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NewTracks New Artist: Coterie

NewTracks New Artist: Coterie

Coterie is literally a band of brothers, the Fishers, of Te Aupori/Ngapuhi descent. Growing up way across the ditch in Perth, the creative quartet seem to be quite the entrepreneurial sort, with their fingers in a variety of other pies. Their sun-drenched new single Cool It Down is a laid-back, soulful reggae-pop recommendation for your summer soundtrack. NZ On Air Music must’ve agreed, adding the song to their NewTracks compilation this December.

What’s your full name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?

G’day guys, my name is Joshua Te Ika Nui Ramon Fisher. I’m the synth/piano player from Coterie, a band of four Te Aupori, Ngapuhi lads who now live on the west coast of Australia!

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

We’ve been playing a lot of music together since we were grommets! Kinda always competing with each other to get better and better, and I’d consider this a good chunk of our ‘training’. Alongside our parents who also taught us a lot musically, whether formal or informal, or a blend of both – music training is key! 

Any other previous projects might we know you from?

Coterie has literally only been a group for a couple of years, but before that, we’d been writing and making different projects as a group for a while. Including our online series called ‘Tastemakers’, where we teamed up with other local artists and jammed out tunes together. But Coterie is where we first collected our style / branding, and had official releases. 

What’s the background story of how Coterie came to be? Who else is directly involved?

Coterie is made up of four Māori brothers who were raised in sunny Perth on the west coast of Australia. Tyler Rawiri Fisher – lead vocals/guitar, Brandford Carmichael Fisher – bass/vocals, Conrad Raniera Fisher – lead guitar/vocals and myself, the highlight of the band, on synths and vocals! Plus we often have one of our mates jump on the tubs for gigs.

It kinda just came naturally, we’d been in and out of different projects just exploring styles and genres of music all with a very heavy soulful influence thanks to our folks… Coterie was a culmination of them all. Our first single Where We Began solidified what we wanted in our sound, as an entree, and even though I reckon we’ll progress into new sounds, I’m stoked with how things are going!

How and when did you come up with the name for the new project?

Coterie – it’s defined as “…an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose…” This kinda fell into our laps while surfing the net/world looking around, and it felt pretty spot on tbh. Our brand and look came naturally too, we’re just ourselves. No front, no cover page… we wear bowlos and froth some ink. We turn everything into reggae and probably take banter way too far! Put it all together and that’s us.

How has your music evolved from your beginnings in songwriting to now?

Better, I hope haha. I think the key for us is to keep writing music we’re happy with. Young Josh probably wanted to write music that he thought would “sell”, but honestly now I reckon there’s nothing more important than writing music that is honest and true. Music that you’d actually want to listen to yourself! Just keep experimenting and trying new things, listening to other artists and expanding your musical palette.

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date?

Two things: Our first sold out headline show, and recently our headline WA tour.

Back in May, we dropped our single Bless My Soul and had so much support and love from our fans around it. They sold out the iconic Freo Social venue in a couple of weeks, which was a huge highlight for us.
And also getting to do a five-date tour in 2021 is unheard of. We set off around WA playing our music on tour to the frothiest fans. Stoked.

What makes Cool It Down stand out for you as a single?

We’ve written a whole bunch of songs throughout the year, most of them are alright I reckon, and some of them are horrible. But Cool It Down stood out to us as a tune to kickstart summer. That’s kinda what we wanted, an easy-going-banger that made ya feel like downing Bintangs in Bali, with your mates…  

What is the story behind Cool It Down?

It started pretty similarly to how they all start – us four just sitting around an acoustic guitar. I think the chorus sums up the story pretty well; “Better missing kisses than missing the seas, I feel the loving in simplicity.” The initial lyrics were “better missing kisses than the kissing disease”, which is kinda a nod to Covid, and that’s where this narrative started. It’s better to keep a distance from each other for now, so we can say hello to each other again soon. We wanna fly home over the seas urgently, but until then, “I’m longing for the sweet shores of Aotearoa”.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

If I can talk ourselves up for a moment, I’d say that the breakdown in the final chorus when it drops to just guitars is mean as, haha! Everyone seems to froth it when we play live too.

Who did you record/produce the single with? 

We do most of it ourselves. Getting pretty slick on the recording tools, aye. All of our songs are written from start to finish between Coterie, and then we usually track the parts in our home studio with our old man (who’s a gun). The whole process is crack-up, I reckon one day we will film it because you’d have to be there to see what I’m saying!

Then, with this track, we took all our recorded parts and sent it to our mate Robby De Sa who works out of a studio in Sydney, to put the final touches on it.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

The biggest thing right now is to get some saltwater in your hair, kiss the ones you love and drink some tequila… None of this is in our song, but it makes Cool It Down sound way better if you do! These lockdowns aren’t gonna last forever, so in the meanwhile get some Vitamin D and find the good in the simple things of this world. 

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

It’s usually just whichever song is the most complete, haha. Our manager would be stoked if we had a more intentional strategy, but for now we’re going with the wind and releasing the tunes that people cheer for the most at shows. It’s usually a good indicator if anyone likes your song or not – play it live for them. Our fans play a big role in what we do, and their input is crucial!

Is there anyone else is in your team?

We keep a pretty tight-knit team. Us brothers and our parents, plus our manager, and the other musos in our circles. Perth has an unreal culture in the music community here, and it’s been great being surrounded by quality people!

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for? 

Not musically, but we are working on our second season of Coterie Club threads which potentially will expand beyond clothing. It’s all behind the scenes at the moment so I definitely can’t share the secrets yet. Like I definitely can’t tell you that we haven’t mixed up a spicy hot sauce that goes perfectly on deep-fried chicken, or dipping sauce for wedges. And I definitely can’t tell you about the seltzer we don’t have in the works… but anyways…

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.

How local is local?
Mako Road: The Sun Comes Up

Who did you make the video with?

We made this with one of our mates here in Perth – Sarah Haleem. It’s also featuring a whole bunch of footage from our Good Morning tour! Check it out.

Any last words?

Be generous to your mates, stay close to your whanau and keep beers in the fridge – from your new friends, Coterie.