Meet COIN, the Nashville band carving their place in alt-indie-pop's bright future
The US-based trio are already one of indie-pop's most exciting bands in their home country, but every song has them coming closer to Australia.
Header image by XYZ.
Over the last near-decade, COIN have emerged as somewhat of an underdog within the international indie-pop world. After making an introduction through a string of singles turned into a self-titled debut album in 2015, the band stormed through the US with a breakthrough hit - Talk Too Much - and a second album in the years following, followed up with a third album - DREAMLAND - in 2020. They've toured alongside The 1975 and Young The Giant - all amongst sold-out headline shows for themselves - and have been named a band worth watching almost every year since their inception, 2021 included.
It's difficult to work out why they're yet to be a reckoning force especially down in Australia, where their charming indie-pop blend feels like a natural fit to the country's guitar-filled music festival scene. Not to over-dramatise, but it's not too difficult to see COIN having a similar status to acts like Glass Animals and The Wombats down here - the type of artist that call Australia their second home, where their sound perfectly aligns with everything else going on here.
Nevertheless, it's something that COIN are seemingly growing closer to with every release, and their latest single Chapstick might be the one that pushes them there. It's a gritty, rough-around-the-edges blast of brilliance that seems to perfectly capture COIN and the energy that surrounds them, digging into a bit of a heavier sound that plays into the more alt-rock-y world of their sound rather than those built on the poppier side. That said, however, Chapstick is still catchy as hell, boasting a chorus that'll weasel its way into your head and not let go for weeks on end.
"Chapstick is an attempt to describe something as inhuman as A.I. experiencing something so acutely human as a first kiss," the band say on the single, dissecting that with a personality that brings it all to life, rather than making it drawn out into something more boring and mundane. That charm is something that's become synonymous with COIN despite their range in sounds and versatility, and as Chapstick veers into a rockier territory, this personality isn't lost or overshadowed in any way.
It's one hell of a time, and you can take a listen to Chapstick below. Underneath, introduce yourself to the band, as they come closer to an Australian breakthrough with every move they make - Chapstick included.
Tell us about your band – who are you, what do you do, how did you start out?
We met in Nashville, TN (day one of university). Joseph, the guitarist & I (Chase) sat next to each other in a music theory class. On the other side of Joseph, our friend heard us plotting our band practice, and she volunteered her friend (Ryan) to be our drummer - truly fate. We released our first album in 2015, and the rest is COIN history.
What’s your music like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
COIN’s music continually shape-shifts. Our taste & vision is a lovable moving target. Sonically & emotionally, we’ve always tried to evoke joy and honesty. I think our songs can be thematically reduced to our band’s mission - “learning & loving”.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
Over quarantine, it’s been quite unique. We were safely distanced and/or separated into different corners of the US; so, we had to rely heavily on bedroom studios & iPhone voice memos to bring us together. We wrote & released several EPs this way called Rainbow Mixtape. But as of late, we’ve reconvened in our home, Nashville, and started working collectively & playing together in a more formal studio space with our new album producer - Julian Bunetta. Returning to our band’s roots has been so important for this new collection of songs.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest single, Chapstick?
Chapstick is almost a complete accident. It shouldn’t work - Rolling Stones guitars, out tune chromatic bass, modern drums, talking vocals. But somehow, some kind of magic comes out of this combination. It sounds like we gave A.I. hours of classic rock to listen to & politely asked them to pick up in 2023… which gave us the idea to write from the ‘emotional’ viewpoint of artificial intelligence. Chapstick is about something so inhuman experiencing something as acutely human as a first kiss. This song is the foundation of our new album…
What do you have planned for the rest of 2021 and beyond?
For the first time in two years, we are touring again! I am actually writing this interview from the bus in Kansas City right now. We are five shows in, and it’s beautiful. Beyond 2021, we have the greatest COIN album to date.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
We think about this often. I think it’s an evolving question with rotating answers. But one thing will always be true - COIN was born out of total naïveté. We began, just hopeful to play one show - I think the spark that started the fire is the same one that will sustain it. I genuinely hope every listener feels a little more lighthearted after spending a little time with our songs.