The Middle Coast

A bright horizon for Brandon band

The music of The Middle Coast sounds exactly how spending time with its members feels – like boisterous youth, half-drunk sing-alongs, and dancing so hard with a big stupid grin on your face that you slosh your beer all over yourself. 

Or, in fewer words, these three bright-eyed kids from Brandon make music that sounds like a lot of fun. 

You can’t quite call The Middle Coast new kids on the block, even though they’re all pretty fresh-faced. Liam Duncan (keys/vocals), Dylan MacDonald (vocals/guitar), and Roman Clarke (drums/vocals) have been playing music together, in one form or another, since they were 14. 

They even ensnared some local attention as their former band, Until Red. It’s only in the past year and a half that they’ve refined their focus and become, officially, The Middle Coast. 

Duncan explains that Until Red was a name they always hated, one that they’d gotten from an online band name generator when they were teens. The new name, though, highlights their Brandon upbringings and comes with a catchy line. 

“Everyone always talks about the East Coast (and) the West Coast, but we think that the middle coast is the best coast,” MacDonald says. 

“We changed the band name for a number of reasons, but one of the major reasons is that we haven’t really been this band for very long. We’ve had a couple of different lineup changes,” Duncan says. A lot of Until Red songs were scrapped, and new songs were written as The Middle Coast. 

“We think of ourselves as a new band now,” Duncan says. 

Throughout the name/genre/ member overhaul, the group has toured incessantly, playing little venues and house concerts across the country. Their tour van clocked in over 70,000 kilometres and 700 hours of tour travel in the past year alone. The constant touring, they say, gave them a good chance to improve upon their live show. 

“It’s not necessarily the best business strategy, but for where we were as a band a year and a half ago, it made sense to do that much touring as a learning process,” Duncan says. 

“We record every single show that we play and we pick it apart. Having played 150 shows this year, we’ve gotten quite a lot better,” Clarke adds. 

The boys are already gearing up for what promises to be a busy year. Sometime in 2016, they’ll be releasing their nine-song album, which was recorded in both Manitoba and Vancouver. Their debut has some Canadian indie heavyweights in the production notes, including Howard Redekopp (Mother Mother, Tegan & Sara) and Don Benedictson (The Bros. Landreth). 

“We’re going to tour lots before and especially after the release. We’re going to get up to Toronto a lot; we’ve kind of made (it) a priority to get a crowd there,” MacDonald says. 

“I feel like a lot of new bands nowadays are going for a brooding thing, but we’re just a fun band that plays groovy tunes based on old music,” Clarke says. 

“We’re hoping for big things,” Duncan adds. 

Hear more from The Middle Coast at soundcloud.com/themiddlecoast.

Published in Volume 70, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 14, 2016)

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