Band Spotlight: These Wicked Rivers

In our next band spotlight, we chat to Derby based rock champs, These Wicked Rivers about their music, and inspirations. S] How did the band form?  TWR] In February 2014 […]

In our next band spotlight, we chat to Derby based rock champs, These Wicked Rivers about their music, and inspirations.


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S] How did the band form? 

TWR] In February 2014 when John decided he wanted to try his open mic stuff in a band environment. He asked Dan if he fancied a jam and it went from there. We recruited Jon in May and Arran in August and first gigged in October 2014. The rest is history!

S] What are the biggest challenges for you as a band?

TWR] As with most bands starting out, when you need to earn some money to do your band things, our jobs can have an effect on what we do musically. John works shifts, Dan travels a lot for work, Arran had some pretty crazy hours, Jon has been in his job a long time and is a trusted “go to” guy for everyone else there. You need work, but it can stop us doing thingS in the band.

The other real issue is attendance at shows and weighing up whether it’s cost-effective for us to travel to a new place. Make no mistake, we want to play everywhere to absolutely everyone, but it’s tough to travel to a city and play to the other bands and bar staff. But, then again, that has to be expected so we try not to get too down about those kinds of things!

S] What are your plans for the rest of this year, and into the next?

TWR] We’re in the final throes of preparing our new 7-track mini-album, which will be released in Spring 2017. There’ll be a video, photoshoot and release show to go with it. The aim for 2017 is to release that and tour it as much as possible, whilst writing for our new recording which we’re hoping will be a full length album.

S] Can you guide us through the ideas running through two tracks – ‘Can’t Take It’ and ‘The Enemy’?

TWR – Dan] ‘Can’t Take It’ is musically Arran’s and lyrically mine. It’s about when I moved to uni in 2004 and felt really lonely and detached from everyone despite having a lot of fun. I’d grown up outside of a city and always had my best friends literally round the corner. Then all of a sudden I was living in a place where the city was less than a mile away and everything was busy all of the time.

I was all alone and I really struggled with it. When I wasn’t at uni in lectures, or out a few times a week putting on an act, I was in my room, alone, just playing PC Games and not really talking to anyone else which is reflected in the first two verses on this song. This went on until April of 2005, when I joined a ska band and met a load of really cool new people who were in to the same music, films, games and social activities as me. It gave me a new lease of life and that is reflected in the third verse and final chorus.

TWR – John] – ‘The Enemy’ is about a dying relationship. Two people that just aren’t compatible but are both scared to end it despite the toxic effect it’s having on their lives, so they end up becoming enemies that are just kind of stuck together hurting each other.

S] If you could come up with a Frankenstein’s monster for the TWR sound – for example, the head of Soundgarden, the arms of Royal Blood and the balls of Black Stone Cherry, for example, what would it be, and why?

TWR] That’s pretty close actually! We don’t actually try to sound like anyone, but our influences are pretty obvious! For me [Dan] it would have to be:

Head – Black Stone Cherry. The Southern Rock sound isn’t really deniable in our music and BSC have got that nailed down!

Torso – Clutch. This is our bluesy side. We originally set out to be a bluesier band than we now are, so when we write, we always ask “does that sound bluesy enough?”

Arms – Royal Blood – I say Royal Blood because of the drive in their songs. All their tracks are upbeat and they get you nodding your head. We hope our music has the same effect.

Legs – Crobot – Possibly my favourite new band of the Southern Rock/Blues Rock genre. Some serious groove and big riffs, which fundamentally is what we always aim for.

Brain – Either Gary Clark Jnr or John Mayer. I have to namecheck the two guys who probably influence John’s lyric writing the most. John doesn’t just chuck words on a page and says “that’ll do”. Sometimes it takes him a long time to write a set of lyrics. It’s always worth the wait though and that’s the sense I get from GCJ and John Mayer.

S] What’s been a career highlight for TWR?

TWR] We’ve had a pretty cool couple of years to be fair. Right at the start of this year though we played a couple of Butlins Weekenders with some real household names like Nine Below Zero, Tygers of Pantang, Hawkwind, Graham Bonnet and Wishbone Ash to name a few.

We played in a load of new cities to new people who were all really nice to us. But, by far our highlight of 2016 is our appearance at YNot Festival. Playing a smaller stage to a packed tent which then gets absolutely rammed when Noel Gallagher finishes playing is a pretty cool experience!

Dom Smith

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