There’re a few things on the album that are a bit darker and a bit more brooding; that’ll be a side people haven’t seen from us yet.
Coasts are one of the most hard-working Bristol acs we’ve encountered. After playing, writing, and downright slogging these past few years, they’re now heralded as one of the UK’s hottest ‘new bands’. Our Rhys Buchanan talks to guitarist and songwriter Liam Willford about what goes on behind summery shimmer of their irresistible songs.
So you dropped the Oceans EP last month, based around the fan favourite of the same name?
Yeah, it’s an EP of some of our best songs. We’d recorded quite a lot of our debut album already, but wanted to release a single for this summer. So, because we’re a new band, rather than put a load of songs out that weren’t our strongest, we decided to put what we thought were our best ones on it. We see it as an opportunity to show more people what we’re about and hopefully gain as many new fans as possible.
Are the past singles a good indication of what to expect from the album?
Yes, I think especially with this new EP. There are a couple of songs on it that are a little bit more dance influenced. We haven’t really shown anyone a melancholic side yet, there are a few things on the album that are a bit darker and a bit more brooding; that’ll be a side people haven’t seen from us yet and we’re really looking forward to people hearing it.
It seems you’re in your element right now in the midst of festival season…
Definitely, it’s one of those things with festival season; we’ve been in a band for quite long time now and every summer there’s that anticipation about festivals where you’re so desperate to play as many as possible. Up until this year it’s been the case that we’ve only gotten to play a handful, but this time we’re playing more than ever. You find out quite late, so you’re never quite sure which ones you’re going to get to play, but there’s always something very special about summer festivals.
Your sound is easily associated with summer, does this help you win over a festival crowd?
Yeah, especially when not everybody knows you. The fact that our music is quite positive, I think it makes it quite instant — so it does suit when the weather is good and we’re playing outside. It’s nice when festival season comes around and it actually suits the music, rather than when it’s raining outside and really cold. I mean, it can be hard touring in the middle of winter and playing these big tropical pop songs, but we do our best regardless.
That bright feel isn’t limited simply to your music though, it’s in the videos, art, everywhere…
When we decided to call ourselves Coasts, one of the things we liked about it was that we could do this really summery vibe thing with our first album, where you could associate it all with the name and it was all cohesive. The songs would sound a certain way and everything would match that. We also liked the idea that, in the future, a coast doesn’t have to be super summery. In a couple of years time we might be in a darker place and want to write something darker. The name would still suit; it sort of encompasses all things. I don’t think we’ll be stuck to one thing.
It took us about five years to get anybody involved who would be able to help us.
You’ve worked super hard over the last couple of years, how does it feel to now have some real backing?
I think it took us about five years to get anybody involved who would be able to help us. It’s one of those things where you get so used to having nobody there; for a very long time it was just the five of us in the band making everything happen and trying our hardest to get the music out there. Now all of a sudden we’ve got label backing and all this stuff, but we’re so used to doing it all ourselves that it doesn’t necessarily feel like like you’d expect; it’s pretty strange.
Bristol is a big part of Coasts, what was it like starting out here?
It was really cool. There was something rife about Bristol in terms of the fact that, because it’s quite a dance orientated city, a lot of the music I found was not ‘indie’ music at all, it was kind of the opposite — there was a lot of club music and drum and bass. It meant that bands had to really work hard and stick together… we were all in it together. We used to play a lot of gigs at Start The Bus with people like Idles and it was wicked. When we were all living in Bristol we were working in restaurants Friday, Saturday, Sunday and then playing whatever gigs we could get. We did that for a couple of years and that basically made us a half-decent band.
Earlier in the year you played The Louisiana, it must have been quite special to come back for a sell out show?
Yeah absolutely, I remember so many times playing The Louisiana and there being like five people there. Funnily enough, when we first moved to Bristol I had this idea in my head that the plan was “in six months we were going to have a good reputation and we’d be able to sell out The Louisiana”. That was, like, my target. Obviously it didn’t work out like that at all, so it’s such a nice thing, three and a half years after that, coming back and selling it out. I think that’s the case with being in a band, one of the biggest things is patience.
The ‘Oceans’ EP is out now via Tidal Recordings, with their full-length debut to follow later this year.
Check out ‘Stay’ right here: