1. A number of musicians talk of their 'need' to make music and
how songwriting 'stabilises' them. Would you agree with this, and also,
do you have a specific subject in mind when writing lyrics / does the
mood of Coves' music always have to match the lyrical content or be
reflective of a song's title?
John: "As far as writing and producing goes I totally agree...
I think I love it as when I am working on the music I am alone. It's
my own time and no one can interrupt me. I find if I have been a week
or so without making any music I start getting pretty edgy."
Beck: "This all just depends on what mood I'm in and what has been
going on around me. I would say mind blocks don't help."
2. If you were asked to give an example of a classic song in terms
of musical arrangement, lyrics, production etc. as well as an album
that you feel works really well as a collection of tracks, which would
John: "Flaming Lips Soft Bulletin was the first album that got
me into production... how they managed to make something that was simultaneously
so Low-Fi and with lush strings and big production... it also works
as a whole body of work so well, plus the lyrics are pretty moving at
3. And if you had to put together a record sleeve in homage to The
Beatles Sgt. Pepper, showing a selection of your heroes and influences
(musical and otherwise), who are some of the people that you would include?
John: "Our good friends from Leamington and the ex pats in London."
4. As a group, did you know exactly how you wanted your debut long
player to sound before entering your live-in studio + how long did you
write for / how complete were your song ideas before committing them
John: "We had no plans whatsoever, I think the only reason the
songs work well together is that they were all recorded within a little
bubble of time. There was no theme, no plan... at the time it was all
just for fun... never expected it to go all bizznes."
Beck: "I agree with John, doing it the way we did it for 'Soft
Friday' was the right way for us, no added pressure, which made it flow
in the right way, which I think reflects in the album."
5. On a similar note, a number of musicians acknowledge how they
write some of their best tracks once an album is nearing completion,
as theres less pressure on them. Was this the same for you with
any last minute additions and did you purposely include older songs?
John: "Totally the opposite for me. I work best in new environments
where I have no idea how to work equipment and fall upon happy accidents.
Towards the end of the album I was writing more and more to a formula
and some of the later ones were not used for the album. I am now making
really exciting stuff again for the second LP as I have moved to London,
have new equipment and have no idea what I am doing."
6. Do you often know which instruments + studio 'Plugins' you want
to use on individual tracks, and have you ever used different instruments
to inspire you / has this then made you reassess your primary instrument?
John: "Once again, once I started doing that it got boring. I now
have a different studio and new instruments and haven't got a clue how
any of it works... and stuff is sounding good again. I use lots of toy
instruments and things but quite subtly... it adds atmosphere."
7. As a songwriting partnership, could you describe the collaborative
chemistry between you both, and also, give us an example of a particular
track where you each contributed notable parts that were successfully
joined together to create the final whole?
John: "I am the ears."
Beck: "I am the eyes."
8. In terms of investing time in artists / bands, have you ever gotten
more into someone after reading interviews with them and learning more
about their history, beliefs, ways of working etc?
John: "Totally, everyone loves a good rock and roll back story!"
Beck: "Do they?"
9. Continuing with this train of thought, compilations given away
with music publications have long helped listeners to discover new music
which they may not otherwise have heard. But, have you ever had a favourite
free CD that came cover-mounted with a magazine?
John: "Yeah, when I was young... when I used to save up my £2
a week spends to buy vinyls, in-between these rare purchases I lived
10. Throughout the history of popular music, singles are undoubtedly
the songs which seep into the publics consciousness and most acts
are identified with. But, how do you choose which of your tracks will
be singles + are there any groups who you think released a great standalone
single which never actually featured on one of their records,
i.e. Suede's Stay Together?
John: "We let the man choose the singles. I think we are on the
wrong side of the fence to say what will work best. When I was really
young, The Super Furries released 'Man Don't Give A Fuck'. As a 11-year-old
this was obviously the coolest song I had ever heard... and yet it was
on no album."
Beck: "Yeah, unfortunately for us, we don't get too much of a say
about our Children."
11. Why the LP title, Soft Friday, and in-keeping with the theme
of titles, do you have any favourite tracks that share the same title
as each other? For example, although completely different musically
and lyrically, I love both Yes by the Manic Street Preachers and Yes
by McAlmont & Butler.
John: "The album was recorded on Fridays. Getting soft was a term
for experimentation's in prescription medicines. But everyone has their
way of winding down on a Friday night after the week..."
Beck: "With a lot of red wine John."
John: "As for favourite tracks that share the same title as each
other, ermm... can't really think of any... Come Together by Beatles,
Come Together by Spiritualized... erm... that's a bit of a boring one...
Beck: "Good choice there Mr RidRidRidgard."
12. As a fact fan, some of my favourite album and song facts include
how only 40,000 copies of Nirvanas Nevermind were originally pressed
but that it sold 1 million copies in 6 weeks, and how Noel Gallaghers
iconic guitar solo in Oasis Live Forever was nearly cut-in-half
at the request of Owen Morris for "sounding too much like Slash."
But, do you have a favourite music fact?
John: "Pigs have a similar capacity to appreciate music as humans,
it has been proven that they are mostly responsive to jazz."
Beck: "Hummmm... I know that your brain will remember a song for
many, many years even without hearing it."
13. 'Pop & Politics' is a new consumer rights bill set up by
the government to help prevent touting / ticket price mark-ups as much
as possible. Do you think this is a wise move, and in terms of gigs,
did you ever see anyone play at an intimate venue before they went onto
John: "'I'm not too fussed about touting... I've bought tickets
off touts before when gigs have sold out, you've just got to be good
at haggling. I saw LCD Soundsytem at ATP just after they had released
their 12" of YEAH... not sure that many people had heard of them
and they totally blew my mind at like 1am after 3 days of partying at
14. Radiohead have spoken about how attempting to emulate sounds from
records they admire, often results in them coming up with their own
unique interpretations. Is the creative process similar for you, and
does it continually fill you both with excitement when you hit upon
new ideas and see songs beginning to unfold?
John: "Yeah, yeah... that's what I live for."
15. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
John: "Chips mate."
A very special thanks to Beck + John, and to Mel @ Wasted Youth PR,
for all of their time and help.
"I want you to wake up"