These Wicked Rivers interview – plus Breaking News!

These Wicked Rivers are a new found pleasure of mine, which first came to light when I saw them supporting Theia at The Giffard Arms, Wolverhampton earlier this year. Their unique style cannot be categorized as a particular genre, having strong elements of both blues and rock, they consider themselves re-inventors of rock n roll.

The experience led me to rush to buy their 2 EP’s, ‘Enemy’ and the amazing ‘II’. Shortly after this I got to witness them deliver a live master class at Uttoxeter Rocks hosted by The Old Star pub, where I managed to catch up with the band to discuss the possibility of an interview. They were gracious enough to accept this offer and here is the result! Enjoy!

Is there a particular relevance to the band name?

None at all! Haha! Just something Dan and John came up with during a practice break in the early days of the band.

The band formed in August 2014, who was responsible for this, how did it come about?

John (Hartwell, Lead Singer/Rhythm Guitarist) was writing songs and playing open mic nights with original material. He started to think the material may work in a band sense so asked Dan (who he had played in a band with before) if he fancied a jam. The chemistry and material really worked, so Jon was bought in on Bass and then eventually Arran in August of 2014 to complete the line-up.

What’s in the pipeline for The Wicked Rivers?

Hopefully some really cool stuff, but it’s mostly gigging and promoting our recent EP “II” at the minute. 2017 feels like another big step for us in terms of calibre of shows we’re playing so hopefully that continues in to 2018 and then who knows!

You had a new album out earlier this year (which is awesome by the way)….. When can we expect another? And do you plan to make any videos to support the songs on the album ‘II’?

We’re in the process of doing a video for a track from “II” now actually, which we’re hopeful of releasing soon. In terms of recording, the problem is that it doesn’t come cheap! You end up saving for ages to get a good recording done…But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing anything soon…Watch this space!

You name a long list of bands/artists who influence your sound, but if you had to name just one person/band that you guys would love to work with, whether that be producer, band or artist, who would it be?

Wow…That is a tough question! I think we’d say working with a “Super Producer” like Bob Rock or Rick Rubin would be very cool…Just to see what they had in store for us!

We’d all have our own individual bands/artists we’d like to tour with as well, rather than a collective agreement.

What’s the highlight to date for you as musicians?

Probably the way with which both of our EP’s have been received. We put a lot of effort in writing our songs and a hell of a lot of effort in to recording them. When you’re about to release something you get nervous because you know how much effort you put in to it and you get a bit scared everyone will think what you’ve done is crap! So to have both EP’s be very positively received is a huge highlight as it vindicates all our decisions.

Could you explain your writing process?

Writing generally revolves around Arran or Hartwell bringing an idea to a room (its Arran most commonly). We then play through the idea as a band and see if it fits (there is no point in forcing something if it doesn’t work in the first practice or two). Usually we write music very quickly, regularly having the basis of a song to build from within the timeframe of a practice (a couple of hours).

The most time consuming thing is lyrics. Lyrics mainly come from Hartwell or Dan and both tend to take their time over things, firstly writing lyrics and then crafting a melody for it. We can have a song musically done for months before a set of lyrics arrives for them. Once we do have them though and we have a basis for John’s main vocal part, that’s when we look at backing and see what makes certain elements jump out more.

What shows to you have planned over the coming months?

We’re having August as a chill month after a very busy July, so there’s just Osfest in Derby on August 26th (Free festival, only pay anything if you’re camping, so come on down!).

In September we’re off to Evesham for the first time on September 15th, then Derby at The Hairy Dog (Mosh against Cancer) on September 17th, then supporting Erja Lyytinen at The Bodega in Nottingham on September 22nd before ending our month at Rockstock & Barrel Festival in Willington on the 30th.

We support Ferocious Dog on October 21st at The Hairy Dog in Derby but the REALLY big one is December 1st, 2nd and 3rd…Planet Rockstock in Trecco Bay. We can’t actually put in to words how excited we are for that one!

On a less formal note, tell me a bit about you guys……. Do you have any nicknames for each other? Do any of you have really annoying habits that you can share with me?

Nicknames wise…Arran gets called Riffa a fair bit. A play on Rafa as before he grew his beard he looked a little bit like Spanish Tennis Legend Rafael Nadal.

Hartwell has a really annoying habit of playing the Game of Thrones theme while we’re setting up. It makes all of us want to cut his strings off his guitar! It’s nothing against the programme (we’re HUGE fans) but there’s only so many times you can hear it!

Dan has this thing where everything in a song has to be an even number of repetitions else he gets very touchy about it! The middle bit in Stones Painted Gold goes round 13 times instead of 12 and it drives him mad!

Hallam is the member of the band who gets asked to do everything (lugging gear around, set this up, set that up, can you grab this etc etc) so we do have an ongoing phrase of “Hallam…When you’ve got a minute” which usually gets said when he’s in the middle of the last thing you asked him to do…He gets a bit wound up by it sometimes!

Give me one piece of information (preferably juicy gossip) that you haven’t told anyone as yet……..pretty please?

Oh dear…We’re not really a gossipy band! Just 4 guys.

Ok, we’re cheating on Anonymous with Theia…nobody knows that…Until now!

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All photographs courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography