How do you write the perfect indie pop song? Just ask COIN, the quartet behind infectious alt hits like ‘Talk Too Much’ and ‘Run.’ Below, lead vocalist Chase Lawrence digs deep and tells us all that we need to know about the band’s second studio album.
COIN, the new wave-y indie pop outfit that is Chase Lawrence, Ryan Winnen, Joe Memmel, Zachary Dyke, makes it all look easy. But when Chase spoke to me about the effort and meaning behind their new album How Will You Know if You Never Try, my already towering amount of respect for these guys mounted higher still. And of course, it sounds awesome.
“I was inspired by how your entire life is encapsulated between the year you were born, and the year you die,” Chase said about choosing the title for HWYKIYNT, half of which the band produced themselves. “Why fear the inevitable? We should let it motivate us,” he added. After grappling with the question somewhat, he admitted he considers the record to be simultaneously “sad” and “inspiring,” which you’ll understand the moment you hear an upbeat, but lamenting track like “I Don’t Wanna Dance.” “There’s a melancholic, anti-silver lining, if you will,” Chase explained.
Below, listen to the album (which you can get wherever magic is sold or streamed), then see Chase break it down for us track-by-track.
1. Don’t Cry 2020
“It’s about this day that my girlfriend turned 25. That day, and the day I turned 25, we had emotional breakdowns. That’s my favorite song on the album. It sounds vague, but to me it describes that day to a T. And 2020 will be the last year of my twenties. It’s also about being comfortable with getting older.”
“It’s about a weird time. I can’t get into it, but it’s about something very specific, being stuck in someone’s phone calls.”
3. Talk Too Much
“The Talking Heads were a huge inspiration. We listened to ‘Burning Down The House’ before we went into that session. With the chorus, I kept descending, I kept going down, and we all looked at each other and said, ‘Whatever, I’m not fixing it right now!’ And we kept it and it turned out to be the coolest part of the song.
Who’s ‘green eyes?’ I’ll never tell!”
4. I Don’t Wanna Dance
“We wanted this idea of not wanting to play the relationship game, just wanting to be with someone and not having to be ‘seen’ or self-conscious. It was written as a joke. We weren’t going to finish it, then I sent a voice demo to Zach and Ryan, and they were like…that’s actually good. It’s whiny, and those are the original vocals we did when we were joking! We tried to re-record them so many times, and we could never beat them.
An ‘accidental weekend’ is when you try to impress someone and do what you don’t want to do the weekend before, then the next weekend you’re sucked into doing it again, because you’ve made it the expectation. You don’t want to let someone down, but you also don’t want to not be true to yourself.”
“Hannah is a girl I met in middle school and I thought she was so beautiful. She still lives in my hometown, and I saw her while writing this album. I thought it was crazy that she’s still there, stuck there. I wrote this tale about her, which I entirely think is NOT true, but it’s all based on Hannah in 7th grade.”
6. Are We Alone?
“That’s a song for myself. I’m so obsessed with what I’m missing — the fear of missing out — and it’s a mantra for myself to slow down and be in the moment. I was thinking that I’m never actually alone when I’m alone. If I’m going to be alone, I want to be alone. It was very cathartic to write that and it helped me break my addiction to social media.”
7. Heart Eyes
“It’s about this girl who sees the best in everyone, and will go past herself to do anything to make anyone better, even at her own expense. Her heart is bigger than her eyes. She’ll sacrifice anything…but you have to take time for yourself, or you’re just going to wither away.”
8. Lately II
“This is the sequel to ‘Lately,’ from our first album. It’s about the same day, about me losing my nephew. He only lived for 24 hours, unfortunately. With ‘Lately,’ I had to get that out. It was written from my sister’s perspective. She had another child and ‘Lately II,’ which is written from the perspective of my brother-in-law, is about getting over that, but still being hung up on the loss. It’s about being okay and being happy, but still not understanding why that happens. The first song ends with the new baby’s heartbeat, and the second one begins with the new baby’s heartbeat and ends with the other baby’s heartbeat.
My brother-in-law hasn’t heard it yet, but he sent me a picture a few weeks ago of himself listening to ‘Lately’ and it wrecks me every time. I can’t even listen to that.”
9. Untitled Hidden/Bonus Track
“We played a show the day my sister lost her baby. We had to play a show that night, and it’s about me driving to the show going 90 miles per hour, trying to make it to the show. It was tough. I had to write about that.”
“Ryan wrote the chorus last year, and I was in Hawaii when he sent it to me. (Which sounds so fancy, but it’s not.) I said, ‘This sounds like something.’ I immediately started working on the demo, and we kept so much of Ryan’s garage band demo! It’s about something personal to Ryan, but we all finished it together.”
11. Miranda Beach
“It’s about a very quiet girl I went to high school with.”
12. Malibu 1992
“We wrote this at 4:00 AM about four years ago!”