"Life is complicated enough. If you've got something to say there's no better way than to just pop it in an indie song."
Coach Party vocalist and bassist Jess Eastwood succinctly wraps up just what it is that gives her band an infectious relatability. Her knack for cunning lyricism leads to Coach Party becoming purveyors of the kind of slacker indie pop that feels raw in its execution, and pure in motive. Coach Party is the sound of the most basic ideas; a couple of instruments and some life lessons all being penned and coming together to take part in the next wave of sounds and voices for a generation, with a fresh faced and bright eyed sound that in equal measures languishes as it does snarls.
Born out of the ashes of JEPH—a brief musical foray with Coach Party guitarist Steph Norris—back in 2017, it was the joining of Guy Page and Joe Perry that made the band complete. When asked about how it all came together, Jess nonchalantly recalls thinking: "let's just shoot our shot and ask what they're up to."
"We were all friends anyway…we did a few gigs, and they made us 1000 times better. I'm not even joking, they actually made us a band." Eastwood marvels. "They were like, 'Okay, you're out [of] time on every song, so start playing right'.
Hailing from the Isle of Wight, a place with "one real venue with a capacity over fifty"; the hunger to get out to the mainland after suffering through missing the last ferry back home and sitting in the port, freezing in the car at 3 am or 4 am—“I have never felt pain like it," Eastwood says—all makes for the Coach Party foursome to dig their heels in and pour more of themselves into the band to make it happen.
With a small scene currently budding, including fellow slacker-pop penner Lauran Hibberd, Eastwood says: "We don't necessarily feel isolated, but you do get into this false illusion of, 'okay, this is really good, this has happened. [When you’re] here on a small island, people are like: ‘This is amazing’, but if you think about off the island for two minutes - it's incredible how many bands there are."
Wading their way through the mass of bands, and standing out enough to grab the attention of Chess Club records, Coach Party released their debut project Party Food early last year which should have been momentous for the scrappy four-piece, but instead there’s a worry that their first steps into the world will go unnoticed.
"I mean, I've never been kicked in the face…" Eastwood deadpans when asked how that feels. "It's also really sad because we spent the majority of half a year recording it and putting all our emotion and all our efforts into the long nights, and it's just sort of out there now.
"We're moving on to the next thing because we have to. This is when you're just sat [looking at things] on the internet every day and can't go and watch gigs. People want the next thing and you've got to keep delivering it." And what they're delivering is EP 2—the natural follow-up to Party Food.
Still filled with guitar jams that swagger and sway, with Eastwood's languorous howl roofing the matters and speaking bluntly, she's quick to acknowledge her favourite moment about the new recording process. "There's one song on EP 2, which won't be a single, that is one of my favourites," she says excitedly of the fuzz-drenched "Crying Makes Me Tired”.
Acknowledging that EP 2 is "more of how we envision ourselves sounding, and how we like to sound live, just a bit heavier and a bit more…vocally mature with the lyrics", it also leans more into accepting the brashness that comes with being young in a world that's hell-bent on deriding any semblance of old normality.
"My head isn't a dark place, but when I start writing lyrics it becomes kind of really dark," Eastwood admits. "Especially with the rest of EP 2 and the stuff we've been writing in recent weeks, which is weird. I don't know if that's maybe a shift in our normality? We've definitely found a market for writing lyrics that are quite depressing but making it really upbeat—sort of like a reflection of life, but with nice guitars.”
Howling: "I don't think I that I want to die" on the rousingly euphoric "Can't Talk, Won't", as well as other moments that threaten to be glorious once they can get road-tested, goes back to the idea of just popping something you’ve got to say into in a song. That even goes for the relatable "dumb shit we all say," Eastwood smirks.
"For example, 'I'm gonna jump off a cliff'. Things that we don't want to do, but we'll say it pretty much every day. Like when your mum used to say: 'I'll walk out the door and never come back'. Well, you might not know about that..." she laughs.
"I'd say 90% of the lyrics are plucked from my emotion," she continues. "There's another song called 'I'm Sad', that took me all of five minutes to write and that was genuinely from being so direct and obvious. There are the times when I am feeling stuff and it won't come that easy because the emotions may be a bit more complicated. [Basically] if I'm sad - easy to come out. If I'm thinking about my ex - not easy to come out."
Certainly getting to the point of people hanging on to her words is one thing, but it's Eastwood's infatuation with the indie of 2017 where Coach Party's true flair for hooks flourish — a "standout year" for her. Hearing those jangling euphoric chords rippling through the guitars, and soaring melodies gave her the pulse to put the feelings to those indie-pop songs.
"It was when I really started getting into indie music—I remember discovering The Big Moon, The Magic Gang, Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy—all bands like that and I just absolutely fell head over heels with it and started writing myself, and then I was just like 'shit man I want to do this forever or try for a really long time'".
Maybe Eastwood can. Upon finding three people that are equally as into indie as she is, all ready to live that rough ‘n’ ready band life that Party Food kicked them off on, and EP 2 (COVID-world provided) is ready to continue, the future is theirs.
“We just got really lucky and all found each other and are just having fun with it,” she enthuses. ”I guess we can’t plan for forever but if it could be a long time that would be lovely."