By Lupita Uribe
Originally published by Noise Pop on July 19, 2018.
Sometimes the best stories are told with no words. This is the case for math rock San Jose band Covet, who replaces choruses with catchy, winding guitar melodies, pulsing basslines, and atypical rhythms, omitting words completely from their repertoire. Covet —which originally started as frontwoman Yvette Young’s collection of songs manifesting themselves— is made up of Yvette, bassist David Adamiak, and drummer Forrest Rice.
Last week Covet tested their luck by releasing their debut album, effloresce, on Friday the 13th. Based on the track list, it seems luck is on their side. The new album brings a more refined and developed version of their original sound, truly displaying their significant progression over the last few years.
effloresce kicks off with “shibuya,” an energetic track featuring Dutch bass producer San Holo. Fingertips climb fretboards with urgency and ease while steadfast drums switch between driving and pausing the track. “Howl” is another standout track. It holds a certain darkness with dissonant chords and heavy, gloomy bass lines grasping the attention of the listener. effloresce also allowed the band to reimagine one of their standout tracks from their Currents (2015) release: “sea dragon.” This modernized deviation features CHON guitarist Mario Camarena and provides a crisp, cleaned up take on a Covet classic as it winds, crashes, and layers on top of itself.
Along with the new album, 2018 has provided the band with other big, new experiences included signing to Triple Crown Records earlier this year and heading on their first headlining tour that just kicked off this week. We caught up with the band last week to discuss their new album, their upcoming (and first-ever) headlining tour, and more. Check out the interview below.
Noise Pop: You’re getting ready to release your first album on a label. How was the recording process different for this album?
Yvette: Our first recording for our last EP was very DIY. It was more like in a garage. We didn’t really know that much about what went into recording; we just tracked guitars, messed around with layers and stuff. The recording quality [of our old EP] is definitely not the best, but it still helped us a lot… We recorded effloresce at Vu Du studios in Long Island and it was a lot different because we had a professional team of people with amazing ears and experience helping us shape our tone, and they had really nice equipment… What was rewarding about the studio space was working with all their gear —they had a lot of pedals that I ended up buying. And it was just really awesome being able to finally hear our songs nicely recorded, not just DIY recording. I think it was a huge learning and growth experience first of all. We learned a lot about how we want to streamline our future recording and writing process.
Noise Pop: What is your writing process? How do you go from an idea of a song to creating the full on tune.
Yvette: Usually, for most of the songs, I’ll come to practice with a fully written song, or maybe just a few riffs and then we’ll just jam it out. I prefer to do most of the writing on my own just because I can concentrate better and there’s not too many cooks at first. Later the whole band will jam it out, play it, and then we’ll change things. So then we’ll edit the structure and we’ll add pauses here or there and maybe extend the lengthen or shorten it.
Noise Pop: What is the standout track from effloresce for each of you? What would you say is your favorite, and why?
Forrest: I would say it’s “falkor” because it’s the longest track and i think it has, for me, the most signature Covet moments, all featured in there. And I have a sick drum solo at the end so that’s a plus.
Yvette: My personal favorite would be “shibuya” because I really enjoy how playful it sounds, and I like the guitar tones that I end up getting to use. For me it’s really fluid and tells a story, and it makes you feel things the most. So yeah, I like that one.
David: It’s hard to pick because it’s like one of those things where it’s hard to pick your favorite child. I don’t know, there are just so many favorite moments for me. I would say the track that probably sticks in my brain the most is “glimmer” because there is a heavy moodiness to it. There’s a washiness about that song that is very unique in terms of the types of progressive compositions out there. It’s a lot more mellowed out and it has this swampy vibe that I get lost in. And “falkor.” Forrest’s drumming on “falkor” kinda makes me go crazy.
Noise Pop: Have you played any of these new songs for fans yet?
Forrest: We started playing “shibuya” and “falkor” last year. We wrote “shibuya” weeks before we went on tour with it, so it’s kind of good we got to play that song live before we recorded it to get a lot of practice with it. So we played those and then we did a tour with Tiny Moving Parts and we played almost the full album on that. It’ll be cool to debut [the album] in its entirety on this headlining tour. That’s real exciting!
Noise Pop: Do songs ever transform and shift from what’s on record when you perform them live? If so, how?
Yvette: Yeah, absolutely! Sometimes I’ll play a song live and for me, personally, I’ll change the song structure. Sometimes, if something drags, I’ll shorten it. Or if I’m on stage playing a part and I get bored, we’ll either add something to make that part more compelling or shorten it. And I’ve messed with my pedal board a lot to make certain parts more impactful. Or if certain parts are more muddy, I’ll take out or add some effects to that section. I think the only way to really figure out what you want to do with a song is to play it a ton.
