Relatively new to the scene, IN COVERT made their official debut with their EP “Nightwalker” alongside a B-Movie Horror-Inspired music video. Despite living in Los Angeles where the leaves never change, listening to the EP and watching the “Nightwalker” video got me into the erie, foggy fall spirit. I wanted to have a brief chat with IN COVERT to learn more about the workings of the band and their dedication to such a prominent Sci-Fi/B-Movie Horror aesthetic. I got the chance to speak to Wes Lopez (head of IN COVERT) and ask a few questions about their origins, inspirations, and process behind “Nightwalker”. Read the full interview below!
- How did IN COVERT come to be?
IN COVERT originally started as a side project for fun while I was in my previous band Channel. With this project, I approached it as more of a conceptual art piece rather than writing songs. I wanted to make my own version of scores inspired from films and tv shows I enjoy such as: X-files, Twin Peaks, Halloween, Creepshow, etc. The songs I made in the beginning were just blends of field recordings from nature, mixed with guitar and synth drones. Then, once Channel broke up 2 years ago, that was when I started building these soundscapes into actual songs.
About a year ago, I started looking for members for the band. One of my friends, Hector Moya, reached out to me to jam. At this point I hadn’t played music with him for many years. I had always seen the potential and talent he had in the past, playing music in our friend’s garage. He would jump up in front of the mic singing with such confidence and charisma. Back then, he was a Freshman and I was just out of high school. I gave him a stack of cd’s like: Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Stooges, The Cramps and etc.
So, like I mentioned, around 2019, things seemed to click into place and the timing was right. He brought his Roland sampler, a drum machine, and looped some intense Suicide style beats, and started singing to my song, and that was that. It’s pretty cool how things come around full circle like that, how you can inspire someone so long ago and then end up collaborating with them in the future. Then, my friend Jeff Turner (from XO), would come over and jam with us on drums and it all coalesced nicely. With Jeff and Hector, the songs started to evolve into a more doomy and aggressive sound. We tried looking for bass players, but I decided to just get us in the studio last October.
2. I’ve noticed that the imagery you use has lots of supernatural elements and aesthetics–would you say this inspires your music too?
Yes, definitely! I love the spooky vibes. Haha. I like dimly lit photos with hints of color similar to the aesthetic of the X-Files and old horror movies that inspired me as a teenager. I just love how X-Files executed the lighting in the show. I am also inspired by 60’s, 70’s sci-fi art and blacklight posters. It almost transports you to another dimension through color and contrast. Being in nature and traveling to the deserts and forests of California and Oregon also is wildly inspiring to me. I try and travel to these places in my head when creating my music and art.
The aesthetic helps inspire me when I write songs. Earlier this year, I converted my bedroom into my studio. I painted a mural of a forest and an outer-space skyline on the wall and the opposite walls are soft blues, orange and forest green. I like to sit in there with my dim purple, green and orange lights…it puts me in a creative space of escapism. I can’t just sit in a plain white room with fluorescent lights, it feels so forced. I am all about creating a vibe when I work on music.
3. Recently you released your debut EP “Nightwalker”–what was the creative process like for it?
For the song “Nightwalker”, it was originally an older demo I had from the beginning. I recorded field sounds of crows, crickets and footsteps, at night walking around my family’s property in Julian, CA. When I listened back to it, I was like “whoa! I want to go back out there and do more tracks”! Then, I added some droney synth to it and I got the idea for the bass line, and added some guitar parts on top. I let the song sit for some time and when I came back to it, I redid the guitars and bass with my drum machine.
Then, a year or so later, when Hector and Jeff got involved, the song had evolved into what it is now: a heavier and more aggressive song. We recorded most of that song at my former band-mate , Miguel Gomez’s studio in Fullerton last October. We had a few scheduling issues (and Covid!) so we couldn’t get back in to finish the song until a couple months ago. During Covid, I got into reading Stephen King books, and listening to alien abduction stories that inspired me to write the lyrics for the song. Then finally we were able to get Hector’s vocals on the track. It was a really long wait to finish this song, but I am very happy about how it turned out.
Meanwhile, I’ve been recording all the other songs at home during the Coronavirus outbreak. The second song, “Immense Forest” is one of those instrumental tracks I recorded at home. With this song, I wanted to create a song inspired by Burzum’s ambient songs, mixed with Brian Eno and Spacemen 3 style repetition. Lots of layered guitars and synth drones. That song was fun to record. I did like ten ebo guitar tracks…I had a lot of time to get experimental, haha.
4. What other elements do you think inspires In Covert sonically and aesthetically?
Like I mentioned earlier, IN COVERT is aesthetically and somewhat sonically inspired by scores from X-Files, Twin Peaks and other 80’s B- movie horror films. More technically, I wanted to blend elements of Post-Punk, Goth, Doom Metal, Psych, Darkwave, Industrial, Shoegaze, Black Metal, Dark Ambient and Punk, melted together to achieve a layered, multi-dimensional sonic experience. The songs are pretty different from each other, and take inspiration from different sources but the overarching vision is there. Some songs have a real drummer, some have drum machine, and some are instrumental, so there’s different vibes to each song. IN COVERT doesn’t fit into any particular genre, we just call it Sci-fi Horror Rock, or some friends call it Sci-fi Doom Punk.
5. The music video for the track “Nightwalker” is a lotta fun! How did it come all together?
This was my first ever video, and it was so much fun! I wanted to mix X-Files type sci-fi themes, mixed with the cheesy 80’s horror B-movie style. The concept was “Alien Killer Clown Girls from Outer Space that travel here to kill us”. Back in January, I planned a trip to my family’s house in Julian with my girlfriend Caylen Sullivan, our friend Marisol Muro, Jeff (the drummer) and his girlfriend Molly. It was really low budget. I just brought my alien mask, some construction tools, Halloween and Christmas lights, and Jeff brought his camera. The girls didn’t know that we were there to film a video, I just told them to dress up like clowns and have fun. haha. On film night, I set up all the lighting outside/indoors, then Jeff and I co-directed as he filmed with his camera. We filmed throughout the house and all the outdoor scenes on one night (in less than 3 hrs in 30 degree weather). Molly got tired and quit halfway shooting the video, so we had to adjust on the fly without our main character. Haha. But the way everything looked was on point and the end result was how I envisioned it.
Hector wasn’t able to make it that night, and Covid stalled a lot of the process of making this video. We filmed some performance scenes with him and I in my backyard last month. This video had a lot of obstacles and it easily could have been really bad, not in a cool way.
6. Who are you listening to right now?
I’ve been listening to: Suicide, Christian Death, Tones on Tail, Chrome, Panther Modern, Electric Wizard, Celtic Frost, Kraftwerk and Das Kabinette.
7. Is there new music in the works?
Yes, there is some new music coming soon! The next recordings are the songs I recorded at home during lockdown. It sounds a lot different from “Nightwalker” it’s more lo-fi because I use a Tascam cassette recorder synced with my ipad on Garageband. It sounds darker with the drum machine and more synths. We have a finished song, but we have to record vocals on a couple more songs then we will release the next EP titled “Blood Moon” sometime this winter.
Interview Conducted By: Alexa Terry