The Coach Phase shows promise with electronic indie sound

The Coach Phase, a rock band comprised of Geneseo seniors, was created in October 2008 and produces music that's easy to listen to and ideal for dancing.

Each member of the band cites a different inspiration: it's The Beatles for guitarist Dave Heller, Captain Beefheart for bassist Chris Gockley and The Clash for vocalist and keyboardist John Barrington; all three cited the overarching influence of The Flaming Lips. Barrington described the band's sound as "electronic [because] indie's too broad." Heller added that they've also thought of it as "freak-pop and dance-rock … sometimes it gets weird."

It's clear that even with a "weird" sound, The Coach Phase has generated a respectable fan base since their origination, apparent by the packed houses they've been playing including some in Albany and Indiefest in Rochester, where they represented their Geneseo roots. They're not slowing down anytime soon, though; the band has lined up shows in Syracuse, a 9 p.m. slot on GSTV's upcoming telethon and a potential gig at the Statesman.

The members of the band revealed that their instruments represent a collection of "thrift store" equipment. These older instruments, however, serve the sound of the band. Barrington plays a 20-year-old keyboard that he received as a Christmas present, and he says it's impossible to find another keyboard that produces a similar sound.

Something striking about the band is its lack of a drummer. Barrington said, "There aren't a lot of drummers willing to play along with a beat … also, it's hard to bring someone into that atmosphere that we're already so deep in." The band lives together, so one can imagine how close they are. Bringing someone else into the tight-knit group seems like a feat in itself.

As for their music making process, Gockley said, "It can get violent." For a band that is together constantly, disagreements are apt to erupt but are always resolved. The biggest challenge, the three players said, is syncing schedules. The trio is waiting until they graduate to finally spread their wings and explore things outside of Geneseo.

"You have to remind yourself you're really young and that you're not wasting time," Barrington said. "It takes a lot of convincing yourself to realize that you do still have time."

Gockley said he couldn't imagine life without meeting his two bandmates. "Sometimes when you get real down, and you think 'Oh I'm wasting my life here' … you look back at that hour and 15 minutes, where there's nothing that can compare to performing."

"It's better than sex," Heller said. "Performing is the highest feeling I've ever had. Sometimes I think I just want to live this way."

"I think that anyone who is a musician and has the desire to start writing songs should do it," Barrington said.

To learn more about The Coach Phase, fans can gain access to their music through the band members' individual Facebooks, the band's Myspace website at or by purchasing the band's EP at For those fans who attend a live shows, the band occasionally gives away promotional codes that allow fans to download the EP for free.

Spread the word, Geneseo. Out go bands like The Devil Wears Prada, because here comes The Coach Phase.