Originally from Illawarra’s surf coast, Alex Johnson AKA Coast & Ocean, is an extremely talented producer, guitarist singer/songwriter and rapper who incorporates a mellow blend of Hip-Hop, R&B and Electronic sonics.
The release of his 2017 project ‘Doobies Girl‘ is where Coast & Ocean’s musical journey quickly became set in motion, as it lead him to touring around the globe.
The next year Coast followed-up his recent success with a brooding new single titled ‘Lindsay Lohan‘, where he opened up about the internal struggles of relationships, isolation, and the lack of connection while being on the road.
The transparency of the record was widely received and resulted in over 200K online streams, as well as landing him a spot in the Top 50 Viral Charts on Spotify.
Since then, Coast has spent 11 months of the year touring his unreleased album and performing shows throughout Australia, Europe, the UK, Thailand and New Zealand.
This week I linked up with Coast & Ocean over the phone just days after the release of his surprise double-sided single ‘Peaches n Cream / Cherry Cola‘. We spoke in depth about the new record, life growing up, his influences, the ultimate message he wishes to convey, and more!
On the other end of the line, Coast answered the call telling me he’s currently enjoying some peaceful rainfall in Queenstown while packing his bags in preparation for an upcoming show in Wellington on Saturday February 15.
To initiate the interview I took it back to the very beginning of his career and asked who some of his biggest influences are when it comes to creating music.
He began by saying “it’s all kind of funny and silly,” telling me he grew up on his mum playing Bill Withers, Van Morrison, the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys, while cleaning around the house. Inevitably, these artists quickly formulated his ‘old vintage collection’.
However, later down the line during high school notable acts such as; Dr. Dre, Eminem, The Kooks, Leon Bridges, Mac Miller, and the Gorillaz, all became personal favourites.
While elucidating how these various artists influence and inspire him, Coast & Ocean explained how “people that throw themselves at their art, change music forever.”
Discussing his life while growing up as a kid, Coast told me he recalls “definitely going to the beach a lot, wagging school to play music and skate.”
“The area where I lived has a lot of really smooth roads and hills, so it’s just good to get on the Sector 9 and carve that up.”
“Me and my friends would jump on the back of cars … and hold onto them as if it was a ski left. So many grazes and scars,” he laughed.
At school, Coast & Ocean said he was a class clown who would do silly things like sending backflips off tables, which would always see him getting into trouble and back-chatting with his teachers.
“I have no filter I guess, I was just pretty stupid and would do anything to make people laugh,” said Coast.
Looking back now he thinks he was “a little bit too egotistical” back then. These days Coast & Ocean practices trying to be more centred, as he believes there’s an important significance in “forgiving yourself where you fall short and improving yourself everyday.”
While he’s currently on the road with frequent collaborator Alice Hills for a run of dates throughout New Zealand, I asked Coast & Ocean how it feels to be heading home to Australia for the first time in two years.
“I’m really excited, there’s a lot people I really want to see, a lot of places I’ve missed, it just feels like home is the road now,” he said.
Though that doesn’t mean Coast & Ocean wants to stop touring or making music anytime soon, having stated “everywhere I go I just want to record with people and collaborate.”
“I will keep touring until the day I die, or I’ll stay in one place for like three months at a time and just find somewhere else to absorb energy from and bring that energy back into the music. I think it’s a big part of the Coast & Ocean process,” he added.
Speaking on his music, I was intrigued to find out more about his process and how the new double-sided single ‘Peaches n Cream‘ came together.
“Originally I wrote that in Sydney, I just sleep on couches and jump in the car and see who’s messaged me on Wi-Fi then take it from there,” said Coast.
Sonically the record was influenced by the likes of current Hip-Hop heavyweights Future, Lil Pump & Migos.
Therefore, with plans of taking ‘Peaches n Cream‘ to the next level, Coast & Ocean was eager to link up with Sydney-based producer/musician Minimal Miggy.
“He’s always been a fire drummer and I’ve wanted to work with him for like five years straight,” said Coast & Ocean.
“And then the B-Side is the acoustic version on steroids. I whipped it up in a really short amount of time and had five sleepless nights just trying to get it perfect. It’s the first time I’ve done everything myself,” he explained.
LISTEN TO ‘PEACHES N CREAM‘ BELOW AND TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!
Finally, before letting him get back to packing his bags, I asked Coast & Ocean what the ultimate message he wishes to convey with his music is.
“Freedom. The freedom of travel, go and travel the world no matter what, no judgement, accept people for who they are no matter what religion,” Coast replied.
“Free yourself from currency and bullshit, just live your best life yet. Live vulnerable but embrace your loving side.”
“Love the process, keep those people around you that are going to push you to be better, whether that’s people you look up to or people that’s good with business, go to every event and support everyone that your respect. Dream big,’ he concluded.
Looking forward, fans can get excited for 2020 as Coast & Ocean said he has plenty of music in the works with “three mixtapes worth of ideas and definitely one EP that’s ready to go for the first half of the year.”
In the meantime, you can catch Coast & Ocean on tour with an an exclusive look at his upcoming shows below!
COAST & OCEAN – COMING HOME TOUR DATES W/ SPECIAL GUEST ALICE HILLS
15 FEB – WELLINGTON, NZ @ MOON 1
21 FEB – NELSON, NZ @ The Boathouse
29 FEB – QUEENSTOWN, NZ @ Yonder
6 MARCH – BRISBANE, AUS @ Rics Bar
7 MARCH – MAROOCHYDORE, AUS @ Sol Bar
8 MARCH – GOLD COAST, AUS @ Campus Wallace
13 MARCH – GOLD COAST, AUS @ Miami Marketta
14 MARCH – GOLD COAST, AUS @ RSVP Only House Party (So Coastal Chay Jay on Facebook)
15 MARCH – YAMBA, AUS @ Yamba Hotel
20 MARCH – COFFS HARBOUR, AUS @ Element Bar
21 MARCH – BELLINGEN, AUS @ 63 First Ave
27 MARCH – PORT MACQAURIE, AUS @ Panthers
2 APRIL – NEWCASTLE, AUS @ Hamilton Station Hotel
10 APRIL – SYDNEY, AUS @ KELLYS ON KING + Special Guest 93’HOTBOYS
16 APRIL – CANBERRA, AUS @ Transit Bar
TBA – MELBOURNE, AUS @ RSVP Only House Party (So Coastal Chay Jay on Facebook)
TBA – ADELAIDE, AUS
TBA – PERTH, AUS