“We’ve been making the jump to bigger stages and venues over the last couple years and coming from that background we don’t take a minute of it for granted.”
The Bay State’s Crooked Coast has swept the region with extremely innovative shows and music for years, a hustle that has led to a spot in this year’s lineup for Boston Calling at the end of the month.
The Cape Cod band takes inspiration from classic rock, hip-hop, and reggae to create a vibrant, powerful sound that hits nostalgic notes while staying new. Since forming in the summer of 2012, they’ve become an East Coast mainstay on the strength of unforgettable lyrics and grand live performances.
In growing their physical presence, Crooked Coast even created their own music festival, Coast-Fest, in 2019. They also have their own clothing line with a brick-and-mortar store in Falmouth where they feature artwork and host events. And they just added a new single to their discography, “Burn the Bridge,” in anticipation of their upcoming festival spot.
I spoke with co-vocalist and guitarist Luke Vose about their rise to prominence, the impact of the pandemic and fatherhood on their music, and their new music.
What’s the concept behind “Burn the Bridge”? Which genres are you currently looking to explore?
The song is about parting ways with someone and being okay with it even if it is unresolved. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter if you prove your point or get any vindication, you just have to burn the bridge and keep it moving.
Sonically, we wanted the simplicity and directness of hip-hop and the big soaring melodies of arena rock. It’s wicked fun to play.
In an interview with Worcester Magazine, you mentioned that it’s becoming difficult to release music in the traditional album format. Are you looking to feature more singles like “Burn the Bridge” or do you still believe in the narrative cohesiveness found in the album format?
We are definitely still fans of the album format and I think for the diehard fans it means a lot to have that full story, to hit play and take a journey for 45 minutes. As far as building a fan base and keeping engaged with the listeners, releasing an album every two years just isn’t enough. For better or worse, this is a time that requires a pretty constant stream of music and visuals from an artist. We are leaning into that. “Burn the Bridge” is part of a full album though. We are working with our management on plans to roll out the full album either this summer or fall. We are really proud of it.
What was it like playing for audiences during COVID? A lot of bands stopped production but Crooked Coast seemed to ramp it up.
I think that whole thing forced us to use our imaginations. Like, What is possible in this super limited space? We had to get creative and do things like flatbed tours, floating concerts on a harbor, drive-ins, etc. We just knew we didn’t want to stop. Writing was a big part of that era for us. We knew it would end eventually and we had to emerge from it a stronger band. So glad it’s over though.
How has fatherhood affected your writing and production as a group?
You are going to hear a lot of Paw Patrol references on the new album.
For real though, I think the biggest change was this awareness that time is finite and we had to really go for it. Get organized and stop fucking around. And kids are just awesome in general. They make life way more stressful and joyful simultaneously.
Every band has merch, but not everyone has a fashion line with a storefront to sell it. What’s the story behind the unique designs and does your music inspire what you create?
We have always loved designing and creating merch. It’s an opportunity to build a world around the band that goes beyond the music. One thing I’m really excited about is this oversized lyric book we are making as a companion piece to the new album. Basically like liner notes but magazine size. I’m a lyrics fan so I always loved cracking the CD book open and digging into when I was a kid. Music is basically all streaming now so I think people are hungry for things that they can hold in their hands.
The storefront has been an amazing experience; having a space to host events and be a little hub in the community. It’s always cool when people make visiting the shop a part of their trip to the Cape. As we are looking at more traveling though we will be transitioning to just online sales. So for the time being we are shutting the storefront down, but it’s definitely something we plan on revisiting when our team gets a little bigger.
Which group are you most excited to perform around in this year’s Boston Calling?
I think Metallica is going to be unreal. Seeing our name on the same poster as them is crazy. Definitely looking forward to Glass Animals too. The whole line up is sick though.
From the trenches of the bar scene to being featured alongside Metallica and Weezer, you’ve had a long journey to get where you are. What’s Crooked Coast’s plans for the future?
It’s a super exciting time for us. We just signed with an incredible management team and are laying the groundwork for the next chapter.
We cut our teeth playing a million bar gigs, just grinding out. We learned a lot from those gigs though and made the money to reinvest in ourselves and keep the ship afloat. We’ve been making the jump to bigger stages and venues over the last couple years and coming from that background we don’t take a minute of it for granted. Unless you’ve played a four hour gig in a shitty sports bar with the TV playing the Red Sox above your head you can’t really appreciate playing the biggest music festival on the East Coast. We have and we do.
Lucas Ruud is a sophomore journalism student at UMass Amherst with a focus in covering unique people, places, and projects.