These days, the mere mention of a canceled tour or botched bass festival is liable to send most creative musical types into a staring contest with the nearest inanimate object. It was easier a few months ago to smile and laugh, but the waxing seriousness of the reality that no one actually knows what’s going to happen or what we’re really capable of does bring about a lot of questions.
These questions reside visibly now in everything we do now and everything we don’t, and we only grow more aware of this as we continue to adapt to new levels of isolation. There are so many valid concerns at the forefront of our minds, and for good reason. But for most creative types, this can create a certain degree of less-than-helpful inner feedback.
Turns out, checking in with another perspective can provide a vital reality check when attempting to expand one’s own understanding of things.
The following conversation with Covet‘s David Adamiak is a fantastic example of this.
As excited as I was to talk to him for the first time about his band, his red hot new bass, and the band’s latest album, I was also nervous that I might come across as utterly burnt out.
Luckily, it seemed like David was more than prepared for this kind of thing. I am still really grateful for the insight and overall positive vibe he provided throughout the interview. Take a deep breathe, relax your shoulders, and know that whether or not this article explicitly helps you save the world, it just might leave you with a sense of calm that assists you in doing so. Good luck out there.
FB: This is Michael from Fecking Bahamas, I should have opened with that.
David: Oh! Right, yeah, how’s it going man?
FB: It’s alright, how about you?
David: It’s going pretty well, just sitting on the porch, fortunate enough to be in my back yard right now taking in some daylight. How are you doing?
FB: Just about the same, I don’t know if you put cream in your coffee, but I’ve sufficiently ruined mine.
David: Oh no, did you cream it?
FB: I don’t know what I did. Sometimes you go out, especially these days, and there’s not really as many options, and yeah I’m drinking something out of a box here. But don’t worry about that! Let me pull up my notes here, one sec…
David: Have you tried oat milk yet? Is that possible?
FB: Yes! So that’s been the preferred method for the last month or two, and uh… it’s not been available where I’m at.
David: Oh, brutal dude, I’ll find some here and send it. (laughs)
FB: (laughs) Thanks man, that’s what I said! For years, I was like I don’t really like creamer, but I don’t like it black because it kinda hurts my stomach after a while. But anyway, I’m glad we agree on that, that’s a great start.
David: Absolutely. It’s always great to start somewhere!
FB: Especially oat milk!
David: What I don’t get is where the hell has oat milk been up to this last year? It’s like it just kind of… appeared.
FB: I think when we found out what a mistake almond milk was, we just freaked out. I mean, we’ll have impossible milk soon.
David: I feel like there is going to be something even more random or arbitrary first like quinoa milk or something. Are we squeezing these oats? Or just like, letting it fuse with the water?
FB: It’s gotta be some kind of hydroponic system…
David: So that’s what all those hydroponic stores are for…
FB: Oh man, I was wrong. You heard it here first. Our new agricultural section. I’m really glad we got that covered, because that’s like really important to me. *laughs* I mean, was there any agriculture involved in the recording of Technicolor?
David: I don’t think that there was. I think there was some milk in coffee and tea, but we were just holed away in a borderline subterranean studio.
FB: I’ve never been quite out that way, what’s the city? Where VuDu Studio is?
David: Fort Jefferson, on Long Island.
FB: What’s that like?
David: A good amount of town is stereotypical east-coast kind port town kind of thing, but once you get out of the initial area it’s more forest-y. When you’re going along the coast it’s more forested and suburban.
FB: That makes sense. I remember on tour once we had a break after Brooklyn so we took some time off in New Hampshire just to chill, and I had no idea the east coast could be like that, it was really interesting.
David: I see your caller ID places you in Oregon. Are you from the west coast?
FB: Yeah, I was actually born in Los Angeles then got bounced to Utah for a long time, but I moved back to it in Oregon a few years ago.
David: Awesome. Portland?
FB: Portland and Eugene are the places I bounce between the most. I live in Eugene though.
David: Nice, Eugene is lovely. I’ve only been a few times though.
FB: It’s like a little slice of Portland but pretty removed from those metropolitan tendencies, but yeah it’s not too bad. It’s a blend.
David: Did you go to a university out there?
FB: I actually went to a university in Utah. It was in this place called Saint George. I don’t know if you’ve ever been, it’s just in the corner there, you’d get it confused with Arizona.
David: That’s what I recall. What bands did you play in, or are you playing in?
FB: I still play in Childspeak and Muscle Beach Petting Zoo, everything is so weird right now, but I’d consider those things still active for sure. Thom Simon sometimes as well.
David: *laughs* Sorry, I got to write that down..
