An Interview with Coastline Apparition01/10/13

Coastline Apparition is a solid and committed alternative rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 2010. Founded by guitarist David Khella and singer Richard Girges after meeting in high school. Finding a steady drummer and bassist was becoming a daunting task. Luckily drummer Carlos Esparza joined shortly after by responding to an ad on Craigslist. David and Richard knew Sterling Gutierrez from high school and respected him for his abilities as a bassist. Sterling decided he could fill in on bass for a few months, which they miraculously convinced him to stay.

Coastline Apparition recently released their first full-length album, “New Beginnings, Old Habits” and had a concert at The House of Blues. While doing all of that they sat down for a highly entertaining interview with us. We hope you enjoy getting to know these guys as much as we did.

Coastline Apparition

How long have you been playing your respective instruments? Do you play more than one?

Sterling and Carlos have definitely been playing the longest.  Sterling’s played bass and guitar for over 13 years. He also knows the keys and some clarinet. Carlos has been playing drums and other percussion-based instruments, such as the congas, also for over 13 years.  David has been playing guitar for about 11 years. He taught Richard how to play the guitar about nine years ago. Which probably explains Dave and Rich’s ridiculously similar interest in music.


How did the name Coastline Apparition come about?

Richard came up with the name Coastline Apparition, and it has a very personal meaning that he’s not willing to share just yet. A lot of people think it’s a name that we just slapped together because it sounds cool.  Although we can’t tell you EXACTLY what “Coastline Apparition” means, rest assured that there is a legitimate and sentimental meaning behind the name and it signifies something from Richard’s past.

A lot of our song lyrics contain riddles and metaphors, and Richard plans on hinting to what the name of the band means in an upcoming song.  You’ll just have to be clever enough to figure it out when that song comes out.


Who’s the song writer(s) of the group? Or is it a group collaboration?

David and Richard were the original songwriters.  The majority of the songs in the new album were written (in some form or another) before Sterling and Carlos joined.  Since then, our songs have transformed significantly due to Sterling and Carlos’ influence on the music.  But don’t get us wrong; we’re definitely a close-knit band when it comes to song writing.  There isn’t “one” guy that writes all the music and the rest of us just follow suit and play it. We respect each others input, and every single one of us seems pretty receptive to other people’s opinions and musical propositions – even on a vocal level.  In fact, we’re really stoked to start on our next album because now that we have our line up of band members locked down, we’ll be writing songs from scratch with all four of the members having complete input this time.

Our typical song writing process has always consisted of one of us coming up with a guitar or bass riff, and we’d add onto it from there.  Richard does all of the lyrical writing.  Oddly enough though, he is pretty self-conscious about his lyrical abilities and often seeks input or opinions from David and Sterling. There will be rare times when a song lyric will come first, and we’ll add music to the lyric.  We’ve noticed when that happens; the songs end up coming out as more of a rap.  Richard’s notorious for rapping his lyrics when there isn’t a backing musical track.  Some examples of that are “Mother, Aren’t You Proud”, “Seasick”, and “Canteen Love”.


Who are your idols and what made them so?

Batman because of his indomitable spirit, his will power is his super power.

Jay Kay from Jamiroquai because at 18 he landed an 8 record contract with Sony purely based off of one song.  He found musicians, formed his band, fronts his band, and in spite of the fact that he doesn’t play an instrument, he dictates what he wants his band to play by singing their parts to them!  His music is so rich and full of texture, yet, even with so many parts going on, every instrument has its own place–nothing sounds cluttered.  He’s a creative genius.

Amongst others, Frank Black, Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, and John Lennon for being musical pioneers.


Do you have any other hobbies besides obviously making music?

Sterling loves weight lifting and getting chiseled.  He picks things up, and puts them down; dude looks like Superman.  Carlos loves video games and soccer, and he especially loves soccer video games like FIFA. David’s into traveling, although, he’s never been out of the country and only been to 3 states outside Cali. Richard is a computer geek; he loves to develop websites and computer programming and actually holds up a full time job doing just that.


What are your hopes for the next five years?

