With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to THE RIVEN. Answered by Max Ternebring – Bottom end chief of The Riven.Anders Ekdahl ©2018
Do you feel that is has gone the way you intended when you formed back in the days?
-I think that everything has worked out very well for us. When we started the band, which is about 2,5 years passed now, we had intended for it to be something of a side project. All of us were busy musicians in London. We were all doing sessions or playing in other touring bands. But as time passed the band grow into what we wanted to do full time. We all moved to Sweden because of the band, and now on the eve of the first album release I feel comfortable to say that it has indeed surpassed our expectations!
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
-For me personally it feels really good! We decided to go to Madrid for the recording in order to escape our mundane routine in Stockholm. Also, we really enjoyed Ola’s previous work with a lot of other bands, which meant that we had high expectations. But Ola, the band as well as the city of Madrid all delivered, and I think the whole band feels this way too.
Do you feel that you by now has found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it?
-I think that we have indeed found a sound that is “us”. It’s always very difficult for bands to hone out their own sound, but with numerous hours in the rehearsal space, gigs all over Europe and with the help of some friends I do think we have achieved it. Since we all come from different backgrounds musically, we are all very keen to listen out for each other. I think that is very important in a band, especially if you write everything together – which we do!
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-Lyrics are very important to us, and we all contribute to them. Totta, the singer, is the one that writes most lyrics and I think that is because she’s a very poetic person. I think that whenever you write lyrics they should have a meaning, otherwise it is just pointless blabbering. Whatever you are writing about should always mean something to yourself. We elaborate with different kinds of topics, some are very personal and about life experiences, some are more about a feeling and some are about stories in general. I personally like all kinds of lyrics, as long as they work with the music.
How important is the cover art work for you? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
-We all think that artwork is very important! That is why we have chosen to work with the very talented artist Maarten Donders. We feel that his drawings further enhances our music, which in turn will make for a bigger experience for people listening and following then band. I think that a good artwork can make an album sell more, because you get a better feel for what the band and the music is about. Lame artwork is the scourge of our time.
Why is it so hard for bands that come places not the US or UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
-I think that bands benefit from belonging to a scene. Just look at all the big waves of music throughout history: British invasion, Nwobhm, Grunge etc. When there is a scene, people are more inclined to get into the music and I think that the music scene that we have in Sweden and Scandinavia makes the bands that we have here “bigger”. I think the bands and the people that work around them all pushing for the music makes a bigger impact. When you are on your own it’s difficult to break through.
Success is broad concept, but for me it’d be a success to be able to travel the world, playing my music, meeting people that listens to it and not lose too much money in the process. Obviously, we’d all like to be able to live of our music, but there is a lot of factors that would have to all work in our favour in order to achieve that.
Today the competition is harder. You got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. How do you do to really stand out in a world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
-There are a lot more bands today, that is true. But I’m not so sure that it is more difficult than previously. Today there are so many helpful tools to help you spread your music, like all the digital platforms etc. I think that in order to stand out, you need to make something that no one has done before. I’m pretty sure that if we did some artsy mix of hiphop, chinse folk music and industrial sounds we’d have a bigger shot of “making it big”, but that is not the music we would want to play. Our favorite bands are dead or dying and rock n roll has been done for quite some time. But I also think that if you work hard and put in the hours, you’ll have something that people would want to listen to, and that is really all to it.
What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it international?
-As I previously mentioned, in Sweden there is a very good scene for rock n roll music. In our town we have plenty of amazing bands like Svartanatt, Dead Lord, MaidaVale etc. and that is just the tip of the iceberg. I think, as I previously said that having a scene really helps the band. It’s even better if you’re able to make friends with other bands. That way your network expands and you can share experiences, you can get a grip of promoters and scenes in other places and on a whole be able to map out what you need to do in order to achieve what you want.
Rock and metal has come a long way since the early 70’s but still some people’s attitudes towards it seem to be left in the stone age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
-In our city rock and metal are both big genres. There are numerous bands and people listening to the music. We have lots of nice rock bars and other waterholes to hang out and meet people with the same taste in music. Rock and metal is very accepted and you’ll see metalheads all over town. I think that is the case in a lot of the places around Europe, at least in the cities and countries I have been to. Obviously there are people that think it is the devils music and that frown upon you, but there are assholes everywhere on earth.
What does the future hold for you?
-We are going to release another single on the 22nd of February, after that we release the album on the 1st of March. Can’t wait for that! Later this year we’re gonna tour Europe in April and June, then we’re gonna focus on writing the new album and maybe go on another tour towards the end of the year. You can say that we have a busy year ahead of us, but that is just the way we want it to be!