Mo’ money, mo’ problems: Coin lead singer on band’s rise

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To Chase Lawrence, his band isn’t unique. “We’re not trying to do anything. We’re just doing what comes naturally and being honest,” Lawrence, the lead singer of Coin (stylized COIN) said in an interview with The Daily Californian.

At Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, Lawrence and three of his friends funnelled the takeaways from music theory class into the makings of a new wave pop band. In 2012, halfway through Lawrence’s college career, Coin was born.

Six years later, the band appears to those not in the know as a one-hit wonder for the electric “Talk Too Much.” But to fans, the band is an indie pop staple — a genuinely and radically humble group of alternative musicians.

Lawrence continued to assert a resounding passivity toward contextualizing his band amid the deluge of current popular music. “If people are attracted to (our music) and they want to be a part of it and join the family, then that’s up to them,” he said. “I think we’re just doing what we do and we’re doing the best we can. … But I don’t think there’s anything specific.”

Lawrence definitively undersells Coin, which is further manifested in the way he discussed the creation of the band’s sound.

“I can’t really put my finger on it, but I think (our sound) is just what comes out of all of us naturally,” Lawrence said. “I think some bands in whatever genre we’re in … have made music that’s like other music — I don’t know, not that we are not guilty of, like, throttling our influences, but … it’s just like just from the moment I wake up, I just have this sound in me.”

What could easily be interpreted from his words as a lack of ambition — a wishy-washiness exhibited in regard to his career — instead surprisingly asserted itself as an earnest disinterest in gratuitous self-promotion.

Lawrence ended the topic with a simple catch-all and a laugh: “I think that’s maybe what sets us apart is that we’re just being honest,” he said.

The love Lawrence harbors for Coin became fully apparent, however, when the conversation departed from the broad strokes — he eagerly discussed the gritty particulars of the band. This functioned as proof that Lawrence is not in fact half-hearted; he’s just a guy whose eloquence falters when asked to explain his passion for his band in terms of the industry. Lawrence just likes his viewfinder to be small and specific.

Elaborating on the arc of his career from his own perspective, Lawrence said, “As an opener, you kind of have to play to everyone because no one knows who you are, but as a headliner, honestly, that hasn’t changed — the bigger we get, it actually stays the same. I think if the audience was five people or 5000, we’re going to have the same show and the same conversation with the audience.”

This sentiment may be a trope among big-league bands — something a vocalist and bassist for Goo Goo Dolls once also said to The Daily Californian before playing to a crowd of tens of thousands at Shoreline Amphitheatre — but coming from Lawrence, it’s believable. When Coin plays to the Fillmore on Saturday night, hopefully the crowd will feel the personal connection Lawrence hopes to spark.

An emotional link between the band and the audience isn’t only something that benefits the audience though, as Lawrence asserted.

“It’s nice for us too; it’s not just emotional for the crowd,” Lawrence said. “It’s big — we have these sing-alongs, and it means a lot to us too.”

Coming from the role of an opener band, these slow, heartfelt sing-alongs aren’t something the members of Coin were always familiar with implementing into their set.

“You know in the past we’ve made something that was … like a rollercoaster that was just going down the entire time — it was all completely energy on, like, 11,” Lawrence said, insisting on the convoluted metaphor to describe the momentum of Coin’s sets. “But now we play longer and we’re headlining, so we kind of have to make, like, an arc, you know — so I think that we want to come out strong and energetic and then kind of throttle it down, and we want to have these emotional moments.”

In short, Lawrence said he has had to make a lot of changes to Coin — some more difficult than others — over time, as the band grew and its fan base expanded. There is a multitude of pressures involved in rehearsing for a tour and playing to a larger, more demanding crowd on a regular basis, he explained. But Lawrence brushed away the stress with another triumphant catch-all, accompanied by another personable laugh. “But once you get it, you’ve got it, and it’s awesome,” he said. And with that, the interview wrapped.

Contact Olivia Jerram at [email protected].