Location, location, location. For this week’s Reference Points, we chat to John from Coves about Castle Greyskull (no, not this one) – the live-in studio that, as with so many formative records, provided the atmosphere in which the band found the space to develop themselves, and in this case, move on from darker times. In John Ridgard’s own words, we find out a little more about how a squat in Leamington Spa became a crucial marker in the band’s germination.

The single biggest influence on Coves will always be Castle Greyskull…our spiritual home.

In 2011 I suddenly found myself at the end of an 8 year long relationship. We had lived in a nice rented house, eaten well and kept ourselves tidy. By the end, it was time for chaos. Myself and four friends moved into a building owned by some guy we knew – it was a crazy building, the first purpose built billiards hall in the UK, apparently, but over the years it had been used as offices.

Myself and a friend joined together our collections of cheap junk musical equipment purchased over years of late night eBay transactions and turned a couple of rooms into a studio and rehearsal room. Around this time I got good friends with Beck . She was the box office girl at the venue. She was also at the tail end of a relationship, so we ended up hanging round and started to make the music that would become Coves.

Since we were squatting and there were only a few of the basic amenities required to survive, the rent was very low, our working hours were minimal and life was good – albeit very unhealthy. There were many parties but the best times at Castle Greyskull were soft Fridays, when Beck would come over and music would be made late into the night.

After 2 years we moved out. You can’t live in an environment like that for too long. Butt when it was good it was amazing. Luckily, me and Beck have our album that was all recorded there and provides a perfect snapshot of that time. Since moving to London it seems loads of bands live in disused warehouses/offices/barber shops, but in little Leamington Spa we thought we we in some in some kind of UK midlands version of The Factory (which sounds kind of shit).


“Beatings” is out now, ahead of the band’s full debut album release next year.