Isle of Wight quartet Coach Party’s searing slacker pop-grunge is the perfect soundtrack to carefree summers where adventure and endless nights are your only routine, dissolving the mere thought of the daily grind to just a speckle of a distant memory.
The four-piece, consisting of vocalist Jess Eastwood, Steph Norris, Joe Perry and Guy Page, are blossoming from their south coast roots and justly joining the ranks of the UK’s charge of thrilling new guitar bands with limitless potential.
After only forming a year and a half ago via the island’s close-knit music scene, they’re enjoying a hypersonic rise thanks to their brand of grunge-leaning rock, showcased perfectly on their debut EP Party Food.
Pulsating tracks Oh Lola, Breakdown and Space are fierce, spirited and raw; giving a defiant nod to Seattle’s vibrant scene of the late-80s and extending an arm to the angsty side of Britpop, while the shimmering Bleach and Puke highlight their enchanting, melodic palette.
Their early promise saw them signed by Chess Club Records – a label which enjoyed past successes with Jungle and Mercury Prize winners Wolf Alice, and home to current fledgling stars Alfie Templeman and Phoebe Green.
They’ve enjoyed airplay on BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music, garnered a host of praise from the likes of NME and Clash and this week showed off their creative streak in lockdown by releasing a cover of Clairo’s timeless hit Bags .
Daily Star Online caught up with Coach Party to chat about their formation, their Party Food EP, the Isle of Wight music scene, and their future goals.
Hi guys! Who are Coach Party? How and when did you form?
Jess Eastwood: “Hi! We’re Jess (bass & vocal) Steph (guitar) Joe (guitar) and Guy (drums).
“We formed a year and a half ago as nothing more than something to do.. while Joe and Guy have been playing music their whole lives.
“Me and Steph are relatively new to it and, after writing a few songs as a duo, Joe and Guy came on board to complete Coach Party.
“We’re really lucky to have each other. It’s really good fun to be a part of and we’re just loving making music together.”
How have you found lockdown so far? Has it given you a chance to work on new material?
Steph Norris: “We’ve tried to make the most of it and it has had its plus sides. It’s been amazing to have the opportunity to properly enjoy the things we take for granted most of the time (i.e. the beach and nature in general).
“Harry (the dog) has loved it, and yes we’ve been able to swap musical ideas throughout the lockdown and really excited about what’s coming next!”
For an emerging band, what’s it like navigating the industry during such a strange time?
Joe Perry: “It’s all new to us anyway, but there’s definitely been some setbacks for emerging bands.
“The summer festivals launch the careers of so many great artists every year, whereas this year maybe it’s more about engaging with your existing fanbase to keep a buzz going throughout the festival season (which is cool because our fans are sick (as in they’re awesome, not they all have Covid).
Who were you inspired by before forming the band? Are you all fans of the same stuff?
Guy Page: “We like a lot of the same stuff these days, but each had pretty distinct tastes growing up. Jess has a proud emo heritage, Joe was all about Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys back in the day, Bombay Bicycle Club and Mystery Jets for Steph, and I grew up obsessing over Rage Against The Machine and Beastie Boys.
“We share a love for Alvvays, Weezer, Boy Azooga, The Beatles. All the good stuff.”
You’re from the Isle of Wight. What’s the music scene like there? Has it inspired you in any way?
Jess: “It’s so good at the moment, but being such a small space it’s easy for it to go through dry spells too.
“It only takes one or two of the flagship bands to break up or move away and it definitely has an effect on the rest of the scene, but with the opening of a new venue Strings a couple of years ago, and a strong community of musicians, engineers, event organisers and all the rest of it, there is always the infrastructure in place to launch as a band here.
“People take pride in local music here and the support is awesome. Shout out to our new record store AAA Records too.”
You’ve received praise from a host of tastemakers, such as Annie Mac and Huw Stephens, and been backed by a host of titles. What’s it like to have that support?
Steph: “It’s mental. Every time a DJ or publication features us it’s a huge milestone. We never expected our music to reach beyond the Isle of Wight and we can only thank our manager Jonathan, Chess Club, They Do and the other amazing people we’ve met in the last year to help make this some kind of reality for us.”
Your debut EP Party Food was released in June. What was the writing process like? Were you inspired by anything during its creation? Where did you record it?
Guy: “I have a small studio on the island, which has given us a lot of freedom with our writing and recording process. It varies, but most songs were brought into the rehearsal room by Jess and Joe, some half written, others nearly finished and others just an idea for a lyric or a riff.
“Then we just work on them as a band in the room until they feel like they’re ready to record. We had no reason to think this record would gain the exposure it has when we were recording it, and I think that plays a big part in its charm. It’s kind of naive and we love it for that.”
The video for Bleach was recorded during lockdown and has a real lo-fi camcorder style to it. Was it a lot of fun to make and does it capture the band’s vibe?
Joe: “It was so much fun and yeah, it definitely feels like watching ourselves back on a normal day. We’ve worked with genius Dan Broadley on all of our videos, and he had the pleasure of editing our nonsensical footage for Bleach and turning it into something which feels like an actual video.
“We recorded it on an old VHS camera and probably lost 50% of what we thought we were filming by getting confused about whether it was in record mode or on pause. Life is for learning.”
You’re signed to Chess Club Records, who have Alfie Templeman and Phoebe Green on their ranks, as well as previously Jungle and Wolf Alice. What’s the partnership like between Coach Party and the label? How supportive are they?
Steph: We can’t believe how lucky we are to be involved with Chess Club. It’s just like having a couple of new best friends who like your music and have the energy and experience to help it reach people.
“Their track record is so impressive and they’re in it for all the right reasons.”
What does Coach Party have in store for the year ahead? Do you have an ultimate goal?
Jess: “We’re focused on making more music as often as we can, and just wanna be ready for when gigs are back on. We were so stoked for festivals this year but it’ll make it all the sweeter when we can finally get back on stage! Not gonna lie, our ultimate goal is Pyramid Stage at Glasto.”
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Party Food EP is out now via Chess Club Records