COIN Gives Your Favorite Band A Run For Their Money
School’s officially out for Joe Memmel, Zach Dyke, Ryan Winnen, and Chase Lawrence—COIN has established themselves as a band of ’90s kids, but the boys are no amateurs. Their self-titled debut album, COIN, comes out June 9th, and then they’ll be touring all summer. “We’ve chosen our album art to be all white, because the work feels like an opportunity to have a clean slate. We’re really excited to do a lot of new things, for our old fans and our new ones as well.” Chase Lawrence, the band’s lead singer told me. While on a week off, at home in West Virginia, Chase took some time to chat about how COIN started, their band dynamics, and why it’s okay that I’m an old lady at 24 years old.
I know you guys are on tour, but where do you live?
Chase Lawrence: We live in Nashville. We’ve been in Nashville for a while, since we—or, me and Joe— met at Belmont University, and I just finished school last summer. It just feels like it makes sense for us to be there.
I went to Nashville for the first time recently. I thought all the live music bars on Broadway were going to be really cheesy, but they were actually amazing! It was the first time I was able to understand why people like country music.
CL: Totally, there’s a whole renaissance thing happening here. Broadway isn’t really where the cool stuff is happening, but there are definitely so many musicians playing in those bars that are just incredibly talented.
Oh, so where do the cool kids hang out?
CL: East Nashville, probably. That’s where we live.
But now that I’m thinking about it, you guys don’t really have a country sound—have you been influenced by country music since living out there?
CL: Not specifically, I’d say, because there’s also so much other music coming out of Nashville, you know? There’s a cool punk scene, and a lot of alternative stuff. I mean, we definitely listen to country…we were in upstate New York last weekend, and we were listening to some pretty awful country music the whole time.
[Laughing] And wait—you just finished school? How old are you?
CL: I’m 23. How old are you?
Me too! Oh, actually, that’s not true, I just turned 24 last month. I always forget.
CL: I totally get that, I always say I’m 21 for some reason, without even meaning to. Although I’m scared of turning 24.
“‘I didn’t even know I wanted to play music until I got to Nashville.”
You know, I thought I would be too. I think I’m pretty scared of turning 25. Like I understand why people spend their 25th birthdays in bed depressed…but I’m pretty happy with where I am in my life right now, so I’m trying to focus on that instead. I’d say I’m an optimistic old hag.
CL: That’s a really good attitude. It’s better to be a productive, content old person, then an apathetic teenager, right?
[Laughing] For sure. Tell me about how you and Joe met, and how COIN started.
CL: So actually, I’d seen Joe play at a bar once, with another band, a few years before we met. It was at this random bar in West Virginia and we didn’t talk or anything. But on my first day of college at Belmont, in music theory class, Joe and I ended up sitting next to each other. We eventually got to talking, and we were trying to remember where we’d seen each other before. So once we figured it out, we ended up hanging out, and wrote this one song together. It was a folk song, which isn’t really like us. It was pretty bad.
So you just kept writing songs together? And then how was the rest of the band formed?
CL: Yeah, I’m not sure why, but we did. We both really liked The Killers and The Drums, so we wanted to play music like that, that we both really liked. Then another girl in that same music theory class was like, “Hey, I have a boyfriend who plays drums, he should join your band!”. So that’s how we found Ryan. Our bassist, Zach also went to Belmont. We’d first met at a school recording session, but Joe, Ryan, and I went over to his house one day, where he has a practice space, and every instrument imaginable. We started playing some COIN songs, and he picked up the bass and started playing along, so we forced him to join the band.
And now, you have an album coming out. And you’re touring this summer. Who are you most excited to have hear the album?
CL: Ooh, that’s a good question. There’s no one single person I want to hear it, I’d say, but I’m pretty excited for everyone from my high school to see it.
CL: Well, for one, I didn’t even play music in high school. I didn’t even know I wanted to play music until I got to Nashville. I’d never played any instrument. I grew up in church. I was also pretty shy in high school, I think people are going to pretty surprised.
It’s funny that you’re the shy one, but you’re the lead singer.
CL: Definitely. I think I have a different persona on stage.
So how is it to be in a band of all boys?
CL: Being in a band with all boys isn’t so bad, but living with all boys can be hard. We’re pretty much the most different people in the world, and we’re all stubborn, so things can be tough sometimes. We’re still figuring out how to take our space from each other when we need it.
Hmm…I wonder if there’s such thing as band therapy.
CL: Oh, I’m sure there is. I think I’ve heard of therapists going on tour with their bands…but I don’t mean to make us sound like we don’t get along, because we really do. I mean, we also work creatively together, so we’re often really vulnerable with each other. It’s been just an amazing experience overall, really. The whole project has felt so organic, and nothing has felt forced. It’s all worked out so well, that it just feels like none of it could have been by chance. I know we’ve definitely had some higher power helping us out here.
Check out the dates they’ll be on tour near you here.