Coast Modern are having a good year. Though Coleman Trapp and Luke Atlas have been working behind the scenes for years, they’re entering 2016 fresh with their own material and even had their live debut at SXSW this year. We had a chat with the L.A. twosome as they get ready for a tour with BØRNS, which kicks off this weekend. Check it out below.
Tell us about your latest songs – “Animals,” “Hollow Life,” and the few-days-old “Guru”.
Coast Modern: So “Guru” was actually written on the same day as “Animals.” It came from [a writing session] where we took time away and had some inspiration. You have to live a little bit and not think about music sometimes. We were thinking about [on “Animals”] what are we doing here. “Guru” is a romantic comedy about a guy who’s not good enough for his super healthy girlfriend.
What did you do during this pseudo-sabbatical?
CM: Man, where were we? We were here, actually. Just exploring LA. We’ve been thinking like, “What are we doing here?” It was a good time to just think.
So how did you become Coast Modern? And why that name?
CM: We were introduced through mutual friends, just making tracks and did a couple. We had this one project: NASA asked if we could make a song for traveling show to promote kids. We got to attend this one show where our music was featured at a middle school in Compton and watch a performance. From there we thought, “This collaboration is working, so let’s continue this and see where it goes.” Eventually we decided we should do our own thing. We had been writing for other people in our circle, so let’s just do for us. We were tired of trying to do what other people wanted and we just wanted to go crazy and do what was exciting for us.
[As for the name] we went through so many names and others didn’t feel right. It’s a tongue-in-cheek reference to ‘post modern.’ It just clicked when we heard it. We’d like to think we’re pushing the limit in our lives and music. We deal with the archetype of music, and there was something very…architectural and geometric about the name.
Speaking of geometric, you have really bold album art. What’s the story behind that?
CM: We definitely had a feeling about what kind of art we wanted, so we searched out artists that really represented that style. We settled on someone we’ve been following for a while, Daiana Ruiz, who actually lives in Argentina. So we reached out, gave a little direction on what we wanted, but just let her do her own interpretation. Few artists had that bold color vibe. When we chose her, she really got what we were feeling and took off with it. It turned out great.
This past SXSW was your first live show. How does it feel to have blown up so quickly?
CM: Feels great. Personally, I didn’t see it in my future — I’m more of a studio guy. We’ve only done SXSW, but now we’re jumping into a big tour. It’s crazy. There are people that follow us. It’s gratifying. We put ourselves into it, and we think that if it excites us, it will excite others. But it’s great to start the process of being around other great musicians.
But yeah, SXSW. You have to submit music and stuff beforehand, and at our show we saw people mouthing our words back. It was our first show and it was so perfect. It was such a surprise.
Do you see this lasting a long time or is it more of a temporary thing before getting back to the studio life?
CM: It’s a combination of both, y’know. This is definitely out of my comfort zone but when it comes time to be back in the studio, we will. We’re gonna ride the wave and crash into the shore.
As we wrap this up, whether it’s to a brand new fan, or someone that has been with you since your first release, what do you want to communicate to them?
CM: We want to communicate a simple message: we want to connect with people. Sometimes it feels like I’m living in a ghost town. But having shows attaches you to other people. We want to try and make songs that connect to people on a subconscious level. Sometimes the message is just that we’re trying to figure things out too. We actively think about life and everyone is welcome to what we do.