Surfing, Skateboarding, Music, Photography, Travel, Culture and general antics of the youth on the run.

CONVERSATION WITH: COAST MODERN On their debut album (out today) and their creative rebellion

what youth recommends coast modern music

Coast Modern doesn’t believe in genres. And why would they? After years of writing songs and producing for other artists, Coleman Trapp and Luke Atlas have become their own sound gurus, free of labels and restrictions. The only rule: “Doing whatever we want.” Their self-titled debut drops today, and it’s whopping 18 tracks of pure summer vibes will make you think you’ve stumbled upon a playlist, complete with interludes. “It’s like a classic rap album.” Except it sometimes sounds like Tame Impala.

I met up with Coleman and Luke at the Red Lion Tavern in Silver Lake on a sweltering summer night to talk about their new album, making music in LA, and soup. Read our conversation below, and check out the tunes. You won’t be disappointed. —Maya Eslami

what youth recommends coast modern

PHOTO: Faye Webster

WHAT YOUTH: What kind of soup did you end up ordering?

LUKE ATLAS: New England clam chowder. It was awesome.

COLEMAN TRAPP: Very odd for a German bar.

LA: Also odd for a hot day in Los Angeles.

Are you guys big soup fans?

LA: At one point in my life, I was huge on soup. I’ve settled down a lot. I don’t know what my favorite is, but I had a really great cold cantaloupe bisque once.

CT: Damn.

LA: It was really intriguing.

CT: A good tomato soup is amazing.

Tell me about Coast Modern. When did you guys meet and start playing together?

 CT: Four years ago?

LA: Yeah. So I moved to LA about five years ago. Didn’t know anybody. And then within a week I had met Coleman and we started making music.

CT: Sweet, sweet music.

Was it super casual? You guys just met and got right into it?

LA: Very casual. It was in the backroom of this studio- mutual friends just being like, “You should listen to each other’s music.

I read that you were both songwriters before forming Coast Modern.

LA: That’s where our paths collided. Because I moved down here to become a songwriter, producer. And you were kind of on that path-

CT: Yeah, I had been producing rappers and R&B artists for years and years.

So was this totally new for you Coleman?

CT: Coast Modern is definitely my first foray into something more alternative sounding.

LA: Also, as an artist.

CT: Yeah, artistry. I never even thought about that.

LA: Taking control.

What was that transition like from songwriter to artist?  

CT: Very interesting.

LA: You get to control the whole process [as an artist]. Instead of like, “I put a lot of effort into this song and then it just kind of fizzles, or it goes somewhere but you don’t get to live with it.” Now we get to be our weird selves and put that out there and make videos. That’s the most rewarding part of music, interacting with people and playing shows, and then we’re making songs we actually enjoy. It’s a lot more of an experience.

Has your approach to songwriting changed?

CT: It’s definitely evolved. Before Coast Modern, we were always making weird music. But there was a point, when we first started working together, where we had a rough idea of the kind of music we wanted to make, and it was always very pop-centric, and thinking about what kind of artist it would work for.

LA: Very cerebral.

CT: Yeah. And then after Coast Modern started, it kind of blew open where all the songs on our album all came from a place of, “Whatever, let’s just write.”

Tell me about the album. It’s your first right?

LA: Yeah.

And there are 18 songs on it!

CT: Some of ‘em are interludes. It’s like a classic rap album.

LA: I mean half the songs are out already. Like 7 songs? So we had to load it up.

CT: We have so much music even outside of the album. The mixtape we put out has like 13 tracks on it. Plus so many [tracks] didn’t even make the album. We write fast, really fast.

The album has a lot of different genres on there. How did you guys settle on your style?

CT: No decision.

LA: It just comes from doing whatever we want. That’s the only rule. When we’re in the studio, it’s play time. That’s then it works, when we’re just fucking around and making each other laugh.

And it’s just you two making all the magic.

CT: Yeah, and we produce it.

Where’s your studio?

LA: We recorded most of the album a couple blocks from here.

