Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me. It’s so greatly appreciated. Before we begin, could you take a moment to share with us who makes up the band and what instrument or element you bring?
Timmy Whiting (age 17) – lead vocals / guitar
Brenna Carnuccio (age 20) – lead vocals / keys & accordion
Nic Frishmuth (age 32) – drums
Eric Cogorno (age 30) – trumpet / guitar
Lance Mobley (age 26) – keys / organ
David Thompson (age 30) – bass
How did you guys meet and form CoastalRise?
Timmy – Our story isn’t your typical “Let’s get a band together” kind of story. No person who’s ever performed with CoastalRise sought out to form a band, to make music a career, or much less to make it big. It may seem cliché, but it really has been organic. We were friends first. We skated together, surfed together, had Bible studies and through fun times and friendship, we eventually started playing music together – just for fun and worship, really. Our friends and families would hear it and began to encourage us to make it “official.” So we did, not taking ourselves very seriously… not sure we ever will. We have fun. We love the Lord and each other. It’s pretty simple.
From all the pictures and cover designs from your CDs I’m assuming you love the beach. Was that the primary inspiration behind the CoastalRise or if not how did you go about selecting CoastalRise as your band name?
Timmy – We all have a genuine love for the ocean and the beach. Most of us surf and we especially have fun doing it together. The ocean and its power echoes the power of God in so many ways and it’s an obvious reminder of Creation. The “rise” part has many meanings as well. He is risen indeed! And we raise people Up as we lift them in prayer and show them God’s love. It’s a good fit on so many levels. The first show we ever played, we were named something else on the ticket. We decided on CoastalRise just before we took the stage and had them introduce us as CoastalRise… they were a bit confused but liked the show anyway!
You have a brand new album entitled “Call of The Sea,” Which is your second official album as a band. Though you stay true to your core elements, there’s a wide variety of styles including ska, rock, dance, funk, swing, jazz, reggae to name a few. Could you give us an overview of this record and what makes it different from your previous one?
Timmy – This album was more collaborative than the first. In our debut album, the person singing the song, wrote the song entirely. This album is more mature and developed. We have a style, even if it’s hard to define. The music is God-inpspired. It starts as a seed. Brenna and I write together and when the band joins in, each song takes on a life of it’s own. There isn’t an overall theme for the album as far as sound or genre is concerned. Each song is unique. But there is a theme in the message. This album represents the call of the Lord and He is Living Water!
Two of my favorite songs from your new album is the title track from your new cd “Call of the Sea” and “Baby.” In both songs you talk about the concept of how God calls us and draws us to Himself and ultimately when we seek after Him we will find Him. Could you talk about these songs and share the idea behind how we’re God’s baby, and also give some advice to someone who might be searching for God?
Brenna – Not only are we God’s baby in that we are His child, but we are also God’s baby in maturity level. Compared to His infinite massiveness I’d say we are much less than a fetus. I often find my logic and decisions so silly and honestly, pathetic. I am obviously in need of nurture and care from my Father in Heaven, the ULTIMATE parent. I act like such a BABY, in the stupidity of trying to handle my problems myself as if i am some superhuman… I tend to think too much of my own strength and not depend on what I NEED – HIS strength, HIS life, HIS love and peace and steadfastness. All this trouble to handle things on my own when his promises are clear – “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. God not only asks us to lay all cares on Him, being the only one who can take it all on, but he PROMISES he will take them. He knows we have a need, He makes himself FULLY available. God is not hard to find, when you truly WANT to find Him. He’s not interested in fakers. He promises without a doubt that He WILL be found when you seek with, “all your heart.” So don’t hold back, and don’t doubt. Chase with confidence and you will run straight into His arms.
Another song that I absolutely love is the song called “Lovely Avenue.” It’s a really fun danceable track that shares the idea of staying on the course God has laid out for you. Could you talk about this concept and share any thoughts on what a person could do to get back on track if they’ve strayed?
