The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men is a band from a small town called Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains, formed by two brothers Kellen and Jamie, and occasionally joined on stage with Henry, Kyle and Mason. Their musical inspiration comes from acts such as Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Norah Jones and Bob Dylan, which shows in their music. Their full length album is available to listen to up on their Web site. When I first listened to the album, I was amazed by how much I enjoyed it. I listened to the entire album, without skipping any of the songs, which is really rare for me. I’m a pretty big Tom Petty band, so I had a good feeling I would love the Coffis Brothers, which turned out to be correct. It’s hard to pick a favorite from the album, but some of the songs I liked the most are Down to the Wire, All I Need and You Can Run. I asked Kellen some questions about how the band got started, about recording their album and what advice he’d give to bands that are just starting out.
BLD Music Quest: How did The Coffis Brothers first get started?
Kellen: The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men (Jamie Coffis, Kellen Coffis, Henry Chadwick, Kyle Poppen, and Mason Hutchinson) got formed last summer, 2010. Jamie and I started writing song about 3 years ago but it wasn’t until spring of 2010 that we started playing out in public as a duo. In May of 2010 we had our first show as a full band. All five of us went to the same high school and have known each other for most of our lives. We had been jamming with each other for years so the forming of the band was pretty organic.
BLD Music Quest: You guys have some great recordings. When did you guys record & how did it go?
Kellen: Last January we booked four days in a great studio in Santa Cruz called Gadgetbox Studios, where we had the pleasure of working with Andy Zenzcak. We did all the tracking in those four days and had an absolute blast doing it. We wanted to make the songs sound as live as we could, so the recording process was basically all of us playing the songs together at the same time in the same room. About 99% of the leading and backing vocals were done live and we tried to limit the amount of over-dubbing involved. We sort of followed the model of Tom Petty records, where it really sounds like a rock & roll band playing together, and with the magic of Andy, I think we did that. We are more than pleased with our product, as well as our experience, from Gadgetbox.
BLD Music Quest: What plans does the band have for the rest of the year?
Kellen: We’re trying to stay as busy as we can. Jamie and I have been traveling around the Bay Area playing as a duo as much as we can. In the next couple months we will be heading to Sacramento, Sonoma, and Portland, Oregon. We also have a few full band shows set up in Santa Cruz and further up the peninsula as well.
BLD Music Quest: What advice would you give to bands just starting out?
Kellen: We are a pretty new band so we are learning quite a bit, but the best advice I can give is play music as much as you can, whether you’re playing in front of 5 people or 100 people, just play. Also go see live music as much as you can. I always learn a lot going to see other bands play and I think it really helps you see what works and what doesn’t work on stage.
You can listen to their full length album and see where they’re playing next at: