There are some bands that in five years’ time when you tell someone you listened to their music before the group were famous, they will choke on their drink in envious disbelief. Perth four-piece COTERIE are one of those bands.
Defined as a close group of people with shared tastes and interests, it is a name which seems fitting for a band made up of four brothers who have been united through adulthood over a love of music that started when they were just kids.
Bassist Branford, lead guitarist Conrad, pianist Josh, and vocalist/guitarist Tyler remember growing up in a household where music was inescapable. “Our parents were muso’s, we all listened to the same music growing up, and then when we were in our teens, we all fell in love with the Triple J world and everything that was a little bit underground and indie,” Tyler says. From INXS, Queen and Prince to Angus and Julia Stone, Hozier, Gang Of Youths and favourites from their New Zealand homeland like Six60, the COTERIE sound is made up of elements from the legacy of a wide-ranging, diverse and textured musical background. Their blending of fragments of rock, pop, R n B and soul makes for a sound that is aggressively original yet at the same times soothingly recognisable and sticks around in your head like something you’ve heard so many times before. They bring to their songs a sense of emotional urgency and aptitude and melodic prowess that is arguably urgently lacking from much of modern contemporary music.
Brand new single, ‘Bless My Soul’, maintains this trend. Constructed around a muscular and rolling piano melody that is accompanied by a rhythm section made up of wistful, shimmering guitars and tight drums, the song slowly gears up for the introduction of Tyler’s soaring, Matt Corby-esque vocals. The song is a five-minute musical journey with lyrics that take an introspective look at the toxic behaviours that hold us back as people and as friends. “Perth is such a beautiful city but even in the midst of all this good weather and good cafes everyone seems to continue to do things which are not good for us,” explains Tyler. The song obsessively questions these decisions we make that can negatively affect our lives with the repeated refrain of, “are we happy here?” But it is sometimes the constant second-guessing we put into becoming the right person that can hold us back from being that person in the first place. “Am I just a sinner to the bone/with a troublesome mind?… No, I’m not a sinner to the bone/Just a troublesome mind.”
Such emotional brevity can be found throughout the band’s lyrics. Darker themes of regret, loss, heartbreak, and mental illness are grounded in a musical style that is joltingly more listenable and upbeat than the topic material would suggest. Loud and captivating but also stripped-back and thoughtful when they need to be. It is a formula present in previous singles like ‘In the Fire’ and ‘Salvation’ and which differentiates the band from the wider troupe of indie rock acts on the Australian scene and has undoubtedly contributed to their escalating success.
It has been a rapid rise for the four piece. In 2019 they grabbed Triple J Unearthed support with their break-out track ‘Where We Began’. In three years, they’ve amassed over four million streams on Spotify, secured a signing with a major record company and have a strong showing on social media. Now playing sold out shows across Perth and the eastern states, it has been one success to the next for the young band.
With their laid-back surfer appearances, long hair, shaggy beards and hipster guitars, the group certainly has the visuals for a band looking to take over the Australian indie music scene. But COTERIE will tell you they aren’t interested in mere appearances. They have no time for gimmicks or cheap spectacles to make their music successful. Above everything, theirs is a band defined by a relentless commitment to authenticity in all that they do. “The only way you can sustain anything is by letting that thing be what it truly is… we’re here because of the art we make, people don’t have to like the colour of our socks to like the songs we sing. You can tell when people are faking it and it’s gross.”
From their stunning music videos to the creation of mesmerising artwork for their single releases, you can tell that COTERIE embody this relentless desire for authenticity entirely. Over the past three years they have passionately dedicated themselves to crafting music, which is powerful, intimate and emotional.
COTERIE also hold an immense presence on stage. The band play live with a smouldering ferocity that elevates the energy of any crowd. They perform with a polish and captivating candour that no doubt will transition easily to future festival stages around the world. For their live show the band have now added a “fifth” band and almost family member, Drummer Ezra fits in perfectly with this close-knit work ethic the brothers possess. “He even comes to our family dinners,” Tyler explains.
Tyler, Branford, Conrad and Josh are the real deal. They are band who in five years everyone will be talking about. ‘Bless My Soul’ only cements the groups as one of Australia’s most exciting break-out bands since Ocean Alley.
“We’re at our happiest when we’re doing some sort of music. Our dream is to be able play music for fun and play music to lots of people and do it forever.”