Interview: Coast Modern
Photographed by Mary Kang
We brought Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp, L.A. based duo Coast Modern, up to a windy New York City rooftop in the middle of February. We simultaneously talked about music and origins while holding back our wind induced tears. Four months later the weather is a little warmer and the band has since made their debut at this year’s South by Southwest, and is now on a summer tour supporting Temper Trap, BØRNS and The Wombats. Read below to get to know the duo you'll be listening to this summer.
Describe your sound in three words.
LUKE: Tingly bliss fountain
COLEMAN: Radioactive cucumber water
When were you two first introduced to music?
LUKE: My dad used to play a bootleg cassette copy of Sgt. Peppers before school. I also played clarinet in middle school but it was super painful.
COLEMAN: As early as I can remember there was a drum kit set up at my house. There’s video of me no older than 4 years old doing a little kid drum beat-a-boom-bap-pap.
What was the first album you bought as kids?
LUKE: Think it might have been Sugar Ray - 14:59
COLEMAN: The soundtrack to Mission Impossible 2
How do you think being a songwriter for other artists has influenced your own music?
LUKE: Songwriting is mostly about learning how to collaborate and be vulnerable with someone you might not know very well, so Coleman and I are versed in navigating the delicate tightrope of art ego. It also means we’ve dabbled in a lot of different genres, so we can bring all those techniques into our music.
COLEMAN: Luke hit the nail on the head… it’s given us a patience and perspective that might not have been attainable otherwise.
This past March was your first SXSW. Can we get a tally of tacos eaten and shows played?
Shows played: 4 (plus a couple acoustic sets)
Tacos eaten: 64 (whole band tally)
Graphic design is a prominent part of your image. Who or what influences this?
LUKE: We’re just arty guys, ok? Can’t help it that we are stuck with the burden of good taste. We’ve been following cool artists on Instagram and Tumblr for a while, and when it came time to think about cover art, we were drawn to these new wave cats we’d been seeing online. All of our stuff so far is done by this awesome artist from Argentina that we were randomly following, Daiana Ruiz. Something about the bold colors and smooth, digital lines felt like a nice fit with our music.
COLEMAN: I’m just like, I don’t know, like, super artistic… you probably haven’t heard of most of my influences but they’re like, super true to themselves and every action they make is pure and selfless unless they are making some point to be selfish, or something.
You record most of your music in your bedroom at home. What is about the DIY process that attracts you to it?
LUKE: Some of my favorite records were recorded in bedrooms, or sound that way at least. It’s less pressure when you’re not in a studio. We can experiment freely and get weird, and often times the takes that make it on the recordings are the first takes we do, so it’s crackling with the raw energy of musical discovery. Leaving it a little raw and human is important to us.
COLEMAN: We like to work within constraints. Having every tool at our disposal could possibly hold us back. I like problem solving, avoiding that loop of “It’d sound cooler or better if we had this or that.” We try to make it sound A+ with what we have.