Timmy – This song fits seamlessly into mainstream music. Like you say, it’s danceable, and it’s also relatable. We all want to be on a lovely journey, we just don’t always know how to get there from here. The enemy wants us to think that the lovely path is the easier one, the one where everyone else is, the one where all the fun happens. The truth is, there is no lovelier avenue than the one He puts our feet on!
My absolute favorite song on the new CD by far has to be “Beach Bike Bandit.” Now I heard this was based off a true story. I don’t know if it’s the old school DC Talk rap elements or the fact that the music is so incredibly catchy and fun, or that the lyrics bring a strong challenge to do some major soul searching. Could you share the story behind this song and talk about the idea of dealing with guilt and regret?
Nic – Beach Bike Bandit was inspired by the True events that occurred during an early Fall Hurricane Surf Trip in Rodanthe, OBX. My friends and I rented a beach house for the week in hopes of catching some really good waves. We had a blast down there! Waves weren’t that amazing, but we spent a lot of time just fishing, Playing Beach Volleyball, and enjoying the Sun. My buddy Dan brought down his classic beach bike that his parents gave to him many years back. His bike was really top notch. Totally a great, nostalgic ride. And although we made it through the whole week with only a single day of good waves, it was all well worth it. Even after our “late morning surprise.”
It was our last morning there. Things were pretty much normal. We all chipped in and vacuumed the house, swept the decks, cleaned the refrigerator out, and packed the cars. The last bit of packing was our surf boards and the beach bikes. As I tied down the last board to the roof of the car I heard a voice, “Where’s my Beach Bike”??? It was Dan, and I didn’t pay much attention to his question. Then he came up to each of his buds and said, “who’s messing with me, who’s messing with me? Who hid my beach bike???” We all busted up, trying to figure out who was actually messing with him. After a few minutes of laughing, we realized that Dans bike was totally gone. We all retraced where we all last saw it. We all agreed to go back to its last location, then we noticed something. There was tire tracks meandering from where we last saw it, through the sand, over the dunes, and down the beach heading north, along the coastal waters edge. We followed his bike tracks for awhile, but to no avail. We then concluded, we will never see Dans beach bike ever again. We all felt so horrible for him. We all then just headed home, with our heads held low for our buddy Dan. Soon into our trip home, I said, we gotta find this Beach Bike Bandit. I thought we should put up some flyers with a mans sillouette on them stating: “WANTED!!! Beach Bike Bandit. Please call such and such a number if you have any information or have become a beach bike victim.” But Dan didn’t want me to do it, so I just kept daydreaming about this bandit. I started to think of what it must be like to be this bandit. Maybe he really needed the bike to get to work, or maybe he’s just a clepto. Nevertheless, I figured, why not write a song that talks about this beach bike bandits conscience. So I began to write, and The Lord just poured out every word. I was so passionate about this song, that it only took me 35 minutes to write the rhythm, melody and lyrics. It just came onto me like a rush of water. I tried to write quickly, not excluding anything that God gave me. It was truly an awe inspiring moment for me and my relationship with The Lord. The song is simple, yet very realistic. It talks about the fact that when we sin, there is always a Voice. A Voice calling out to us. This voice, is Gods Spirit, speaking to us, to turn from sin. To look to Him, and receive His Goodness, His Life and His Blessing. The bandit pedals off into the night, only to be scarred by his own conscience. And even though he continues to flee, far and wide, nothing can separate him from the Love of God. He’s trying to steer clear from Gods call on his life. Filling the deep hurt with momentary gratification. We all have experienced this in one way or another. My heart goes out for this Beach Bike Bandit. If I could say anything to him, I would say, “Dude! Stop peddling! Not height nor depth, can keep you from Gods Love. You are truly Loved by Him.” I hope that one day I get to meet this bandit. Maybe on The Other Side. To God be the Glory and Honor, Forever and Ever.
As a band you’ve performed at some pretty awesome places including Creation and the Fandana Festival in which you were selected as the top indie pick. You’ve played the Alive festival, The Ocean City Music Pier and the list goes on and on. Could you talk about your experience on the road? Do you have any fun road stories? Pranks? What has it been like getting to interact with fans from all over the world through your music?