CT: Not even a block.

LA: Don’t say too much. Gonna get rocks thrown at my window.

CT: But we’ve moved the studio since then to Elysian Valley, kinda where Frogtown is.

Is a studio’s location important to you guys? 

LA: All we really need is a room. We can work in an office.

CT: Doesn’t need to be a studio at all.

LA: In fact it’s better if it’s not a studio.

Why do you say that?

LA: Studio’s are scary. You’re paying money, and there’s all this gear, and you’re like, “Do we have to use it all?”

CT: You don’t need any of it. We did it without a recording booth, all the vocals were done in a room, windows open.

LA: Cars going by. The birds.

CT: The vibe was perfect.

LA: It let’s you let your guard down, and I think that’s where the creative weirdness can come in, whereas if you’re in a studio it has to be good.

The pressure.

LA: Eliminate the pressure. Next album we’re doing Steely Dan, strictly studio.

Okay so I’ve noticed you guys are inspired by Steely Dan and Beach Boys, but also dancehall and hip-hop and R&B. Where did that come from?

CT: It’s funny, when we got signed, and our label was like, “You’re an alternative band,” I was like, “That’s still a genre?” I honestly, honestly, didn’t think alternative music still existed.

Well, sometimes labels call something they can’t identify “alternative” just to throw a name on it.

CT: Exactly. But you grew up in the Internet era, and so you find your music on blogs, and they don’t talk about genre at all.

LA: Then bloghouse became a thing.

What is bloghouse?!

LA: Dance music that was found on blogs.

That’s ridiculous.

CT: The sound of the modern music industry came out of the Internet.

How do you guys feel about genres?

CT: That shit’s impossible. Even if they’re important or not, we have no way of actually categorizing a song.

LA: People are so much more open to different styles, and listen to different styles. Back in the day, you had your radio station. That’s kind of all you knew. But now with the Internet, you can like weird R&B and heavy metal.

It’s important to understand that genres don’t mean anything.

LA: Yeah. We’re in a post-modern world.

So back to the album, the first song I heard off it really reminded me of Tame Impala. But then the next one was not at all like that. And so on. Which is really refreshing, to not hear the same song over and over. It makes the album flow like a playlist.

CT: We’ve been producing for so long, and have created so many different styles, that it’d be impossible to sit down and have the same sound on every song.

LA: We’re used to making music that way. Because [as songwriters], one day we’d be making hip-hop, one day we’d be making R&B.

Is that intentional? Or subconscious?  

CT: It’s just, there are so many sounds out there.

So it’s just natural, just the way you guys do it.

LA: It’s about what excites you. What we try to capture is that moment of excitement. So either the sound is something we’ve never heard, the melody’s something new, or whatever. Just to capture it.

What did you guys grow up listening to?

CT: Classic rock.

LA: I was big on oldies. The 50’s. Chuck Berry. That was my first thing. Beatles.

CT: I was into Zeppelin. Pink Floyd. All the records my dad had. He was into more heavy classic rock. Like Yes.

LA: I was on that wave too. Can’t avoid that.

CT: I remember the first time I decided that a song was mine and not my parents, and it was “Genie In A Bottle” by Christina Aguilera. I was like, “My parents didn’t show this to me, but I like it.”

That’s the perfect blend, right? Classic rock and Xtina.

Check out more from Coast Modern here.

what youth mele interview

Conversation with: Mele Saili Sunny, stylish surf royalty and the best competitive philosophy we’ve heard yet

We recently met Mele Saili through our friends at Crap Eyewear. She impressed us right away with her outlook on wave riding. And how she’s managed to evolve such a unique style both on and off waves. Our own Drew Eggers picked her creative brain for us, which you’ll find below, illustrated with imagery by…

what youth recommends coast modern music

CONVERSATION WITH: COAST MODERN On their debut album (out today) and their creative rebellion

