When Rivers Meet Q&A
I first caught husband and wife blues-rock duo When Rivers Meet at the tail-end of 2019, since when they've somewhat taken the blues rock scene in the UK by storm with their debut album 'We Fly Free' and four awards picked up at the UK Blues Awards 2021. Having kept their fans happy during COVID with a very popular Saturday night livestream most weeks, When Rivers Meet are out on tour with King King in October 2021 and have a second album due out in November this year. Grace and Aaron took some time out to answer some questions for BBMATB, which you can check out below.
When Rivers Meet are Grace Bond (Vocals, Mandolin and Violin) and Aaron Bond (Vocals and Guitar).
The debut album 'We Fly Free' and EPs 'The Uprising' and 'Innocence Of Youth' are available on your favourite digital site or as physical copies from the band's shop at www.whenriversmeet.co.uk.
Hello Grace, Aaron, thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, for those readers who might not be familiar with When Rivers Meet, could you give a short history of the band?
Our pleasure, we are a husband and wife Blues Rock duo from Essex in the UK. We have been playing together for around 10 years but our debut album came out in November 2020 and it has been a bit of a whirlwind ever since, a right rollercoaster.
Who would you say were the main influences on When Rivers Meet? How did your introduction to blues come about?
So, our main influences are John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson on the blues side of things while Bonnie Raitt is the greatest favourite, and on the classic rock side of things there is definitely Bad Company, Free, Led Zeppelin going all the way up to bands like Guns N` Roses and Nirvana.
Second Part Answer - Aaron's first CD was Johnny Hooker so he was Aaron's first introduction to Blues while Grace's was probably Bonnie Raitt.
How did you settle on When Rivers Meet as a name - did you have any other names under consideration?
Ahhh Man! It was so hard to come up with a name that we liked. We originally were called Holmes and Bond but when we got married we decided that we had to change it and we didn't fancy being called Bond and Bond, it sounded like a building firm. So, when we were in Sardinia and we were trying to work out a new name whilst we were overlooking where two rivers met, so, hence When Rivers Meet.
You've been pretty prolific and managed to release two EPs and a full album in a little over eighteen months. Are you constantly writing and recording? And has the Covid situation caused you any particular problems in recording and releasing material?
Yeah, we have put out quite a lot of music in the last 18 months. Even though we have been playing together for a long time it's only in the last 3 years that we have really found our sound, so it was important that we found the right producer to work with, and as soon as we found him we went straight in and recorded both the EPs and then of course our debut album while at the moment we are currently finishing off our second studio album which is really exciting. We were delayed going into the studio but we definitely wanted to take the time and make sure we got music released and we did everything we could to progress during COVID lockdown.
Do you feel that the band's sound has changed in any way since you started a few years back?
Definitely! The band's sound has definitely changed because when we first started we were more like an Americana kind of band because I (Aaron) was playing acoustic guitar and Grace was playing the violin and fiddle. It all changed when I (Aaron) got my Gibson Les Paul and we went electric and Grace got a Resonator Mandolin and yeah, it was great we just kind of found that sound which was amazing. It feels like we evolved into what we are now.
'We Fly Free' has had a pretty phenomenal reception; have you been surprised by the reception it has received since its release?
We are totally blown away by the reception that our debut album has had; it was the first record that we sent out for review and critique so it was a pretty scary process and we have absolutely been blown away by the reception. We never believed we would be receiving four UK Blues Awards or even to be nominated.
Any particular favourites from the album? And do you have any favourite new songs yet to be released that you're looking forward to getting out there?
Definitely, our favourite to play is `Did I Break The Law`; it is such a rocking track that we call a banger. With this second album we are recording at the moment there are definitely some favourites poking their heads through at the moment whilst we are in this production period.
You've been hosting regular livestream events during the various lockdowns we've had - how do you find them to do? Does it feel strange with that close audience participation missing? And do you think bands will continue to carry on with these methods if we return to some sort of semblance of normality and live gigs return?
Yeah, we were very apprehensive about jumping on and doing live streams during the first lockdown. We saw everybody else doing it and we thought that we should give it a go; the first time was really awkward because you are just singing and playing to an iPhone, which we still do even now, but gradually over time it got more and more normal and now it feels great. We really enjoy it, and we get a really good interaction when we see all the comments going up and stuff like that and we are talking to people. We genuinely feel like we have an audience, we don't feel like we are in the room on our own. There is definitely a space for it even when we are able to go back out gigging normally; we plan to continue doing our weekly live stream. They may vary in day and time but it's such a great way to connect with people all over the world, we enjoy it so much.
Before Covid struck and live gigs were shut down, did you have any particular favourite live venues you liked to play? And were there any live gigs that you played that really stood out for you?
We love playing Ain't Nothing But The Blues Bar in Soho, in London, it was such a great atmosphere and so many great Blues lovers in there. The other place was the 100 Club in London because it is such an iconic venue, anybody who is anybody has played there and one of the coolest things is apart from all of the pictures of those people being up on the walls, is that loads of people have signed their names in the Green Room all over the walls. It's just absolutely awesome and we found a tiny, tiny spot to sign our names. It was a privilege.
Second Part Answer - A gig that really stands out is the one we played at the Deer and Blues Festival in Norfolk as we had only recently just started getting into the swing of playing our new style of music and it was the first purely Blues crowd we had played to. The reception was amazing, absolutely fantastic. It just felt like `WOW` we really have hit on something that could work, so that definitely stands out.
Do you feel the blues scene out there is strong at the moment? It's perhaps a genre that thrives on live shows more than some other genres, so do you feel that it's 'holding its own' at the moment without live gigs?
I (Aaron) think the Blues scene has always been strong, it's like all other music it kind of comes and goes a little bit, but its always been there right from the start and bands like The Rolling Stones and Cream really brought it to the forefront in the UK back in the 60s and I (Aaron) think there has been a massive resurgence with it now with artists such as Joe Bonamassa, Elles Bailey, Samantha Fish and Larkin Poe.
Second Part Answer - I think the followers of Blues music definitely love the atmosphere of live gigs and we have all missed it so much but it's a really strong community of people and it's going to come back alive and kicking once we can do gigs safely again.
Are there any particular artists / bands you'd recommend to readers out there currently?
We'd definitely recommend Larkin Poe, Joe Bonamassa, Samantha Fish, Elles Bailey and Connor Selby, as well as King King obviously, because we are touring with them in October and they are a great Blues Rock band.
And finally, what does 2021 hold in store for When Rivers Meet?
We are currently just recording our second studio album at the moment which is going to be released on the 19th November this year, which is really exciting and we are touring with King King in October. After receiving the Blues awards and the Planet Rock Award this next album feels like the bar has been raised! We are loving it!