COAST | 10.2

Runrig recently said goodbye to the public stage after 45 years in the music business. Since the death of their charismatic singer Stuart Adamson in December 2001, Big Country have been sound-technically only a shadow of themselves. In 1995, Dire Straits declared themselves "inactive", which they are to this day.

And yet, fans of Celtic Rock don't have to starve. Because there has been a sextet around for 15 years, which combines all the advantages and power of the above-mentioned bands in a truly excellent way -powerful passion, great pathos and atmospherically expansive with songs that you can let yourself fall into emotion like an extra cozy down comforter or, optionally, a cozy cumulus cloud.

 It is said to have been in 2007 when the two brothers Paul Eastham and Chris Barnes formed a group called COAST with their friend Finlay Wells in their hometown in Scotland, where they lived since they were children.

 "At first we played in pubs, there were usually three or four people at the counter and encouraged us to keep going," Eastham remembers the early days of his combo. “But word quickly got around that there is a group in the region that has a lot of steam under its bum. Just six months later, we were performing in front of 300 to 400 people. Thanks to word-of-mouth and the internet, our fan base grew rapidly, well beyond the UK's borders. Suddenly, fans from Germany, Scandinavia and even the USA showed up at our gigs."

In such positive circumstances, it made sense to record an album. The nameless first record came out at the end of 2009. "The debut and its two successors were still pretty folk-oriented," recalls Paul. "But when it was time to record our retrospective album “10” on the occasion of our ten-year studio existence, we wanted to go in a rockier direction.” So it happened. The disc features ten well-known COAST songs, albeit in a heavier, more opulent musical guise. Incidentally, this album was newly produced exclusively for the fans - who affectionately call themselves "Coasties" - and only made available for purchase in the band's own web shop. 

Again, two years later, in 2021, these recordings will appear paired with two brand new compositions under the signet “10.2”. Paul Eastham is very proud of this re-recording, as he enthuses: “Finlay, my older brother Chris and I still form the COAST nucleus. But now there are usually six of us when we record pieces. And should we have the opportunity to play live again in the foreseeable future, we will act as a sextet on stage. Which has the advantage that our sound is pretty powerful nowadays”.

 The twelve compositions on “10.2” demonstrate an astonishing acoustic range. Let's take “Who Loves You Now” as an example. What appears ostensibly like a minor ballad is much more: threatening, powerful, longing. In the next moment, a powerful stream of emotions rolls down on the listener from quiet passages. “Oceanos” is just as complex. This is a straightforward, driving, classic rock whipper. Superficially. The drums don't give the listener a chance to stand still. Inevitably one is drawn into a maelstrom of rhythm, escape uncertain. But at the end of the song the adrenalized listener is given a short abrupt piano interlude, before the groove train continues relentlessly.

The two brand new pieces couldn't be more different. The opener "Flesh and Blood" makes it clear where the musical journey with COAST will head from here, both on the rest of the record and in general in the future. Powerful guitar playing heralds the event, shortly afterwards a haunting song organ that embraces the world joins in. The broad spectrum covered by “Celtic Power” is unmistakable. Towards the end of the album, we find “Nothing Left to Burn”. Tender, longing, marked by shocking fragility. A classic love number, which, like the best representatives of this genre, tells of loss and the carefree days together. If you are built too close to the emotional water, you should be sure, when you listen, that you are living on the ground floor ….

Paul sees COAST as an "ongoing development process," he says. “We want to grow into our music so that we can put down roots. Incidentally, that is also the reason why we managed our songs on our own to this day. As an exception to the rule, we made a deal for “10.2” and its marketing with the German sales company “India Media Group” and signed to their label India Records, so that we can finally gain a foothold in Europe’’ says Eastham.

Speaking of "roots": At COAST, they can be found in the youth of the two brothers Paul and Chris. “When we were teenagers, we loved to be out in the Scottish countryside with friends, preferably in the mountains,” reflects Eastham. “In the evenings we sat around the campfire, made or listened to music, and told each other traditional stories. Such gatherings have had a huge impact on us 

and our music. I'm actually a classically trained musician. But the Celtic is a matter close to my heart. I already owe that to the mysticism and the vastness of our incomparable Scottish landscapes, which I try to capture musically. "

So, it is not surprising that Paul initially sees himself as a storyteller, who uses sounds to bring his spun stories to life with the help of his colleagues. “I write most of the lyrics,” he says. “I like to write stories about historically documented people, e.g. about two pilots in World War II, an American and a German, who by chance become friends; or an ocean liner that went down in a storm. But personal impressions are also a source of inspiration. I like to be influenced from everywhere when I write”. 

“The most important thing for COAST at the moment is to be able to step up onto a stage again soon and make music live”, sighs Paul: “We have booked a few gigs for the fall as a preventive measure,” reveals the Dane-by-choice, “because we are convinced that coming together, for example at concerts, is very important for the mind in emotionally depressing times. Singing, dancing, laughing together, these are all basic human instincts. We want to convey positive energy. That's what art ultimately stands for".

And further: "The connection to the fans is essential for us," conjures Eastham, downright. “Especially in times when the culture industry is changing radically to the detriment of us creative professionals. This makes contact with our crowd even more important than it used to be. I am sure that music will make the world a better place”.