23 November 2022
HOLY COVES are a must-hear-and-know Welsh indie rock trio fronted by passionate singer-songwriter Scott Marsden. They released their new, third longplayer Druids
and Bards last month. A striking work of top-notch tunes that get under your skin
slowly but surely until you see/hear the whole picture and realize that this is one of
the most gripping albums of 2022, definitely in my book.
Spiritually, the record is inspired by Welsh ancient history and will have two sequels in
the future. Musically it’s pure indie guitar pop/rock delivered with panache, determination and love with the songs author’s voice as the zealous force in the middle and taking time now to have a chat with Turn Up The Volume.
As usual, we start an interview with a piece of music. Open your ears and eyes for
one of the Druids and Bards album’s standout tracks. Here comes Desert Storm…
When and how did HOLY COVES start their musical journey?
“I started making music with my band The Lizzies back in 2005. It wasn’t until 2009
I decided to form Holy Coves. I had been working with Welsh producer David Wrench
with The Lizzies so we decided to carry on working together with Holy Coves. It just
clicked from the start. We made two records together in 2009 and 2012.
Myself and Holy Coves bass player & guitarist Jason Hughes continued the projects
with David. That’s how it all began, we both learned so much from David. It was such
an amazing experience. We were lucky enough to get to make both records at former recording studio Bryn Derwen in Bethesda, Snowdonia.
It was a magical place which I’ll never forget. It was run by my good friend Laurie
Gane who now runs Penhesgyn Hall Studio in Menai Bridge, Isle of Anglesey.”
Who came up with the band’s name and what’s the story behind it?
“Myself and Jason came up with the name while recording our debut album in the studio. We’re both from Holy Island which is an Island of the Isle of Anglesey. We wanted to find something that fit the word Holy that explained where the music was from. We always had a problem with the thought of Holyhead being known as a Holy Island! At the time we felt very disconnected to the Island.
We didn’t think it was Holy at all. The coves were from an old Cockney slang book We had with us. Coves is slang for geezers or criminals so we liked the irony of having the Holy before that word. Coves was the perfect word because of all the beautiful beaches and
the hidden double meaning. As soon as we found it, it all made sense. Holy Coves was
born that day.”
You’re an indie DIY trio. What does that really mean in reality?
“We’re much more that that! We’re a trio live but in the studio we’re more
like a five. Myself (Vocals, Guitar) Jason Hughes (Bass, Guitar, Synths, Vocals)
and Jonathan De Marco (Drums) handle everything live and in the studio too.
But when we record we also work with our co-producers John Lawrence & Owain
Ginsberg. They have become a part of Holy Coves too and will be making the second
and third part of the ‘Druids and Bards’ trilogy with us.
Part 2 ‘Hiraeth’ will be recorded early next year. Part 3 ‘Gogs‘ will be recorded
the year after. We’re a team, we’ve all become very good friends. They’re all
a pleasure to work with.”
Which of your songs would you pick to introduce
HOLY COVES to people who never heard of you?
“It’s a tough question. I’d say Grey but if I could I’d pick a few more too!”
New excellent album DRUIDS AND BARDS came out a month ago?
Where does the title comes from and is there a big picture to the
record or stand all songs on their own?
“Thank you, that’s very kind. The title comes from the Welsh side of my family.
My great, great Grandfather was William Richard Roberts, (Gwilym Dona, which
is his bardic name) he was a Bard and Welsh poet who won a chair at the Eisteddfod.
I grew up with fable tales of Welsh witches, Druids and Bards when I was younger.
Like I said before, Druids and Bards is a trilogy. It’s a big story which
I could only really tell properly over three records. There’s definitely
a big picture to it all.”
Did you listen to records of other artists to inspire
you during the writing process and recording?
“Every single band/artist I’ve ever listened to
my whole life has influenced this record.”
Who created the LP’s artwork and does it say something about the album itself?
“Jon Safari made it. The picture of the house was from the so called ‘Haunted House‘!! ( Craig y Môr ) in Trearddur Bay, Holy Island, where I live. Its very important to the ‘Druids and Bards’ story. It’s the beginning of the story.”
The first of the three singles THE HURT WITHIN
is my favorite? What is the song about?
“It’s about the scars of a heavy breakup. Its a dark love song.
I was hurting for a long time before writing this. I’m over
it now, life has moved on for us all.”
Suppose your album was a movie,
which one would it be?
“My favourite movie of all time is Goodfellas.
I love the soundtrack on that.”
What’s a HOLY COVES gig like?
“You will be able to see this for yourself next year. Trust me when
I say we’re taking it to a whole new level. I can’t wait to get back out
there next year.”
Slowly but surely 2022 is nearing its end. What’s the best
track and album you heard so far?
“The Heavy North album is brilliant. Dictator are a band which
excite me with each release, their EP is fun and brilliant.
Fellow Anglesey singer- songwriter Megan Wyn has phenomenal talent for her age
and her latest single is brilliant. Hatzmat from Wrexham & The Pastimes from Rhyl
have both released fantastic music this year.
Maybe ask me this again at the end of the year. I’ve heard a lot of great music
this year. I’ll be listening right up until the very end of the year and then I’ll decide. ”
Name 3 things you really want to happen in 2023
“I want to record part two in February/ March, play live shows too.
We will be very busy next year creating and playing gigs across the
United Kingdom. The third thing I’m going to keep private.”
Thank you very much, Scott for this interview.
Have a great Xmas and New Year’s Eve.
May the road rise with Holy Coves.
DRUIDS AND BARDS
here via Bandcamp…
All songs written by: Scott Marsden
Lyrics by: Scott Marsden
Produced by: Scott Marsden & John Lawrence
Engineered by: John Lawrence
Mixed and Mastered by: Erik Wofford (Bill Callaghan / The Black Angels)
Art Work & Album Cover by : Jon Safari
Band photos by Dai Eastwood
HOLY COVES: Facebook – Instagram – Spotify