My Search for CoConuts
I love music. Music speaks to everyone in different ways, and the best music sticks with you long after you have finished listening to it. I love how music is used in other mediums as well. In film, both songs that you may hear on the radio or the score can elevate a normal movie to one that gets at your emotions. Have you ever tried watching the original Star Wars movie without John Williams in the background? It is the single funniest movie you will ever watch, and not even the incredible sound design can save it.
This idea of music also extends to another medium: video games. Games like Grand Theft Auto (especially Vice City,), Saints Row and the original Tony Hawk: Pro Skater games are remembered for their colorful and incredible choice of licensed song use. They make the games feel real and get your heart rate pumping and ready to play. One other game with a great soundtrack was Hotline Miami, an ultraviolent top down shooter set in the late 80’s where you are tasked with eliminating mafia members. The game wears its silly amount of violence on its sleeve, and the soundtrack is incredible, with Scattle even providing a great amount of tracks for the soundtrack.
I played through the game recently, and I decided to look into the soundtrack to listen. I could find fan made playlists and thought little more than that once I found the playlists. However, one had a song that confused me. The song was titled Silver Lights, by a group called “Coconuts”. I remember hearing the song during the game, but only at one point. I did not see it on many playlists, so out of curiosity I decided to find more about the band. On Spotify, they had one album, a self titled LP released in 2010 that I jumped into with no questions. The problem was I left with just that: questions.
The album is horrifying. I do not know how to describe it. The sounds scare me and do not seem to have any sort of resemblance to any guitar, drums or bass that I have ever heard. Not even noise music gave me this feeling. Even noise music inspired albums (such as Daughters and their album You Won’t Get What You Want) sounded more like “standard” sounding music. This album scared me to a point where I did not want to go to sleep because the sounds of it made me afraid to try and sleep. It brought images of killers and unseen forces in the dark, and I do not scare easily, especially from albums. Two things were for certain: this was the strangest listening experience I had ever had and I was hooked.
I needed to learn more about the band. I searched Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for an account they may have been running at a point. Because the album was released in 2010, I assumed they may not have stayed as a band or maybe would only be releasing singles on a different website. I found nothing. I thought this was strange, but not the biggest thing. Social media was in its infancy when the album was released, so maybe I could look elsewhere.
I found a Bandcamp page for the album, and learned some more facts about the band. For starters, they have it spelled CoConuts, the only webpage where this happens. They were based in New York, specifically Brooklyn. They had a small number of supporters, and some left comments about their favorite tracks. They once sold limited copies of the album, with some being on CD and some being on vinyl. And… nothing else. Nothing. I could not find any more information on this page, and there was nothing on online music boards, Quora or other sites about this album or the band. I didn't even get the name of one of the members. I was fascinated that this band dropped something as strange sounding as this album was and then vanished. I stopped searching for a few days before I started searching again, this time on Reddit.
On r/HotlineMiami I found someone asking about the band who seemed to get as far as I had gotten. They found the Bandcamp and not much else. This is the ONLY page on Reddit that mentioned the band that I could find and I searched for days after to be sure. Nothing else seemingly anywhere on this band, except for this one post. And someone in the comments suggested a YouTube channel of what he believed to be the channel of one of the members of the band. I was excited to find this new piece of information, so I excitedly hit the link.
The channel, named “degreaser”, left me with more questions. Each video that is not a live performance has an interesting painting that serves as the thumbnails. It has fourteen videos in total, the first three all are about the Coconuts doing a live show. It is separated into three parts, and the videos filled me with dread once again. The room is dark and appears to be some sort of bar. The camera shows no crowd, just the three band members. The sound quality distorts the songs to a point where I had problems identifying which song was which. To mention the crowd again would be impossible, as there are no sounds from the crowd suggesting an empty room. All three of the Coconut live videos are like this. It only made me more uneasy watching them, as if I was not supposed to be seeing it for one reason or another.
Coconuts are not mentioned by name in the video names after this. One is titled “live at max fish”, suggesting another live performance for the band doesn’t show any live music, just people talking and drinking. After this, the uploads consist of songs under the “degreaser” name. The songs sound similar, which means the band could have renamed themselves and made more music but this is not for certain. The songs are similarly eerie, with vocals sounding muted and almost like spirits. Not knowing who made them and why only made them stranger.
One video breaks it up however: “Tim evans studio”. It follows a short trip through an art studio with morbid and scary looking paintings. Out of interest I searched for an artist named Tim Evans, and found a website with paintings that looked like it could be from the same artist. On his “Shows” page on the website it lists past shows, though it stops at 2014, and some shows were labeled as being in Massachusetts. and the video was uploaded in 2012. This begs the question: is the artist listed here the one behind the music? The description of the video gives me an answer: the owner of the channel is the artist. Tim Evans’ website states he works on the human face, which each of the paintings in the video focus on.
The only inconsistency is possible age, or rather it is unknown and can not be determined. Tim Evans supplies a photo of himself on his website, and he could be the older version of one of the young men in the videos performing. It is impossible to know for sure though. Whoever these kids were may have wiped everything clean, or at least what they could have. The last video is more music, once again under a new name, this one being “Sea Scouts”, but gives no indication of the lost record mentioned in the description. There was a band that released under this name in the late 90’s according to Spotify, but I can not find any link between these two.
While this rabbit hole was fun to find, I still struggle with it because I do not have all the answers. I am left with more questions. Was Coconuts a project from Tim Evans in his youth, or is it another artist with the same name who then made two new bands that made similar sounding music? Will they ever return? Truthfully I do not know where to end this. I wish I could give something conclusive. Maybe I am writing this so someone else will take up my interest. The worst part about this whole mystery? I do not know which is scarier: the band’s music or the band itself.