Members: Chase Lawrence, Joe Memmel, Ryan Winnen
Occupations: Vocalist (Chase Lawrence), vocalist, guitarist (Joe Memmel), drummer, visual artist (Ryan Winnen)
Current release: COIN's Uncanny Valley is out via 10K Projects / Homemade Projects.
If you enjoyed this interview with COIN and would like to find out more about their work, visit the band's official website. The trio is also on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
It comes from every direction and in many different forms. Always be prepared. (laughs)
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
The only way for us to visualize a finished piece of work is to start something. Whether that means going through voice memos, creating a drum beat in our DAW, picking up a guitar or exploring the piano. Ideas can spawn from an interaction or a made up narrative that plays in our heads.
I'd like to think that we are magnetic to chance. Always open for whatever is to come.
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?
There are rarely early versions. When we start something we typically record for keeps. We like to think that we only have one time to record something without being too precious with it.
Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?
Coffee, daylight, breathing, nature and a brisk walk to jumpstart the brain.
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?
The first line or the first note is always the most natural and definitive way to start. It typically ends up being the catalyst to the story created or the meaning behind the song.
When do the lyrics enter the picture? Where do they come from? Do lyrics need to grow together with the music or can they emerge from a place of their own?
Final lyrics typically enter the picture last. It takes time to construct the whole story.
Sometimes lyrics need to change in order to complete the sentiment of the song. This is why they typically come last.
What makes lyrics good in your opinion? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?
I think that good lyrics are written when words or phrases can be globally understood. Simple words that can be emotionally felt by a massive audience are always the best, in my opinion.
Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?
We always start with working towards a strong first verse and chorus. From there we decide whether or not the song needs transitions or if it needs a bridge. This sometimes depends on how long the song is or if we need more space to finish what we are saying. Then we revise lyrics and fill in the gaps instrumentally.
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?
Trust the process. Serve the song and the sentiment it is providing. There's probably a reason why gibberish may fall out of my mouth and make total sense. Let those words speak to you and to your song and eventually, to the world.
Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?
This happens all of the time and it is perfectly fine.
If something else comes along pushing the original idea out of the way then just set the original idea aside and you have it for later. (laughs)
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
Sometimes it's not always spiritual, especially when it is technically your job. However, the moments where I break down in emotion or feel spiritually connected to what I'm writing are the moments that make me wake up and do it again.
When I experience these emotions it lets me know I'm still connected to the spirit of creativity.
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?
With everything available to you it can actually be quite tricky trying to finish something. The possibilities are endless.
If we are getting too caught up with all of the toys available to us we definitely set restrictions on what we can use.
Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practise?
I don't really feel like something is ever 100% finished. You have to learn when to let go and move on to the next project or you'll never get anything "done".
What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
Even though an amazing song can be presented in many different ways I believe that production, mixing and mastering are extremely important. You can show an average listener a song before it is completed and it might not portray the right emotion you are trying to present.
People can't read between the lines. Production, mixing and mastering is essentially the in depth presentation of the emotion you are trying to portray.
After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?
I'm not so sure that we experience emptiness. It's more so welcoming a new emotion which is to then allow others to experience an emotional interaction with the music that we have created. All we are doing is allowing more people in on this said emotion.
So essentially, it's the opposite of emptiness. It almost feels as if we've made more family!
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I think that any sort of practice of movement can be its own form of creativity. Whether it's making a song, a cup of coffee or raking the leaves out of your yard, it's all creation. I think creativity happens when the brain has to make a decision.
However, I do think that creating through expression of music has a deeper emotional pull. It touches feelings that maybe raking the yard or making a cup of coffee wouldn't do.
That's for me personally. Who knows, my next door neighbor might feel more emotional creatively making that cup of coffee in the morning than they would making a song. To each his own, ya know? (laughs)