FB: *laughs* Muscle Beach? I know, that’s a nasty name. I actually fought that for a while. But I was wrong, I was young.
David: It’s one of those things. The very first band I was ever in was Ghosts in the Aqueducts, so there is a ton of letters in there people can’t remember. And then the next band I was in was Illustrative Violet, that’s actually another member from Covet as well back in 2012. But I felt like ‘illustrative’ was kind of a big word for people, and Muscle Beach Petting Zoo is a group of reasonable words that most people know.
FB: It results in a very Instagram thing where there are like fifty friends of ours, but tons of just… Californian buff-dude smoothie drinkers. Not to speak ill of them, it’s just always a surprise, and it’s always the joke, the one we play on ourselves I guess. *laughs*
David: I love that. When Covet was on tour, somebody tagged the band with a guy who at the time had a world record for squats, the single-breath squat record or something, and he had posted the video squatting to “Hydra.” It was so random, this guy was getting jacked, and it’s like, a chiller song, you’d expect him to try something heavy.
FB: That resonates with me a little bit, I sound myself jamming Effloresce when I was really stressed, it would help me chill. Maybe he’s already doing that by working out, but now he’s gotta complete the picture. Next is jazz though.
David: Oh, yeah that’s gonna give him the freedom to change his life.
FB: I don’t know if that’s a thing yet from Tik-Tok or whatever, but dude, the jazz buffs, that’s gonna take off.
David: The Jazz Buffs… now that’s band name if I’ve ever heard one. You can fuse pickup jazz with pickup weights. *laughs*
FB: *laughs* It might be a little late for me but I’ve gotta hold hope. Definitely would love to take this quarantine weight off, it’s terrible. For me anyway, it’s probably just this stupid creamer shit, it’s all I eat.
David: *laughs* You’re definitely just eating calories. But hey, I lost like a hundred pounds back in 2011. My brother was always super skinny growing up, and I was asking him because he wrestled and knew how to cut weight. He was like, “oh, you just gotta take the cream and sugar out of your coffee. Once you get past a certain threshold of like a week, you save yourself a ton of fat and sugar and you’ll be fine. Once you go black you never go back.”
But hey, if it hurts your stomach…
FB: This is about the stomach though, we must destroy it! If it happens through an ulcer, so be it.
David: Yeah, just don’t put black pepper in your coffee.
FB: Speaking of peppers, I literally just read that you once ate an an entire habanero? Is that what you did?
David: *laughs* Yeah. I totally did once. I had a roommate in college who is hispanic, and we were walking through a grocery store, and at the time I was training for a spicy challenge in San Jose called the 911 challenge. Adam Richmond from Man Versus Food showed up and did the challenge, so it’s just kind of this thing dumbass kids from San Jose do to kill time and there is nothing else to do.
I was quote unquote training for that, and my roommate was talking shit like I can’t eat spicy, and I was like, “I think I can do it.” Would you do it with me? So we bought a couple habaneros, we had to chew for at last ten seconds, then kept it down for ten minutes with nothing to drink… he ended up yakking it up. But I survived. And then forty-five minutes later a nuke went off in my stomach.
FB: Yeah I’m vaguely familiar with that pain. *laughs* You know, that Hot Ones show I think changed a lot of people’s lives, particularly so with Muscle Beach Petting Zoo. I remember we did a challenge and got a season of sauces, and it was the first time I saw someone throw up from hot sauce.
I was like “I can’t believe Max is throwing up right now.” Then, ten seconds later, it was me too. It sucked. There was smoke coming out of me for days, man.
David: Talk about nuking your gut, man, literally. I remember I couldn’t walk right for at least twenty four hours. I was holding my stomach the whole time, and I think it was only because I was eating a bunch of spicy shit at the time that my stomach was able to hang with it. Definitely wouldn’t do it again, but it was a fun little factoid for a video.
FB: Do you have a favorite spicy ship?
David: Have you ever had those Paqui Ghost Pepper chips?
FB: I’ve seen them but I don’t think I’ve bought them.
David: They’re worth it, man. Yvette, our guitarist, has the highest spice threshold I know in my immediate friends, and she can only get like three or four of those down before she has to stop, they’re legit spicy.
FB: Where do you get those?
David: In Oregon, I saw them a whole bunch! Gas stations and such.
FB: I feel like I’ve seen them in 7/11, but only a couple of them.
David: Yeah, I think Whole Foods or Sprout’s would carry them. It’s actually one of those things where they’re great for staying up and driving in the middle of the night, I just get a bag of those and eat a chip every fifteen minutes, and it wakes you back up.
