The first Lp of the training currently located in Stockholm THE RIVEN will be published next March 1st. His guitarist, Arnau Diaz gives us details of what we are going to find and tells us how the band is gestating and relocating from London to Stockholm, as well as the details of the recording of the album.
“The people who come to see us will experience the songs in a different way to the album in a way that will bring them closer to us and will make them understand better the meaning behind each song”.
DenpaFuzz: We are in 2016’s winter, four young people living in London decide to start up a band. How this story starts? Please, tell us how did you meet and tell us a bit of your musical background. Do you come from other bands? Is this your first adventure?
Arnau: We met in London, we were studying on the same college. When I met Max and Totta, we befriended quickly and start hanging out and going to concerts. Soon after moving together, Max and me started writing songs and ask Totta if she wanted to join. As a drummer, I voted for Olof since he is the best drummer I knew and I was getting along very well with him.
Regarding previous bands, all of us were playing in other bands when we started The Riven. The most prominent is Bright curse, where Max played bass. Even Olof toured with them when their drummer was not available. As The Riven was getting up, the rest of the projects were dissolving and we decided to focus on The Riven.
DenpaFuzz: After your first successful EP on 2017, how had you spent your time? Moving from London to Stockholm, recording sessions in Madrid, how all these trips happens? Is Sweden your final dwelling?
Arnau: We decided to move from London soon after releasing Blackbird. We had spent great times in London and in UK in general, but we needed a change. Max, Totta and Olof are Swedish, so it seemed natural to go to Stockholm. I don’t know if this will be our definitive home, but we are doing ok here.
We went to Madrid because we wanted to enter the studio with Ola Ersfjord. We love his work both as a sound engineer and as a producer in several records, so we wanted to record with him our first album. It was great to be in Madrid for a couple of days focusing just in recording and enjoying the city.
We really want to play the new songs live and we are preparing a show that will not leave anyone indifferent. “
DenpaFuzz: How, musically, have changed The Riven since your EP Blackbird to this self titled LP? The Swedish scene is an endless source of bands rooted in the 70s. Have this influenced you anyhow?
Arnau: The bigger change is that we had played together for more time. This makes us more demanding both in composing and playing, and, at the same time, it creates a more definite sound for The Riven. On the other hand, there are a lot of records that have stricken us since we start playing together… and many of them come from Sweden! ‘Excerpts From A Future Past’ from Hällas or ‘About Time’ from Horisont are good examples.
DenpaFuzz: How you came with the songs in your LP? Who compose them? Is it a collective work or are there any leadership?
Arnau: All songs are born from a collective effort. In general, we start a song from a basic idea, mostly a guitar or bass riff, but it also could be a melody, some lyrics or a drum beat. From that idea all of us, collectively, develop the song in the rehearsal room.
DenpaFuzz: What are you talking about in your songs? Who is in charge of the lyrics?
Arnau: Our songs are about very different topics. We always try the lyrics to be a story to we can relate ourselves to, but the meaning of the songs cover a wide array; from politics to personal stories or, even, mythological ones.
Totta writes the majority of the lyrics, although there are a couple of songs whose lyrics had been written by the rest of us. However, as what happens with the songs, we all put ideas and feedback to the lyrics.
DenpaFuzz: How was the recording process with the people of Holy Cuervo? How has been the release with The Sign Records, a company which has several 70s rooted band like yours in its rooster?
Arnau: The recording at Holy Cuervo was great: Ola is a first-class producer and he knew how to get the best of each one of us without losing our identity as band. Also, he took care of us and showed us the best places in Madrid so we had great times.
We are very happy to had signed with The Sign; they have bands we love, like Hällas and Maidavale, in their rooster, so it is amazing to be part of such family. Everyone working at The Sign have a huge passion for the music and it is very rewarding to work with someone who values so much our work.
I think the Stoner influence is still quite present on the album, on the other hand if it is true that both the composition and the production of this new album are more polished than in our EP ‘Blackbird’, maybe that gives us a better sound classic.
DenpaFuzz: How do you feel in this “Retro Rock” scene? Do you feel yourselves identified with this term? Or do you define your sound in a different way? What do have more weight in your songs, blues, hard-rock or psychedelic rock?
Arnau: It is always hard to label our sound. The fact that all of us have very different influences from 70s soul to doom metal and that all of us put a special effort into composing makes our music a melting-pot of several styles. It is true that our roots are in the 70s rock, but, regarding composition, we try to melt more influences. I think, in general, it could be defined as hard-rock with some touches of psychedelia and prog rock.
DenpaFuzz: What’s the importance of Totta in The Riven’s sound? Personally, I have this feeling that, in this release, music revolves around here a bit more. I mean, her prominence is even higher in the development of the songs. Am I right?
Arnau: Mmm… good question! It is not I’ve thought about, personally. We’ve continued the same dynamic we had in the EP to get the best of each song. On the other hand, I think the band is getting mature so all had found our space. Could this make Totta getting more prominence? Anyway, it is true her work in this album is amazing.
DenpaFuzz: Whom are you looking to when composing? Which one is your fetish band?
Arnau: There is not an explicit will of looking some determinate bands when composing; so we get a more characteristic sound. On the other hand, it is true there are bands that have influenced all of us and that is shown in our songs. Bands like Grand Funk Railroad or Rush, in their first releases, had left a huge mark in us, but also we are marked by more modern sounds like Rival Sons or Kadavar. On a personal level, I should mention Jeff Beck and Paul Kossoff as my main influences.
DenpaFuzz: Other feeling I got is that you have distanced yourselves from Stoner rock to recreate yourselves in classic rock. More quiet and subtle songs, is it like that?
Arnau: Maybe, it isn’t anything we were looking for… I think the stoner influence is present in the record, but both the composition and the production are more polish than in our “Blackbird” EP. Maybe it give us a more classic rock sound.
DenpaFuzz: I’ve seen that, apart from some shows in Germany and France, you’ll be touring Spain next June. How do you approach this tour, especially you, Arnau, being from Barcelona? What do you expect from the Spanish crowds?
Arnau: I really feel like going to Spain! Since I move 4 years ago, I haven’t played in Spain, so it is a good time to do so. Although it will be our first time in Spain, I expect a good reception. In my opinion, the Spanish audience likes to try new things and, overall, in this scene the attitude to new bands is, in general, very good.
DenpaFuzz: What could people expect from your shows in Spain? How will you present your act?
Arnau: They can expect a very intense rock’n’roll show! We feel like playing our new songs live and we are setting up an act that won’t left no one indifferent. People who will come to see us live will experiment the songs in a different way from the record, therefore, they will be closer to us and they will have a better understanding of the meaning behind the songs.
DenpaFuzz: Who will you like to share stage to? Is there any band you’ll especially like and who you dream to play with?
Arnau: Good question! There are a lot of bands who we’ll like to share the stage with, but I think sharing it with Hällas would be wonderful: we still digesting their record ‘Excerpts From a Future Past’, a masterwork.
DenpaFuzz: Thanks a lot for your words. From DenpaFuzz we wish you a successful future and that your wonderful record will get you a long tour. If you want to say anything to all the readers that follows you here…
Arnau: Thanks for giving us the opportunity of talking about our music! Just tell all you readers that give the record a listen when it will be released on March, the 1st, and, if they like it, we hope to see all of them in June at our tour. Best regards!