10 questions with… Dry the River

1. Hello, please introduce yourself and your music to the uninitiated

Hello there. We’re a rag-tag band of waifs and strays based in Stratford, East London. The music question is a difficult one to answer, a reviewer in the Netherlands recently described it as “folk with balls” and “beautiful hardcore” which I suppose sounds a bit schizophrenic but maybe sums it up.

2. Tell us a bit about your latest/upcoming release

We have a single, “New Ceremony” coming out on Transgressive on Monday March 7th. It was produced by James Kenosha (Pulled Apart By Horses/Grammatics/Dinosaur Pileup) and these photographers from Detroit supplied the artwork, we’re excited to see the finished product!

3. What has been your best ever gig/tour?

Our best ever tour is the one we’ve just come back from – we had a few showcases at Eurosonic in the Netherlands last week, and played Paris, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Utrecht en route. Met a lot of weird and wonderful people, stayed on a hotel ship and ate a lot of peanut sauce on chips. Heavy.

4. What is the worst thing about being a musician?

Well, for us I guess the fact that we all live together in a tiny house, so we really are tripping over each other even when we’re not on tour. It’s good in some respects, as there’s a sense of solidarity and a general team spirit, but sometimes cabin fever can set in and we all get grouchy.

5. What music besides your own do you listen to?

This is another challenging question – we all listen to utterly different music! I think the energy in our live show comes from the post-punk and hardcore bands we all grew up with: At The Drive-In, Refused, Glassjaw etc. Lyrically and narratively though, I guess the songs are inspired by the unashamedly sentimental artists of the 60s onward: Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Suzanne Vega, Cyndi Lauper… and then there’s a wealth of random stuff in between that informs our arrangements and so on. Creedence, Genesis, Rush… and more recently Arcade Fire, Gayngs, Great Lake Swimmers, Land of Talk..

6. What inspires you?

All sorts. I’ve always been fascinated by the way societies coalesce, the underlying mechanics of interpersonal communication and cooperation, the incredible things people do in the face of great adversity‚Ķ Ultimately the things that many artists respond to emotionally: the kind of worries that keep people awake at night, the small obstacles we all overcome each day.

7. If we gave you a billion pounds what would you do with it?

I’d have no idea what to do with that sum of money. The various moral and practical burdens of spending it would probably outstrip the benefits. I read recently that Mark Zuckerberg and a bunch of others have pledged to give away the vast majority of their fortunes. I know Bill & Linda Gates have a medical foundation that does a huge amount of charity work in Africa. Hopefully I’d have the foresight and drive to do something positive and practical like that.

8. Which of your songs is your favourite? Do you have a least favourite?

Usually the most recent song is our preferred song, as the arrangements are still fluid and we can play around with it live. That said, we go through phases on tour where a certain song inexplicably starts to sound better than usual and we’ll play it every night for a while. I think it’s important to have a love/hate relationship with everything you write. It keeps you critical, but also allows you to chart your progression and play to your strengths.

9. Do you have any exciting plans for the future?

We’ve got a lot of travelling penned in – some shows in the US and Europe, and a pretty busy festival season. Some time in all of that we’re going to have to get into the studio and make an album so there is a lot to look forward to at the moment.

10. If someone wants to hear your music, where should they start?

At a live show or, after March 7th, the single. Dry the River has gradually evolved from a very bare bones acoustic project to a loud and messy post-punk wall of noise, although those earthy folk sentiments are still at its heart. A lot of the early recordings we did reflect the early stages of the transition and don’t represent the band as it is now. In a sense, the single is the first faithful reproduction of our live show.

Dry the River’s debut single will be out on Transgressive on 7th March and they have upcoming dates in London, Liverpool and Glasgow. Visit drytheriver.com for more information.

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