Interview with Sam Coffey | By Natalee Coloman

If there’s one thing fans of Sam Coffey And The Iron Lungs love, it’s the energy the band put into their performances, along with the positive attitude Coffey portrays in his life. With the release of their new self-titled album on July 28 via Dine Alone and Burger Records and a coast-to-coast Canadian tour in May and June with The Flatliners and The Dirty Nil, their summer debut was packed with as much excitement as ever. “Everything’s been going really well,” Coffey says. “The people are loving the guitar solos and the big high-kicks we do. They’re jumping around, they’re dancing, they’re feeling good.”

After two trials of recording the album, the third and final cut ended up being the best. “Compared to stuff we’ve done in the past, this album is more focused,” Coffey says. “We knew what we wanted, and this was something more strategized than previous releases.” Ahead of the official release, the band previewed three singles, “Talk 2 Her,” “Judy,” and “Ragnarok,” and released a music video for “Talk 2 Her.” The sound of the new album mirrors the shift in contemporary indie music.

In The Iron Lungs’ hometown of Toronto, the music scene has become more competitive than ever. Coffey says that, while the scene is close-knit, there are a lot of obstacles to break through. “There seems to be a bit more competition in Ontario than in the U.S., but that might be a stance and ego issue with me,” he admits. “There’s a lot to get through, but you make a lot of great friends along the way.”

Despite the massive number of bands arising in their scene, one of Coffey’s concerns is the constant venue shutdowns he says seem to be happening every other week. “There are so many venues closing down in Toronto, it’s insane,” he says. “We just lost Silver Dollar a couple of weeks ago, which was a legendary place. It’s where we played our first show. Everybody’s trying to make do with what they’ve got, and we help out as much as we can.” Luckily, Toronto’s scene is never short of party shows—which Coffey doesn’t mind playing. “We’ll play anywhere as long as it’s a good time for anyone else,” he says. “We just want people to have a good time, so it doesn’t matter the space. Just as long as the party’s there, we will be there too.”

Coffey describes the self-titled album’s nine tracks as going from heavy reverb and delay to straightforward rock ‘n’ roll. He believes capturing those sounds will help the band stand the test of time. “I feel like this album really encapsulates the spirit of radio,” he says. “If you were to ever listen to a classic rock station, our songs would fit right in there too. We want to make songs that you can hear now, 30 years from now, or 30 years in the past and enjoy it no matter what.”

Coffey is incredibly thankful to have such a strong team onboard with the new album, and attributes his success to not only his bandmates, but the two labels who’ve worked hard to make this release a success. “Burger and Dine Alone are being so incredible to us right now, and we just want to do good by them,” he says. “I want to make the guys in the band proud and happy, and I want to make these guys proud and happy. I think we have a good plan set up, and I think we’re all ready for it. I hope everybody else is ready for it too.”

After 11 years of playing in The Iron Lungs—from early open mic performances to the dedicated, focused live shows of recent years—Coffey sees only improvements and payoffs in his future, and their collaborative signing with Burger Records in Los Angeles and Dine Alone Records in Canada has been one of the biggest. “We have a nice little family going on with Burger and Dine Alone,” he says. “Both sides were onboard and really came to bat for this record. Burger have been our supporters for so long, and I’ve wanted to be on Dine Alone since I was 18 years old.”

Burger began to support the band around 2015, working with them on this new release and getting their name out there in the music industry. Coffey says their relationship grew after their 2014 full-length, Gates of Hell, caught Burger’s attention. “I started talking with the Burger guys after we opened up for Red Cross in Toronto,” he says. “Ever since then, I’ve always been in contact with them, and they’ve helped us out so much.”

Coffey has said that, in a perfect world, Burger and Dine Alone would both collaborate with the band, and it seems that perfect world has become a reality. “We are really over the moon with this stuff,” he says. “It makes perfect sense, because I eat hamburgers alone all the time. I totally get it, and I’m there with them all the way.”

Purchase Same Coffey & The Iron Lungs here: Burger Records | Dine Alone Records

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