While this blog's executive editor's ability to see shows has been heavily curtailed this year, our operatives are still out in clubs and passing back word of (figuratively) the good, the bad and the queen on the regular. When things come up more than once, it certainly gets our attention, and so the second time someone pinged us to say "you really need to see this band Coaches," we decided to check in with fronter and guitarist Brady Custis to see what the Boston noise-gaze quartet has cooking, and where it does that cooking, in the context of our long-running Show Us Yours series of practice space-centric profiles. Coaches bowed with the crushing shoegaze face-scraper "AmIsAreWasWere" early in the summer, but the massive tune and its more nuanced instrumental b-side are all we've heard thus far. Mr. Custis, the act's chief songwriter, tells us the band works slowly, deliberately, and as inspiration strikes. They do so in a beery space with ill-suited decorations and nifty freight elevators over in Charlestown. From there, Coaches is working on an EP at the moment, although there's no timetable for release just yet. Read on for yet more detail about where Coaches makes the rock, how they make the rock, a show at Charlie's Kitchen next week and a planned Toys For Tots benefit that you will be hearing more about late in the year. We're grateful to Custis for his time and thoughtful answers, and certainly recommend that you press play on that Bandcamp embed below before you start reading our interview.
Clicky Clicky Music Blog: So why do you use this practice space?Coaches' next live date is next Monday at Charlie's Kitchen in Cambridge, Mass., supporting a bill toplined by psych-rock giants Guillermo Sexo and also featuring Peachpit. The show is notable as being the last to feature long-time Guillermo Sexo drummer Ryan Connelly on drums. Mr. Connelly is leaving to focus on other things, we are told; he also drums for cosmic Americana superlatives Hallelujah The Hills and seems to keep quite busy otherwise. Despite Connelly's departure, the Guillermo Sexo juggernaut shows no sign of slowing, and promises a new single, video and even a full-length in 2015 are all in the offing. But we digress...
Brady Custis: Like most bands around Boston, we just kind of stumbled upon this space [out] of necessity. You can't really exist as a loud band these days in the city without [a space] unless you're extremely lucky with neighbors and whatnot. After asking around, this [place in Charlestown] was the cheapest one we heard of. My girlfriend's co-worker at the time actually already had the space and was looking for another band to help split the cost, so we moved in.
CCMB: Is there an idiosyncrasy or quirk to the space that has affected the sound of one of your songs, or even the overall sound of Coaches?
BC: Consciously, the space affects the bands sound ... in that it's a bit alienating in there, sometimes in an endearing way. The space just has absolutely nothing to do with us. We were the last band to move in and there's all this hippy shit on the walls and beer bottles and trash everywhere. We're not about to clean up someone else's trash [Stay strong, comrades! -- Ed.], so it just sits there getting kicked around for the most part. To that degree, it makes playing in there pretty funny and helps us not take ourselves too seriously. We can be making all this dark brooding noise and look up and see some overly-trippy tapestry and it just makes us roll our eyes and brings us back into reality.
Subconsciously, I don't know if its the weather or what, but I think the place has these days where it sounds great and days where it sounds terrible. If it sounds terrible one day it could make a really cool idea sound bad and we'll scrap it because we're completely unaware of how the space is affecting our decisions. Alternatively, it can make a decent idea sound incredible just because the harmonics all blend together well for that part in that room and that room only and we could end up keeping something sub-par for a little while.
CCMB: You walk into your space. What's the first thing you smell?
BC: Spilled beer and body odor. I'm sure we contribute to that at least in part, but we like to blame it on whoever was in there before us just as a nice band bonding exercise before we all get down to business. I hope the band that comes in after us blames us just the same.
CCMB: You only have a small number of songs out in the wild for public consumption presently. Is songwriting something that happens quickly for the band, or is the process time-consuming, even laborious? Assuming writing is happening, are you stockpiling tunes for an LP yet, or do you have your eye on some shorter releases in the nearer term before making the leap to making an album?
BC: I go through periods of heavy songwriting followed by heavy down time. Because of that, we end up arranging way too many songs at once and it gets really hectic. When we're smart we take one song and rip it to shreds finding every good possibility and go from there. That way we can have a decent-sounding song by the end of the day. When we do it wrong, it can take weeks to find something we like. Working for so long on one thing only makes it harder to be happy with the way it turns out because you feel so far removed from it after a while.
We have plenty of songs just dying to be heard and it's honestly kind of hard keeping them tucked away. But I've been of the opinion recently that in the modern world an album is something you release when people are ready to listen. We have a lot to say, but it's just not worth it to throw these songs out there and have it be ignored. For that reason I think EPs and singles are where we're headed until we have a large enough audience or a label, or whatever convinces us it's worth it to release an LP. Regardless, I'm having fun reading short stories as a way to better understand the intricacies of what makes a compelling EP. Four songs is pretty much the most anyone wants to hear from a band they aren't being told to like anyway.
CCMB: We know you have the show coming up on the 20th at Charlie's Kitchen in Cambridge, Mass. Beyond that, what do the next six months look like for Coaches?
BC: An EP is in the works, hopefully coming out in the next couple months if we can find some way to actually get it printed. Beyond that, I'm in the process of organizing a benefit show in December called Noise for Toys. The basic premise is instead of paying ten at the door everyone brings a toy worth at least $10. After the gig I'll take them to what seems to be the most reputable and locally oriented toys for tots campaign in the city and drop off everyone's donations.
Coaches: Bandcamp | Facebook | Internerds
Previous Show Us Yours episodes:
Shapes And Sizes | Dirty On Purpose | Relay | Mobius Band | Frightened Rabbit | Assembly Now | Meneguar | Okay Paddy | Charmparticles | Calories | Sun Airway | It Hugs Back | Lubec | A Giant Dog | Bent Shapes | Krill | Golden Gurls | Earthquake Party! | Hallelujah The Hills | Seeds Of Doubt | The Cherry Wave