From Pirates to Cowboys: A Chat with Austin Durry of Coyote Kid

Coyote Kid is an aggressive story music band that creates large-scale concept albums incorporating narrative and cinematic elements. Their newest release, the first since their renaming from Marah in the Mainsail (Yes, the band with the chains), will be released next month and includes its own D&D campaign. We chatted about all the new spooks and tunes from an act poised to pop with fall.

Treedome: So you've been known as Marah in the Mainsail for quite some time, before making the switch to Coyote Kid earlier this year. Why the change?

Austin Durry: The name change was something we wanted to do for a really long time. We just felt like we had outgrown the pirate-punk name we came up with in high school, and wanted to find something short and easy to say, with just a hint of Spahgetti-Western mixed in. It was a tough decision to make after two full-length records, but we’re thrilled to have a clean slate and a fresh perspective on the music we make. It’s amazing how much a new brand can inspire new music.

TD: Tell me a bit about this new album of yours. What was the inspiration?

AD: “The Skeleton Man” is going to be a really fun record. We wanted to take the laser focused doom and gloom of “Bone Crown” and expand the sound to encompass a broader emotional palate. We took a lot of inspiration from old westerns, and classic sci-fi horror films, and have kind of found a way to stuff all these different motifs we enjoy into one cohesive record. It picks up stylistically where “Bone Crown” left off, and kind of leads through the plot of the story and into all new sonic territory in the music. We wrote in different recurring themes and sounds that represent the different characters in the story, and as the characters change and grow, you begin to see these themes fit into all different kinds of songs.

TD: You're a very narrative-driven band, and I've loved following the narratives in your recent records. What about Skeleton Man? What can you tell me about the story?

AD: So this record picks up the story hundreds of years after the apocalyptic wildfire depicted in “Bone Crown.” Civilization is wild, but beginning to be tamed as new governments slowly establish power. It’s the worldwide wild west. (Say that 10 times fast). The story follows three main characters, the Bloodhound, the Medicine Crow, and of course the Coyote Kid as they make their way through the new dark age. There’s a growing tension between the natural and unnatural as the Medicine Crow attempts to find a “cure for death” to restore the diseased Bloodhound. Meanwhile the Coyote Kid is having visions of death itself, the Skeleton Man, urging him to restore the natural order. It’s gonna be a wild one.

"Oh we love the spooks."

TD: Is it darker than “Bone Crown”? I mean, you definitely have a thing for the spooks.

AD: Oh we love the spooks. I’d say it’s a much wider soundscape then “Bone Crown.” It gets darker at times, and lighter at times. It’s a dark story with a light-hearted narrator, if that makes any sense. We really wanted to push ourselves creatively into new ideas and concepts we never thought we’d touch. Really leaning into the character themes, and story elements, and letting them shape the sound.

TD: Is there an aesthetic change people can expect, or are you the same old Marah?

AD: We’re always trying to evolve the show to be bigger, better and more memorable. Emo Cowboys still fits the bill I’d say, but we’re definitely expanding the stage look I think. Especially on our album release tour, we’ll be going real hard on the Skeleton Man theme. Gonna be a real spooky fun time.

TD: I heard through the grapevine that you were working on a Dungeons and Dragons campaign based on the new album. What's that about?

AD: The grapevine speaks the truth. We’ve been told dozens of times we were a D&D band, so we thought it’d be fun to include a D&D campaign as an outrageous stretch goal of our Kickstarter Campaign. The fans came out in droves and brought us all the way there. It was crazy! Needless to say we’re honored to be able to make this record and are literally giving it everything we have to make it an in depth experience. And what other band can say you can literally take a competitive imaginary adventure through their album? I think it’s gonna be a blast.

TD: Alright, now what’s your favorite Western?

AD: “Once Upon a Time in the West.” It came pretty late in western film history. But I feel like it’s a great middle ground between the relatively low budget, Clint Eastwood Spaghetti-Westerns, and the campy John Wane blockbusters that started the genre. It has the Hollywood budget and the Italian grit, and a classic vengeance plotline that I think stand the test of time. It’s slow as hell, but I think it’s worth it.

Coyote Kid will perform at Shut Down Third Street at 11 p.m. at Ed’s No Name Bar. Their new album “The Skeleton Man” will be released this October, and will be available at your local record store and online on all major streaming services.