As for the short term, we know that we want to do a few legitimate nationwide tours.  We also want to record a few more E.P.s, albums and also do some collaborations with other artists.  One thing Richard and Dave have been talking about is doing some hip hop collaborations, just to mix things up a little. We also know that we want to quit our jobs and make a living playing music.  We’re not necessarily after the money although, who wouldn’t want to be paid nicely for doing something they love?  We did all agreed that if we were to take a pay cut, and had a legitimately steady source of income playing music, we’d jump at the opportunity..  Ideally we’ll find the right record label and get signed as well.

When you really think about five years down the line, as a band, it’s hard to say.  There are so many moving parts and way too much going on, and not to mention our personal lives taking away from the time we’re able to invest in the music.  I think our dream would be to play a gigantic concert, along with a well-respected band of our time. None of us can go to a rock concert anymore without dreaming about how awesome it would be to be up on that stage.  We definitely hope to be up there on the big stage in 5 years; that’s probably our biggest long-term goal.


What was the best part of recording the upcoming album?

Being able to develop a much more intimate relationship with the songs, really hearing and dissecting all of the intricacies of each instrument’s part and how they fit together as a whole.  You don’t really get the chance to experience a song like that when you’re at band practice.  It’s more of a studio thing. For Richard, it’s especially a great time to focus on the lyrics and the overall message that we’ll be delivering throughout the album.  He loves to embed deep and personal meanings in the songs, and he also loves to intertwine the stories told in each song together. In our new album, “New Beginnings, Old Habits”, there is a common and recurring lyrical theme throughout each song.  It’s a trip when you realize that every single sound and lyric and riff that you hear in our album, from the background screaming to the piano parts, is something that we came up with to add flavor and realness to our tracks – which sort of falls in line with the whole “experimental” aspect.  We LOVE to experiment with sounds and different lyrical, vocal, and musical concepts. Recording an album is great because it allows you to sit down and blueprint each track let it evolve into a masterpiece. Not to say that our album is really a masterpiece, but hey, we definitely like to think so.


What was an unexpected hurdle while recording the new album?

The biggest unexpected hurdle was probably our individual expectations.  A lot of our communication regarding the tracks consisted of the sound engineers uploading the music online and we’d all separately hear the tracks, and then argue about stuff at band practice.  We didn’t do a good job at mapping out what we expected the album to be; we all had our own idea of what this album was going to sound like and how it was going to be recorded.  None of us realized that, until we started listening to the tracks. There were times that we had conflicting opinions and we would bitch each other out. Stuff like “Hey, you never told me we’re gonna add a piano in this part” or “why are there congas here” or “I don’t like the way that lead guitar sounds”.  Thinking back on it now, none of that is abnormal; there’s no way in hell four guys, each with a completely different taste in music, will write a 13 track album, and all agree 100% on how it should sound.  That’s the nature of the beast, and it was a huge learning experience.  We also learned a lot about each other and where our interests and distastes lie.

Another that wasn’t necessarily unexpected but really it sucked working around our individual work schedules. It was really hard to figure out which days we all had free. In fact, it took us one year to record the album, and in that year, we were ALL in the studio at the same time a total of about three times; someone was always missing.


What song do you each enjoy the most off the new album?

Richard and Sterling love to play “Trickling Chimes”.  David’s favorites are “Selfish” and “Keep Running”.  Carlos loves the fast-paced stuff; he’s a punk rocker at heart.  So you’ll always catch him suggesting songs such as “Liquid Fear”, but Carlos also has a very deep interest in “Introspection”.  In fact, that song was the deal-maker that convinced Carlos to stick around when he first joined the band. Another awesome track that we all seem to enjoy playing is “New Beginnings”.


What’s the story behind the album title? 

You’ll have to listen to the vocals and dissect the lyrics if you want to know what “New Beginnings, Old Habits” specifically means. But we can tell you that the album title is a combination of two song titles on the album. “New Beginnings”, which is our climactic song in the album; lyrically, this is where the story in our album begins to take a turn for the worse. And then “Old Habits”, which is our closing track. This is the point in the album where the story says: “hey I don’t give a fuck, this is who I am”, essentially an anthem of shameless indulgence. You’ll notice that there is a sense of hopefulness and energy that sort of transforms into aggressiveness as the album progresses. That hopeful-to-aggressive progression falls in line with the album title’s meaning.