FB: Oh that’s a great idea. Terrible time a few hours later though.
David: It definitely ups the stomach pain and that keeps you up too.
FB: Nothing sacrificed man, you gotta give something to get it.
David: *laughs* No pain, no show!
FB: *laughs* This sin’t necessarily a pain related question but I’ve seen you play a lot of Music Man bass until very recently, and you have now this insane looking F-Bass. How did you hook up with them? It looks like a Power Ranger bass.
David: Oh! *laughs* Yeah I had to get a super rad finish on it. For one it’s a classic color from the pre-CBS days called Fiesta Red. Oh man, I love it. But Ranger Red, that’s dope. I recently went down a wiki-hole on fire engine red, school bus yellow, safety orange, and how they’re all colors that attract your mind in different ways, in different severities.
FB: Yeah, I learned about that a little but in a media class, where they picked up on those colors in ads, where they make people hungry be coloring certain words and such.
FB: Right? Send a college kid off into a conspiracy driven nightmare with that kind of information. *laughs*
David: “How long have they known this? What has been done?”
FB: I think it’s the movie Serenity where she can see rhythm and code in the background of ads, and she goes Manchurian candidate on everything.
David: Holy shit.
FB: It’s real man.
David: It’s real. *laughs* Ah, this has been fun a fun conversation so far man.
FB: Indeed, cheers man.
David: But the F Bass, lemme think… I had a decent Sterling that I played for like ten years, and it’s on all the recordings. When I first stated playing bass there was a forum called Talkbass, and I went on there all the time. There were three big custom shops that people were always debating about. It always had a high recognition in my head.
Then years ago, Yvette was doing a Chinese version of NAMM, and the owner of F-Bass and the owner Dingwall were there hanging out and somehow Yvette met them. They were the only English speakers there and they got lunch and had a grand old time, she introduced me to them at NAMM later that year. When we were on tour with Polyphia and Hail the Sun in 2018, we visited their factory when we were playing in Toronto, and they let me try out all the wood configs, body styles, pickup, stuff like that.
But yeah, we got to build a custom one, it showed up a year later, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. The Active/passive switch is something different where Music Man’s have been active (battery powered preamp). That’s huge, because it plays with my gain effects in a really fun way, especially the fuzzes. Not having to worry about impedance from something that’s active gives a little more dynamix quality to fuzz. It’s also the first bass I’ve ever had with a maple neck, so it’s got a really nice bright attack. I really like that sound, especially for Covet.
FB: And you used it on the new record?
David: Yeah, it’s all over the new record, and the Music Man is on the previous EP, Currents, Effloresce, and the acoustic thing last year.
FB: I think it’s the end of “Pirouette” where Forrest is going crazy, and you have distortion going on, is that a passive thing or active thing?
David: Passive, almost the whole album is in passive mode other than “Parrot” and “Aries.” That section in particular I have bass octave deluxe and Z-vex double rock for a super giant sound.
FB: Hell yeah. It’s cool that you sound pretty huge the whole album, considering there is only three of you, you’re allowed to take up a good amount of space which is super sick. I noticed also that it’s really melodic, did you play guitar or anything else in addition to bass?
David: I started on bass, I’m going on eleven years now. There was a phase in college where i picked up guitar to learn more about chords and harmony, but yeah, born and bred bass player.
Fun fact though about that drum solo at the end of “Piroutte.” That song was originally a loop that Yvette created during the writing process for our Effloresce. Forrest heard it and was like “I love it, I want to record that as a song.”
He kept hammering us about it every six months or so, and eventually at rehearsal we turned that loop into a song with a middle section. But when we went to record the song this September, Yvette spent a couple hours rewriting her parts for the middle, and when Forrest went to track drums, she hadn’t recorded it yet, so the drum solo that’s at the end was actually in the middle and with a little studio magic it got rearranged to the end.
FB: That’s really cool. It’s almost sort of a meta film reference to Technicolor if you think about it, in the way that technicolor is an old-school analog film treatment, and you guys were doing it with like a splice and digital tape.
David: *laughs* That’s cool.
FB: My mind is wack. *laughs* I wanted to ask, did you have the chance to meet Phillip from Caspian? Or was did he do that remotely?
David: I did, I’ve had the chance several times. I’ve seen him play a couple times in the city, but the first time I met him or had a conversation with him was Arctangent, when Caspian was playing the same stage as us the day after.
But when he came into the studio to record on “Predawn” he brought some pizza down from Newhaven. Have you heard about that, is that something you’re hip to?
FB: No, I just think I’ve heard that’s really important to that town, right?
