With an upcoming EP release and a slot at this year's Voodoo Fest lineup, are making a name for themselves locally with their patented style of "cosmic Americana." They've been touring relentlessly around the city and country but stopped for a moment to talk to Where Y'at about their journey.
Where Y'at: Give me a rundown of the band's pre-history. Where are you from? How has where you're from affected your style of music/performance?
Duz Mancini: Coyotes started as a song writing project with my long-time friend and song writing partner, Jake McGregor (Gold and the Rush.) Home in Los Angeles, we would constantly meet up with our acoustic guitars in an abandoned bank in Beverly Hills and do shows for close friends. We were chasing something that only existed in our heads at the time and when it came time to move to New Orleans, we hit the ground running with a DIY extravaganza.
Lukas Cox: I was born and raised in the Chicago-land area in a town called Evanston. Not too suburban, yet not in the heart of the city, I was given the chance to grow up around many different types of people with different backgrounds, which made me more open to the music I respect and listen to. Before Coyotes I played in punk rock bands, a soul-jam band, jazz, etc.
Adam Stewart: Being from Austin, compared to what we're trying to do, it really did nothing but positively motivate me through negativity. Austin, though I have nothing but love for my hometown, is full of a lot of faux-indie yuppie politics. Austin likes to brand itself as an all-encompassing music community, but in actuality it's dog-eat-dog and a bit of a facade. I've lived in New Orleans for two and a half years, and though it doesn't have the indie cornerstones of Austin, the community's inviting personality makes it easier to get your foot in the door.
WYAT: What was the writing and recording process like for your debut, Cosmic in the Badlands?
Lukas: Besides "Bird on a Wire", all of Cosmic in the Badlands was recorded by our friends Ben and Chris Littlejohn in their home-studio in Dallas, Texas. We spent about two weeks hanging and recording. We were especially excited to get some of these songs such as "Wheels" and "One Trick Pony" recorded since we had been playing them live for quite some time. Other songs like "Lay My Engine Down" and "Burning Man" were born in the studio. Those in fact may be my two favorites on the album.
Adam: I had been producing and playing music down here for a couple years when I started begging Duz to let me do a track with Coyotes. After a couple of weeks, he and I finally managed to get in the studio and we ended up pulling an all-nighter and knocking out "Bird on a Wire" from (at the time) "their" first EP. The session went so well he ended up asking me to do Good Times Old. A few things fell into place, and I ended up joining the band this summer.
Duz: [Lukas and I] began recording with our producer and now bass player and back-up vocalist, Adam Stewart in the early summer. Adam knew all the songs so we played for the first time and it felt like we'd been playing together for years. Since then it feels like we have balance on both feet and we're more in harmony than ever.
WYAT: Tell me about the addition of instruments like harmonica, trumpet, etc.
Duz: Well you ask yourself, "what hasn't been done before a million times but still sounds great?" Harmonica and trumpet are some of those special instruments where you don't need to plug in to play and you can still hear the innate nature of the instrument. On the albums we wanted to keep that real instrumentation and tried to stay away from anything that would be considered synthesized or processed too much. I play the harmonica live as well as on the recordings. Our good friend and former Coyote, Ben Carsman, played trumpet on the album.
WYAT: When and where did you record your next album (mid-November) the Good Times Old EP?
Duz: Nights get long in the summer so we'd just wake up with not much to do and not much on our minds but the songs. I think it went, wake up, record, maybe eat, record more, look around the house for food that wasn't there earlier in the day, record more, Snake and Jakes, repeat.
WYAT: How does this latest EP differ from your first?
Duz: This feels more honest and is a lot closer to capturing the sound we've been hearing in our heads for the past few years, that is Coyotes. Although we loved recording with Ben Littlejohn, Dallas wasn't in our plans for the summer and we had done "Bird on a Wire" with Adam a few months before and were real stoked on it, so we saved ourselves the drive. We recorded a lot of songs we haven't been playing live so I feel like it's less pressure on listeners' expectations being met. The band has stripped down and is going for a raw performance, no rhetoric live, just a very different sweaty highly electrified energy at the shows.
WYAT: What can someone expect from your live shows? What are some of your favorite performance memories?
Duz: Expect a lot of movement, and if you're not into that then expect to get bumped a few times [plus] a lot of screaming from the crowd and mass participation. We tend to look at the recording process as a very different experience than the live show. The live show is much grittier than the way most of the songs are recorded. Favorite moment live was when we played the Prytania Bar over Mardi Gras with Rebirth for the second year in a row and covered "Shout." It was way crazier than the Animal House scene and the happiest I'd been since the Saints won the Super Bowl.
Lukas: There's many… Our first tour was a whole slew of special memories. There's nothing like being able to go out and play a new venue in a new city to new people every night.
WYAT: Tell me about your recent partnership with SimplePlay Productions.
Duz: [Founder] Ron Richard caught us a year or two back, opening up for The Revivalists at the Blue Nile. We didn't hear from them for a few months until he invited us to play with Girl in a Coma and the Features at One Eyed Jacks. We were stoked to be at OEJ's again and hit it off backstage. These guys are veterans to the local scene and on a regional level too. For a band coming from out-of-town we couldn't be more pleased with the snowballing that's begun since we've had a helping hand. We still have a lot to learn and are pretty happy we're surrounded by good company.