Back in late October, I was introduced to a band from Minnesota. Many bands that I have come across fall into many different categories such as rock, heavy metal, pop and so forth. But this band was in a class by themselves. The band is called Coyote Kid and they are described as a cinematic rock band. Their website describes their sound as “…dark and mysterious at its core.”
The members include Austin Durry (Vocals/Guitar), Cassandra Valentine (Vocals/Keyboard), Austin Wilder (Bass/Vocals), John Baumgartner (Trombone) and Kian Dziak (Drums). The band has just released a new album called Skeleton Man. The press release describes the album as “…introduces fans to the dark world …”. DBM had a chance to catch up with the lead singer of Coyote Kid’s Austin Durry to ask him about the album and a few other questions.
Digital Beat Magazine: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I know, with the release of the new album, Skeleton Man, you and the band are busy. In the band’s bio that I received, it mentions that Coyote Kid is described as being “Cinematic”. Why is that word used to describe the band?
Austin Durry: We take a lot of inspiration from film. Each album has a plot with characters, and twists, and the music is all made to reflect the scenes of that story. So naturally, we end up with a very cinematic sound. Like a rock opera, or a movie score.
DBM: How would you describe the band sound?
Austin Durry: We have a pretty unique set of sounds at our disposal. With a raspy male vocal, a crystal clear female vocal, a heavy rock influence, and an incredibly talented bass player, we have a lot of options for where to take the direction of the sound. With this new album, we really stretched ourselves in a lot of different directions. It gets heavy at times, pretty dark and brooding, but also sees some really bright points too. Once you understand the ideas behind the band, I think the wide gate of “genre” makes a lot more sense. I think it has a little something for just about everybody.
DBM: I see that the band has been together since 2015, how and where did everyone in the band meet?
Austin Durry: It’s a bit of a trick question for us. Wilder and I technically started the band in 2010 when we were in highschool, but didn’t really get any momentum until 2015 when we released our first album. Everybody came on board through the years and we eventually found the right mix of people that works really well.
DBM: To my understanding that the band used to be called “Marah In The Mainsail” before the new name. Where did the band name come from? Is someone a fan of the old spaghetti western movies? Or was it just a group decision, to come up with the name Coyote Kid as a band name?
Austin Durry: We’ve always had a strong western influence. In the very beginning we were more nautically themed, thus the “Mainsail” but over the years our sound and stories evolved and the name just didn’t feel right anymore. We decided to name the band after the lead character in this new story album. We wanted to be really clear and accessible that this was a story-driven band. Something short and catchy with strong imagery. Picking a new name is really difficult, but I’m really happy with where we landed with it.
DBM: Congrats on the new album, Skeleton Man. It is scheduled to be released on 10/25/2019. Who designed the cover for the album?
Austin Durry: My tattoo artist Lana Bosak designs almost all of our designs. She always does an amazing job. It really gives the sci-fi western vibe we were going for.
DBM: Where was the album recorded? I see that, from the band’s Facebook page, that Coyote Kid does not have a label, correct? In your opinion does having or not having a label, make a difference in recording an album?
Austin Durry: We recorded with our good friend Jack Vondrachek at the Tangerine in Minneapolis. We’re proudly independent and making this album on our own was a breath of fresh air after being under a label for the last few years. Record Labels work for a lot of bands, and maybe it’ll work for us someday again. But in the modern music world, I feel like record labels aren’t a necessity anymore really.
DBM: How long did it take to record the album? Who were the producer and the recording engineer for this album?
Austin Durry: This record took maybe 4 or 5 months in the studio a few times a week. It’s completely self-produced and recorded and engineered by our friend Jack at the Tangerine.
DBM: When did the band start writing for this album? How was that process achieved? Was it a slow process or did everyone in the band have an idea of what songs they wanted on the album and the ideas were developed from there?
Austin Durry: We started writing the album right on the heels of our 2017 release “Bone Crown”. We had the blueprint for the plot and the bones of the songs came relatively quickly. I write all the lyrics and basics of each tune, and then we fill in the gaps as a band. It’s a daunting amount of work, but it always seems to come together in the end.
DBM: Where can find the album, anyone wants to purchase it? Is there a good place to purchase Skeleton Man from?
Austin Durry: You can stream it pretty much anywhere you find music, but to get the full experience you can sign up for our Patreon and get our full discography download for only $10! That also includes the story and lyrics which you can’t find online anywhere else.
DBM: When it comes to performing, some artists like the creativity of recording as opposed to touring and playing live. Others would rather be out on stage and touring, compared to being locked up in a recording studio. What are your thoughts on it? Which one would the band and you rather be doing? Is recording one of those necessary evils in the music business? Do you have any opinions on this issue of recording or playing live?
Austin Durry: Oh I feel like it’s apple and oranges. Performing live is the rush, every musician craves. Traveling and making new friends and everything is always what we wanna be doing. But recording is where the real artistry takes place I think. Writing and recording, is making the product. Live performance is showing it. Artists always want both, ya know?
DBM: I took a look at the band’s Facebook page for tour dates. I noticed that there are a few listed, are there plans to tour or at least, expand the tour to support this album?
Austin Durry: Absolutely! We wanted to get the record out in time for Halloween, but we have some big plans in the works for touring this winter, spring, and heavily in the summer.
DBM: If you don’t mind, I would like to change gear for a moment. I would like to ask you a few off the wall questions. The questions were originally asked by another interviewer, James Lipton of the actor studio. I am always curious about the responses to these questions. What profession other than your own, would you like to attempt?
Austin Durry: Ooo lightning round. I like it. I’ve always been a big fan of comic books. Before I really discovered music, the comic industry was my ideal career plan. The whole idea of story music kind of came from wanting to write comics, but being better at music then I was at drawing.
DBM: What profession would you not like to do?
Austin Durry: Anything behind a desk sounds like the pits to me.
DBM: What sound do you hate?
Austin Durry: Not that much honestly. Bad lyrics maybe?
DBM: What are your or the band’s future plans?
Austin Durry: Lots of shows, lots of videos. We’re releasing our D&D campaign as soon as it’s finished! And a bunch of other projects we have cooking up.
DBM: Is there anything else you would say that I didn’t cover in this interview?
Austin Durry: Go listen to the record! We’re really proud of it and I think it has something for just about everybody. We hope you love it.
DBM: Thank you for your time and for doing this interview. Good luck with the album and your and the band’s future plans.
Austin Durry: Thanks so much for having us!