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What I Learned at Bandcamp: Coed Pageant

Coed Pageant, Bandcamp, Interview

Coed Pageant is the product of husband and wife Bradley and Gretchen Bergstrand. The duo began in Illinois before relocating to California and most recently to Flagstaff.

In 2012, they released four albums– one for every season. The band’s current EP, Drag, was released on Oct. 17. The six-track album is available for name-your-price download on Bandcamp.

Below, read The Spec‘s interview with Bradley and listen to tracks from Drag

Tell us a little about yourselves…
We write and record music in our living room and play shows all over. We just released a new EP called Drag and are touring that as much as we can right now. Currently, Bradley is taking a solo acoustic tour of the West and Midwest and we’re hoping to have some full-band dates later this winter.

How long have you been making music?
We started Coed Pageant in 2012, but we were already playing in a band together before that. I think we actually met playing music together, through mutual friends about eight years ago, and really liked it so we never quit.

Who/what are your influences?
As a songwriter, John Darnielle is a huge influence. I also really like Elliott Smith. As a band, I think our biggest influence is Mates of State. They are the band that made us want to try the two-piece thing.

What is your favorite song on the new album and why?
It varies a little day-to-day, but I think my favorite is the title track “Drag.” I think in a lot of ways it is because of how well the recording worked out, but also it’s the one that lyrically kind of means the most to me. I wrote it about where I grew up and I feel like it’s a pretty accurate description of people growing up with too much energy and not enough productive outlets.

Why did you decide to move to Flagstaff?
We moved here so that Gretchen could start going to grad school. We had never been here before, but it turned out to be a cool town. A lot of great hiking and we’re just kind of starting to discover a pretty cool music scene here.

Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
I think the very next thing I would like to do is a kind of stripped down acoustic EP. I don’t know what it will end up being, but I am planning on keeping it to guitar, piano and vocals. Some of the songs I want to use are from our older EPs and then with a couple new songs that I think work well with a simpler arrangement. What I’d really like to do, eventually, is write music for a film. I don’t do film myself so I am just kind of hoping the right project falls into my lap someday.

If you could no longer be a musician, what would you be or do for a living?
I would probably try to teach creative writing or American literature or something like that. That would require me to go back to school for a couple years, which I wouldn’t look forward to, but I think helping someone with their writing would be a job I could really care about and be fulfilled by.

What musicians or bands do you look up to?
David Bazan comes to mind not only because he is one of the greatest songwriters of all time but because he comes across so sincere on stage, and the couple times I’ve seen him interacting with people away from the stage. Also, I feel like he has spent most of his career writing the songs he wanted to write without getting too distracted by what is marketable or how things will be received. Mostly, I think it’s hard to find people truly being sincere especially in music and he somehow has managed to not get jaded, as far as I can tell.

Why do you make music?
I just love it. I love writing it, playing it, listening to it. It sounds kind of weird to say, but I am not sure humans could survive without music and it just feels very good to be a part of something good. Every time we create something like a new album, regardless of how few or many people listen to it or whether they love or hate it, we have contributed to something important just by creating music.

Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
One of the earlier questions made me think about the fact that the first time Gretchen and I ever talked it was about making music together and now we have been married for four years and are still making music together and recording EPs in our living room and that is pretty much the best. The next time I complain, someone should remind me of that.

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