In tumultuous times there is a tendency to turn inward; however, self-examination can yield a limited perspective. It's through the mosaic of perspectives that a clearer and more revealing picture begins to emerge.
After over two decades of releases with the fan-adored band Gameface, Jeff Caudill returns with a new project, Low Coast, and a debut record --- Existing the Dream. A departure from the SoCal melodic punk rock world and a foray into the direction of bands like Whiskeytown, Wilco, and Death Cab for Cutie. What began as a stripped down solo record, soon began to amplify as the individual songs took shape. "I thought I was making an acoustic record, but as the subject matter got more broad, the need for more instrumentation grew," says Caudill. "I could hear the songs in my head as big rock songs, and I knew I wasn’t writing a Gameface album, but I also didn’t want to retrace the same old steps as I’d done with my solo records - writing all of the parts and asking people to play them. I needed it to be a true collaboration." It was from this point that Low Coast was born.
After sharing some demos with friend and bass player Mike Fratantuno, he and drummer
Terence Yoshiaki came on board to form the bands rhythm section. Apart from Low Coast, the Fratantuno/Yoshiaki duo run and compose for a successful music house, Transcenders, and spent the early part of their career touring and recording with numerous artists, most notably Black Eyed Peas. Soon after, Low Coast's roster was solidified with lead guitarist Dave Hemann and keyboardist Brian Lapin. "It's needless to say that Mike and Terence bring an immeasurable amount of creativity and professionalism to the group," says Caudill, "and Dave is easily the best guitarist I’ve ever played with. It’s a thrill to watch these guys help shape my songs and take them places I may never have thought to go. There are few things more powerful than a group of people making music together. Sometimes I forget and can go a long time without it, but it always comes back to how it first felt as a 16 year-old kid making noise in the garage. I never want to grow out of that."
Without a clear map or archetype to follow for the record, Existing the Dream took shape in a truly organic way. Recording in Fratantuno and Yoshiaki's studio, each song followed its own creative leanings. "We all come from slightly different music scenes but still have a lot of common ground," says Caudill, "while writing the songs it wasn’t weird to hear things like '…the one with the Son Volt verse and the Black Sabbath bridge,' 'Let’s go full Wilco on this part' or 'It’s like if Elvis Costello sang for the Descendents'."
Thematically, Existing the Dream attempts to unravel the tension of growing older in an uncertain world ruled by monotony, responsibility, and isolation. Veering from the directly autobiographical lyrical tendencies of Gameface, Existing the Dream zooms out to examine a broader landscape from a variety of different angles. "Now that middle age is coming down like a ton of bricks, we have bigger concerns than we did in our twenties," says Caudill, "We worry about the world in a serious, real way. [When I started writing the project I was] thinking about people in my life who have died. There’s a song about one of my friends who died in the eighth grade and how I just stopped talking to my other friends that knew him. It was really messed up. We all just had no idea how to deal with tragedy like that. But the record isn’t really about death. It’s more about understanding someone else’s life and their perspective."
Low Coast's debut release arrives amidst a melee of disary, but evokes the simple notion of understanding. Step outside yourself, even when living feels like it's been diluted to merely existing. "If I think too hard about how we let ourselves get here my head just explodes," says Caudill. "It’s overwhelming to say the least, but I'm thankful for music and all it has given me. Sometimes it’s the only thing that makes sense."
Low Coast - Existing The DreamMay 26, 2023