David: Yeah, I’d never heard about it till I went to the east coast. People were like, these things are the real deal, and Philip in particular is kind of a pizza buff. Yeah. He may or may not be in the process of writing a pizza book.
FB: Oh my god. I wish I knew that when I interviewed him.
David: He has the most epic silhouette on stage. When he’s head-banging he’s like a pterodactyl.
FB: *laughs* I was really surprised by how thoughtful and present he and Johnny were, that was really cool. I mean, not surprised, their song titles are pretty thought out or kind of esoteric, but Philip in particular really spoke like that. He really meant everything he was saying and took time with it, and I just super appreciated that authenticity compared to a lot of other post-rock bands that people might compare them to.
David: Yeah, once I found out he double majored in history and philosophy, it clicked for me too. That’s a way of life.
FB: Definitely. I wanted to talk a little more about education with Adrián from T.R.A.M. and Mars Volta a little more but you know, time and stuff.
David: Oh yeah, you interviews the sax player right? That guy is such a badass. That T.R.A.M. record is one of my all time favorites.
FB: Agreed, and Eric Moore has such a good flow for drums that’s very staccato that mixes in so well.
David: He loves those sixteenth-note subs. I think he won the Guitar Center drum-off when he was eleven? But I didn’t know they were going to record that with Thomas Pridgen, and it was going to be T.R.A.P. but he didn’t have time. But they got another super shredder anyway.
One of my favorite drum fills of all time is that thirteen on the back half of “Seven Ways till Sunday.” I wonder if they’ll ever revisit it?
FB: I didn’t want to get into it too much, but we’ll see, he was pretty busy. But honestly I’d love to hear more from any of them and talk to any of them more about that though, or whatever’s next for Animals as Leaders. That all happened like ten years ago!
David: I think, yeah like 2009 was when Animals’ self titled came out, then Weightless in like 2010? 2011?
FB: That is such an underrated record.
David: I love that record. That record gets shat on by their hardcore fans, but it honestly has some of their most quintessential songs on it like “Do Not Go Gently” and “Earth Departure.”
I remember when I was in college I was going to go see Circa Survive and Dredge play in San Diego, and my buddy asked if I’d heard the opening band yet, and I listened to them non-stop for a week and saw the show.
FB: Was that Navene K playing with them at the time? He’s got an amazing solo song somewhere but I haven’t heard much else.
David: He has that project Entheos with Evan Brewer?
FB: Oh shit, what? That’s him?
David: Yeah, he’s like the songwriter for that band as far as I understand. I wanna say he wrote a lot of the guitar riffs as well, I’m pretty sure that’s Navene’s baby project.
FB: Oh wow. And Evan Brewer too, he just makes everyone else look like shit. He’s incredible. I definitely to revisit that.
David: When I saw him, I went to see Dillinger Escape Plan on their final tour, and the general admission pit was watching Entheos, and some kid about ten minutes into their set shouts, “oh man, is that Evan Brewer? I fucking love Evan Brewer!” and it spread like wildfire.
FB: *laughs* You know someone else who comes to mind like Evan but doesn’t get enough credit, the dude from Between the Buried and Me. Like, the Trioscapes album was really underrated too I thought.
David: Oh yeah, I saw him with Mastodon years ago. He had a really cool style, he’s really melodic.
FB: I’m pretty blown away by what they’re doing these days with their own sound and remastering stuff. They were really comfortable for a long time, and it’s so cool to see them change it up again in all kinds of ways.
David: That was one of those bands where I discovered at the same time I also discovered jazz music mid-2011, and totally abandoned heavy music other than Meshugguh. I was lost in the jazz sauce for a while.
FB: Sounds like a Mighty Boosh song.
David: *laughs* That’s a show I need to revisit like Tim and Eric.
FB: That shit just unlocks some low-level Dali archetype of the mind that we can all enjoy. But without getting too lost in the sauce here, we should talk at least a little about the record. Is their a song on Technicolor that best exemplifies the evolution of the band since your last album?
David: That’s a good question. Initially my mind goes to a song like “Atreyu.” That song feels like a blend of Effloresce music and also distinctly Technicolor.
FB: I like that too, it acts as like a half and half thing for me. The first part reminds me of old Covet, the rest is distinctly more like the rest of the album.
David: That’s interesting that it does that on the first full-track. It’s kind of like Tool‘s “Grudge” on Lateralus. Not that that as the intention with that song, just in relation to what you just said, where it feels like it could have been on Ænima, but then by the time you’re all the way through it, you’re distinctly in Lateralus.
FB: As opposed to what we have with Fear Inoculum.
David: *laughs* A very controversial album.
