Comprised of vocalist and synth maestro Chase Lawrence, guitarist and vocalist Joe Memmel, drummer Ryan Winnen, and bassist Zach Dyke, COIN has this warm, sunny sound characteristic of bands from the West Coast. However, they're actually Nashville-based and are quickly gaining more fans to add to an already solid, dedicated following since their formation in 2012. You might know them from their catchy single, "Talk Too Much", which has been receiving all the indie love this year. Or you might have been keeping up with the band since they released their debut, titular album way back in 2015.
Currently, COIN is touring around the US with Bad Suns and I was lucky enough to catch them after their sold-out Boston show last week. It's not hard to pinpoint why COIN is so likable. The vibrant charm these four guys presented on stage easily transfers off-stage as well, though throughout my conversation with them, charm intermingled with a stringent touch of humility and levelheaded normality.
How has touring life been for the band? Well…
"We had a radio show and we played at a zoo. The penguin observatory was right next to us, it was kind of crazy," Joe chimed, eyes aglitter and relaying this news like it had happened just last night, rather than a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately the animals weren't exactly clamoring all over the band-- the zoo had been closed by the time the band had arrived.
"There was an alpaca right behind us though," Chase added cheerfully.
Zoo shows weren't the only thing the band has been up to. Besides cooking up some feisty times at all the cities they've stopped in, COIN has also been wrapping up the finishing touches to their sophomore album. It was recorded in three places-- LA, New York, and Nashville. "LA tracks sound a little beachier, New York sounds a little colder, and Nashville sounds like… we made them, we're super comfortable with Nashville," Chase says, chuckling at the last part.
Like any good artist group who strives for longevity in this industry, COIN also made sure that these collaborations wouldn't change the sound of their base makeup. "We wrote with a lot of pop writers so they'd make them sound a certain way. Like they'd make a beat. But that's not really our style. So we bring them them to Ryan and Zach and they kind of make it sound definitively like Coin," Chase explains.
As a person standing in a crowd watching a band perform, all you see, hear, and feel has to do with the dynamic of the artists performing; COIN puts on a highly energetic, engaging show, but what were some thoughts that the band had to share about what it's like to actually be up there?
Bass guitarist Zach acknowledges the fact that "a lot of people tell me I look miserable on stage" when in reality, "I want people to know that I'm not miserable".
Elaborating on Zach's comments, Chase explains that all four members of the band express themselves on stage extremely differently. "We all have our moments where we're really thrilled. We're always excited to be there but we express that differently."
It was most striking to me that besides the rising buzz that their band has been generating, all four guys took their talent and good fortunes like the humblest of champions.
"Right now, specifically for some reason, a lot of kids are saying 'oh you guys are blowing up, this song is doing super well' or whatever but we don't necessarily see that progress right in front of us", Ryan explains in the most honest of tones. "Like Zach said, if any of us ever seem off or anything like that, we're just happy to share our little bit of this whole music thing with them, because there's so much music and there's so many other places they could be."
"I think I would like people to know that we are unbelievably grateful to play in front of one person or 1,000 people or 10,000," Chase firmly stated. "It's unbelievable that anyone does anything because it's 100% easier to do nothing. We are so grateful that anyone would invest their time and energy to come out and see us. I think we'd never take that for granted. Because we have played in front of no one and we can tell you, it's 100% better when people show up. A lot of percentages in there."
When Chase, Joe, Ryan, and Zach started COIN four years ago at Belmont University, looking into the future there was no way the band could have comprehended the point they would be at now-- with their fans, their music, and the musical relationship they have formed over time as bandmates.
"Isn't it crazy that we all four do our own thing individually but we come together and make one sound?" Chase mused, thinking about the dynamic show they'd put on earlier tonight. He's talking about the four different personalities on stage, and how every band member does his own thing. "But we're sending out one specific type of energy to the crowd, it's interesting" Joe says, finishing Chase's thought.
People in the audience see the band as a group, not four individuals, Chase says, even though "sometimes in our heads we get stressed out about playing our parts perfectly". There was a moment during the show where Joe had broken two sticks in a ten second period and Chase had unplugged both Joe's guitar and his own microphone.
As humorous as it was to hear this situation relayed during our chat, Ryan summed up the smoothness of how quickly the band got back on their feet, saying "Chase smiled at me because he knew that I either messed up or something went wrong, and if we can do that then this thing becomes less serious. And it's funny, you know? We're humans. This stuff happens."
COIN has been on a steady upwards rise in their career for four years now, and I wanted to know what words of wisdom the band members had to offer. But first, the conversation went through a series of reflective moments for the band; COIN'S formation was built upon chance encounters and actions done on the whim. "It blows my mind that if I hadn't said, 'do you want to write a song together' [to Joe] we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. And it's just because I talked to him," Chase said.
"Everything happens for a reason, a very cliche phrase but it's so true. Just do it to the best of your ability" Joe added.
Ryan wrapped up Joe and Chase's thoughts, concluding that "the overarching thing would be to trust your own intuition because all of us just kind of got dropped into each other's lives. We weren't best buds from growing up, you know?"
"Okay, that ended on a note that was not the question," Chase says, unsatisfied.
Zach chimed in. "Just try it."
Adding on to Zach's wise albeit simple words, Ryan elaborated: "This band is not what all of us individually were picturing at the time, but like Zach said, just try it. Because it might be great, and we're not sure if it is yet, but we're trying."
Check out COIN's tour dates here.