London based The Riven released their debut EP Blackbird last week and in case you missed this searing EP we got you covered. Merely for reference points think Blues Pills meets Graveyard but the sound and songwriting reveals their true influences: Deep Purple and Grand Funk Railroad just to name a couple. From the experimental riffing in “Tower” to the funky chops of “Killer On the Loose” to the driving blues groove of “One Last Time” this EP is packed full of good time music that will appeal to metalheads and rockers alike. Besides the insane musicianship the band displays throughout these five tracks, the soulful vocals from Charlotta Ekebergh elevates these tunes to another level entirely. Her range is undeniable — the power and control she displays is immense. We recently had the opportunity to ask her our Profile set of questions, see what she had to say after the jump.
How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?
I actually first got into singing when I sang in a church choir as a child. Since then I’ve always sung and have had bands since I was 16. I’ve not yet achieved the level of success I’m hoping for but I’m getting there!
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.
Haha any embarrassing story, don’t know if I got one. I’m sure there’ll be a lot to tell when it’s all over but so far there’s nothing too out there. I have done some shows though where no one came because of sub zero temperatures in Sweden and played venues that have been somewhat weird, like on top of a bowling alley while people were bowling underneath the stage, hah!
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
Some of the worst thing happening now is that all the great big acts are one after one dropping out from the scene but it doesn’t seem like new bands get a chance to fill these gaps that are being created. All small and medium sized bands need to push harder to get through to perform at bigger venues and festivals otherwise they will be emptying out of bands soon though the market still is big for events. Best thing I think is that bands take things in their own hands. I see a lot of bands not much bigger than us booking their own tours and getting support slots for bigger bands which is great! This is not the time to wait for someone to “discover” you, you already discovered yourself and can make something of that without big money although it’s tough out there!
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
Hm… That’s a tough one. Lyrics can be a very powerful way to display your views and I have of course got some of mine down in our lyrics and if I were to quote a few I’d have to say the environment and both the political and religious cliffs that are building up at the speed of light at the moment. I think it’s very natural that some of your views and standpoints end up in your lyrics maybe sometimes in stage performances or maybe you could do charity gigs for causes close to your heart.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
Haha! That would be my older sister playing Judas Priest at home. I must have been around 12 and my family, I think, didn’t care much at the time. The whole family is very much into music and it’s first later when I started singing and performing with a band that they’ve come to have an opinion about the music that I play. Most of them love it and some don’t comment, whatever that means.
What’s the stickiest you have ever been?
Being Swedish and a non english native I’m not quite sure what that means… But I’ll give you my interpretation and hope it “sticks” hah! What about being at Graspop festival in Belgium in 30- something degrees in high fever, taking paracetamol with 13% belgian lager while pushing around a passed out friend on a sled later the same night quoting “bring out your dead” from Life of Brian. Is that being sticky?
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
I think it’s all about being visible to each other. There’s so much online that it’s absolutely impossible to find bands unless you know what you’re looking for. I think it’s good for critics to go out there and go to gigs and contact bands that you’ve seen and liked via social media, see what other bands to them are similar and soon you’ll get that whole scene down and you can then offer the fan base what they want and keep building your buzz as well as the bands.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
Standing on a stadium stage is a non changing dream for all of us. Music world domination is a given and yeah all of us have day jobs or studies on the side of music. Saving a continent? Well hopefully in the sense of giving them music to let loose to! Starting a cult… Not yet but we’ll see where the road leads us….
Finally, when you’re not listening to, writing or playing metal, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
Whenever The Riven gets together music is blasting out of the speakers and beers are going down. Usually the music that sets the mood is Iron Maiden or Thin Lizzy but anything goes as long as there are riffs, groove and some killer voices, melodies and all that jazz!