Indie-pop duo Coast Modern opens up about their future

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Photo credit: Anna Lee

Meet the hottest new Los Angeles indie pop duo, Coast Modern. The group is made up of Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp.

You may know them from their 2015 single "Hollow Life." Flash forward to now, and Coast Modern has been spending a better part of this year on tour with bands such as BØRNS, The Temper Trap, and The Wombats.

We got a chance to sit down with Coast Modern to discuss their inspiration, their favorite artists and more. Check out the full interview below.

#OnOurRadar is a feature that showcases creative minds and up-and-coming talent. To see more past interviews, click here.

When did you guys first discover your love for music ?

Luke: I think the first time I fell in love with music, I was messing around with a little drum machine and keyboard I had just laying around the house. It was older than me -- really, really outdated equipment, but I could suddenly make little beats, and it was easy to make something quickly. My first song was called Bob Saget, but that was the moment where I realized making music was just building blocks.

Coleman: My dad was a drummer. At our house in Houston he had a drum set in the garage, and we would have friends over to jam. I was only 4-year-old, and I would get on the kit and beat around so I think that's when I first discovered my love for music

What led you to decide to pursue music as a full-time career?

Coleman: I don't think there was ever a decisive moment. It just kind of accumulative -- hours spent -- and, all of a sudden it's like, wow, I guess I'm a musician.

Luke: That's what its like for me. I could go to school or I could do this. That [music] was what I was doing, so I kept doing it.

What artists did you grow up listening to?

Coleman: I liked a lot of the music that was everywhere -- songs on the radio. I mean, those were the best! That's how they got to be on the radio, and playing in stores. Although, I do really like weird music I also appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into making a solid radio single.

Luke: We grew up with a lot of oldies and classic rock too, probably parental influence there. But artists like the Beach Boys, Beatles and Led Zeppelin.

What has it been like making a singular sound coming from two different musical backgrounds?

Luke: It's cool. It adds a lot to have both of our different leanings. I think I lean a bit more pop and happy, and Coleman has a darker, moody vibe. So, put those together and it's a well rounded sound.

Take us through your creative process. What goes into a sound for you guys from start to finish?

Coleman: It's usually different every time. That's the one thing every production has in common is that we approach it totally different. In general, it will start with weird sounds, weird instruments, weird textures -- and from that, melody and lyric comes pretty early the process. Then we build the two together. With quirky, interesting sounds the lyrics have room to be more experimental and fun.

Luke: Yeah they kind of come out of what the sounds are giving us. They are influenced by the texture and the vibe of the track we built up, and after and humming gibberish words, you can pluck a few words out of it, and then the song is just waiting in the air. You kind of just grab it and see where it takes you.

So cool -- So, who plays what role in the creative process?

Coleman: That shits from song to song. There are some songs where Luke just sits down and flies through a beat, and get like 75 % there. There are other times where I'll be thinking about something, and a lyric will come together, or other times when I'll sit down at the computer and make a quirky rhythm, and Luke will pick up the guitar and make a hook out of nowhere. I think that's what makes every song unique -- the balance of who's creating what part is always shifting.

Luke: Usually we're just like messing around, playing around, and it won't be songwriting time -- we'll just be having fun. We'll think, 'this will never make it' but then, it usually does. Out of those moments, where your guard is down, and were not worrying about a song, that's when something cool surprises you.

What was it like for you guys to make your songs? What made that unique to you guys, and how did you for a narrative?

Coleman: Each song we have out right now comes from a different time in our lives. 'A Hollow Life' was a time of having just gone through a phase of disenchantment with the music industry. 'Animals' came after we have been reading a lot of philosophy, and thinking about divinity verses just being a human animal. 'Guru' is like a romantic comedy. They all kind of represent what we were thinking about at that time.

Were there any songs that didn't make the cut? Do you ever want to revisit them after you messed around with it do you want to go back it?

Luke: We've tried to go back to songs, but for some reason it just doesn't work. There's something about songs that flow out in one really quick session -- those are the best ones.

Coleman: It's intangible. We might think we know what's making a song cool, or why it's coming easily, but it's really kind of subconscious. So, when we are flowing and writing a song, everything just clicks together.And then, you come back in a few weeks, and you're like what were we thinking? Where were we coming from? So, it's hard to then get us both back on the same page with a vision to finish it.

Who were you reading for animals -- what philosopher were you reading from to spark that?

Coleman: I'm kind of always reading philosophy, but who was it at the time? I think that was around the time I had just read 'Notes From The Underground.' But, I think it was just a discussion we were having based on the things we were picking up, because we are both always reading something.

Luke: You have to be absorbing reading material as an artist, even if you don't think it will relate. It really helps to have a stockpile of things you're thinking about.

Where do you see the progression of your music going in the next few years?

Coleman: To the moon

Luke: I just hope we can be experimenting, and pushing the limit of pop and sneaking in little bits of non-pop within the pop. If people are along with us on our journey, and enjoying our experiments, it will be a very exciting future.

Your music is pretty big in the streaming culture. How do you think streaming culture, and social media, have affected the way you operate as musicians?

Coleman: I think it changed the way the music industry has worked, and us being part of that -- it's cool that we're even relevant in the streaming world. It has changed the way people discover music, and I think that we might even have a career thanks to the fact that you can find anything you want.

Luke: Yeah, you know peopple make playlists. So, people are streaming and through a playlist, and then we'll come on. It's a completely new way of discovering things

Coleman: It's like word of mouth discovery verses algorithm discovery.

How do you see that come to play during your live performances? Have you seen different people react to your music?

Luke: Yeah it's ben crazy to see people singing the songs we wrote. You know, we might see some streaming numbers, or people online, but to actually see it in real life. These songs traveled all the way to them, somehow. They know the words -- it's real and we're now in the same room. It's a crazy thing. The first time it happened I was like 'whoa'. It's more than just us, which is exciting

What has it been like meeting your fans after your performances?

Coleman: I always been a studio guy, and me getting out and playing is very new. So, it's fulfilling, because you don't actually know how people are going to think about the music when you are alone in the studio making it.

Luke: It's very direct. They're right there, and they're saying they love it, and they want hugs. It's been a big surprise, and it's still pretty new to us.

Also there have been a number of celebrities that has taken a liking to your music as well. Just this morning Kate Hudson Instagrammed it -- what was it like seeing that?

Luke: That was so random. I just got a text from a friend that said Kate Hudson, and it took me a few hours to realize she had posted our music. It was a big surprise. It's awesome. We just write to make ourselves happy -- if it excites us, then that's the goal. But to see it reaching other people in the same way is crazy.

What's the one piece of advice you had wished to have received before becoming a musician?

Luke: Try not to be precious about your ideas, and just get a lot of them out. Songwriting and music has to flow, and sometimes it has to be bad. There's gonna be a lot of bad stuff, but that's okay, it's a part of the process. You just have be okay with that.

Coleman: Mine has to do with validation. Even though the music might be really good, that doesn't mean you're gonna get any kind of validation. You just have to keep doing it, and then eventually people will like it.

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