A mix of all trends.
Like many students, I like to listen to music while I study, but sometimes tunes with lyrics can take me away from the material to the point where I’ll have read the same textbook page a dozen times and still have no understanding. This is where instrumental music comes into play, my favourite this year being a band named Covet.
A three-piece group hailing from coastal California, their music is a blend of classical, metal, and jazz influences fused with math rock-style writing. No one instrument overpowers another, yet it’s some of the most intricate composing I’ve found and I’m completely floored with every new release. Covet is currently touring the United States and Canada with Veil of Maya and Periphery; they played in Saskatoon on Sep. 21 and I had the honour of sitting down for my first band interview with guitarist Yvette Young and drummer Forrest Rice to get the skinny on their sound, past projects, and future plans.
Rice, the newest member of the group, initially became involved by selling their merch at shows and is the self-titled “worst merch guy ever,” but makes an absolutely incredible addition to the band in his current role. In any music video of theirs you can spot him on the drums with the widest of smiles on his face for the video’s entirety. When I asked about his ceaseless grin, he said he genuinely enjoys their music so much that he can’t help but smile. “Everything could be going wrong and Forrest will still be smiling,” Young joked, later stating that everyone really appreciates it and that the crowd always gets so much more engaged when they can see the musicians aren’t taking themselves too seriously. Rice takes his inspiration from ’70s fusion and jazz drumming, doing a beautiful job of blending with the other instruments. Rather than just hammering the ride like some heavier drummers, he uses every piece like an accent and brings drumming to a near-melodic level by colouring their songs with warm tones.
Young grew up playing piano and violin which helped in the development of her current finger-tapping style of playing. “Some people compare me to shredders but I don’t think that’s accurate,” she mentioned, and I’d absolutely agree. While the skill and intricacy could be likened to shredding, the constant novelty and precision in her writing and playing points more towards orchestral arrangements or math metal. Though she amazes crowds on guitar during shows, she adds in her piano and violin skills during many songs. It’s especially apparent in their acoustic pieces like “Glimmer,” where she improvised the piano and violin on the spot during recording.
While normally categorized as adventure rock or math rock, Young and Rice refer to themselves as ambient or atmospheric. More along the lines of post rock, they referred to their sound as “colourful and moody” while also telling a story, and they emphasize how fluid their style is by touring both with indie bands like Tiny Moving Parts and heavier metal or hardcore groups like on their current tour. They brought back their song “Ares”being that it’s one of their heavier songs, and Rice selected clips from the anime Akira to be projected behind them as they played for added narrative. “It’s kinda cool playing with so many different cats,” Rice mentioned while on the topic of the band’s versatility. Young especially talked about how much she’s enjoying this current tour; they’ve loved this opportunity to widen their fan base in the heavy music scene and hope to continue pushing genre boundaries in the best way possible for years to come.
Their latest release was a trio of acoustic songs in July and they have plans to begin tracking an album in December with hopes for a release in the summer of 2020. Their music videos thus far have been nothing short of absolute art, showcasing talents of every type. From scattering glitter, coins, and silly string across the drum kit in their play-through video of “Falkor” to spending three 12-hour days editing layers of animation over their bodies in their video for “Shibuya,” they’ve never disappointed and I doubt they ever will. Next time you’re in need of ambiance of any kind give these cool cats a listen, or watch their music videos for a burst of inspiration.
Special thanks to Young and Rice for making time for me before the show for the interview, and for helping me pop my band interview cherry; you’ll always be my first!