What is the day in the life for a member of Coastline Apparition?

Sterling has the most exciting day life he will wake up, slide down the stairs (on a real slide), and throw a tortilla on the stove. Then he sees if he can finish showering before the house catches fire, work, squats, squats, squats, squats, band practice, protected sex, unprotected sex, drive to CVS, drive back home, unprotected sex, then time to go to sleep!

For the rest of us, we work. All. Fucking. Day. Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30 PM is our salvation. That’s when we crank the amps up and rehearse until our fingers bleed. Other than that, we all have pretty boring lives. With the exception of the weekends, of course we get wicked on the weekends. Too wicked! Listen to our album; you’ll get the idea.


What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to TV? 

Carlos is too much of a man’s man to admit to having any guilty pleasures.  Sterling is way too active to sit and watch TV.  David simply just doesn’t have any guilty pleasures everything he watches is badass. Richard is obsessed with Gossip Girl, well not really.  Although he knows way more about that show than he or anyone should care to know, because his ex girlfriend used to watch that shit all the damn time. Enough though that it makes him wonder what happens next. Luckily he refuses to find out cause that would discredit his hidden gangsta style!


If we shuffled your iPod what would be the first 5 songs to come on?

Sterling just shuffled his iPod and didn’t like the first 10 songs that came on, so here’s a list of favorites: Lifeline by Jamiroquai, Spare Change? by the Mad Caddies, Apparition by RxBandits, and What You Won’t Do For Love by Bobby Caldwell.

David’s iPod would definitely consist of the Mars Volta and Portugal the Man and probably a ton of bands you’ve never heard of. You know because he’s cool like that.

Carlos’ iPod would be nothing but old school punk and possibly even some ska and salsa.

Richard’s iPod would be riddled with classic and modern Hip Hop (now THAT’S a guilty pleasure).  Outkast, Tupac, Lil Wayne, Akon, Eminem. He has a secret obsession with hip hop and thinks he’s pretty gangsta.


When touring out of the area who hogs the bathroom?

We don’t know yet, because we’ve yet to do a legitimate out-of-area tour!  Though we would imagine that it would be Richard or Sterling that would hog the restroom. Considering how sexy those mofos look. With looks like that, it requires quite a bit of upkeep.


Any funny or embarrassing stories you’d like to share that happened on stage/ backstage or both! ?

There was a show we played at a bar in our area, called the Airliner once.  Richard was so trashed that he ended up laying down on stage and passing out.  There was another show where we broke a string on stage and David ran off the stage to go grab a back up guitar from the car (yes, he was trashed as well); little did he know that we bring our back up guitars up on stage with us; Richard had to attempt to do stand up comedy to pass the time until David got back.


You are suddenly faced with a bizarre existential problem: Your best friend is taking a nap on your living room floor, they are going to die unless you kick them as hard as you can in the rib cage. If you don’t kick them while they sleep, they will never wake up. However, you can never explain this to your friend; if you later inform them that you did this to save their life, they will then drop dead. So you have to kick a sleeping friend in the ribs, and you can’t tell them why.

Since you cannot tell your friend the truth, what excuse will you fabricate to explain this (seemingly inexplicable) attack?

Sterling would say that Richard promised to give us each $1,000 if he kicked him in the ribs.

That answer above me sounds like a typical Sterling answer.  Unfortunately though, in our band, Carlos doesn’t think much explanation would be necessary.  If he was the one that kicked any one of us, it would simply be expected and we’d just pass him off as a sad, angry man.

David would tell you something ironically heart-shattering.  Such as “I hate you and I was trying to kill you”.

Richard will offer you money in exchange for you never asking him why he kicked you.  Which sort of falls in line with Sterling’s answer!


Any new tour news? Any cities/ states you’d like to hit soon?

We’re definitely planning a Northern tour along the coast, early this year. Hopefully by March!  We plan on hitting San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Washington. Everything else is still up in the air.


You can see Coastline Apparition January 17th at The Airliner located in Los Angeles. You can also purchase their new full length album on iTunes or Amazon.  Make sure to follow their Twitter and like them on Facebook.

For booking inquiries please contact Richard 626-375-0824 or Dave 626-927-6743

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