Story by Blake Blackmon
Images by Trey Walker
“I realized everything is connected and all music comes from one place, one human condition."
Los Coast hints just at this with their fresh first record Samsara and their soulful and inventive recently released covers “Elvis Presley Blues” and “A Change is Gonna Come.” A myriad of influence and sound can be found in the music of Los Coast. The Austin-based band is made up primarily by duo Trey Privott, lead vocals, guitar, and John Courtney, guitar, keyboards, vocals.
Before Austin, Privott grew up in Columbus GA, the town he returned to recently for three months during quarantine. Privott’s connection to music runs deep, from his early start of playing guitar at 13 to the influence of his uncle, noted guitarist and former Late Night with David Letterman band member Hiram Bullock. Despite an early interest in the craft, it hasn’t always been a clear path for Privott. He dabbled with a few different majors, biology and journalism, before ultimately getting pulled in the direction of music. “Teachers would say ‘this sounds more like a song than what I asked you to do.’ After that happened enough times, I felt like if I was going to write I should probably write music rather than try to fit inside a box that I didn't fit into,” said Privott.
After college, he moved to Seaside where he worked in a record store and sought out to learn everything he could about the industry and distribution. A connection with a lead singer from Austin led Privott to the music and art-focused capital of Texas. Once in Austin, Pritvott started working at another record store, Waterloo Records, which was when he first started connecting with other musicians. “That made me feel a lot better about what I was doing because many of them have a similar story. A lot of people have this period of trying to figure out what they’re doing and finally come to this breaking point,” said Privott.
Getting plugged into the Austin music scene with Courtney was just that breaking point. With a record under their belt, the two were really taking off, touring and recording before the ultimate slowdown of COVID-19. While things physically slowed down in terms of shows and touring, Privott continued to pursue his craft and has released two covers during the pandemic and is in the process of recording and releasing his first music video. Post album, Privott wanted to experiment with production using songs that he loved and had already been written in order to make it easier to change and mold them into something new.
The covers “Elvis Presley Blues” and “A Change is Gonna Come” share similar ties. “Those are the two songs I was always obsessed with, so for me it was a dream come true that I would have a chance to record these covers,” said Prichett of the selection.
In a time when connection seems cut off, Privott has been connecting with his Columbus roots and various local artists and creatives. Privott featuresBo Bartlett’s art as the cover art for the band’s two newly released singles.Katie Jacobsonconnected Privott to the artist who enthusiastically agreed to collaborate. “I think that's one of the cooler things about Columbus,” said Privott, “It's a good size where there's a sense of community that you don't always have in big cities.”
Along with Bartlett, he has collaborated with photographerTrey Walkerand is currently in the works on a music video for "Elvis Presley Blues" withJoseph Berger. “Some of my favorite groups are collaborative, so it's something I've always wanted to incorporate into what I do. Everyone has their own unique style, and the more you can get all these unique styles together the more you can progress the idea that we’re all interconnected,” said Privott.
While Privott does miss performing and engaging with a live audience, he is staying positive and looking on the bright side of things. “This is the first time in my life when I can go back to that initial excitement of just sitting in my room or sitting in a studio and just making music without any pressure to go on tour,” said Privott. He feels lucky to be living in a time when there is so much innovation and so many ways to get your music in front of an audience. In the past, you could only connect by traveling to someone’s hometown, whereas now you can be in their living room in an instant via livestream. Though he looks forward to festivals and live shows in the future, he’s optimistic and excited to be at the forefront of new and innovative ways of sharing music and connecting with fans.
Along with seeking unique ways of sharing music with fans, Privott has also made an effort to give back in the process. “Right now I'm working with this organization calledDAWA, which is an organization focused on diversity awareness and wellness in action. I picked DAWA because I feel like diversity is the main way to avoid a lot of confrontations that are arising right now,” said Privott. Los Coast donated the revenue from their streams of “A Change is Gonna Come” to DAWA, and they’ve done it with a couple of different organizations. Privott is grateful that as a band they have had the opportunity to give back with their music and go a bit slower on their path in order to give along the way and raise awareness. It was a decision they made as a band early on as something they wanted to prioritize.
Privott doesn't gloss over the work that goes into his creative process. “If you write ten songs, probably eight of them are going to be trash, but two of them might be okay. Then you take those two and you work on those over and over, and then ten of those edits might be okay.
You might get something good out of that. It's just a process of grinding on what you're doing,” said Privott. He also sees the positive in the slow down of quarantine as a time to get ideas out and really focus on the work. “Right now I think that it's a good time to reflect on things we want to see change in the world. I think that right now we have a really good opportunity to sit with our thoughts. I think there's some good that can come from this pandemic if we can all look inside and examine what's going on with ourselves and how we’re reacting to the situation and how we can resolve conflicts through improving ourselves internally,” said Privott.
Connect with Los Coast through their website and social media and be sure to stream “A Change is Gonna Come'' and “Elvis Presley Blues” along with their album Samsara on Spotify. “Elvis Presley Blues” music video releasing soon. ◼︎