Posted On 21 Feb 2018
Get to know the singer-songwriter/musician RIVVRS! After releasing his hit single, “Don’t Give Up On Me,” he’s following up the heartfelt track with a song that’s drenched in grit, passion and attentiveness.
Listen to his latest song, “Don’t Wanna Know,” here on his EPK: http://music.lafamos.com/rivvrs
HuffPost says, “RIVVRS’ tenor exudes a rasping textured energy that’s palpably passionate, turbulent with tumescent emotions each asserting a raw pressing vitality.”
Culture Collide says RIVVRS’ has, “velvety emotion-laden vocals.”
Catching the eye of Ones to Watch, HuffPost, Baeble, Culture Collide and more, it’s clear this artist is on the horizon of something great. Confirming that is his upcoming performance at Bottle Rock fest, joining Bruno Mars, The Killers, Muse and others.
Read more about RIVVRS in the following All Access interview with him:
Happy New Year! Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
Happy New Year! I just finished a day of snowboarding at Sierra Ski Ranch in Tahoe and I’m currently in Harrah’s, warming up from the cold.
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your music career? What are you most excited about for this year? Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? Care to share them with us?
2017 showed a lot of personal growth in my life more than career growth, I’d say. It was a tough year for a lot of people, myself included. But thankfully towards the second half of the year I feel like I made a lot of progress in my own journey. The highlight of 2017 was releasing the first single from the new album, which feels like a whole new chapter in my music career and a fresh start in some ways.
My biggest resolution for 2018 is to tour with a full band for the first time and right now it looks like that’s gonna be a reality!
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
I don’t think I really thought of it as a realistic career choice, but it was always something I loved more than anything else, and spent all my time doing. My dad worked a late shift when I was in school, so I used to come home and play guitar until it was dark outside. One of the earliest memories I have is playing an open mic at a coffee shop called The Grind in Redwood City. It was one of the first times I ever performed an original song in public and it was rough and it was scary and I think it’s on Youtube.
After I graduated high school, I was dead set on becoming a paramedic and a fireman. I took film history and video editing classes in community college to keep my creative brain happy, but I really didn’t like going to school so I dropped out after the first semester and I think from that moment on (even if I didn’t know it) I was pursuing a music career.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your home has affected you and your music today?
I grew up in the Bay Area, so most of my memories from childhood are there. I think the memories I associate with certain places are what find their way into my songs more than the places themselves. I grew up not having the most healthy relationship with my mother, so there’s a lot of that emotion in my songs, especially the new ones. When I go back to where I grew up, there’s usually a shadow of sadness whenever I pass a place that’s associated with a bad memory.
Let’s talk about your latest song, “Don’t Wanna Know.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think it compares to anything else you have put out like “Don’t Give Up On Me”?
Sonically, the song definitely has a heavier vibe than some of my previous songs. I’ve always loved the 70’s and we decided to go kind of psychedelic with the production. Thematically, the song was inspired by my time on the road last year. I toured more in 2017 than ever before and I wrote this song after a 2 week run with my friend (and co-producer of Cosmic Dream) Joshua James. The lyrics can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, but it was inspired by that fear of leaving your comfort zone and never coming back. When you’re on the road, you sacrifice a lot and this song is very much rooted in the fear of “what if I never come back home and just leave my old life behind?”
How do you think all the music that you have previously put out prepares listeners for your forthcoming album “Cosmic Dream”?
On the new album, I really doubled down on my musical influences. There was never a thought of “does this sound like the last record?”
It all came very naturally during the creative process. I just wanted to make a record that felt similar from top to bottom, without feeling too similar, if that makes sense.
It’s half bluesy americana and the second half is more acoustic.
What was it like putting together “Cosmic Dream”? Were there any unexpected challenges or surprises?
