Pleased to Meet You Spotlight: Coves Interview | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Pleased to Meet You Spotlight: Coves

From Rock Club Co-Workers to Psych-Rock Bandmates

Jul 30, 2014 Coves Bookmark and Share

Band Name: Coves

Members: John Ridgard and Beck Wood

Where: Royal Leamington Spa, U.K.

“Most people call it a mini-London. It’s filled with Victorian-style buildings, big white townhouses. It’s very green, and there are flowers everywhere.” - Beck Wood

“There have always been a lot of bands and musicians coming out of there, none of them really getting anywhere…. But there are lots of little venues, and a nice little music scene going on there. Lots of music studios and rehearsal rigs. It’s a nice community of music-minded people and artists.” - John Ridgard

Foundation and Formation: Co-workers at The Assembly, Leamington’s 1,000-capacity music venue. (Ridgard was Wood’s boss.) The club is a regular stop-off point for a lot of classic acts; some of the club’s upcoming shows include Gary Numan, Ian Hunter, and UB40.

“Unfortunately there’s a lot of prog rock that comes through there,” says Ridgard about the venue. “Lots of people dressed like wizards.”

Just three months into the band’s life (and before they’d played many live gigs), Coves begged Echo & the Bunnymen’s promoter to book them as the band’s opening act at their headlining show at The Assembly. Echo & the Bunnymen were so impressed by their performance, they asked the band to join them as they finished out their European tour.

“I can’t remember it being too daunting,” says Wood in regards to her first live performances with Echo & the Bunnymen, and in front of Echo & the Bunnymen-sized audiences. “I think I just drank all of the rider before I went up on stage! But it was such a great experience. They recently played the venue I work at and they still recognized us. And they bought our album on vinyl!”

Reference Points: From a vintage standpoint, many of the bands you’d find on the many Nuggets and Pebbles compilations. Ridgard started writing some of the project’s earlier psych-inspired tracks before Wood joined the band.

“One day I was with my friend Joe, and we went to a record fair,” remembers Ridgard. “There was a guy there who was dressed amazinglyin a pinstripe suit, with this crazy, ‘60s kind of hairdo. He had racks and racks of ‘60s, Nuggets-type stuff, and I asked him for some recommendations. We took a load of records home, and me and my friend started working on some tunes…. It was stuff like 13th Floor Elevators.”

More recent bands in a similar vein to Coves include fellow U.K. acts Temples and TOY. (Wood’s lead vocals give the barreling neo-psych a cool feminine twist, à la Nico or Grace Slick.)

Songwriting Chemistry: Like an indie rock bake shop with its own Food Network show.

“It’s a bit like making a cake,” explains Ridgard. “I kind of decide on what kind of cake we’re going to make, so I’d make the base. I’d make two sponges, which would be instrumentation and stuff. Then Beck would come around, and she’d have some lyrics. We’d drop the lyrics over it, which was like icing the cake. And then when it was finished she’d decorate it, which was like working out the words, and such. It’s like cake-slash-music-making.”

Sound and Vision:

Releases: Debut record Soft Friday lands in the U.S. on September 2nd, courtesy of Nettwerk Records.


[Pick up or download the next issue of Under the Radar to read more from our interview with Coves.]


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Richard McKay
August 5th 2014

Tickets for Birmingham’s Hare & Hounds Fri 14th Nov go on sale tomorrow, 6th Aug :-)