COIN Discuss Nashville’s Music Scene, Not Judging + More at Lollapalooza 2015
Nashville is a great city to be in if you're a musician, but what if you don't necessarily fit a particular scene? COIN, featuring lead singer Chase Lawrence, guitarist Joe Memmel, bassist Zach Dyke and drummer Ryan Winnen, released their self-titled debut album back in June via Columbia Records. While at the 2015 installment of Lollapalooza, boys tell us how they were able to gain a fanbase in Music City's competitive landscape.
You've released a couple of EPs, most recently 2013's 1992. Even with two EPs under your belt, was there still a lot of trial and error when recording the self-titled album?
Chase Lawrence: There was so much trial and error, like trying to figure out what was contrived and trying to imitate or mimic somebody else's sound. We eventually found our sound but strayed away from it, and then we realized that's what we should've been doing the whole time. Two years ago we started writing what we thought was going to be the full-length. We had to finish school and after my last semester was finished it was just Joe and I meeting up every day just writing and writing. We found a collection of songs that we felt represented an album and eventually met up with our producer Jay Joyce. He went through all the demos and was like, "These songs make up what I think would be an album."
Why did you guys stray away from what was working?
Joe Memmel: We followed what was going on online too much.
Lawrence: We paid attention to what people were saying too much.
The internet trolls?
Lawrence: Not necessarily our trolls but just what people were listening to on the Internet. And we're like, "Okay, we need to satisfy X plus Y." By doing that we kind of took away something that was special about ourselves. Maybe not special but different. I think we were able to get that back via our producer, Jay.
These are interesting times for a band just starting out as technology and the internet has made it easier to strike out on your own. However, that also makes it harder for artists to stand out from all the competition. Is that something you thought about?
Ryan Winnen: Not initially, and we realized it now since we've been touring because there's so much live music everywhere we go.
You guys are really young and the majority of people your age will never know what it's like to be rock stars. How are you dealing with that?
Winnen: It's definitely been an adjustment especially from the time that we've met two years ago. So much has changed. We're just happy to be playing in front of people, honestly.
Lawrence: We will never know that growing up thing where you finish college and get a job or whatever at 22 years old. I don't know if it's lucky, I don't know if it's better or worse. I'm not gonna lie it is difficult at times because it's like we just got our first full-time jobs. We're learning how to do it, we're learning how to stand on our own and pay for our rent and just like live, you know? And live well, not just like starving artists. We're really trying to make the most out of the music we write.
Starting out in Nashville seems to be a double-edged sword if you're in a band. It's a great city for live music, but like the internet, there is so much competition. Was it hard for you guys to gain a local following?
Lawrence: Surprisingly not for us. I don't know what was the deal. We came at a time in Nashville where it was growing and blossoming into this like friendly music artistic community. It's been super lucky to have people pay attention to us even from like Day 1 when we did not deserve it at all.
Zach Dyke: It created a judgement-free environment.
Memmel: I think there is a lot of judgement going on.
Judgement from music snobs?
Memmel: Exactly. I think that's why it was easy for us because we created this friendly environment of not judging.
Lawrence: I don't think we initially started this to go play Lollapalooza, you know? It's was just like, "Let's just see where this takes us." I think that fun, not too serious attitude around the music we created potentially created that non-judgmental culture. I think it also helped at the time that we were the only kind of band in Nashville. There was an over-saturation of garage rock at the time and we were not that. Maybe people were excited about that.
How much of a pain was it to clean up after filming the music video for "Run"?
Winnen: Are you talking about the paint? After we got drenched in paint they threw us in a van with a bunch of plastic wrap. We just sat in the van and got taken back to our hotel.
Memmel: What's that one show where the guy kills everybody?
Memmel: Yeah. That's literally how I felt. It was weird.
The internet tells me you love the '90s. Have you ever done a Saved by the Bell Zack Attack cover?
Lawrence: No, we've never done a Zack Attack cover. [Proceeds to sing "Friends Forever."] Oh yeah, I know it. When I watched that episode I was like, "This is what I want to do. I want to be Mark-Paul Gosselaar in Zack Attack." We're not fan of the '90s as much as we were born in the '90s, which makes us a product of the culture we grew up in.