Making an album never goes as planned, especially when you’re working on it for 2 years. I’ve re-cut certain parts on certain songs multiple times and had them re-mixed over. Before Christmas last year, I was almost certain the record was done, but then I decided I wanted to go into the studio and re-record an entirely new version of one of the singles. It’s really frustrating in the moment, but in hindsight I’m realizing it was all for the better. At a certain point you just have to put your hands behind your back and say “this is done” or else you’ll just keep finding things that can be done better or differently, and it never sees the light of day.
How excited are you to be performing at Bottle Rock festival this year? Will this be the biggest venue that you ever played at? What other shows do you have scheduled for this year?
Playing at Bottlerock is totally a full circle moment for me! When I was living in Napa, I used to work in the building that shared an office with Bottlerock, so I would sometimes hear them negotiating with agents on the phone in passing, which I thought was really cool. I emailed them my music every year but never heard back. At a certain point, I just kind of accepted that I probably would never play there. I’ve been to the festival 3 of the last 4 years, and I went back last year to watch Tom Petty. I remember watching his set and thinking how much I wanted to play on that stage someday, and crazily enough I’ll be playing on that exact same stage this year!
I read that you have over 30 song placements on TV! Can you remember the first time that you heard one of your songs on TV? What show was it? Do you still get excited when you hear one of your songs?
All that credit goes to the wonderful people who pitch my songs! Shout out to All Media Music Group and Primary Wave! It’s really surreal hearing my songs in tv shows, because that’s how I used to discover new songwriters when I was younger. The first placement I got was on a show called ‘About a Boy’ on NBC in 2014. When I look back, that placement really started my entire music career, or at least gave me the confidence to believe I could make a living from my music. I’m incredibly grateful for that opportunity.
I am curious to know more about your experience in the wine industry. What do you think ultimately convinced to leave that life behind and pursue music full time?
I kind of just stumbled into the wine industry. When I was 18, I lived with my grandparents for a while in Napa and my grandpa got me a job where he worked. I basically just stood in the parking lot and greeted guests and showed them where to go. It was a seasonal job, so I only had to work for like 4 months of the year. The other 8 months I made music. I realized pretty quickly that wasn’t gonna fly, so I moved out and became a permanent couch surfer for about 2 years. I ended up back in Napa for the same seasonal job and made a friend who was working for a wine start up called Naked Wines. He got me a job working there full time and I was given a lot of opportunities to grow within the company. They also gave out some stock options when I was hired. Even while I was working there, my peers and bosses knew I wanted to make music full time and they all supported that, so I had a bit of a lingering expiration date. After 3 years of working there, the company was bought out by a larger wine company and they paid out the stocks we were given. That single-handedly allowed me to up and move to LA within about 3 months.
Where do you find that you at your happiest- on stage performing, in the studio recording music, writing songs or elsewhere?
I feel the most free when I’m on stage performing because I can’t really strive for perfection like in the studio. It’s easy to stop a session and recut a vocal take or shift a guitar part that was a little off time. When you’re playing live, you only get one shot to make it sound right and that feeling of uncertainty is electric.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these difficult times?
If anything, I think these strange times are going to lend well for some great songwriting. I’m already seeing lots of great music coming out in response to the political climate. I love it. I think it’s one of the ways we can really unite and connect with other people. Music is so interpretive, it’s just going to cause a lot of people to think more deeply, and I think that’s what we all need right now.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Tom Petty has always been one of my favorites. I also really love Neil Young and Paul Simon. Working with either of them would be a dream. Lately I’ve been really inspired by The Eagles and Steve Miller, and I think the follow up to Cosmic Dream is going to have a lot of that vibe.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music? Do you find that a lot of your music has a greater meaning behind it?
When I write, I like to think of the lyrics from two different perspectives. What does a lyric mean to me, and what will a lyric mean to someone who knows nothing about me? If someone can hear the same lyric and draw two completely different meanings, I’ve accomplished what I wanted to. I just want people to connect to their own lives in these songs more than anything, while getting a small glimpse into mine.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about yourself or your music with our readers?
Just thank you for reading this if you did! And thank you for your support. The new album has a lot of my personal life in it, and I hope people can connect to that and relate in some way. I’m so excited to share it!