Timmy – Being on the road certainly has its challenges. Some of us leave wives and children behind. We do everything we can to help band members with families to be away for as short of time as possible. On long journeys, I travel with my whole family (my parents and four younger siblings) and we fly those who can’t leave for such long periods. Family comes first. When we get there, wherever there is, we want to meet people, to build relationships, hear stories, and share stories. We don’t just show up, play, and leave. If we did, it would feel empty and meaningless. If the music touches people, but we don’t connect with them, the impact ends that day. It’s not our goal to get famous. It’s our goal to make Jesus famous!
Piggybacking off that last question, you recently had your huge CD release show at the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville PA. A lot of time and effort went into making this show a huge success. Could you talk about this show, your thoughts on the evening, and what response you received from it?
Timmy – It’s hard to describe the evening. It was kind of magical, actually. We finally got to put on the show we were meant to do… the venue was perfect. The production was great and we had complete freedom to show our “stuff.” The response has been overwhelming. There are reviews online and we’ll be posting some video from the evening soon.
Now, not many people know this but on top of being an amazing singer and front woman for CoastalRise, Brenna is also very active in pageants, even recently winning the crown as Miss Central Pennsylvania. While doing this she’s raised a lot of money and awareness for the Children’s Miracle network. Brenna, could you talk about how you got started in pagaents and some of the amazing things you’ve been able to do as a result o f capturing the crown?
I am one of the 37 local title holders in the state who will compete for the title of Miss Pennsylvania on June 9th-15th, 2013.
My involvement in pageantry began in the Summer of 2011 shortly after my high school graduation when my grandmother signed me up, without my permission, for the Miss Ocean City Scholarship Pageant in NJ, knowing I needed the money for school. When I won, I received significant help financially in paying for my education and in the process had enjoyed a surprisingly fun experience getting to know really cool girls and having great opportunities to share the love of Christ. I knew this was a venue where much of my talents and gifts fit and made a great outlet not only for my career building as a performer, receiving plenty of exposer, but also simply to build relationships and love people. I planned on competing in the Miss America Organization once my year as Miss Ocean City was complete. So, in February 2013, after having passed on my Miss OC crown the previous August, I competed in the Miss Central Pennsylvania Scholarship pageant, a preliminary to Miss Pennsylvania and Miss America, and won! As Miss Central Pennsylvania I have the amazing opportunity to volunteer and perform at many events in Central Pennsylvania and anywhere else I may arrange myself. I also use this platform to bring awareness to women’s depression in America and serve with organizations who are helping assist such women and prevent depression. In these venues I have opportunities to share the story of my mother’s depression and my experience as her child seeing her find victory in Christ and begin to celebrate her identity as a woman, and give women the chance to share their stories with me in environments where they feel safe to open up, something not many women get to fully do very often, if ever. I call my platform, “b3d: Define, Defeat, Discover!” Look it up on Facebook to read more about the mission and see what I’m doing!
Another thing that not many people know is that Timmy has been pursing music since his early teenage years, even recording a music video for a song he wrote when he was just 13 called “Into Battle.” Tim, could you talk about your start in music? When did you know you wanted to sing and write music? Were there more songs besides “Into Battle?” If so, could I get a copy?
Timmy – I started writing songs when I was 9. We have recordings of them somewhere, but I think I’d be to embarrassed to let you listen! Haha It took me from 4 years to talk my parents into getting me a guitar, but when they did and heard me play, they hurried to get me some lessons and were very supportive. That teacher, Justin King, became a wonderful mentor and friend. From that point forward, my loved ones were fully supportive and it was always my hope to sing for unbelievers. The “Into Battle” video is somewhere on YouTube, but the earlier stuff is hidden!
You’ve also recently partnered with JSAW, an organization that focuses on action sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, etc. Could you talk about this partnership and how it came to be?