FB: I agree. But ‘m not gonna fault them for anything, it’s my fault for waiting so goddamn long, right?
David: *laughs* It’s the Tool mosaic, you know? They took all the bits and pieces from the last few albums and mashed them all together. They’re not trying to push themselves too far into new territory.
FB: They’re at the very edge of psychedelia anyway, what more is there? I’d like to know what they listen to, though, see if they have a pulse on Car Bomb and stuff.
David: Apparently they do! Actually we met Car Bomb at Arctangent, we’re big fans of them. Greg the guitarist actually came out the day that Yvette was in New York recording guitar to hear the whole album. He was telling us that when Tool came through, they invited all the Car Bomb guys to the show, so they gotta be into them on some level.
FB: Nah, I’ll eat my words on that one. They’re confident people, they know what they want.
David: It’s an instance where Tool is like Mars Volta or Opeth for me, that got me into playing music and playing bass. So for a very long time I had them on a pedestal, and in like every band I’ve been in, other members of the band aren’t explicit fans of Tool. I’ve had to take them off that pedestal a little over the years, I know they’re just humans, it’s just music.
FB: I mean, there are few bands that use math like that, without getting into the worst parts of Youtube. They do amazing things with math and rhythm that tie into ancient tradition and whatnot, but maybe there can only be one person in the band that’s so passionate about that stuff or it will fall apart.
David: One of the brilliant things about them is how serous they are about that axis of knowledge, how people will put them together and stuff. I mean… they know the pieces fit. *laughs* Please excuse me for that awful pun.
FB: Do you think a bass player’s pedal board should look any different from a guitar players?
David: Hell no! *laughs* It changes depending on whatever songs are in our set. The pedalboard thing is good to talk about now because we can go a couple more hours about this. Two funny stories.
We were on the most recent headlining tour and playing over in Nashville, and when we play those hour long sets, there are a lot more sounds I have to replicate. So I just bring a second pedalboard and it ends up being like twenty-one pedals.
And then recently we played an Ibanez showcase in Anaheim opening for Steve Vai, and that was a really wild show. And I pulled out my pedal board, and Steve’s guitar tech was flabbergasted.
FB: Do you have a favorite piece of gear right now, or is there one intimidating to use?
David: Interesting… favorite pedal is hard, if there was one pedal I had to keep right now, and all the others would have to go, would be the Bass Whammy. It really helps take you out of a normal range.
FB: Whammy, not a POG?
David: Yeah, the octave on the POG doesn’t track as fast. I have an original 90’s one that I didn’t really use, but I bought a reissue after I saw Monobody one time. The original enclosures are so shitty and plastic, I’m confident I could destroy it if I stepped on it hard enough.
FB: It’s like the DL-4.
David: Exactly. Our tech actually mods DL-4’s. But I love that Bass Whammy. I also just recently got a bass distortion overdrive that I actually like, which is really hard. But Mike Watts’ was telling me I gotta try to Z-vex Box of Rock, and sure enough, you keep that clean boost on, and it keeps that low-end in and throws a little more saturation on top.
That pedal rocks. The Double Rock is two Boxes of Rock in one. I don’t know if you’ve ever fucked with that thing, but I used it all over the Technicolor recordings, and it’s just a smorgasbord of awesome driven sound.
FB: I’ll check that out, it’s definitely such a vulnerable frequency. Some pedals do really well in some ranges with one instrument but not the other and it’s tragic they don’t translate. One that I have been working with recently on bass and guitar is the Plumes from Earthquaker Devices. It’s juicy, but it’s classic, and sounds like an Orange Amp and a Tube Screamer smushed together.
David: I think I’m thinking of the Palisades, actually, that’s kind of similar. A little bit of compression and smush-y mid thing, but the Box of Rock thing does that too. But gear I’ve been intimidated by… some of those Strymon and Chase Bliss ones for sure. Whenever there is that level of customization, that’s when I get confused. Oh, Count to Five as well.
I have this pedal by MASF, the five knobs on it are taste, smell, touch, sight, and level or something. The five senses. But that thing is super hard to figure out.
FB: What comes to your mind when you think about playing shows after so much isolation? It’s pretty surreal without any kind of known frame of reference for the popular music world.
David: Well, definitely the playing of the shows. *laughs* Especially with all this new music percolating for a while. I don’t know though, on the whole, I’d be pretty excited to get back out there to get to it, but I’m hoping we can all figure this COVID thing with a reasonable amount of safety. It’s definitely an interesting situation, and I guess I’ll have to play it by ear. We all will.
This interview was originally conducted May 29th 2020. Check out Technicolor on Covet’s Bandcamp page here.