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Interview & Gallery: Coast Modern at The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, CA

If a psychedelic 60s house party spontaneously appeared in the middle of the tropical jungle, Coast Modern is what you would hear thumping through the brightly colored walls. Mixing trippy, vibrant melodies with laidback lyrics, the indie pop duo have forged a bubbly, iridescent sound that has caught the ear of thousands of fans.

Founded by lead vocalist Coleman Trapp and guitarist Luke Atlas, Coast Modern was the pair’s first venture into music live performance. Stepping out of the recording studio has treated the self-described studio rats well; the duo boasts multiple national tours supporting acts like BØRNS, The Temper Trap, and The Wombats, as well as a successful debut album since their formation in 2015.

Coast Modern sat down with Music Existence ahead of their show at The Rickshaw Stop, the first night of the band’s first headlining tour. Accompanied by the dulled sounds of opener Salt Cathedral soundchecking downstairs, the laidback pair were all smiles as they chatted about tour life, music faves, and of course, Cinnabon.

Music Existence: This is your first stop on tour. Are you guys totally stoked to be on the road?

Coleman Trapp: Yes. So stoked to be on the road.

Luke Atlas: I was getting like a little nervous-which almost never happens, ya know. First headlining tour, first show. Big deal. We got a lot planned. A lot not planned, too.

ME: How are you guys liking San Francisco? Did you get a chance to explore the city at all today?

LA: A little bit. I went to the Twitter building, just down the road. I saw a lot of people doing this [mimes texting on phone]. Got some good java. We listened to like, the 60’s San Fran tunes on the way here. Jefferson Airplane.

ME: So I’m sure you guys love all of your crowds equally, but is there a specific show or venue that you’re super excited about?

CT: It’s weird because the White Oak Music Hall is one of my favorite venues, and it’s in Houston, so we don’t even know if that show is happening now. So that’s kinda sad.

LA: Texas is great.

CT: Texas is great to us.

LA: I got a good feeling about tonight, though.

CT: Yeah. [high fives Luke]

LA: We haven’t been here much.

CT: I’m excited about the whole Pacific Northwest.

LA: Yes.

CT: Portland and Seattle.

LA: Love it. For sure. Great weather.

ME: Yeah you guys just missed it last week, it was like 110 here.

LA: Really? That like, never happens right? That’s one of may favorite past times-like looking at the weather for San Fran and I’m like ‘oh yeah, it’s still 60 degrees.’

ME: There was no respite. So no fog either.

CT: [picks up my phone for emphasis] Did you just say respite?

ME: I did.

LA: No respite.

CT: It’s a great word.

ME: Ah, thank you. So this is your first headlining tour, but you’ve been on the road before. Do you have any memorable shenanigans you want to share?

CT: Yeah, a lot.

LA: What have we got? I always go blank. Because tour is such a different mindset, you kind of-

CT: When you’re off the road you don’t think about the road. This is actually our fourth national tour, which is kind of crazy, even though it’s our first headlining one. We’ve been around in the last year. It’s been a busy year.

LA: Last time we bought a piñata and a whackin’ stick and jumped onstage during one of the bands and beat the piñata…strew its guts about.

CT: Yeah, they had a song called “Killing Darth Vader with My Mother-effing Kick Drum”. So we brought out a Darth Vader piñata.

ME: Yeah, I saw that song performed at a festival a few weeks ago. MISSIO is great.

LA: Yeah. You wouldn’t want to…miss-io out on that experience.

ME: So you guys haven’t really been a band for a super long time. How has it felt to be able to tour, like you said, your fourth national tour, in such a short time?

LA: It’s kind of crazy.

CT: It is crazy. I feel like because we kind of were studio cats, and were more behind the scenes, it was only make sense for some wild shit to happen like that, being a big touring band. Like it can only be if it’s unexpected.

LA: The universe balances. But yeah it’s like so nice to get to like- it’s such a nice experience to make music and actually play in front of people and watch how they react and see them singing. You can get so disconnected from that when you never play shows.

ME: What is it like to be able to have something that you have spent so much time in the studio creating, and see people react to it in real time?

LA: That’s like-that’s the whole thing. That’s what makes it all worth it.

CT: Yeah, it’s beautiful. I didn’t think I’d care. Like growing up I had no interest in it, but I instantly fell in love with live performance. The connection is just something you don’t get a day to day life. And it’s awesome to get to connect with people on something that’s so special to us and that they love.