Timmy – We’ve had a connection to Christian Surfers before CoastalRise even began. My family used to do mission / surf trips to Central America when I was little. We found Christian Surfers and I went on a trip with them to Panama when I was 12. They’ve been supportive of my own music ministry for a long time. We’ve recently partnered with JSAW, which includes Christian Surfers, Christian Skaters, and Snowboarders for Christ. These ministries line up with our ministry to reach the lost. It’s in our “DNA” according to Dean Plumlee, national director of Christian Surfers. We love to love on people like ourselves, don’t we? We often end up skating or surfing with people we meet on the road. It’s a natural partnership and we’re excited to collaborate with them!
Getting back to your new CD, one song that stands out the most is “Of the Light.” With your more rock driven approach and goosebump driven vocals, you definitely have a good time with this one as you pose the challenge of being children of light. Could you talk about this song and share how a person can fight the opposition from the enemy to ultimately stay strong and be a light in this dark world?
Timmy – This song has surprised CoastalRise fans a bit. It’s more rock than our other stuff and it’s super fun for us to branch out. It’s a battle song. You can’t help yourself but to feel ready for the fight – the fight against the enemy. We are warriors for Christ and we will be the victors if we trust in His plan for us.
We’ve talked a lot about the songs on the CD, but if I were to overlook the cover and the cover art, I’d be a bad interviewer. In the picture, every member of the band is submerged in water with their instruments. On the back, the picture shows you jumping feet first into the water off a boat which means that you really did jump into the water and not pull a green screen fast one. Where was this photo shoot taken? I’m assuming you didn’t take your actual instruments in the water, so where did the instruments you’re holding come from? And whose idea was it to pull a feat of this magnitude off?
Timmy – It’s the real deal… no green screen! We have an amazing friend and photographer, Bruce Kite. He’s been with us since the beginning and was also responsible for our debut album artwork, videos, and press photos. The shoot for ‘Call of the Sea’ was super fun. We took a road trip to Hatteras Island. We borrowed a fishing boat from a local commercial fisherman and, with his help, help from a local Coast Guard family, and the magic of Bruce directing the shoot, we got some amazing shots. The instruments were free on craigslist! The organ was in a little old lady’s house, she just needed someone to haul it away and so we did! Our attire (on both albums) is a nod to my PopPop who was a naval officer. He was instrumental in support of my music early on and he passed just before the release of the debut album.
Now most of the songs on the new CD are really upbeat and fun, but you have three songs, that are a lot slower and more reserved in “Home,” a song in which you share the idea that we’re not really home until we’re at home with the Father, “Prime Colors” a song about the need for fellowship with other believers and with God and “Ghost,” a song that deals with the idea that we all have skeletons in our closet so to speak from our past that we need to wrestle with as we grow to be mature Christians. Could you talk about these songs, the approach when writing them and how they came to be different from the others?
Timmy – The songs don’t form as fun & upbeat or slower & mellow.They really just evolve from chords added to thoughts, experiences, or time in the Word. It’s only natural that a slower driven song invokes a different feeling or emotion. When we’re not dancing, we think more on the lyrics and feel moved. These songs achieve that – a cause to ponder.
This interview has been pretty serious, so I’d like to liven it up with a few fun light-hearted questions in a segment I’d like to call “Off The Cuff.” For this next part answer them as honestly as you can with the first answer that comes to mind.
Favorite Beach: The Motels – Buxton, NC
Favorite Color: Clear – no boundaries, haha
Favorite Song (yours or someone else’s): “Off the Record” My Morning Jacket
Favorite Bible verse: That’s impossible.
Hidden talent/s: I’m okay at surfing and a pretty good defender in lacrosse.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring 3 items and one other person to be with, what and who would you bring:Knife, Flint, Tent, My Best Friend
Favorite caffeinated beverage: I don’t drink soda – ever. I like hot chocolate – not coffee or tea.
Mac or PC: What’s a PC?