Coast Modern doesn’t believe in genres. And why would they? After years of writing songs and producing for other artists, Coleman Trapp and Luke Atlas have become their own sound gurus, free of labels and restrictions. The only rule: “Doing whatever we want.” Their self-titled debut drops today, and it’s whopping 18 tracks of pure summer…

what youth conversation with entrance

Conversation With: Entrance On his new album Book of Changes

Entrance, the musical force that is Guy Blakeslee, first crept into my life on a mixed CD in 2003. Blakeslee’s voice, infused with blues and folk and soothing heartache, and his ability to slay a guitar hooked me on my first listen. And then The Entrance Band happened, a full-fledged psychedelic experience of a live…

Conversation With: Sam Kristofski A phone call with (one of) our favorite Kiwi filmmakers

God damn is there some talent down under Australia making films. From our very own Blake Myers to the big dogs like Take Waititi, there’s some serious creative timing in these films. We recently had the chance to pick the brain of yet another talented kiwi Sam Krisofski. What Youth: When I look back all…

what youth music

Conversation with: Josh Landau On his new band, Kill a Punk for Rock & Roll 

Josh Landau is an unstoppable force. The frontman and guitarist of The Shrine debuted his new band, Kill a Punk for Rock & Roll, just a couple weeks ago, and the momentum he’s pulling will make your head spin. Alongside Landau in his band of misfits is Jordan Jones on guitar, Don “Nuge” Nguyen on…

what youth recommends the britanys

Conversation With: The Britanys Brooklyn’s lo-fi garage band that’ll remind you of the Strokes

In case you were wondering why Brooklyn band The Britanys have a missing T in their name, blame frontman Lucas Long. “I’m a really bad speller,” he told me before their show at the Satellite in Los Angeles last month. Together with Steele Kratt on drums, Jake Williams on guitar, and Lucas Carpenter on bass,…

Conversation with Twin Peaks.

Conversation With: Twin Peaks Gas station phone conversations

Chicago does a lot of cool shit for rock n roll and lately running wild about the town is a band of garage rockers whose name you probably have been seeing pop up a lot, Twin Peaks. If you’re wondering how and where these guys came from, keep your ears peeled because, unless you despise the…

what youth music

Conversation With: Darren Rademaker The leadsinger and founder of The Tyde on his new album and his life lived playing music

I’ve known Darren Rademaker, lead singer and founder of The Tyde and seminal indie bands Further and the Summer Hits, for the better part of a decade. I’ve seen him play more than a hundred times, at least, and it really never gets old for me. He just released his fourth album with The Tyde,…

Conversation With: Alexander Schmidt On his new zine “Side Streets”, street skating and street photography

I’ve been a fan of WKND since I found out about them. Aesthetically, they’re great. But what’s also great is the personalities that exist in their crew. I discovered one of their talents, Alexander Schmidt when they announced the release party for his new zine, Side Streets. I couldn’t make it, but I loved what…

Conversation With: Adult Books The same guys that played our Issue 14 release party

“Our first band, I was fifteen, you were eighteen,” says Daniel Quintanilla, bassist and vocalist of Adult Books. He’s referring to Nick Winfrey, the band’s guitarist and vocalist and main poodle aficionado, who, I’m pretty sure, taught Quintanilla how to drive. Together with drummer M.M. Sina, who lived a block away from Winfrey in Orange…

Conversation With: Susan Plus the premiere of their new video, “Somebody New”

Susan is a band, and we’ve been in love with them ever since they let us use their song “Windows Down” in Episode 1 of 4 Cities with Ozzie Wright (by the way, watch that). Comprised of Jessica Owen on guitar, Beth B on bass and Katie Fern on drums, Susan mixes elements of pop…

conversation with yung

Conversation With: Yung Because we’re obsessed with this band

We told you to listen to Yung a couple months ago, and not only are we taking our own advice, but we’re still basically obsessed with them. Their debut album, A Youthful Dream, has been dominating our eardrums since we first hit that play button. So read our interview with the band below, and keep…

Sign up for letters from What Youth