LA: Yeah. I realized that it’s rare to even look at somebody for an extended amount of time. So like you we’re looking at them and they’re looking at us-it’s a very intimate thing. It’s big for us.

ME: So I have a pretty specific question but I’m just really curious about the story behind “Yemma“. It’s a super dope song but it’s pretty unconventional, at least the sounds you used to make it. How did that song come to be?

CT: We have this thing called song explosion days, where we get down raw ideas rather than overthinking things, we just like throw sound down.

LA: It’s like volume instead of quality.

CT: Right. So many of the songs from the album came from them. Most of them got fleshed out. Like “Guru” and “Animals” got fleshed out into big productions. I think Luke was going through our old song explosion day tracks and [Yemma] is like-that’s like the rough, day one thing.

LA: Yeah, but it’s from a cassette, right?

CT: Yeah. It’s a cassette tape of these kids playing a game, mixed with tractors.

LA: You just found it?

CT: Yeah. Yeah, I collect cassettes. I have over a thousand. It’s like a weird thing. So yeah, it’s just trap drums, and singing. Just weird riffing.

ME: Do you have a favorite cassette?

CT: Yeah. I had a Beach Boys cassette and my tape machine ate it.

LA: That happened to my David Bowie cassette! It’s like the ones you really love-

CT: This cassette is the reason I fell in love The Beach Boys and it’s the only cassette that I’ve ever had that got eaten.

ME: How did you guys land on the name Coast Modern?

LA: It was a process. I think in a way it almost found us. We had lists and lists of names and they were all fine. But how do you just pick? It’s so hard to name anything. It’s the hardest thing. So we just said this is the last thing we have to decide, because we were driving ourselves insane. And we were just like reading books and like trying to find words and then the word post-modern jumped out at us. We’re doing sort of post-modern take on music. And then being the punishing pun masters we are, we had to flip it. So it almost was Toast Modern. But then it landed on Coast Modern.

CT: [picking up my phone to speak directly in the mic] The bigger story is that we were called Blood Dad and our label didn’t like the name so we had to rename ourselves.

ME: So what music are you guys digging right now?

CT: There’s some cool stuff. Julia Michaels. She’s got this song called “Uh Huh” and it’s and awesome pop song. And I like a band called Dessert that appeared on the top of Apple Music for like a day-this song called “Eyes Wide Shut“. It’s pop gold, and then it disappeared. Their Instagram has like 200 followers. They deleted all their pictures recently.

LA: Mikey Mike. Also from L.A. He’s a rad dude.

CT: He’s got this song called “Doin’ Me” produced by Rick Rubin. It’s awesome. At first you’re like “I know this song.” And then you’re like “I don’t know this song.”

ME: All right, I’m gonna hit you with some weirder questions. If you were to have Morgan Freeman do a dramatic reading of any of your songs, which one would you pick?

CT: Pogs and Slammers.

LA: (laughs) Yeah! Pogs & Slammers.

ME: Would you rather be eternally stuck in Hot Dog on a Stick or Cinnabon?

LA: Cinnabon!

CT: Hot Dog on a Stick!

LA: The smell of Cinnabon on a Stick is great.

CT: It is great, but you’d feel sick all day. You’d feel sick all the time if you ate either one of them, so maybe it’s Cinnabon.

LA: I’d just go out on Cinnabon.

CT: Yeah, I used to actually eat Hot Dog on a Stick when I was in high school and I haven’t had it since then so maybe…maybe Cinnabon.

ME: You have granted the strange but benevolent power to change any character in the Harry Potter movies to Nicolas Cage. Who are you picking?

LA: Snape comes to mind first. Probably the most natural choice.

CT: What about Hermione?

LA:What about Harry?

ME: That would change the entire series-

CT: For the better.

LA: I’m into that.

ME: If you were to start a food truck with any superhero, what kind of food would you make and with which superhero?

CT: Sushi and Aquaman.

LA: I was gonna say bats and Batman. Do people eat bats? I would eat a bat.

ME: All right I’ve exhausted all my weird questions. Anything else you guys would like to add?

LA: Everybody should be come hang out on the web net with us. Give us the web. Spread the love.

Check out photos from show here:

Connect with Coast Modern here:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud

About Dana Jacobs

I write about music and live shows and other fun things. Strong feelings about pugs, Halloween, and burritos. Currently zooming around northern California, with frequent stops in LA.

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