Favorite pizza topping: Buffalo Chicken
Favorite Beach: Ocean City, NJ
Favorite Color: Light Salmon
Favorite Song (yours or someone else’s): “Sophia” Laura Marling
Favorite Bible verse: Jeremiah 29: 11-13
Hidden talent/s: I am a professional actress training at the Playhouse West School for Acting. I have also been a dancer for 13 years. I focus in Ballet and Pointe and keep up with my training as a part-time student in the dance program at West Chester University.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring 3 items and one other person to be with, what and who would you bring: Knife, Water filter, Bible, My Best Friend.
Favorite caffeinated beverage A fancy latte / frapp
Mac or PC? MAC!!!
Favorite pizza topping: Mushrooms
Favorite Beach: Island Beach State Park
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Song (yours or someone else’s): “He wants it all” Forever Jones
Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16
Hidden talent/s: Running on all Fours, Back Flips, Juggling, Hand Stand Push Ups, Walking on Hands for Long distances
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring 3 items and one other person to be with, what and who would you bring: I would bring my Beloved Wife, Cheryl. She’s smarter than me, and has a Faith that moves mountains. I would also bring The Word of God, because man doesn’t live on bread alone, Flint, and a Machete.
Favorite caffeinated beverage: Dr. Pepper
Mac or PC? PC
Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni
Favorite Beach: Ocean City
Favorite Color: Don’t have one. Depends on my mood.
Favorite Song (yours or someone else’s): “If it’s Magic” Stevie Wonder
Favorite Bible verse: Hebrews 6:10
Hidden talent/s: I’m an interior decorator.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring 3 items and one other person to be with, what and who would you bring: Blackberry, Keyboard, Batteries, My brother, Joe.
Favorite caffeinated beverage: Is ginger ale caffeinated?
Mac or PC? PC
Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni
Favorite Beach: Atlantic City (Black Jack baby!)
Favorite Color: Orange you glad to see me?
Favorite Song (yours or someone else’s): “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
Favorite Bible verse: 2 Cor 1:20
Hidden talent/s: I can spell RACECAR backwards and forwards simultaneously
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring 3 items and one other person to be with, what and who would you bring? Dishwasher, Plunger, Sunscreen, My wife, Anne.
Favorite caffeinated beverage: Monster Rehab
Mac or PC: What’s a PC?
Favorite pizza topping: Pickles
Getting back to a more serious note, we’ve been talking a lot about your music. For those reading this that want to get a copy where can we find your music?
Timmy – Just about everywhere you can buy digital music… iTunes, Amazon, etc… plus hard copies are available on our website, CDbaby, Amazon, and more. You can stream on sites like Spotify and I’m sure you can get it for free if you tried. It’s worth buying it though. It honors the artists and the hard work they put into it. Few artists come out ahead at the end of the year. It’s a labor of love and, for us, a labor for Him who we serve. If you can’t afford it, stream it, but do the right thing.
Now, Call of the Sea isn’t the only CD you have. In 2011, you released a self-titled CD. One of the catchiest songs on that CD is the song is called “Soul Power.” Could you talk about this song and the incredible power we get through God?
Timmy – We still close out every show with this song. It resonates with people. I think that even unbelievers know there is a higher power in control. It’s our human nature to love the freedom there is in knowing God has all the power. This is a fun song. My brother, Ben, raps in it and my brother, Sam, adds some percussion. Sam’s solo on a soup pot, has become the signature for this song. It’s fun for everyone.
What’s in the future for CoastalRise?
Timmy – So far, God has surpassed all expectations we could have had. We trust and submit this music to Him. Only He knows. We can be used globally or locally and still have an impact for the Kingdom!
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the audience reading this right now?
Timmy – It’s our intention for the music to be good musically – with original styling and intricate grooves, and good morally – with messages of hope and love in a dark and noisy world. We hope you will listen and be blessed.
Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedules to do this interview with me. It has been so awesome getting to learn about your heart for God, your music and your ministry.
CoastalRise is a six piece contemporary Christian group based out of Phoenixville, PA. “Call of the Sea” is their sophomore release and can be purchased on iTunes, CD Baby, or from their website. For more information on CoastalRise visit their website at: www.coastalrise.com
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