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Coast Arcade - MNZ Interview: Oh Hey It's: Bella Rafflyn from Coast Arcade

17 Jul 2023 // An interview by CuillinHearty

Last month MNZ's Cuillin Hearty caught up with Bella Rafflyn, from Tamaki Makauru’s next big thing, Coast Arcade! Coast Arcade is made up of Bella on Lead Guitar & Vocals, Chris on Rhythm Guitar, Tom on Drums and Nick on Bass, they’ve been causing a chatter across NZ, and Bella shared some insight on what’s got them to where they are, their debut EP, Selling out their first headline show and some tips and tricks for other emerging artists! 

C: So you guys started in high school in early 2021. What brought you together as a band and made you want to get out there?

B: I've been in and out of bands since I was eleven, participating in competitions like Bandquest and Smokey Rock Quest. When I got to high school, there were no rock bands, so I decided to make one. We formed a band, won some competitions, but eventually, it naturally ended as band members wanted to pursue different musical directions. However, I had one final year of Rock Quest left, so I challenged myself to put together a new band quickly. I recruited Tom, a drummer I had been mentoring, and Chris, a guitarist I knew from primary school. We competed, won regional and national finals, and that's when we started gaining traction and becoming a scene band.

C: That's cool. It sounds like you took the initiative to make things happen!

B: Definitely. I've always been driven and determined when it comes to music. It has paid off for us as a young indie band. I take on the role of managing the band as well, handling admin and bookings. We recently started working with Village Sounds, which has helped us secure higher-quality shows. But for now, self-management works well for us!

C: Impressive that you're self-sufficient.

B: Thanks. We're happy with where we're at, and until someone comes along who can take us further, we'll continue doing what we're doing.

C: That makes sense. So you describe your sound as indie pop rock with a twist of surf punk. Who or what has influenced your sound?

B: Our sound is a blend of our individual influences. I come from an indie background, listening to bands like Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon. Chris is into surfy beachy music, while Tom and I love punk and rock. Our sound is a mishmash of all these genres. When people listen to our recorded music, they hear indie rock, but our live performances have a touch of punk, especially with the covers we choose. We like that our music can fit into the indie band category while also branching out.

C: It’s refreshing to hear something different. Your Green Day cover is great, by the way. You guys give me if Paramore lived by the sea vibes!

B: Thank you! We love performing it! I will 100% take that. I love it. Thank you! 

C: So this is your first EP, and you've been releasing tracks since February, right?

B: Yes, our debut single came out in June last year, and we released two singles from the EP starting in February. The EP itself was released recently, and we're stoked with the response it has received.

C: Your tracks have been doing well! Like with Highest Heights hitting 65K! Did you guys expect this level of recognition?

B: Not really. As artists, our focus is on releasing music, not solely on streams and interviews. However, seeing the positive response and how people connect with our EP has been incredible. It's great to know that our music resonates with listeners.

C: What inspired the EP, and how would you describe it in a nutshell?

B: The EP captures the essence of where Cost Arcade is at right now. It reflects the energy and experiences of four young friends making music, touching on themes of friendships and mental health from a young person's perspective. When we look back on it in the future, it will serve as a snapshot of this stage in our lives and musical style.

C: That's a nice way to put it. Looking back on your growth will be interesting.

B: Exactly, we're excited about that.

C: You recorded the EP at Big Fan. How was that experience?

B: It was great. Big Fan has a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere compared to larger studios. Working with their audio engineer was fantastic. The studio vibe was different, and the smaller rooms suited us. The boys even studied for exams in the main kitchen while recording. Plus, the location in Kingsland and Morningside adds to the music hub feel.

C: That sounds like a good experience. How do you feel about the EP's release show? Selling out Big Fan is a pretty sick thing for the music CV!

B: Considering the challenging week leading up to the show, including my guitar getting stolen, I was quite worried. But we managed to recover the guitar and put on a solid performance. As an artist, I always strive for perfection, so I'm my own harshest critic. However, seeing the crowd's positive response, I was happy with the show. There's always room for improvement, and when I'm at my best, it's going to be amazing.

C: I think the crowd loved it. You'll always be critical of your own performance.

B: True, but I'm glad we were able to give our best on stage.

C: So what's next for Coast Arcade? What are your goals for the year?

B: We have shows booked, potentially a tour with another band (can't reveal the details yet), and we're planning for the summer. We're also looking ahead to our next release. It's all go for us.

C: That sounds exciting! Lastly, as you mentor other bands and have received support from great people, what advice would you give to younger bands wanting to enter the music scene?

B: I believe in the DIY approach. Be active on social media, engage with older bands, and build connections. Seek advice, utilize online resources, and work on the non-music aspects of being a band. Surround yourself with supportive people, and if you need help, reach out to experienced musicians. DIY is in our DNA.C: That's solid advice. DIY and networking play key roles in a band's journey.


About Coast Arcade

Known for their high-energy performances, Coast Arcade injects a contagious energy into every show they play. Their music is equally as captivating as their live performances, with addictive melodies, driving rhythms, and catchy lyrics, Coast Arcade create an irresistible sound that resonates with audiences long after the show ends. With a growing fanbase and a reputation for delivering unforgettable performances, Coast Arcade is undoubtedly a band on the rise.

Since their formation in 2021, Coast Arcade have been steadily making waves in the Aotearoa scene. They’ve played with Aussie legends Bootleg Rascal, Teenage Dads, The Grogans and completed a New Zealand tour with The Terry’s and they’ve played with Kiwi icons The Beths and Princess Chelsea. They’ve also hit the festival scene hard, playing at Spring City Festival (alongside Groove Armada, Zane Lowe and Ladyhawke), White Out Festival (alongside Homebrew, Shapeshifter and Odd Mob) and New Zealand biggest festival, Rhythm and Vines. Their debut EP, Next To Me, was released in May, drawing attention from both local and international audiences. The EP showcases their versatile songwriting abilities with singles: fast-paced Highest Heights (#2 Hot NZ 20 Singles Chart), Surf Club (#20 Hot NZ 20 Singles Chart), and infectious debut Tattoo (#11 Hot 20 NZ Singles Chart).

Coast Arcade remains dedicated to pushing boundaries and embracing authenticity. With their infectious energy, powerful melodies, and insightful lyricism, this captivating band is poised to leave a mark on the music scene both in New Zealand and beyond.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Coast Arcade


Next To Me
Year: 2023
Type: EP

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