Coastal Cities

by
Coastal Cities
They’ve been featured in NME magazine, and their track Summer Reign was chosen as Q’s Track Of The Day. Ahead of their performance at PearShaped’s Christmas at Cavern, Declan Cullen, frontman of Coastal Cities chats to Sean Phillips about the band’s influences, fashion, and learning to play the violin.

Given this is your first trip to Exeter, can you tell us a little bit about the band and how you came together?
Sure, we all met at school as we were all in the same year. We had mutual friendship groups and a shared passion for music, so it more or less grew out of that. There were lots of people forming local bands at the time and we wanted to be part of that. We wanted to write edgy pop music, which was a far-cry from what our peers were doing. It fascinated us and so we started from there.

You seem to have really embraced (for the best) elements of wistful 80s indie pop… I’m thinking artists associated with the C86 cassette, Flying Nun records etc. Was it a conscious decision to have nostalgic references in your music, or just part of your natural progression as a band?
We definitely want to sound nostalgic, at least sonically. Our influences are quite varied though, so we never really sat down and said “We want to sound like we’re from the 1980s”. It was something that happened fairly naturally, with the addition of Will’s synthesisers. However we do believe that some of the greatest songs of all time were written in that period, so we don’t really see it as a slur. I guess we just wanted to have emotionally charged pop songs that have a very cinematic feel to them, so we do take elements from bands that we believe really captured that… 80s or not.

We’ve noticed that over the past year or so in particular, you guys have delved further into the ‘fashion world’; doing more shoots, appearing in magazines and making more appearances at promotional events related to the fashion industry. Is this something that happened by accident or an interest you were keen to collectively pursue?
It definitely just happened, almost out of nowhere. I got a call one day from our management telling me that Hedi Slimane wanted me to come over for a photoshoot, and then after that we did a Burberry campaign and various other shoots related to the band. It was very surreal, but we collectively believe that the two worlds can work hand in hand (fashion & music), so we just went with it. And after a while we just sat back and thought “Maybe we could do this”. It’s interesting to see where your career could be going, but that’s exciting too I think.

You played one of the best live music venues in Paris, Flèche d’Or, really early in your career. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
Yeah! That was a really big deal for us as it was our first show outside of England and I think at the time, we were trying to come to terms with the idea that maybe people outside of our friendship groups were interested too. Like, we’re not just a local band, we can do it. The show itself was really fun and we were supporting a really cool band called Juveniles, who we’re still in contact with. After the show we went to a newly opened club and got invited to DJ there. This was really odd for us but we did it anyway even though we were awful. It was a great first experience.

You seem to have a quite a wide range of influences. Are there any particular artists you guys been listening to recently?
We really do. But we like what we like. At the minute we’ve been listening to Blood Oranges new album Cupid Deluxe, the new Arcade Fire record, some early 90s House and strangely, a lot of classical music? I’m going to learn the violin.

If you could only listen to one record for the rest of your life what would it be?
Oh god. Like a desert island kind of thing? I really don’t know but I’d probably say The Drums’ first album. Because then I could torture myself with homesickness. I dunno though…

And finally, what can we expect from your show here in Exeter?
From our show in Exeter on the 5th December, you can expect a lot of chaos, desperation, some exotic sex appeal and a few laughs.