Typically a hub for all things country, Nashville band COIN is changing up the scene with their synth-pop sounds and unique cover art. Local Wolves’ Kaela Malozewski spoke to member Chase Lawrence to find out more about the band’s sound, style, and love for their hometown.
I noticed your debut album cover is very minimalist, and doesn’t even feature the four of you. The same goes for your cover art on the songs you post on YouTube— those ones feature inanimate objects. What made you decide to go with this?
CL — Before the album came out, about a year and a half before, we had recorded a bunch of songs that we didn’t feel represented us. So this was our attempt at literally stripping the Internet of everything we had ever done— essentially painting it white. We just wanted a blank slate and the chance to start over. This was also a time in our lives where we were all moving out of our parents’ houses for the first time and paying bills, etc, and we were all painting our apartments white at the time. We were just starting everything over in our lives so we thought, why not start the band over too? Because essentially, it’s our debut album so it’s our debut to the world.
Well it looks unreal. Who does your cover art?
CL — This awesome girl, Katie Moore, she helped us figure out the designs. She is also from Nashville and worked for the Civil Wars and has done so many great other album covers. She just came to one of our sets and we’ve been friends ever since!
Speaking of Nashville, do you feel homesick?
CL — Well, not all of us are leaving Nashville. Ryan, the drummer, is moving to Los Angeles, but he’s mentioned that his girlfriend might want to move back to Nashville, so we aren’t sure. We all go back and forth— part of me wants to move to New York. I think most of us want to move to New York. We all want to be in different places, but it’s like there is something magnetic bringing us back to Nashville. And it’s been the weirdest thing, and I really didn’t think this would be a topic of conversation because SO many people are from Nashville, and we’re different because we don’t play country music! We really are an anomaly in a sense but it’s really been a blessing because Nashville is still something we all talk about even four years later.
Have you spent quite a bit of time in L.A.?
CL — To be quite honest, no. We’ve all spent quite a bit of time there, collectively, but in the end I’ve only been there once.
So does the band go there mostly to record?
CL — Well, not even to record. I think Joseph and I are heading there this November to start writing for the next record.
Can’t wait to hear the new material! So I think it’s safe to say you probably haven’t found a favorite L.A. spot yet. Do you have one in Nashville?
CL — Oh man, this would be such a perfect question for Ryan, he’s spent so much time in Los Angeles! I really like Los Feliz as an area, I don’t know, it might be cheesy but I really like it there, it’s nice. But as far as Nashville goes, my favorite place would be East Nashville.
So when you hangout as a band, do you tend to lay low at each other’s houses, or do you have a studio space?
CL — Well, kind of. Zach, the bass player, has a studio in his house in Nashville. We did used to come together quite a bit, but we’ve now all sort of gone our separate ways. I have a space, and we all just have our own random spaces, but we don’t have a token studio space. We all just have random, creative workspaces.
I noticed you guys are very good at keeping up-to-date on social media, and connecting with your followers every day. How do you decide what content gets reposted or when you reply to fans?
CL — I wish I could say there is a special format, but we spend most of our time together on the bus so we have time to sit down, read the posts, and talk to each other about whether we should do this, or do that. It’s a very democratic process, but at the same time, we can just say, “You know what, this feels good! Let’s do this!”
So if I drew you some fan art, would you post it?
CL — It depends. In the past, when we’ve reposted fan art, it’s either been because we’ve been so captivated by it, or because our manager has said, “This is a good contact, put this up.”
Speaking of it, do you find that you are under a lot of pressure from your label to act and be a certain way?
CL — Honestly, no (laughs). Sometimes they call and I’m like “whoa, I haven’t talked to you in like 6 months.” Sometimes the communication can be very sparse, and other times it can be quite overbearing. But I have to say it’s a really nice balance. It’s just such an honor, and such a privilege to work with Columbia, and they just let us do our thing. When they found us, they pretty much just said, “Keep doing what you’re doing!” It’s been really awesome.
I’m curious, when it comes to performing live, do you prefer a smaller venue, or a larger one?
CL — I’m still really torn on this question! Some shows, like the one we recently did at an arena, are very echo-y and you just feel very disconnected from the crowd. Now I’m sure there’s a science to figuring out how to connect with a large crowd, especially after you’ve done it many times, but I have to say that right now, I really enjoy the 500-1000 audience member shows, so medium sized ones. I feel like during those shows, I understand the crowd really well and I know how to behave in a room like that. I really, really, really like playing for that number of people.
Have you guys performed at many very small shows?
CL — We’ve already played something like 15 or 20 small shows. This one time in Buffalo, we played for 15 people.
Did they know your songs?
CL — Oh no, I don’t know what we were doing at that point! It was a filler act before Passion Pit and we just kept thinking, “What are we doing?”
Speaking of performing, do any of you get very nervous before going on?
CL — It depends, I only get nervous if there are people from my childhood in the audience. Otherwise, I’m like whatever, let’s just do it!
Do you have any pre-show rituals you all practice?
CL — Yeah, we all get together in a huddle and say very positive things to one another. And then, we just start with the double high-fives. They really get you going. Also we rock out to this Kelly Clarkson song every night.
Stop, is it “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”?
CL — Ah man, I wish!
Can you tell me who directs your music videos?
CL — It’s this guy, Andrew Donoho. I honestly don’t even remember how we connected! I think it was our video producer from Columbia who reached out and got us together. Anyway, Andrew came in with this idea that was just so absurd and we thought there was no way any of that was going to look real. But Columbia was like “Let’s do it!” and it actually turned out really great! We are happy with it and didn’t have a huge budget going into it, but he made it look so great.
How on earth did you get up on that car in “Run”?
CL — Oh, a magician! I’m just kidding it was not a magician. I did actually stand on top of the car while it was moving, but it was not going 80 miles per hour, it was going something like 20.
When you do these videos, do you find you have a lot of say in the direction of how you want it to look and feel, or does Andrew sort of take the lead?
CL — It’s a combination of both visions, and figuring out what we want and what we don’t want. We try to make sure that before hand, everyone is very clear about what they envision so that on filming day, we can just get right to it. It’s absolutely a team effort.