COIN?
Chase: Yeah, we’re big fans of this band COIN.
So, let’s dig a little deeper. five years ago; what were doing? Five years from now; where will you be?
Ryan: I think it’s tough to say where we’ll be.
Chase: Is it May or June?
It’s May, but it doesn’t have to be the actual day, ha.
Ryan: We hope to just keep making music and play in front of more people. Five years ago, some of us were still in school. Joe are I were working at coffee shops. We were learning how to gel together as a band. We started the band around that time so we were learning how to work together as friends. Now, we’re done with school. Done with part time jobs and thrilled to be at Hangout Fest.
Did you ever work with, go to school with, or come across other artists while in Nashville who have since made it like yourselves?
Chase: We went to school with a bunch of similar people like ourselves. Everyone was trying to do the same thing. The school we went to put us a round amazing people.
Ryan: We went to school very close to Judah & the Lion. Judah was actually the first person I met when I got to school. Joe was the second. Joe lived with him.
Joe: Yeah, I lived with Judah for a year.
Chase: In Nashville everybody loves music. Everybody tries to help each other out.
Ryan: Joe and I used to serve coffee to a lot of people who were either kind of somebody or becoming somebody. We used to serve coffee to Sturgill Simpson.
Joe: I used to have 10 to 15 minute conversations with Sturgill every morning while I was making the chocolate milk. I thought that was a cool story. I didn’t even know who he was. It’s amazing.