A Chat With: Coast Modern
Los Angeles duo Coleman Trapp and Luke Atlas, better known as Coast Modern, have been turning a lot of heads the past year with their feel-good indie-pop tracks, perfect for cruising with the windows down on a sunny day or dancing along to at a gig. They've been steadily picking up fans by touring with everyone from The Wombats to The Temper Trap, and they've even got Smash Mouth tweeting them compliments. With a new single "Pocket Full Of No" released recently and a debut album on the horizon, the pair are currently touring the country with other buzz bands Missio, 888, and Sundara Karma, as part of Alt Nation's Alternative Placement Tour. Before the tour hits Chicago next week, we chatted with Luke about everything from the aforementioned Smash Mouth compliment, Swiss Army Man, "Trojan Piñatas," and more. Get to know what's next for Coast Modern now!
ANCHR Magazine: How’s your day going?
Luke Atlas: Wonderful, hanging out in the Big Apple!
AM: Nice! So I wanted to start off by finding out what first got you interested in music, and what inspired you to start writing and playing an instrument. Do you have a first musical memory?
LA: Yeah, I got like a little keyboard drum machine when I was a kid. I just started messing around with it in my room, just realizing you can make full tracks yourself, you don’t need anybody else. That’s kind of still what I’m doing to this day. And Coleman as well. Just messing around on computers and trying to emulate stuff on the radio. We thought our first beats were amazing and could be on the radio, but we found out they were definitely garbage. It’s a long process getting to now.
AM: You have a debut album coming out at some point this year, but no exact date yet, right?
LA: It’s a bit loose, but soon though!
AM: What can you tell me about the album as far as where you recorded it and where your headspace was when you guys were writing the songs? Any sort of inside knowledge you can let us in on?
LA: Yeah, it was all recorded in my little home studio, which is a literal studio apartment in Los Angeles. Just very minimal set up. It’s kind of a reflection of personal exploration that Coleman and I were going through. Just things we’re thinking about, existential questions and just trying to fit those in like a fun, pop format that feels real and feels exciting. It’s not heavy, even if some of the things we’re thinking about are a bit heavy. I think the album as a whole is a very wild ride. Very different. Different moods. Like wandering through a maze...landing upon different creatures.
AM: Very cool. So are there any artists, or even other art forms, like films, that you kind of took to as influences? Like, oh I kind of like how that band or that movie took kind of a heavy concept and kind of polished it off in a not-so-scary package?
LA: Yeah, we’re really inspired by everything. A lot more than just specific bands. We saw this movie called Swiss Army Man-
AM: Oh, I love that movie!
LA: It’s an interesting thing, cause it’s like very crude on one level and kind of very heartfelt on another level. That’s kind of something you haven’t really seen before. So that’s inspiring for us. It’s like, you can be kind of silly, but still deal with real topics. Discuss them, or slap them in where it’s more than it is on surface. We like to call it a Trojan Piñata.
AM: That’s a really good phrase! I’m gonna have to steal that! So generally, how are you feeling about releasing the record? Nervous…Excited…all of that?
LA: We’re super excited. We have six singles out right now and the feedback has just been incredible. People are latching on to something it feels like we’re…we have a lot of people that share similar feelings as us. They’re really understanding what we’re doing, which is super cool. We’re excited to release the whole package finally and it’s been a long time coming. We’re ready to keep doing tons of new music and videos.
AM: So speaking of responses, I saw a couple weeks back that Smash Mouth tweeted about your song “Comb My Hair,” so what was your reaction to that? Were you like "Hey now, I’m an all star?"
LA: Yes, I mean that was super surreal! I remember being a kid like hearing that song and like flipping out. I went and bought it immediately. Even now they’re DM-ing us on Twitter.
AM: Really? You guys going to tour together?
LA: Yeah, who knows! Those are the things you just can’t expect. It’s too weird. It does seem like a dream.
AM: So then speaking of tour, I know you’re in New York and then you’re doing the East Coast this week. So what have been some highlights, whether that be crowd responses being amazing, or even touristy things you’ve gotten to do?
LA: We started in New Orleans, which is cool. I’ve never been there, but it’s such a big music town that people were surprisingly excited and crazy. All of the responses so far down the south...people go off. Even in New York last night, it was popping. We try to like, in New Orleans we got the classic Beignets. We try to get out and do the classics in all the cities. We love to explore.
AM: Yeah and you guys have toured around a little bit so you have some of that under your belt! I saw you guys with The Wombats at The Metro so you’ve been here. Anything else you’re looking forward to hitting up this tour?
LA: Ah man...everywhere! You’re Chicago, right?
LA: Have you had Ipsento, the coffee?
AM: I have not, actually. I’m more of a tea person.
LA: It’s this crazy thing we had there, and we always have like certain foods we latch on to in certain cities and we’re like oh, we have to go back! So that’ll be cool! We’re just excited to keep meeting different people. Every city is different and has got a different vibe, and it’s fun to push people’s buttons.
AM: Yeah for sure! So I’m bummed that I’m missing this show, it should be a good one! I’m flying out tonight to go to LA, and since you’re based in LA, are there any bands in the LA scene that you guys are big fans of?
LA: Oh yea, there’s a band that we’re really into called Dessert! They’re kind of a mysterious LA band, but their music is sort of future-pop...very inserting song structures. It’s very cool stuff, really inspiring.
AM: Nice! So coming from LA, that’s obviously a big music industry capital. Do you find it beneficial to be there with all the opportunities, or do you kind of find it a bit of a struggle with it being oversaturated with bands and artists?
LA: No, we love it. And there’s just like endless opportunity for collaboration, which is really cool. Like we’ll hit someone up on Instagram that we really like and be like hey do you wanna just come over, come to the studio and jam out? It just seems like everybody’s there and you can have chance encounters like that. That’s kind of where magic comes from. Like things you didn’t expect happen. We love it. It’s a really creative energy, if you can tap into it.
AM: Any other bands that you want to shout out that you might be listening to on the long drives during tour?
LA: Oh man, I don’t know. We try to listen to podcasts in the van--
AM: Oh have you listened to S-Town?
LA: Yeah we just did all of S-Town
AM: Yeah, it’s crazy right?
LA: Very insane, yeah!
AM: Any other podcasts?
LA: We’re into this one called Duncan Trussell Family Hour. It’s kind of a— he’s like a cosmonaut. He explores the mind and wacky, psychedelic stuff.
AM: Nice, I’ll have to check it out. So the next question actually came from a fan on Twitter. They wanted to know what your favorite childhood movie was.
LA: Ooh man, that’s tough! One that comes to mind, I think now cause we’re in New York, is the second Home Alone…Lost in New York. We’ve done some videos on our Instagram with that movie cause it’s amazing. Finding Nemo also. Wait-- Little Nemo, not Finding Nemo. The one where’s riding his bed around!
AM: Finding Nemo is still a good one! Lastly, anything else you’re looking forward to this year?
LA: Yeah, we have a video coming soon. We’re really excited about it. It’s with a guy we found on Instagram, and we’ve got some drones shots. And Dancing.
AM: Nice, I’ll look forward to that!