Sitting down and interviewing Coasting feels very much like sitting down and gabbing with old friends. Madison Farmer and Fiona Campbell are two of the more inviting and welcoming artists I’ve come into contact with recently. On a somewhat recent sunny Sunday afternoon, I stopped by what is now called Pizza Forest, but was then just Farmer’s duplex apartment in Bushwick. A fun-house of sorts, the place has a finished basement and a garden and cool neighbors that don’t mind loud parties and tons of band practice.
Over frozen daiquiris, Coasting told me their story.
Campbell, 29, moved to New York from New Zealand with her ex-husband. She was, for many reasons, not playing music. That all changed when she met Farmer, 23.
“It was intimidating, everyone in Brooklyn was so good,” she said, her Kiwi accent making her words sound exceptionally pretty. “But the way we work is really organic, it’s easy for the two of us.”
Farmer and Campbell met while both working the DIY scene in Brooklyn: Campbell lives at Dead Herring, Farmer has (or maybe had?) the key to the Market Hotel. They were both instrumental in organizing the MtyMx Festival with Todd P. One night at the end of last summer Farmer was working the door at the Market, they talked about playing together and soon after they had their first jam in that space. The band’s first show was at, not surprisingly, Monster Island Basement during CMJ. (Read a review from that night… notice my word choice: “potential.”)
A duo led by two powerful and equal females is not the norm these days. Female front women, sure. But Coasting is different. Campbell said just doing what they are doing is “feminist.”
“In Denton, TX, two guys at a show said to me, ‘It’s really cool that you’re not playing up the fact that you’re girls,’ ” she said. “It surprised me, I hadn’t had a comment like that before.”
And as is often the case of late with Brooklyn bands that may be “lo-fi,” either in sound or in the more classic definition, because of their recording techniques, Coasting too has reacted against the tide of calling the music and scene “lazy.” When the Guardian article came out in the February calling the music of Julian Lynch and other artists apathetic, both Farmer and Campbell were angry.
“I was pissed,” said Farmer. “We’re creating a beautiful thing in our own world. We don’t have to make a dramatic political statement to be relevant.”
Campbell added that every choice you make is political and that by choosing to live a DIY lifestyle, and buy local products and compost, they too were being political.
“We do it in our actions, we don’t have to say it,” she said.
Coasting is a band that truly lives in the moment of things. They make music as it happens, each play in multiple bands because it feels natural. Pizza Forest is a magnet of sorts, people drift in and out, and the basement is always set up with a kit, amps, you name it. And when it comes to releases, Farmer and Campbell don’t know if they’ll ever do more than 7 inches.
“We joke we’ll never make an album,” said Farmer, laughing at her own joke. (Note: Farmer likes to joke and have fun, which can be infectious.)
The goal of Coasting the band and Coasting the DIY concept is to do it for life. Both Farmer and Campbell have worked on the business end of the music industry, and both know there are always disappointments.
“This isn’t a fun side thing,” said Farmer. “We want to continue for a long time.”
Coasting is playing the MME curated Brooklyn Based Northside Fest Showcase on Friday, June 25. Also on the bill is Family Portrait, Fluffy Lumbers and Bermuda Bonnie.