COIN is already hard at work on their third album, and with a fanbase who bakes them cakes in appreciation on the daily, there’s no reason for them to slow down.
COIN released their excellent album How Will You Know If You Never Try in April 2017, and less than a year later, they’re already thinking about the next era. The band’s infectious new song “Growing Pains” offers a good idea of what we can expect from them in 2018, as Chase Lawrence, Ryan Winnen and Joe Memmel tell me in this exclusive interview. We caught up shortly after their sold-out show at Irving Plaza in New York.
How’s the tour going so far?
Chase Lawrence: It’s great. We’re finally figuring out what to do and what not to do. It’s been really good so far.
I will say, the crowd at Irving Plaza seemed insane. Is every show like that or was New York…?
Chase: I would say New York is a little tame!
Joe Memmel: To the point where we actually…man, I hate admitting this, but to the point where we were actually like, “Did we play bad? Is this a bad show? We get in our heads about that stuff but…
No way. People were shouting the lyrics to deep cuts and everything!
Chase: That’s our mood, though. That’s all of our fans. That’s what they do. They scream the most obscure lyrics. That’s their favorite part.
Ryan Winnen: They want us to know that they took the time to learn it. The New York show was really fun, but it did feel a little tame in comparison.
Chase: We played Atlanta a few nights before. Atlanta just like always treats us really well. That might’ve been the craziest show we’ve ever played.
Joe: We had these in-ears, and when you put ’em in you can’t hear somebody talk. It was so loud in Atlanta that you literally could not hear the band playing in your ears.
Good thing you know the words.
Chase: Oh, no, I didn’t have to sing. It was a religious experience, I did not sing. I just paid the crowd to sing. It was special, for sure.
Chase, I appreciate how you jumped up on the balcony in New York at one point.
Chase: That was definitely spur of the moment.
Joe: That scared me, actually.
Chase: I was thinking about scaling the whole thing.
Do you guys have a pre-show ritual?
Chase: We sometimes sing “Let Me Love You” by Mario. It’s a great song…
Joe: It’s not a great song.
Chase: I mean, it’s a little obscure, but we used to warm up and sing that song. We don’t do that as much anymore. But we always have a lot of fun, pray and do high-fives.
Joe: On the walkout we’ll do double high-fives, but [bassist Zach Dyke] refuses to do two.
What’s your favorite song to play live right now?
Chase: It definitely changes, but I always like playing “Malibu.” It gives me a chance to catch my breath!
Ryan: I like playing the new song “Growing Pains.” Just because it’s the first song, it’s just out of the gate. And as more people learn it, it will be even more fun. It’s just fun for us ’cause it feels fresh and feels like something different.
I’ve been wondering — with the nonstop touring this album, when did you actually have time to write “Growing Pains?”
Chase: We do write on tour…honestly, we wrote it maybe even before “Talk Too Much.” “Growing Pains” was a song that sat around for a long time. I just kept coming back to it once a month and spending like an hour on it for two and a half years, probably. I’d get frustrated with it and forget it.
Finally, I [had] the demo and we showed up to write with Butch Walker. And he was like, “I heard your demo and I really like this song, I hear something special in it.” And we’re like, “Okay, whatever you say.” And we just recorded, like, one drum take, and changed one vocal thing, and he just used everything from that demo. It took me two and a half years and it took him all of six hours to figure it out! I was like, “Are you kidding me?” Those were the cheat codes that I needed. I didn’t think it was gonna be the next song we put out. But the lyrics were so honest and pertinent to what we were, and what we are in life, that it was perfect and poignant for right now.
So you’re working on the next album?
Chase: Oh, yeah.
Joe: Very much so.
Chase: We did a lot of work in batches and we’ve done this song now. I think we’re going to continue this model of pursuing something and almost finishing it, and then let an outside ear hear it and finish it. Whereas in past times, I would push it to a certain point, and then the producer would come in and they would take it, and we would deconstruct and reconstruct it. And it just seems, in retrospect — not all the time, but sometimes — it seems a little counter-productive. So we just have someone step in at the 11th hour and help us finish it.
In our last interview, Chase, you said your first album had very little personal experience, then that How Will You Know If You Never Try is basically only personal experience. Where does this third album fall on the spectrum?
Chase: It’s probably even more personal.
Joe: Way more honest.
Chase: I’m being real. For the first time I’m just really talking about stuff that I’ve actually been through, and stuff that maybe I didn’t even realize I went through and repressed it? I don’t know. It’s just nice to finally talk about stuff.
Ryan: Yeah, it’s nice. We’re in like a safer space creatively, too, with each other, where we can say whatever when we start writing songs and when we bring ideas to writes. So, that makes it easier, ’cause no one’s hiding in an ocean, or a sentiment that may have occurred in their lives.
