By Becca Carlson
Nestled comfortably in the heart of the Southern music scene, Pensacola musicians draw influences from nearby music capitals such as New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, and Miami. Local band Crystal Coast (CC) is no exception.
What the band brings to the table is certainly exceptional. The synth-rock group includes Cooper Dalrymple on lead vocals, guitar, and synth; Ryan Post plays the bass, synth, as well as provides backup vocals; and Eric Moehler gets a workout on the drums.
After a brief stint in Tampa under the name Ursaria, the Pensacola-based group reorganized and rebranded for the new sound that was beginning to emerge. “I’d been writing a lot of songs outside the capability of that group [Ursaria],” said Dalrymple. The current incarnation of CC is already creating a buzz around town— and rightly so.
They found their groove from the get-go during their show at Sluggos in August. Even seasoned bands can take up to a song or two before they really click into synchronization during a live event. This was not the case for CC, and these guys have only played together for 6 months.
Dalrymple and Post attend Pensacola State College while Moehler is a student at the University of South Alabama, so coordinating practice times can be a challenge, but despite the challenge, the band is quickly gaining momentum.
CC is hoping to expand and develop their distinctive sound as each member brings their own influences to the jam sessions. “Psychedelic music and Jazz music have always influenced me,” said Post. “Bands like Tame Impala, have very prominent bass riffs. They’re catchy in themselves, but they add to the song even more. That’s kind of what inspires me the most.”
Dalrymple’s powerful, yet fragile, vocals are complemented by Posts smooth riffs while Moehler is a machine on the drums. Yet for all the hard work, they still know how to let go and have fun on stage. “I’m just on the drums losing my glasses or whatever. A cymbal flies off—everybody’s just laughing and having a good time,” said Moehler of a typical show.
As the newest member of the band, Moehler has masterfully transitioned from his normally heavier sound to fit the band’s more “crispy” synth-rock sound. “I just had to pick up what [Cooper] wanted for the songs and go from there,” Moehler said. “It’s been an interesting change.”
What are they listening to in the car right now? Moehler is playing Future Elevators from Birmingham. Post is jammin’ out to Steely Dan’s Aja in his car. Dalrymple mostly listens to NPR, smooth Jazz or old tapes of local bands while he’s driving around—but streaming in his office “the complete works of Britney Spears.”
Dalrymple and Post both list Passion Pit among strong influences which comes in handy when writing new material. Although most of the songs on the current album were written by Dalrymple, the group has been working on some new stuff too. “Most of what we’ve been writing recently will start out with us just jamming before and after practice and then we hit something we really like,” Post shared. In fact, Sail Away is one of the songs fleshed out by a jam session.
The group is currently taking a break from performing to focus on writing new material and honing in their sound. “We have so many songs that are half written—in the queue,” expressed Dalrymple. “We have a lot of stuff on the drawing board. So, expect material out, relatively quickly,” Post added, “We’re high tide with songs!” Get it? High tide-Crystal Coast?
Naturally these songs conjure strong emotions due to the personally subject matter such as Cat and Mouse which Dalrymple states is an “incredibly personal song,” too personal to discuss for print. Eden is another song derived from experience about the classic “girl next door” story but with a twist. “Of course, there’s always a twist to it. I like to twist things up,” Dalrymple confessed.
Although their songs tap into an emotional place, bands like CC and their collaborators such as Al Mirabella & the Mid-Life Crises (for which Dalrymple is the drummer) are trying to “stop fetishizing sadness,” as Moehler put it. “I want people to see us having fun on the stage. I want people to take away something positive from what we’re doing,” said Moehler. “We have these upbeat songs like We Are the Shadows…people will just go crazy in the crowd.”
The group plans to collaborate with mentors and allies such as Corey Jess of Nebular Theory, an electro-pop-dance artist, who has been known to join them on stage during performances. CC also find collaboration as a key to a successful band. Collaboration with other artists as well as each other.
Building rapport with the local stage production crew as well is important for Dalrymple and he credits networking as a key to the success of the band. “If there is a concert that I go to…if there’s someone there working the sound or whatever…if I leave there and don’t know who they are or didn’t get their information— [ I’ve] failed.”
Post feels that they owe a lot to the listeners. “Our fans…our friends that have come out and supported us,” adding “You can’t have the art without the [audience].” They are also very supportive of each other. “We like playing with each other,” said Moehler, who finds success through “being able to be positive and have good chemistry with each other.” Shows can get crazy so expect anything. “Some pants might come off,” exclaimed Dalrymple.
CC will be releasing a new single titled “Lovey-Dovey” with a video to follow soon after. Find out more about Crystal Coast at their website https://crystalcoastfl.wordpress.com/press-kit/ or follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/crystalcoastfl/.
Crystal Coast’s I digital album is available for $3 as a download by visiting https://crystalcoastfl.bandcamp.com/album/crystal-coast-i.