Photo: Celia Bou

Coyote’s Busted Pop Arrives From a Different Plane

The Dunedin brother's cover of Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy" gives the original a run for its money.

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Nov 23 2017, 4:17am

Photo: Celia Bou

I got wind of Dunedin sibling duo Coyote through a New Zealand friend who spruiked them as "like early Ariel Pink if he wasn't up his own ass". The link he sent was for a home-recorded video of two guys wandering around a beach and park. They played on swing sets and tumbled down sand dunes alongside a simple pop track featuring drum beats and synth. The babyfaced one sung with haunting vocals while the older guy with hand tattoos stood on a bed and shredded a guitar with the word 'psychosis' scrawled across it.

The track was "I'm Not Cold Anymore" and it was one of the best I'd heard in a while. Basic and busted, the video had a reckless and creative spirit that comes from hanging out in a place where not a lot goes on. Where fun is created by building forts made from tree branches and painting faces on rocks. As someone who regularly receives emails from acts who sound like Flume and boast of Soundcloud and Spotify plays, these brothers from the bottom end of New Zealand captured a sense of true DIY fun.

After checking their You Tube channel that features more scrappy videos, shot by their sister, including a cover of Sheryl Crow’s 1999 smash “If It Makes You Happy”, I began to develop a small obsession with the brother's unique take on pop music.

For many years Jeremy Cosmo Potts lived in Auckland where he played in a number of bands including roguish trio Rackets and Big Tipper. On returning to Dunedin he hooked up with his 13 year-old brother Louis and started creating brilliantly raw and busted pop as Coyote.

Their debut five-song EP, Taming The Centaur was released through YouTube and they continued to make a number of basic homemade videos. Since the early recording Coyote has developed into a fuller band. A live-to-air at radio station 91FM featured a 15-minute jam with epic guitar Sabbath like guitar riffs solo and wild shrieking. "I Met Satan” a track from their new album Hotel for Dogs that we are premiering is a louder and more polished song than earlier work. Have a listen and read a chat we had with Louis and Jeremy.

Noisey: What’s the best thing about being in a band with your brother?

Louis: I think Jez is a sick guitarist but I also think we may have something like a psychic connection. It's like we're on a different plane to everyone else. Not a higher plane or a lower plain, just a different one. It could also be that our sense of humour is very similar.

Jeremy, why did you leave Auckland? Was it an escape or a return?

Jeremy: I had to get out of there for a few reasons. I felt like a dried up piece of dog shit and my creative juices had stopped flowing. Change is really good for you. I can see that now.

Photo: Coyote

An earlier song "Catatonic Death Trance" has some pretty direct commentary. Was that in relation to your lifestyle in Auckland?

Jeremy: It's about working a job you hate or being in a situation you don't like so you wait for the weekend to blow off some steam. To me it's a political song. Who the hell invented the week anyway? It makes no sense: "here are two days you are allowed to enjoy yourself". Ha! I've never had a job so it's not about my lifestyle exactly. But in a way the song has an undercurrent of rage and is about self destruction.

Rocks seem to be a motif in your videos. If you are not throwing them you are painting them.

Lewis: We just think rocks are cool.

They also feature a lot of streams and forests. They are filmed near your home right?

Louis: Yeah, it's a great area and really ideal for meditation which Jeremy and I like to do a lot. It can get so quiet that it can be surreal though honestly on dark nights it scares the shit out of me.

Besides it being a banging tune, why the decision to cover Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy”?

Louis: Jez was playing it through the house so much that I saw covering it as a sort of obligation in a way. So when he suggested we covered it I was right on board of course.

The new songs seem a bit more developed.

Now we are writing heavier songs. We put the band together to play live shows but now we are writing songs with the band in mind. It's not just Garage Band anymore.

Why is the word 'psychosis' painted on Jeremy's guitar?

Jeremy: I started tagging it around Auckland a few months back. I thought it was buzzy. I like the vibe and it suits the way I play.

Photo: Celia Bouy

What’s with you both wearing Shell hats?

Louis: We just think they look cool, nothing else. But in other ways I see it as kind of a symbol of brotherhood and (like I mentioned before) being on the same plane.

People seem to be picking up on what you are doing.

Jeremy: I was in a band before this for for 7 or 8 years but I've never felt so optimistic about a band. There's a bit of a buzz brewing and I can feel a good vibration

Coyote are playing a party to celebrate VICELAND’s first birthday in New Zealand. The gig is Dec 1 at Raynam Park Studio in Auckland. To win tickets RSVP here.