Some people just have all the luck. The Fisher brothers – Joshua, Tyler, Bradford, and Conrad – have always been surrounded by beautiful beaches: born in Tauranga, they grew up together on Perth’s gorgeous West Coast Drive.
The beach, it’s fair to say, is in their genes, as is grabbing a guitar and jamming with the boys, which is what they’ve done – and some – together as Coterie.
The group, who recently signed to Six60’s label, Massive Records, have quickly become one of the hottest acts in Australia and, particularly, New Zealand.
Their dizzy rise to the top hasn’t been unearned though, because, belying their proclivity for amiable beachside jam sessions, the four brothers have put in a lot of hard work to get where they are today. As we chat two cities apart – I’m in Melbourne and the boys find themselves in Sydney – it’s clear that they’re still adjusting to their new reality.
“We were doing stadium tours with Six60 on the weekend, then flying home to lay bricks Monday morning,” they reveal.
Despite all the acclaim that’s came their way recently, including being named Best New Artist at the 2023 Panhead Rolling Stone Aotearoa Awards, it may come as a shock to discover that this is Coterie’s first year as full-time musicians.
“We probably toured too much last year to hold down a job, so we kept getting fired,” admits Tyler. “I’d say it was at the beginning of this year where it felt like we could do this.”
And how they announced themselves. It’s rare that a live remix catches the attention of a living legend who’s been in the music industry for decades, but it’s even rarer that said legend is convinced to record a new version of their own song nearly 40 years later.
Yet that’s exactly what happened when Coterie played a homemade remix of the Kiwi classic “Slice of Heaven” at a festival last summer. In September, they released the official and only remix alongside the song’s creator himself, Sir Dave Dobbyn.
As we speak about the remix, I make a faux pas: the boys instantly call me out for missing the “Sir” in Sir Dave Dobbyn’s name. “By the way, it’s Sir Dave”, jokes Tyler. “Did I not say Sir Dave?” I reply in horror. “Nah, you said Davey-boy”, he responds with a laugh.
It’s an awful mistake on my part, but their correction is testament to the relationship and respect between the group and the beloved Auckland singer-songwriter.
“One thing we learnt from Sir Dave was to really pour energy into writing the song because one song can see you through decades if you do it right,” adds Tyler. “It allows you to continue doing what you love, like seeing the world and playing on different stages with different artists—like Sir Dave’s done. ‘Slice of Heaven’ carried him all over the world.”
Pouring your heart into the writing of a song doesn’t necessarily mean spending an extraordinarily long time putting pen to paper, though. Recalling the day they recorded with Sir Dave, Coterie reveal that he came into the studio, recorded two takes, and then he was done.
Coterie’s new single, “Paradise”, which was released today, followed a similar timeline: they recorded the entire song in 45 minutes, and shot the video in Fiji on a mobile phone.
“‘Paradise’ has been the crowd favourite. We did a run of shows in the UK with Lime Cordiale, we played it all over the UK and they frothed it, that’s how we knew we had something here,” they say. “[Sir Dave’s advice] is something we were focusing on and holding onto when we wrote ‘Paradise’. Could this be something that carries us through? I dunno… it feels like it could.”
Things are clearly moving fast for Coterie, but it’s evident that they couldn’t be more grounded. “This is the dream. We’re just local boys being idiots, making music for our mates,” Conrad says with a big grin on his face.
That may sound too good to be true, but take away the fancy studios and headline tours and that’s the true essence of Coterie. They embody what reggae rock is all about, from the look to the attitude – they are truly just “local boys” who just happen to now call Six60 mates.
“They love music just as much now as they did when they were uni boys throwing parties. And the other thing is, they’re pretty much still uni boys throwing after parties”, Tyler says.
“Our whole experience with those boys is crazy. You see them as this kinda unreachable, unattainable, legend status within New Zealand – now we text them everyday. It’s banter non-stop, trying to tee up when we’re all chilling next, going for bevvies, and writing tunes.”
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Following the release of “Paradise”, Coterie can now turn their attention to their massive regional tour of Australia and New Zealand. Accompanied by Muroki, George VILLA, South Summit, and so many more great up-and-coming artists, they’ll perform in bandrooms and bars around the two countries (ticket information here).
But the feeling persists that Coterie aren’t far off emulating Six60 by moving up to stadium status; 2024 looks set to be another big year for Coterie, and “Paradise” is only the beginning.
Coterie’s “Paradise” is out now via Sony Music Australia.