Finding comfort in the chords: Midcoast


Courtesy of Midcoast

By Jacob Baker

During social distancing, Illinois band Midcoast, that plays indie rock with a fusion of R&B and funk, has found difficulties in recording, but has found creativity in making music and discovering new albums and songs. 

Midcoast started playing together in early 2019 with Shayla Chaichalad on vocals and Justin De’Caneva on bass and guitar. They would meet up at NIU and jam to covers in their apartments, De’Caneva said. Midcoast ended up adding Brandon Marshall on lead guitar and Brett Meyer on drums. At that point, the band started discussing the direction the band should head in. 

“We were jamming at NIU for a couple months before we realized we wanted to do original material,” vocalist Shayla Chaichalad said. “Brandon had ideas and we were like okay, we can actually write our own music.”

The next step was trying to focus on what genres the band wanted to use, De’Caneva said. The band faced the dilemma of whether the band would go into a genre that’s accessible by the local scene or remaining loyal to their own respective styles as individuals. The band’s first EP ‘Vice Eyes’ released on July 3, 2019 and is a perfect reflection of that in terms of not sticking to a specific genre with a blend of indie rock and funk music. 

Due to COVID-19, members of the band had spare time on their hands, but the pandemic made several aspects of having a band even harder to keep up with. 

Midcoast hasn’t had a show since January because the band wanted to focus on new music until the pandemic happened, Chaichalad said.

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs. We didn’t have the recording equipment at each individual home, but now since we’re slowly trying to integrate back into Phase Four, it’s been nice to see each other’s faces again,” Chaichalad said.

The band has started to practice together again and they have plans to record and try to get another EP out as fast as they can with hopes of playing live again whenever that may be, De’Caneva said. 

Drums have been the tricky part for Midcoast. With the lack of equipment at hand, the band still has a lot of work to do when it comes to recording the drums, Meyer said. 

 “So there’s this massive bottleneck of everything is close to done.” Meyer said. “ But we need to write the drums, record the drums, and pre-record stuff over those drum tracks.”

With the spare time during social distancing, the band has also had plenty of opportunity to listen to music themselves to both help them as artists and dealing with the anxiety of 2020.

Meyer has been listening to the album ‘Oh, Common Life’ by the band Fireworks. They were a pop-punk band who made upbeat music with a depressive undertone in the lyrics. In that way it perfectly represents what is going on right now, Meyer said. 

Chaichalad said, as a waitress, her job was non-existent during quarantine, and with that came listening to even more music and writing more.

2020 has proven to be a trying time for many people, including struggles across the spectrum financially and mentally. Music has always been an outlet for getting out emotions, and music has done that for Midcoast. 

“For me, it was less anxiety, and music is something that’s there to keep you occupied,” De’Caneva said. “It’s nice to know how to play an instrument when you’re stuck at home, because you always have that option to pick it up and play.”

Since there wasn’t a whole lot to do during quarantine, taking long walks and turning on music would help me relax and forget about everything that was going on, Meyer said. Listening to music in between what the band plays and the band’s own personal tastes in music has been a huge influence on the band as a whole.

Midcoast can be followed on Instagram @Midcoast_music and their new single “Baeside” was released June 29 and can be heard on Spotify, Apple Music and Youtube.