Coves are the kind of classical rock band (not a “classic rock band,” which are all lame as shit) that you can’t not love. Clad in tight black leather and Victorian pea coats as they churn out fuzzy, intellectual psychedelic sounds that could be equally at home at Andy Warhol’s Factory or a Factory Records party, John Ridgard and Beck Wood are the kind of ineffably cool badasses that could be written off as a cliché, if only the combination of sounds and sartorial styles that they embody weren’t just fucking perfect. The duo have been drumming up hype in their native Britain for close to two years now, drawing comparisons to Nico and touring with Band of Skulls. Their debut album, Soft Friday, dropped earlier this month and the band are about to embark on their first-ever tour of America, supporting The Raveonettes, which begins this Monday, September 22nd in San Francisco and wraps October 1st in DC. John recently took some time to chat with me about the history of Coves and just how excited they are to finally be playing the states.
Izzy Cihak: So this band is still relatively new, but you already have a plethora of notable achievements. What have been the highlights of the band, thus far?
John Ridgard: Glastonbury and doing BBC Maida Vale were amazing highlights… hearing the album’s test pressing on vinyl after Brendan [Lynch] had mixed it was pretty big as well. Probably the biggest was just finding out that some people like it though. I think as a musician all you should want for is for people to listen to your stuff… That’s why you do it, right?
Izzy: What is it that actually brought the two of you together?
John: Being in similar situations, work, location, and the desire to make something big.
Izzy: How would you characterize your process of writing and recording together?
John: I build the foundations and Beck finishes it off. I put the music together and then Beck writes the words and we build the melody. We like to take it further and work on videos and artwork to go with each song but at the moment we are playing it safe, first album style.
Izzy: You just released your debut LP, Soft Friday. What were the album’s most significant influences, both musical and otherwise?
John: There are no musical influences in particular. I like to listen to a load of music, put a lot of time into checking new stuff out, so I’m never just on one band or genre… There’s definite influences in there, but they weren’t put there on purpose… When pointed out in reviews I’m more like, “Oh yeah, I guess that does sound a bit like the Bunneymen.” We were influenced a lot by our situations, having our own space and a load of time on our hands.
Izzy: Do you have a particular favorite track off of the album, whether one that you’re most proud of or just one that’s especially fun to play live? I really dig “Let The Sun Go.”
John: I really like “Honeybee” as it’s the first song we did together. “Wake up” was the most fun to record. “Last Desire” is the most fun to play live.
Izzy: I must say that both your music videos and personal style are not only very cool, but also very cohesive. What is it that inspires the visual elements of Coves?
John: Beck has a very strong vision of how she wants things to look. She describes situations in shapes and colour. Before the band she had studied fashion and been a photographer as well so has always been heavily into presenting things correctly visually. I think she uses what she sees when she hears the music.
Izzy: You’re about to do a US tour with The Raveonettes. How excited are you for that? Were you fans of the band prior to the tour announcement?
John: We are both really excited and really scared. We have never been to America before, we can’t wait. I have always liked The Raveonettes, but the new album is just amazing. I love the way they released it without all the usual bullshit build up and free streams all over the place. I love sounds of the guitars and beats, plus the lyrics are super dark. It’s one of my albums of the year… So yeah, I’m a big fan.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live experience of Coves?
John: Big drums, loud guitars, loads of reverb, lots of smoke. We want you to get lost in Coves land and be spat out the other side with ringing ears.
Izzy: Since this is actually your first US tour, are there any cities you’re especially excited to get to see and play? You’re playing at The Black Cat in DC, which was my favorite place in the entire world during my teen years.
John: All of them. It’s like the best holiday in the world. We get to see all these amazing cities, get paid to do it, and someone drives us around. Since we have never been to any of them first, I can’t say which one I’m looking forward to the most.
Izzy: After your run of US dates you’re returning to the UK for some more touring. What are your plans for after that wraps? Is there any new music in the works? What can we expect of your future sounds?
John: We are already working on the second album but after the tour we will be just throwing ourselves into that. For the first album you have to play the game a bit and do what you’re told but we have loads of big ideas and things we want to turn into reality, so after the tours it’s time to get stuck into that and work on convincing the man to give us the money to do it.