If you’ve never tried an espresso tonic, you need to head over to the Semi-Tropic in Echo Park STAT. We tried them for the first time while kicking it in the very on-brand coffee/bar with west coast vibe music duo Coast Modern. While getting high on caffeine, we chatted about how they got their start in music (writing rap songs for NASA, for real), their approach to songwriting in today’s inundated and at times banal music scene, and their affinity for Smash Mouth (that’s right, All Stars).
Coast Modern is the LA-based genre-defying product of multi-instrumentalist-producers Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp, masterminds behind the band’s two infectious singles, “Hollow Life” and “Animals.” Together the duo radiates an innate confidence and sonic energy that stems from their approach to create songs that please them on a visceral level without rules or boundaries. They write to avoid current trends in popular music, and the result is a primo collection of escapist indie pop songs that boast unique production elements interlaced with introspective lyrics, dynamic vocals and topline melodies that are catchy AF.
Coleman: "It just seems like we’ve heard so much. There isn’t anything we’re deliberately trying to make, it’s just whatever sounds good to us and what inspires us. It’s usually quirkier stuff because like, we just keep asking what sounds haven’t we heard?”
LYKA: How would you describe your sound, if you could in a few words?
Luke: "Like a volcano erupting lava that’s just the right temperature… but it doesn’t burn you. You can go hot tubbing in the volcano.”
Coleman: “I could just keep saying ‘chameleon’... like, if it’s three words, ‘chameleon, chameleon, chameleon.’
Before becoming Coast Modern, Coleman and Luke spent a few years songwriting and producing for other artists; however, after getting some experience under their belt, the duo’s creativity stalled. The process of writing and being creative for other artists hit an impersonal and uninspiring wall, and sparked Coleman to move to Denver to recharge. After a six month hiatus, he returned to Los Angeles re-inspired, and Coast Modern was born. The band has since become a project that feels musically authentic to the two, and one which seems to fully embrace the imaginative possibilities of music.
We were charmed upon our initial listen to their debut single “Hollow Life,” eager to discover a new versatile and inspired band that reignites our genuine excitement for music. The band shared with us that we can expect a few more singles to drop in the near future, and a well-rounded full length album by the end of the summer, reportedly complete with a melting pot of reggae, to folk, to 90’s R&B influences and sentiments.
Coleman: “We read a lot of philosophy and other dweeby stuff, so by the time it comes to write, we have a bunch of stuff on the tip of our conscience. Also I feel like we’ve written so much about other stuff for other people, like, how many songs have we written about being in a club? Plenty, and I never want to write another one.”
Luke: “We definitely like to create a world for people to be inside of. There are a lot of secret noises that most people will probably never hear or pick up. They’re songs to stroke your beard to… haha.”
Their modern coastal vibe transcends their music and translates across their overall brand, from their album artwork, to their Twitter personas; they are colorful, authentic, and charming. Their solid visual aesthetic was brought to fruition via Argentina-based artist Daiana Ruiz. They stumbled across her artwork on Tumblr, shared with her their lyrics, creative direction and the kind of symbolism that excites them: and the result is an array of rad visually stimulating images that encapsulate the Coast Modern brand.
Fresh off of a slew of SXSW shows (which also happened to be their first shows ever as a band) the guys are about to embark on a nationwide tour opening for The Wombats from June through to the beginning of October. Without even having played a proper LA show, the band has been rehearsing plenty and hope to make their stage performance as live as possible. They’ve even teased at a real life Jumanji set up with live animals for ‘Animals.’ (Fingers crossed, lol)
Coleman: “I have the [touring] bug, I can’t wait to go out there and play, go wild… light stuff on fire, haha and have huge Galapagos turtles with saddles on them, make the audience really wait for it… like tigers, dangerous animals…"
Luke: “And live doves. Haha but really, for the music, we try to make it feel live. We have a whole band, drums and bass… it kind of takes on a different format for us to play around in, and we’re not stuck to how it sounds in the studio.”
Catch Coast Modern in Los Angeles on the last leg of The Wombats tour at the Fonda Theater on 8/3 - although, word on the street is that they will be floating around playing pop up shows in the LA area before then... Stay tuned on the socials. x
What do you guys like to do outside of music?
L: I like to hike, walk around the hills, particularly Griffith Park...
C: All over.
L: All the mountain ranges.
How much has LA had an influence on the project?
C: A lot.
