Following the release of their third album Dreamland in early 2020, COIN were only a few dates into one of the biggest tours of their career when everything shut down. On a forced hiatus, they went back to doing what they do best: writing. Frontman Chase Lawrence sold his place in Nashville and moved back home—literally into his childhood bedroom in West Virginia.
“I think I love that room even more than I did as a kid,” shares Lawrence. “It became like a sanctuary to me, and it really reminded me of why I started writing music in the first place.”
Wanting to be closer to family once the pandemic cut his tour short, the COIN frontman uprooted himself, then planted the seeds of a color-coded trilogy of EPs, all culminating in the indie-pop trio’s fourth album Rainbow Mixtape.
By May of 2020, the band, consisting of Lawrence, along with guitarist Joe Memmel and drummer Ryan Winnen, started writing, mostly remotely, and indulging in influences like Oasis, George Harrison, and ’70s R&B. “We really set out to make something that we otherwise would have no purpose to make in life times past,” shares Lawrence. “In a way, we were showing how we got to where we are, kind of working backwards to show where we are now.”
By the end of their writing sessions, COIN had enough material for three albums but there was no continuity to anything and were organized more by feeling rather than some sonic theme. “We broke it down to its elementary form and felt like colors really represented the lyrical and sonic themes,” says Lawrence.
Moving into color theory and meaning and spectral dynamics, COIN navigated three individual pockets of music, each EP consisting of four “color-coded” songs with Indigo Violet shifting through the reflective links of “Sort It Out” and “Make It Stop” and its drop of levity on “I Feel Alive,” while the atmospheric Green-Blue drifts into the soft rock and folk-pop elements of “Sagittarius Superstar,” featuring Faye Webster, and uptempo “Sprite.” Closing the colorful troika, the fiery R&B-fueled Red-Orange, tying Rainbow Mixtape together.
Dreams are often a big perpetuator of songs for Lawrence, who has combined verses and choruses pulled from his REM and real-life states. “Dreams are a huge way for me to find inspiration without parameter,” says Lawrence. “I’m a classic over thinker, so any time I can turn the faucet on and not strain it, I’m always thankful for those moments. I take it very seriously when inspiration comes into a dream.”
Other times, songs just reveal themselves. For instance, Green-Blue track “Turnaround” was written in 15 minutes. “There are these moments where you get a glimpse of your truest self and exactly what you want to say in that moment,” says Lawrence. “It’s almost like genius collides with you in that moment, and that’s not something that exists in me all the time. Most days I’m just banging head against the wall.”
Lawrence says Rainbow Mixtape is a time capsule of a specific season we’ve all lived through. “It may not be comfortable for you to listen to in 10 or even three years, but it’s truly a time capsule and I wouldn’t have any other way,” says Lawrence. “We’re all facing this collective change. We came together for the wrong reasons, and it was beautiful to see, to see the pain connecting us essentially, and seeing the world in commonality and it just never felt so blunt in my eyes.”
Now at the end of their Rainbow Mixtape, COIN are writing “one the greatest albums” they’ve ever written, shares Lawrence.
“It’s as if you fed a computer artificial intelligence, hours of Neil Diamond and The Rolling Stones and told it to pick up where it left off,” he says. “We’re making music that has never made before, using technology that’s never been used before. I feel like we’re on our way to something… this album, I’m going to be most proud of in my life.”