COIN has had a busy 2022 so far, and its year is just getting started. The band — which consists of Chase Lawrence (vocals, synth), Ryan Winnen (drums) and Joe Memmel (guitar) — is fresh off the release of its sixth studio album, Uncanny Valley, and has a string of recent wins under its belt: The group’s second single “Chapstick” earned them their first Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay No. 1 in February, and they later gave a rollicking late night performance of the track on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. To support the album, the trio will embark on a United Kingdom and Ireland tour alongside 5 Seconds of Summer starting in April.
Before heading on the road this spring, COIN set out to complete the visual universe of Uncanny Valley with a video for the LP’s newest single, “Brad Pitt,” a track that sees the group ruminating on social media’s glorification of eternal youth and the fragility of the human condition.
Billboard spoke with COIN about the deeper meaning behind Uncanny Valley and the inspiration behind the unsettling technological influences in the “Brad Pitt” video, which Billboard is premiering exclusively. (Watch it below.)
How would you say “Brad Pitt” fits into the greater context of Uncanny Valley?
Lawrence: I think the video, song and the album is very centered around this idea of relevance and clinging to our youth and this idea of identity — not understanding who we are, what it looks like to age gracefully, and not knowing how to embrace moving on and getting older. We kind of use technology as a catalyst or a symbol. I think in this album, we tell the story of human experience and what it means to live through the eyes of an objective force like technology … this video was definitely meant to be fun and unsettling and bizarre.
What went into crafting the concept for the “Brad Pitt” video and its visual identity?
Lawrence: Our friend — who we’ve known forever — Blythe Thomas directed the video, and we talked a lot about this idea of the things that sustain you and make you appear younger are actually the things that are slowly killing you, which is seen in the paradox of the tanning bed versus the coffin. It was presenting the same person but in different formats, whether it’s digital, physical and superficial, or generator engineered. The album touches on those three identities, trying to figure out which of those is real between social media and the version of yourself you share with your acquaintances, versus the version of yourself that you share with yourself. All three of those people are just as real as the other.
Winnen: We also love Donnie Darko and Poltergeist. There was this blue, dark tinge to some of those films that we’ve seen that are not incredibly sci-fi, but are rooted in that aesthetic … I think we referenced those films passively in the video.
Why did it feel like the right idea to name the song after Brad Pitt?
Lawrence: For us, “Brad Pitt” represented this idea of eternal relevance or the collective consciousness, as we call it in our world, but really the title is just a symbol of youth, somebody that’s aged gracefully and has almost denied nature. Naming the song after him felt like a fun, kooky way to reduce the song to a cultural reference.
Watch the video for “Brad Pitt” below.