Chase: We’re all trying to be honest with what’s happened in this band, and what’s happened in our lives for the first time. Not trying to write a pop song and a love song just because it’s what people wanna hear, you know?
If you had to put a name to some of the themes that you want to get across, what would those be?
Chase: It’s a lot of heartbreak. And it’s funny because I haven’t even gone through heartbreak, but I totally have in a weird way. I can’t really describe it quite yet, but give me six months and I’ll totally be able to get it to you in three minutes and thirty seconds.
Sounds like it’s going to be pretty emo.
Chase: Yeah, I don’t know why we became the emo band all of a sudden. I remember one kid started crying at our show.
Joe: It’s like this happy music…
Chase: It blows my mind when kids are crying to “Growing Pains,” like, do you not hear how happy this sounds right now?
You could say “Don’t Cry” is reverse psychology.
Chase: Yeah, that’s true. It’s almost comical. We played that song in Philadelphia, and the front barricade was all crying by the bridge, and I was like, “I don’t…when did this happen? When did this become a thing?”
Switching gears here to the random questions. What’s your advice to humanity?
Joe: Oh, my god.
Chase: Oh, it’s just, like, a quick question right here.
These are the random questions. Never said anything about easy.
Chase: Read. That’s my advice. Be well informed. That’s it. And be kind to strangers, how about that?
Joe: Be kind to strangers, I like that one.
Chase: And be even kinder to the people you know. I’m gonna keep going. Kind to strangers and even kinder to the people you know.
That’s the next album title.
Chase: Yeah, “Be Kind…” Of course. They just keep getting longer. It’s a paragraph.
Joe: “Read and Be Kind to Strangers.”
Who is the parent in the band?
Chase: It’s Tim, our tour manager.
Ryan: We don’t parent each other, but he makes sure we get to places on time.
Chase: Having Tim and a crew with us now has been awesome. He mediates so that we don’t have to be like, “Hey, man, you’re doing this weird or wrong,” or, “You should do this different.” There’s someone else to step in so that it alleviates any of that tension. None of us are in a relationship together, and we used to treat it like it was dating or a marriage. Like, I don’t wanna be married to any of these people. I love them, but, like, I’m good.
Joe: We’re just getting better at balancing everything while spending so much time together.
Which is kinda how marriage works.
Chase: Yeah…hmm, should we get married? [Laughs]
Have you had memorable gesture from a fan?
Chase: Every night. People give us the most amazing gifts, they keep making us cakes. And I believe it’s because of a tweet? One time, I tweeted something like, “Can you guys RSVP to the show, I need to know how much cake to bring.” I was just joking and now people bring in cakes to show us.
Chase: Kids want to be creative, and it’s always homemade. It could be an article of clothing, or cookies, or something, and it always has a COIN touch to it. It’s never just something store-bought. We have an closet on the bus full of art. It’s unbelievable. There are pictures of Joe all over the bus, just staring at me. They’re like Renaissance paintings.
Have you had any tattoos yet?
Chase: Yeah, it never ceases to amaze me. It got kind of normal for a second? But then, I don’t know, it hit me the other night. This girl in New York showed me a tattoo. It’s become really common but for some reason this was really special. It just said “Don’t Cry” on her leg, and it was my handwriting. I see it all the time, my handwriting on people’s bodies, but that one just hit me, and I had this moment. I was like, that’s insane. Our music is affecting people in that way.
How about any good shoutouts or follows? People who are fans of you guys?
Joe: Rebecca Black.
Chase: Oh! That’s a good one! I love “Friday.” Big fan of “Friday.” She tweeted.
Ryan: And Rivers Cuomo from Weezer followed us on Twitter.
Chase: We had played before them at a festival and he followed us that night.
Who’s on the collaboration wishlist?
Chase: I’m obsessed with Calvin Harris in a very serious way.
Any other breaking news you want fans to know about?
Ryan: Just new music. All throughout the year, we’ll probably just keep putting stuff out.
Chase: We don’t really have a plan for the first time ever, and it feels good. Something about being cryptic and strategic with your words is important and it has been for us in the past, but for the first time ever we just want to be honest and real and do what we want to do. It’s a cool time for us, because our fans and us are at this place where we have a conversation going on. We didn’t disappear for a year to make an album and find ourselves. We’re finding ourselves in the public eye and in front of our fans, and that’s a really special, unique place to be. And I don’t know how the wave will last, but I’m happy to be riding it right now.
Sounds like 2018 is going to be pretty epic.
Chase: I hope we release 12 songs this year. I really do. I don’t think we will, but I hope we do. We’ll see.