abridged and unabridged
the short version
Who is downcoast anyway?
Downcoast puts the “rock” in “alt-psych-surf-indie-punk-progressive rock.” No single genre bounds their abstract melting pot of influences, rendering each track an exhilarating and colorful ride from start to finish. The band prides themselves on their adventurous sonic style, often defying standard song structures entirely in favor of “whatever sounds best.”
Known for their eclectic and highly choreographed live shows, Downcoast has gained a small but loyal following in their hometown of Boise, Idaho.
The band’s debut EP, Film Run Backwards, released on August 27, 2021 after a long and arduous production process beginning in March 2020. After a year-long Covid hiatus from the studio, Downcoast returned to finish the EP with three new songs under their belt. The result is an EP that logs the progression of an unprecedented year and a half in human history.
The band also enjoys trips to Costa Vida and the occasional noise complaint.
Vocals // Guitar // Keyboards
Vocals // Bass
Meet the band
the long version
read this if you care a lot more.
From humble beginnings to still humble middleings.
A sort of proto-Downcoast formed at Sonic Drive-In in late 2016 on a date lost to the sands of time. David only knew how to play power chords, and Ryan didn’t even have a drum kit yet. Keegan and Ashleigh were who knows where. Originally, it was David on guitar, Ryan on drums, and one of our friends on vocals. Our first name was Chorduroy, which we’re lucky we didn’t get relentlessly bullied for. The other options were Foxrun, Mitch, Second World Country, and Bottlerocket. We wanted Knights of Cydonia by Muse to be our first cover, and to release it as a single. That obviously didn’t work out. None of us had any experience with their instruments (minus David with a little guitar) when we started, but that didn’t stop us for some reason.
Ryan got a drum kit for Christmas that year, and we were all super excited to get started. We had our first practice at Ryan’s house in March 2017 and spent the whole day coming up with band names. The second practice was shortly after. According to Ryan, “I’m pretty sure the day we met up to play records in my room was like the second day we ever played music together.” We didn’t have a microphone until David got a Blue Yeti. We plugged it into a bass amp with a very short headphone cable for practices. The first time we wrote together was at David’s house, and we just messed around with riffs and melodies and stuff. We took a video of the whole thing for some reason, but that can never be seen.
We knew Keegan at this point, and we needed a bass player, but we never invited him to join for some reason and none of us can remember why. Ashleigh was still who knows where.
We Are Very Bad
Our first “song” was called Kickstand Sinatra. It consisted of David playing B-A-G-F# bar chords with the Smells Like Teen Spirit strumming pattern because he had just figured out what bar chords were, and Ryan playing a four on the floor drum beat. There was no bass or vocals. We were really excited about it at the time, but as Ryan says, “We didn’t know where to go with it because it was garbage.”
Our first song we covered was probably Where Is My Mind by Pixies, of which the first recording exists in June 2017. We ended up recording a demo of that song almost a year later using Audacity and the Blue Yeti microphone. At this point, none of us knew what a key, time signature, or tempo was. We also eventually welcomed one of our other friends as our new bassist and played covers of Karma Police, Fake Plastic Trees, House of the Rising Sun, Map of the Problematique, and Futurism. None of them were very good.
Our first complete song was Feral Dogs. David came up with a simple power chord shape riff and used his loop pedal to put some lead guitar over it. Problem was, we didn’t have two guitarists, so we had to play the song with the loop pedal. Neither Ryan nor David had their sense of tempo developed at the time, so it was kind of a nightmare. David had to spend about 10 minutes at the start of every practice getting a good loop so we could play it.
After that, we covered Cave by Muse and started work on our second song, All Good Things. This was the first song David wrote using his “take all the riffs you came up with over the past month and smoosh them into one song” technique, which he still uses today for songs like Pariah. At the time, we thought it was better than Feral Dogs, but somehow we managed to write a worse song the second time. In David’s words, “I tried way too hard to make the song have multiple phases, like Citizen Erased, which I was listening to a lot of at the time, and it ended up making it suck.” It was instrumental in developing a lot of the writing techniques we still use today, though. In the words of Ryan Deloria, “Worse than Feral Dogs.”
We Get Kinda Good
In 2018, we finally figured out how to write some decent songs. David wrote a couple of new ones, namely Shorthand, The Fog Salesman, and Film Run Backwards (which we didn’t end up finishing until two years later). Shorthand ended up being the first song some people knew us for among our friend group. We started to actually understand what we were doing, and played our first practice show for some friends at David’s house.
Eventually, we had to make the tough decision to replace our original bassist and vocalist with Keegan and Ashleigh. Initially, Keegan was on vocals, and Ashleigh was on bass. Over time, David started to learn to sing and Keegan picked up the bass. Ashleigh ended up switching to guitar. We played our first ever gig at our high school’s talent show. We practiced nonstop for weeks beforehand, and still ended up messing up Shorthand. Soon after, we started thinking about some new songs.
Over the course of 2019, we played a show in David’s backyard for some friends, had our first photoshoot, recorded Shorthand at the Boise Hive, got a page in the yearbook, and got our first “interview.” We made a lot of progress on some new songs – Marauder, Stay On Path, and The Fog Salesman. We finally played our first real show at the Boise Hive on November 20, 2019. We put on an alright show with an alright setlist, but it was still one of the most memorable experiences we’ve had as a band and we’re eternally grateful to everyone who came to support us.
We started off 2020 strong, playing a show at the Regal Beaver (which we now acknowledge was probably our worst) and writing some new songs. In March, we played a show at The Shredder and an acoustic show at the Regal Beaver in the same night, and went into the studio to start recording our debut EP a few days later. At this time, the tracklist for the EP was going to be very different. Then, the world decided to stop turning for a year, and we went into our hidey-holes for a while.
During the pandemic, we practiced off-and-on in David’s garage with masks on. It was pretty painful, but we were able to make slow progress on some new tracks that eventually ended up making our debut EP, Film Run Backwards.
We Get A Lot Better
Speaking of that EP, we finished it. Film Run Backwards was released on August 27, 2021 to rave reviews from at least two people probably. We’re immensely proud of that project, and it’s the culmination of years of work on those songs. It’s a true honor to see our name on streaming services and across the internet now. Go listen to it if you haven’t already, it’s great!
We started playing shows again in late 2021. It was exhilarating to be back on stage again after so long, and we really matured as musicians during that time. Since then, it’s just been playing shows and having a good time. We did have some standout moments, like our first interview on University Pulse (thanks Sam!), being played on Radio Boise, and having one of our favorite bands (Naked Giants) come watch us perform live.
Here’s to more Downcoast shenanigans in the future.
Here’s your reward for reading all that.
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