Chris Caines, frontman for panoramic English alterna-combo Coasts, doesn’t really know about overnight rock stardom. His group took five years to issue its self-titled Capitol recording debut in January. During the period, as a result of a lot of tinkering, the band’s sound aged and mellowed, coalescing into “Oceans,” an overseas 2014 hit single. “Now I like living in the moment, and trying to enjoy everything as it comes,” says the singer, 27. “We’re in a position now where we’re traveling the world and seeing loads of places, and if we can continue to have that as a career, it’s just incredible.”
You had a plan when you formed Coasts in 2001 — to disappear from Bristol until you struck the perfect chords, right?
Well, I’d been in loads of bands before and I kept hitting dead ends all the time. So I just wanted to start over, basically — press the reset button and start making music with no outside influences. It was just a way for us to start enjoying what we were doing again, really. So we shut ourselves away and didn’t play any gigs for nearly a year, and just worked on music that would become our first album.
And to do this, you burrowed into an ancient church crypt?
Yeah. It was the cheapest, most convenient place that we could find. And it had this crazy, natural reverb, which we tried not to utilize too much. But it was essentially like, whatever we could find, we grabbed onto, because we had no money – we still don’t, really. But we were just trying to find places where we could work as cheaply as possible. And it was an ante-crypt, not as dark as it sounds, and pretty cold and damp in the winter. But being adjacent to the dead was very bizarre, and a stark contrast to the music we were making.
How did you know you’d found the Coasts sound?
We didn’t want to rush into anything. We just wanted to get a body of work together that represented us as people, and where we were at the time. So not doing a gig for all those months meant that we got better as musicians, and we learned much more about how each other plays. So it was really valuable, quality time. When we wrote the song “Stay,” it just felt really right. And we had the same sort of feeling when we wrote “Oceans” about a year and a half later.
Art should always please the artist first.
Exactly. Definitely. And you can get into that rut, even now, where you have to stop and remind yourself of why you’re doing this.
IF YOU GO
Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 11
Tickets: $16 to $19
Contact: (415) 551-5157, www.ticketfly.com