David: There’s a couple songs on the EP that were written right before we recorded them and there’s also a few of them that we’ve been playing for awhile since we recorded them. I’ve noticed that the ones we’ve been playing for a while, we are very settled on, so the difference between the recording and the performance is minimal. However, the songs that we’ve written just before, there’s a few really cool things [that are different]. I’m thinking of “glimmer” specifically. Like Forrest adds a few cool little details to the drums in that song that aren’t on the recording, but now every time we play it live he does it and it just gets me super stoked. That would be an example of how songs do transform live.
Forrest: Yeah, I feel for me after playing a song so many times one way, even after we’ve already recorded, I’ll find a better solution or I’ll find a better puzzle piece to fit into the song that I think complements better. You play it so many times and then all of a sudden it’s like “I’ll put extra kicks here” or “I’ll just put a cymbal hit here” and it just kind of catches your attention and highlights or punctuates a little better.
David: Yvette has a ton of great effects that she adds on, which are some of my favorite things.
Yvette: Oh yeah! One of the most fun parts of rehearsal lately has been taking our older songs and adding all kinds of textures ‘cause that’s also a difference between this recording and our last recording. Our last recording was pretty much entirely clean guitar with very minimal effects and for this album it’s ladened with delay and overdrive, and there’s feedback and stuff. So I think we basically can match the textural variety of the new songs by revamping old ones and adding color.
Noise Pop: That’s awesome. Have you guys considered re-recording the old songs and re-imagining them?
David: We actually did that with one of our songs, “sea dragon,” which is the finale off our first EP, Currents. We had been playing that song for four years now so there were A LOT of things that we had changed in our performance of it over the years so we kind of updated the parts. Or as Forrest put it, “puzzle pieces,” that we had added over the years, so we put that in there. There’s been talks about maybe doing that, but not any time in the near future.
Yvette: If i had to re-record every song, every song would be “Ares.” *laughs*
David: It’d be fun to redo “Nautilus” or “Hydra.”
Yvette: Maybe for like a future release or when we have an anniversary thing.
Forrest: Or live sessions.
*band brainstorm sessions continues for a bit*
Noise Pop: So you guys are going on a full tour starting July 16. What can fans expect from this tour?
David: They can expect some of the old bangers, but obviously we are really super stoked to play all of this new music so we plan on playing pretty much all of that.
Yvette: There’s three categories of songs we are playing on this tour. There’s old, there’s new, and then there’s NEW new.
Yvette: Yeah, super new! Like not even going to be released yet and it’ll probably be on our NEXT record.
Forrest: So new that we don’t even know what we’re going to do on stage yet.
Yvette: Yeah, we literally just wrote out some new music. We just finished two of the songs like two days ago.
Noise Pop: And when you’re in-between recording sessions, writing new music, how do you record it or track progress made from start to finish?
Yvette: I keep everything in my brain. *laughs*
Yvette: I’m really banking on the fact that I don’t get hit by a car and lose all my memory. I think that’s my worst fear. *moment of silence followed by laughter* My fear is losing my memory, but yeah, I keep it all in my brain.
David: And I think in a more practical version of that, we do lots of really super sick sounding iPhone recordings of things just to keep the basic ideas there. Also, we try to record as many of our live sets as possible so we can listen back to them and see because sometimes some special mojo comes out in a live setting that you wouldn’t normally hear so it’s good to keep track of when those moments happen and try to recapture them.
Noise Pop: Going back to effloresce for a moment — you’re releasing the album on Friday the 13th. Was that intentional or just a happy coincidence?
Yvette: I didn’t even realize it!
David: There’s been a lot of great things happening with this record so we wanted to really just test fate, you know? *everyone laughs* Haha, no, that was just a date that was set by our label and it coincided with this headlining tour we are doing. Hopefully it’s not an ominous connection.
Forrest: I hope it is! *everyone laughs*
David: We’re all tripping out now.
Noise Pop: Well hopefully it turns out good, I’m sure it will! I’m personally an optimist about Friday the 13th, I just feel like the energies are a little different, but not bad.
David: Yeah, nothing terribly nefarious has happened on Friday the 13th in the past. At least for me. I can’t speak to these cats.
Yvette: I’ve had great Friday the 13ths.
David: It’s because Yvette’s actually a witch. *everyone laughs*
Noise Pop: Haha alright. Now looking towards your show at Cafe Du Nord, is there anything you’d like to say?
Yvette: We’re really excited because it’s our first headliner ever! We are a little nervous too, just because there’s some pressure, but I think it’s going to be a blast. It’s going to be with all of our friends and we’re really appreciative to anyone who comes out.
David: I’m super excited to play at Cafe Du Nord because I’ve seen some shows at the Swedish American right above it, and I’ve actually never been to the Cafe Du Nord before. I’m excited to have my first time be playing on the stage!
Forrest: I’m actually incredibly excited because I’ve heard a lot of my friends say they really, really love the venue. And I’m excited ‘cause I’m gonna rip it up. *laughs*
Covet will be performing with Vasudeva and Archaeologist at Cafe Du Nord on July 19, 2018. Go to NoisePop.com for tickets and more details.