On Friday 20th October, that institution of the Brighton music scene, The Haunt, played host to up-and-coming indie band Coasts, touring the UK in promotion of their second studio album ‘This Life, Volume 1’.
Formed in Bristol in 2011, this tropical indie five-piece released their eponymous debut studio album last year. Their songs are a regular feature on Made in Chelsea, and they’ve played big-name festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella.
The intimate venue is packed out, and the youthful crowd is buzzing with anticipation as Coasts step out on to the stage. Impeccably well-dressed frontman Chris gets the audience dancing straight from the get-go, and the band’s gift for commanding the stage is on show throughout.
The set takes us through the highlights of the new album. Its feel is distinctly different to their previous work: the sound is less bubbly, less playful. Instead, it’s darker, heavier, more electronic, more pounding.
‘Paradise’ has an air of The Naked and Famous to it, while ‘Let Me Love You’ and the hymn-like ‘Born to Die’ have an almost Coldplay-esque feel. The faster-paced, pop-rock tune ‘Heart Starts Beating’ meanwhile gets an enthusiastic sing-along from the crowd.
Interspersed throughout are numerous hits from the first album, like ‘Modern Love’. The set is, of course, closed on a high with the anthemic ‘Oceans’, complete with stage invasion. It is an energetic show that leaves its adoring audience satisfied.
Just before the show, I caught up with drummer Ben Street for a chat.
The Badger: So you’ve just released ‘This Life’, can you tell me about what inspired it, and the process of creating it?
Ben: We wanted to progress, in terms of the sound we’re using and the production level, the quality of the songwriting too. The first album was songs we’d been writing over six or seven years of being a band…it wasn’t as concise; we worked with a lot of different people, it was all done over a long period. The album was more just a collection of different songs put together. Whereas with This Life, we sat down and decided we wanted to make a comprehensive body of work that showed where we are now as a band. A lot of it reflects life on tour, being in America, a lot of it reflects our individual experiences within the band. In an oral sense, we wanted to incorporate more tropical and electronic sounds, a lot more synth, delays, water marimbas, steel pans etc.
TB: What would you say is your favourite song off the new album?
Ben: I like ‘Come On Over’. There’s a lot more space in between the drums, room for ornamentation. Rhythmically, I really enjoy it. I also think it’s a really catchy song. Anthemic, but not in a cheesy way.
How has the tour gone so far?
The reaction’s been amazing. We’ve gone to loads of places we’d never toured before – places like Stoke, Sunderland, Leamington Spa. The idea was to find the fans that hadn’t been able to come to previous gigs, as well as make new fans. We wanted to hit every spot and allow people to come see us all over the UK.
So how did you first get involved in Coasts?
We met at uni. I was working at Wagamama’s. Chris, our lead singer, asked me if I wanted to come and have a go in some rehearsal time they had. I said sure; I’ll give it a go. It was all pretty DIY. I’d been in and out of bands since I was 15, but there was something special here. None of us did commercial music, so we had to break into the practice rooms by borrowing door codes off other people and then practice after hours! We dropped out of our uni courses pretty soon and got serious from then on. It all happened quite quickly, and things just progressed from there.
You played Coachella in 2015, what was that like?
Amazing. Absolutely amazing. It’s out in the desert in Palm Springs. We played on a stage with an open back, where you turn around, and you can see the Mojave Desert and the Joshua trees, and in the other direction there’s 8,000 people screaming at you. You end up thinking ‘where the hell am I?’ It’s surreal, but it was a great turn out. It’s a bit of a celeb-fest too – it’s more about the parties you go to after and the people you know there sometimes.
What’s next for you?
We’re gonna start working on the second volume of ‘This Life’ as soon as the tour’s finished – we’ve got one single for it already. It’ gonna be more of a mixtape, we’re gonna throw it out there quick. It’ll be more DIY sounding compared to the first volume. We’re also in the process of sorting out a world tour for early next year, and there’ll be another big UK tour in April. The festival offers are only just starting to come in, but it’ll be an exciting season for sure.
Last but not least, what’s your favourite thing about Brighton?
The coffee shops. There’s so many good coffee shops here. And the beach! It’s very rare I don’t go in the sea when I’m here.