Leeds Fest preview: Like the Foals? You’ll love Coasts!


Interview by Graham Chalmers

I like Coasts and I think the crowds at Leeds Festival will do, too, when this anthemic Bristol-based indie quintet appear in just over three weeks time, writes Graham Chalmers.

I like Coasts partly because they remind me a bit of Foals, one of the UK’s finest indie bands of the past 20 years at their best, and partly because they seem worldy-wise but positive, a rare combination.

Clothed in black, intelligent but not cynical, lead guitarist Liam Willford’s dream of pop success started young as a festival-goer at Leeds Festival.

“Leeds Festival was the first ever festival I went to in 2005 and it completely blew my mind. I thought to myself I would love to be on that stage.

“When we first formed the band we thought that in a year’s time we’d be playing Leeds. The journey has been far longer and crazier than I thought.”

The audience at the Festival Republic stage on Friday, August 28 will be treated to songs of Coasts’ eponymous debut album, due out soon on Warner Music.

Having already won airplay from the likes of Zane Lowe for recent singles such as Modern Love, A Rush of Blood and Oceans, the album is expected to turn Coasts from bubbling under to bubbling over.

Produced partly by Mike Spence of Rudimental success and Mark Crew of Bastille, this effervescent album is sure to appeal to fans of 1975, Bastille and the afore-mentioned Foals.

What pleases Liam most is it retains the spirit of that transformative experience at Leeds Festival.

He said: “What I saw in 2005 stayed with me. We wanted to write an album of songs that made us feel good about music. The album is about optimism. That’s what brought us here.”

Despite what he’s learned on the road to fame, Liam retains faith in a spirit of naivety, though it has cost some bands dear, he adds.

“When we were younger we saw bands who got our sort of record deal when they were only 20. But they were put under so much pressure to do well that it would finish them off. We almost broke up a few years ago ourselves.”

Success may have been on the cards for Liam, Chris Caines (vocals), James Gamage (bass), David Goulbourn (keyboards) and Ben Street (drums) ever since that early single Oceans attracted more than four million plays on SoundCloud and Spotify of debut single Oceans.

But there’s still, er, work to be done. June saw the band playing a series of gigs under the banner of a ‘coastal’ tour.

The locations made for interesting reading – Ramsgate, Hull, Aberystwyth and Sunderland. “I suppose it was more of a bay tour, really.”

Should Coasts’ euphoric mix of towering hooks, huge summer grooves and pure emotion fail to do the trick when their debut album comes out, this is one band unlikely to fold.

They have the persistence of a certain throaty singer famed for the likes of Do Ya Think I’m Sexy to be inspired by.

Liam said: “Rod Stewart was 28 when he made it. That thought has kept me going. It’s good to look to the horizon.”