River of Souls – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
ROS: (Paul) Eh, an Indie Metal band, I think. …….We call it ‘Doomed Heavy Death’, as these are the three main ingredients to our sound, but, actually all kinds of metal and rock are featured in our music. And so far, we released our material ourselves, hence “Indie”!
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
ROS: (Paul) This all started as a project band, somewhere in 2014. I already had a few tracks ready including lyrics, but when Bart and Benjamin joined the project, Bart had his own lyrics, so, we re-arranged the music to fit the vocal lines Bart came up with. We added some more tracks, and we recorded that stuff. We asked Ingmar Otter, a friend of us, to play some cool guitar solos, and that all resulted in the first full length album ‘The Well of Urd’. During the release, we decided to turn the band project into a real band, so that we were also able to play live shows. We found some people to join us, we did a few shows, but then we started searching for people that fitted our band better on a personal level. And we found the right people. The current line-up is: Bart on vocals, Paul and Mathijs on guitar and Koen on drums.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
ROS: (Paul) Musical influences: Metal and 70’s rock, and occassionally themes of tv series or other stuff. Composition wise it’s mainly 80’s nwobhm based metal and hardrock, like Metallica, Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden. Riff wise, it’s about everything that sounds interesting and heavy that has influenced us in what we do. We aim to add many styles of metal to our music, as long as it sounds heavy and not happy. I have listened to deathmetal, blackmetal, heavy metal, speedmetal, thrashmetal, 70’s progressive rock, powerrock, nu metal, metalcore, symphonic stuff, grindcore, and so on, and I dare to say everything has been featured in our music. Some things are very obvious, and other styles are incorporated in a very subtle way, but, it’s there.
Non-musical, well, then it comes to lyrics I think, definitely Bart’s department, hahaha:
(Bart) It’s all about the atmosphere for me, in music as well as in lyrics. I always try to work around a concept and mold it into a story which flows naturally throughout the album. I’m influenced by great lyricists like Aaron Stainthorpe of My Dying Bride and Jonas Renkse of Katatonia, especially when it comes to telling a story without making it too specific so there is still room for one’s own imagination.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
ROS: (Bart) Keep on creating music we love and doing live shows to get energy back from the crowd. Where that will eventually lead us is uncertain but that is part of the adventure.
PD: Who writes your songs, what’s the album and the video of ‘Of Pit And Snare’ about ?
ROS: (Paul) So far, I have written all the music and arrangements, but Bart wrote all the lyrics, so, Bart?…
(Bart) The album is about the tyranny of grief, hurt and death which strikes us in many forms and at different levels. It takes away everything we thought we had control of, like a usurper.
The track Of Pit and Snare represents the pain of war flooding over mankind like a biblical plague. Unimaginable suffering that we inflict upon ourselves like Sodom & Gomorra. We illustrated that in the video of that track with footage of the destruction of Berlin while the Russian forces liberated that city in WWII.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
ROS: (Paul) At this moment, the internet is the only way to promote our new album. We might do a live rehearsal stream in September or October but well… that’s not really a substitute for a live show.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
ROS: (Paul) Well, it’s definitely not a positive change for the music industry in general, and for smaller bands this means that there’s only a small chance to recover the production costs for an album. But it is what it is. It cannot be ignored, so, the artists better embrace it. Fortunately, websites like Bandcamp, iTunes, etc. are giving bands a very fair share of the revenue, but Spotify definitely is an indie killer.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
ROS: (Bart) ‘The Coffin Ships’ by Primordial because this song has everything for me both musically and lyric wise and above all the vocals really stand out on this one.
(Paul) ‘All I Want for Christmas’. Like winning the lottery each year, hahaha!
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
ROS: (Paul) For me personally, definitely the comparison with Opeth. I sure do understand why people are calling our music ‘inspired by Opeth’, but it’s definitely not. Yes, our music has its roots in 80’s metal, just like Opeth , and we also have a lot of riffs that are based on classical acoustic chords, but we don’t aim to play such technically challenging music. We aim to create albums that are still interesting to listen to after 500 spins or more, and which is inviting to bang your head to…. Or at least, inviting you to nod along, hahaha. Also, we use grunt and clear vocals, but not as clean as Opeth does. But, maybe we can please an average Opeth fan with our music, even though we’re not as musically perfect as they are.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
ROS: (Paul) Well, my father never had anything with music in general, and he definitely disliked everything with guitars with overdrive. And distortion, fast drums, blast beats, and yelling or even grunting was even worse. All music I made, was really like harassing noise to him, and he thought nobody would EVER like that stuff. During the time I played in Sinister, we recorded a live DVD in Poland: And the moment my father saw the Sinister DVD, with a large audience screaming for us to play, and even some fans holding a homemade Sinister banner…… My father was baffled. He couldn’t believe his eyes! All those people…. And his son sitting behind the drumkit! I could see in his eyes he was immensely proud.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
ROS: (Paul) Preparing Koen’s rehearsal room for recording both audio and video. We aim to start recording an EP later this year (release will probably be 2021) but nothing’s set in stone yet. We might do a live recording for streaming first, who knows!
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
ROS: (Paul) Well, we have released a full-length album called ‘The Well Of Urd’ in 2017, a 3 track EP called ‘The Nihilist’ in 2018, a digital single called ‘Prometheus Unbound’ in 2019, and this year we released our second full-length album called ‘Usurper’. The full-length cd’s can be purchased at our website www.riverofsouls.nl , and all our material can be purchased digitally on https://riverofsouls.bandcamp.com/ , iTunes, Amazon, etc. and streamed from all streaming services, including https://open.spotify.com/artist/4YTY52z5Uietm2rBUhhvel
River of Souls links:
Band/Artist location – The Netherlands
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