Originating from the south of France, RIVIẼRE have burst onto the scene with their phenomenal debut, Heal. Bringing their blend of progressive and post-hardcore (to name a few musical influences), RIVIẼRE have taken 2017 by storm. We managed to have a chat with RIVIẼRE guitarist Nico about the reaction to their debut, how the album was created, and what’s to come for the French outfit.
Your debut, Heal, has received extraordinarily positive feedback. How does it feel to hear such positive comments about your first release?
Nico: Yeah, it’s amazing! We’re so pleased that our first listeners have taken such an interest in the album and that what we were attempting to convey has been so well received by the majority of people who’ve listened to Heal. We are trying to remain somewhat detached though so it doesn’t go to our heads.
Did you expect it to be as well-received as it has been?
Nico: We did have some idea that those who are into post-rock, post-hardcore and progressive were going to enjoy Heal as we are surrounded by talented musicians here in Toulouse who were pretty enthusiastic on hearing the beginnings of the album. It’s thanks to them we’re where we are today! However, we weren’t expecting such an interest from the media and so many great reviews reflecting the state of mind in which we made the album.
Does it inspire you to keep making music?
Nico: Of course! Even before all the feedback from Heal we’d been writing new material. Despite its length Heal represents only a part of all the ideas, mixtures of genres and paths to explore that we still have to take on. At the moment, we are working on over a dozen new songs, we’ll see where they lead us!
What was the writing and recording process for Heal?
Nico: Writing the songs wasn’t the longest part. Alexandre (guitar), who has great imagination and motivation when it comes to composing, wrote the main ideas for most of the tracks. Then Nico (guitar) and Arnaud (bass/vocals) bought their ideas and rhythmic or melodic modifications, sometimes re-writing whole pieces. This was more time-consuming. We work mainly on computers. We also wrote a base for the bass and drum parts. When Tommy (drums) got his hands on it he discarded most of what we’d written and blew us away with the richness of his new drum tracks. When we were satisfied with everything we rehearsed the songs to hear how they sounded live and refined them yet more. At this point we were still an instrumental band. As for the recording, we wanted to get things done quickly but felt the need to take our time. As we couldn’t afford to book a recording studio for too long we decided to record the guitars, bass and electro parts ourselves at home. Only the drums were recorded in the conventional way over several days. It was then that Arnaud accepted to begin singing and writing again, and got to work on the vocals. Once we’d got the bass and guitar tracks down we spent some hours with the sound engineer choosing the gear we’d use for re-amping them. We then spent much longer than we’d planned working on and recording the vocals. A few days messing around with everything, a few days mixing and we had the basic sound of Heal. After sending the mix off to Forrester Savell for mastering we finally had the finished album.
The album has incredible production quality. Where was it recorded and who did you work with?
Nico: The quality of the production is a result of the combined work of Jérémie Mazan and Forrester Savell who we were honoured to work with! Jérémie gave the maximum of his energy, talent and motivation. He’s an amazing self-taught sound engineer who really bought out the best in our compositions, was full of ideas and supported us when we were in doubt. A huge thanks goes out to him, Heal wouldn’t be what it is without him! The album was recorded at Useless Pride Records, fiefdom of our old friends Alea Jacta Est, also home to a T-shirt printing factory well known in the south west of France.
RIVIẼRE pulls from a number of different musical styles in your work. What would you say is your biggest influence is on your music?
Nico: We have a hell of a lot of influences, but to name our strongest there’d be DEFTONES, KARNIVOOL, KHOMA, THRICE, AGENT FRESCO, TANGERINE DREAM, PUSCIFER, UNDEROATH, PINK FLOYD, JOHN CARPENTER, CULT OF LUNA…
Your success with your first release will most likely influence other bands from smaller areas, much like yourselves, to try and break out and become noticed. How does that feel?
Nico: Hmm…we think we are still quite unknown at this point but we grew up being influenced by so many small bands that few people have heard about so it’s really great if people can just enjoy the album and keep working on writing and playing the music they’re into just as we do.
The music industry is ever-growing, with new bands showing up all the time. How hard is it for new bands to become noticed and really stand out from the others?
Nico: We’re not sure if “getting noticed” is the right way to describe our approach but the quality of the first feedback makes us want to pursue what we’ve just begun. And all we’ve really done is got excited by one finished track, then another, and another. The rest of our adventure is mainly a few people believing in us and pushing us to move forward, getting us in touch with other people who might be interested in listening to our music. At the end of the recording, our first idea was to release it independently and to get back to another cycle of composing and recording.
You’ve kicked 2017 off to a strong start to say the least. What’s next for RIVIẼRE?
Nico: Thanks! We’re working on music videos at the moment, writing new material, and planning to tour in the autumn. We’re hoping for as many happy encounters as we’ve had these last two years.
Heal is set for release on January 20th via Basick Records.
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