The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men

We can’t think of a much more relaxing and well spent afternoon than kicking back with the The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men (Jamie Coffis, Kellen Coffis, Kyle Poppen, Henry Chadwick, Aidan Collins) with a few beers, some Tom Petty, and a feel-good jam session. That’s probably the main ingredients of this Coffis brothers-based sound – a good time, some classic rock licks, and a bit of southern charm…by way of Santa Cruz, California. These guys have a beach vibe without a The Coffis Brothers the Mountain Men1beach sound – nope, these guys are pure rock n’ roll – the dirty, good stuff, that puts the song ahead of everything else. We caught up with the brothers and their crew to discuss their latest LP, Roll With It, which contains the popular single, “You Ain’t Got the Heart”.

Kellen gave us the download on the new work, stating, “I think it’s the best representation of this band and what this band does best. We had a big batch of songs that we felt really good about and we were able to capture really good performances of.” Simply put, the music speaks for itself – find tunes from Roll With It and more when you click to Now, do keep reading. There’s still so much more to jump into in all the answers to the XXQs below.

XXQs: The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out from others in your genre?

Kellen Coffis (KC): We just describe it as “Rock and Roll.” We’re a song first band so if anything is going to make us stand out, it’s going to be our songs.

PEV: Calling Santa Cruz, California home, what kind of music were you all into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?

KC: We all grew up listening to the Beatles and whatever our parents were listening to. The first big concert I remember going to was The Rolling Stones at the Oakland Coliseum. Pearl Jam opened the show, and it was raining, and it was a school night, and I think my parents let me sleep in and miss school the next day. That’s mostly what I remember from that concert.

PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene in your hometown, when you first started out as a band? What was your first show like together as a band?

KC: We still feel like we’re breaking into the music scene. Santa Cruz is a pretty open and welcoming town, though. There were plenty of opportunities to get on stages and from the first time we stepped on a stage we had an overwhelming feeling of support from the community.

The Coffis Brothers the Mountain Men19029495_1451991641527641_2252025848078906502_nPEV: What can fans expect from a live Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men show?

KC: It’s a rock and roll show. We think we cover a lot of bases during our set but it’s certainly danceable for the people who like to dance, while also being entertaining for those people who just want to stand and watch.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

KC: I’m usually thinking about those first three or four songs that we’re going to play and how we can get the audience on our side in those first songs.

PEV: How has playing in The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men been different from working with other artists or projects in the past?

KC: This is really the only band I’ve ever played in. We’ve backed a few other artists but this core group has remained in the other small projects I’ve been a part of so I don’t really know anything else but I certainly love playing in this group.

PEV: What is the underlying inspiration for your music? Where do you get your best ideas for songs?

KC: The inspirations are often changing but I think our best ideas for songs probably come from hearing other artists and bands. It might be a song you’ve heard hundreds of times or a song you’re hearing for the first time that sparks some idea. It’s always changing though.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?

KC: Sometimes I’ll see an old picture or video from early on and think “man, we’ve actually come a long way” but then I’ll quickly notice that I’m wearing the same shirt that’s in the picture or something like that and realize that we haven’t come all that far. We still have that feeling that these are our “early days” so we spend most of our time thinking about what’s next, but every once in a while it’s good to look back at what we’ve done and learn from that or even say “that’s pretty cool that we did that.”

The Coffis Brothers the Mountain Men19029306_1450176281709177_2228776218539993258_nPEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men?

KC: People often seem surprised when they hear that my brother and I don’t write together, but rather on our own. That’s just kinda the way we’ve written our songs so we just keep doing it like that.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest LP release, Roll With It, featuring your newest single “You Ain’t Got the Heart”?  Tell us about the writing process behind this work.

KC: I think it’s the best representation of this band and what this band does best. We had a big batch of songs that we felt really good about and we were able to capture really good performances of.

PEV: What is the feeling you get after a song or album is complete and you can sit back and listen to it in full? 

KC: There’s a little bit of a weight that’s lifted off of you but it doesn’t last long until you start thinking, “shit, I need to write some more songs.”

PEV: What would you say is the biggest challenge for musicians trying to make a name for themselves these days?

KC: Probably that there’s a lot of things you have to do to be a musician that don’t have anything to do with playing music.

PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

KC: Getting to Europe is high on our list. There are still lots of cities in the US that we’d like to get to but we would really like to go over to Europe and play.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play in your hometown?

KC: Our friends and family are super supportive. I’m amazed that the same people who came to see us play six years ago are still coming to our shows. It’s a huge thrill to play in front of your best friends.

PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

KC: A few of us teach music privately and a few of us are big sports fan. I’m a soccer coach so you might find me on a soccer field or you might find us all around a TV watching basketball or something. Recently my brother, Jamie became a radio DJ at KPIG so you might hear him as your flipping through your dial.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?

KC: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are our heroes. I’m not sure we would be making this type of music if it weren’t for that band. They’ve been hugely influential on us. A more contemporary band might be Blackberry Smoke.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

KC: There’s a ton. Locally we love McCoy Tyler, and Taylor Rae.

PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal), what do you think each of you would be doing for a career?

KC: I can only speak for myself here but I think I would be involved in coaching soccer. I’m not good at any real jobs so I’d probably be doing something like that.

PEV: So, what is next for The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men?

KC: Supporting Roll With It, playing music, and traveling.

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