'It is great being in a band but sometimes you can lose sight of that and, fundamentally, it's the best journey with your best mates' - Coasts discuss touring and recording ahead of next week's Cambridge show

PUBLISHED: 10:26 05 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:29 05 October 2015

Coasts return to The Junction in Cambridge later this month

Coasts return to The Junction in Cambridge later this month

Archant

Coasts, a five-piece indie-rock band that have been described as having both the stadium rock sound of U2 and New Order's dance-y side, are set to make their return to Cambridge later this month. As part of a headline tour, they'll play The Junction on Thursday October 15. Here, Ben Jolley speaks to guitarist Liam Willford about touring, performing and … being chatted up by an American prostitute.

“It’s my first day off in ages”, a jet-lagged Liam begins, detailing that the band only got back from America the previous night. “I’m having a wander around town. It’s nice to not have to do anything for a day.” It’s no surprise he’s feeling relaxed: Coasts have had a whirlwind rise to say the least; playing to a jam-packed tent at Coachella, a series of London shows, performing on Made In Chelsea and even gaining a new fan in the shape of Jake Gyllenall – all before they’ve even put out an album.

“It {America} was amazing,” he begins of their recent tour, before revealing one of the most poignant moments. “We seemed to really attract trouble over there … we were just sitting in a bar and some crazy prostitute woman came over and started chatting us up, that was a bit weird.”

He says that the audiences are different in the US than the UK. “Weirdly there are a lot more girls in the audience, whereas in the UK it’s 50/50.” The British indie band scene in America is massive he suggests, “I guess it’s because there are a load of 15-year-old girls who have moved on from One Direction and are starting to like The 1975.” As for weird gifts? “We get it all the time. A girl gave us a book of poetry and crosswords on our last tour – it was really full on. Bless her heart, obviously she was just really keen, but it was a bit weird to get a kind of bible with stuff about us all inside it.”

But, Liam says, they’ve had to be patient to get to where they are now. “We met at university. There were music rooms with full kit and drums already set up. As soon as we started playing music together it felt really good, but none of us could actually play an instrument at first.” Fast forward some time and Coasts have landed themselves a major label deal. “We spend quite a lot of time together as a band and we sounded completely different when we first started playing local gigs in pubs to what other people were doing. Obviously every band wants to get a major record deal, but you can fall into the trap of just trying to chase what you think they want to hear.

“We almost broke up because it wasn’t working and then we ended up scrapping everything and started to make music that made us feel really good. Music that made it fun to be in a band again – we sort of lost our way”… Liam continues, suggesting that the aim of Coasts is to make positive music. “It is great being in a band but sometimes you can lose sight of that and, fundamentally, it’s the best journey with your best mates.”

As for the writing process, he says their debut record came together very quickly and that its lead single, Oceans, “encapsulates everything that the band is for. It made me realise how much the internet is a great thing, but you’re never going to get anywhere without that ‘magic’ song that people – outside of your friendship group – relate to. Organically over a year, it grew and grew - the biggest thing about being in a band is learning to be patient. If you’ve got something good, the reality is it takes a long time to get people to hear it. You’ve got to be patient.”

And it’s not just the band members that are having to be patient. Fans of Coasts – which there are many - will have to wait until early next year to hear the album, which has since been pushed back from its September release. “Performing on Made in Chelsea gave us a massive boost. It’s our guilty pleasure – three of the band love it but the other two are not keen on it at all. When it happened, it was completely different to how I expected it; we had to get there at 7am to start filming at 9am for a gig that was supposed to happen at 9pm – it was pretty eye-opening.” Liam adds that the show is a great platform for new artists; “it’s incredible for championing new music, whereas in the 90s there would be tons of TV shows you could go and play on, now there are hardly any, so being on MIC was great exposure for us.”

Exposure is something Coasts have largely benefitted from. “Now, we are fortunate that we’ve toured enough that we can go to cities that we’ve never been to and we can play to 500 people plus.” Coasts have visited The Junction numerous times – “the first time we played in Cambridge, there were about four people, the second there were 40 and the last time we played to about 150. So it’s growing bit by bit.

“That’s what it’s all about, playing live,” he continues. “When we perform we all really connect. When I watch bands I really love, the best thing is when you forget about everything and really lose your inhibitions. That’s what we try and achieve with our gigs…”

COASTS come to The Junction in Cambridge next Thursday (October 15).

COLLABORATIONS

“Taylor Swift. It would be really fun to do something so different.”

TRAVEL SOUNDTRACK:

“We listen to loads of different stuff: The Weeknd, a lot of trap, Drake and Schoolboy Q – we’re all over that. Before we go onstage we just play loads of really heavy trap music in our dressing room to get us psyched up. When people from our label or the venue come in they just look so confused that a bunch of indie-rock lads are listening to trap music. It’s quite nice to have that contrast, though.”

TOURHUS ESSENTIALS

“A lot of gin. And we take a poker set on tour. That can get pretty intense – it takes up 12 hours sometimes to have a massive tournament. Usually someone’s really annoyed by the end of it, because they’ve lost all their money for the day.”

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