L: Yeah, the weather makes it really easy to create… in Seattle (where Luke is originally from) there’s this saying that if it’s a nice day, you have to go outside and do something. You feel guilty if you stay inside working. But here it’s nice to work freely…
C: Yeah, it’s a really cool culture here, everybody is doing their own thing, working hard but it’s still laid back, very collaborative.
Has there been a proudest moment that you guys have experienced as a band, and what is your definition of success?
C: Woooo! Wow, there have been plenty, we’ve had a lot of little milestones… it seems like things are just going so swimmingly. And success… that’s a good question. I feel successful. I feel like this project is a success.
L: Yeah, doing exactly what we want and having people enjoy it for that… we get to see, and interact with people online that are genuinely into it and we get to make friends…
C: There’s a lot of peace of mind too, because you know, there are only two songs now, but we know the course of how many songs we have finished, and we can see our vision for the future… it can be a little frustrating being in the present moment and knowing how much is ahead of us but there’s also peace of mind that comes with that.
What are you listening to lately?
C: Country music, haha.
L: We just got back from Nashville.
C: Old country… we asked the writers we were working with what is some cool country music we should listen to. We’ve just been listening to dudes from the 50’s and 60’s and stuff, which I never really gave a chance.
L: I just saw Christine and the Queens, she is incredible. I love that album so I’m listening to that
C: Do you guys know Porches? (We do, and we love.) That album is amazing.
Do you guys have any guilty pleasure music?
C: The country, haha just kidding… there is some music that I listen to just because of how much it bothers me, like it makes me feel weird, so I’ll investigate it until I like it. I didn’t grow up with punk music, so I had to force myself to listen to it. Like, 3 years ago I picked up Raw Power by Iggy Pop and fell in love with it… like, trying to understand what do people love about this?
L: It’s the raw power… haha. Also 90's pop-rock. We've been on Youtube spirals listening to like... Smash Mouth.
C: We actually saw Smash Mouth in Burbank last summer, have you heard of the Starlight Bowl?
C: It’s like the Hollywood Bowl, but smaller.
L: No one was there.
C: Yeah we found out they were playing and we were in the front row, it was pretty amazing. I bought the tickets like 6 months before...
L: It’s so embarrassing. I had a great time.
C: I had a lot of fun! There was this tiny mosh pit, people really feeling it.
L: Yeah, there were three actual punks there, they were ska punks, haha
Where do you like to have brunch in LA?
L: I was just talking about how I need to find better brunch, I’d like to open a brunch place.
C: Now it’s the Semi-Tropic, haha.
L: It’s gotta have the right vibe.
C: Everything white...
L: Shoes and shirt, not required
Bloody Marys or mimosas?
C: Bloody Marys.
L: If I had to choose, I guess I’d go with mimosas.
C: You can have a really bad Bloody Mary, but I had one in New Orleans that was probably the best drink I’ve ever had in my life.
L: Did it have a little cheeseburger on top?
C: Haha, no.
Is there anything we might have missed or you want to share with us? Anything you want to tell the world / the people that read our blog… aka us and our moms? L: We’re big on crochet.
C: Croquet and crochet…
L: Mom stuff.
Little white fluffy dogs...
C: Not going out with wet hair… you’ll get a cold.
L: We’re excited to meet more people and hang out in real life.
Yeah, what’s it like to have fans?
L: It’s kind of crazy, we have a group on Twitter, they’ve formed their own friend group through it too… they live all across the country and they tweet each other, it’s amazing to see that kind of reaction.
Yeah, wow do you guys ever get recognized?
C: Not yet.
That would be Justine - but we’ve already talked to you guys now, haha
C: You can still act like you recognize us… please.
Haha yeah, at your show for sure. We have these friends in a band called Phantoms who we interviewed a while back, and every time we see them around we just go, “Omg, is that Phantoms!?”
C: Hahaha yes, feel free. Especially if I’m with someone… I’ll pretend like I don’t want to talk to you, but just go with it… I’ll just be like, “I’m just trying to hang out, so sorry, appreciate that…”
L: Whip out a pen and sign an autograph, haha.
Haha, so is your first LA show the one at the end of the tour?
C: We actually have a few secret shows in LA… they’ve already taken place.
If they’re secret, how will we know to go?
L: No one knows. Or goes, haha
C: We played at the El Rey last week with a couple friends.
L: We’re probably going to add an LA show soon… before August. We added a NY one, so we’ll do something similar here. June 16th in NY.