"I think a lot of my music is driven from moments and experiences of solitude and introversion." - www.calmrivers.com/
I found out about Rivers after seeing a tweet by Adam Walton a while back. Straight away I could hear great things and lots of promise for this Cardiff based singer. It's always nice to find approachable artists to feature on the blog and this interview worked out a dream. Take a listen to Soft (Free Download), featuring the big 80's snare and synth sound production from Vince Dolphin paired with Rivers vocal chords and get stuck in.
Soft (Produced by Vince Dolphin; written by Rivers)
EMW: Hey. Thank you for taking the time. Could you give a little background on who you are and where you are at the moment?
R: No problem, thank you so much for getting in touch with me. I’m Rivers, I make ambiguously electronic music and I’m somewhere in Cardiff, which is exceptionally cold today.
EMW: It is. Do days like these make you want to make music?
R: Yes, actually. I enjoy writing when it’s gloomy or at night. At night especially, because it’s quieter and lonelier, which is good because I think a lot of my music is driven from moments and experiences of solitude and introversion.
EMW: How long have you been making music for? how did it all start?
R: I’ve been making music for about 2 years, but I’ve only been making music that I enjoy for a few months. I guess that’s a natural progression, getting better and feeling more comfortable with something the more you do it and the more you learn from your mistakes. I don’t really have an exact narrative of how it started. I’ve just always enjoyed music like everyone else, then the older I got, the more I started paying attention to the lyrics and harmonies and other more subtle, technical stuff. That interest also fed into the little writing of silly poems and songs I’d do as any other ordinary kid which I slowly figured out I could sing, then here I am a few years later.
EMW: Where do you get your inspiration from when writing songs?
R: Almost anything to be honest. A lot of my songs are abstractly autobiographical, so even if they are my experiences, they’re sort of mixed in with friends’ experiences and other vague things I find interesting. The most recent random inspiration for me came when I was watching a youtube fashion video of a girl talking about autumn clothes, and she described a pair of shorts she’d bought by saying “(they) support me and pull me in” and I thought it was so beautiful, so I wrote it down and I’ll try to squeeze that into a song somewhere.
Milk & Honey (Produced by Ursus Maritimus; written by Rivers)
EMW: On your website you have a couple of music videos for your songs. It seems like you are a very collaborative artist. Do you thrive on working with others?
R: Definitely. All my songs have different producers who’ve been kind enough to let me use their songs so collaboration is pretty much the backbone of my music. I love working with and getting to know different artists, especially if they’re super progressive and just make great stuff. I want to learn as much as I can from them, because the writing and recording process is usually a very private and insulated one, so talking to other artists breaks that pattern and lets in new energy for me.
EMW: Is there much of a community here for young emerging artists?
R: Yes and no. Yes, if you’re an acoustic singer-songwriter or in a rock band and no, if you make really obscure, genre-defiant music. I think a lot of places are like that though, it’s easy for a group of people to enjoy and foster a sound that they’re used to and can easily classify, but something that is outside those realms and needs more time to understand has a harder time getting support, which is normal everywhere, but probably more visible here. The internet helps a lot though. Artists aren’t really tied down to and by where they physically are anymore. If you make great music and you put it online and people support and share it, then your local town not understanding your work isn’t that much of a barrier.
EMW: Would you say that a live music scene is as important for an electronic music artist such as yourself as it is to an acoustic singer songwriter who builds their whole career around recording and then performing?
R: Definitely. I’m actually working on that now. Hopefully, I’ll be doing live stuff by early-mid next year. Figuring out how to translate my music from their recorded versions to a live setup without them losing their essence is challenging but hopefully with other artists who are really passionate about what they do and are experimental with how they play, we can figure it out.
Make some money (Produced by Makeup; written by Rivers)
EMW: You mentioned that you were watching fashion videos. Is visual representation just as important to you as musical content?
R: It’s important but not as important. Making good music is the priority and then visual representation is second to that. I pay as much attention to writing lyrics as I do to video concepts, I’m just better at songwriting since I’ve been doing it longer but I’m equally excited about future videos since I’ve learned from my first ones and I’m open-minded about the entire process that goes into the visual side. I probably won’t be in them though, I enjoy being with the director and looking at the camera and saying things like “Move a little to the left”.
EMW: Who are you listening to at the moment?
R: Kanye West is constant, I’m always listening to him, and Harry Edwards and Matthew Young who I found through Soundcloud. They’re incredible. If you have time, you should check them out.
EMW: How can we hear and find out more about yourself?
R: All my music, videos, twitter, instagram stuff are on my website www.calmrivers.com.
EMW: Sweet! I think that’s it. Anything else you’d like to mention?
R: This was fun, thank you so much, I loved the questions and had a great time answering them.
Thank you to Rivers for taking time out for these questions. Make sure you check her website out.