By the Rivers are a band creating a special kind of buzz this summer. A six piece group whose music combines danceable roots reggae and rocksteady beats. Few acts today rival their melodic, crowd pleasing performances and slots at this year’s Summer Sundae and Strawberry Fields Festival give music lovers the chance to see them in their full summer glory.
Later this year, they’ll also set off on the exciting task of supporting ska legends The Specials, on a 15 date UK arena tour beginning on 11th October in Wolverhampton. With big things on the horizon, we caught up with Nile and Jordan, the founding members of this reggae explosion, to talk about their summer highlights and future plans for 2011…
How is your summer going so far?
Jordan: Fantastic, we’ve just played T in the Park! We played the BBC Introducing stage. It was mad! Dean Jackson from The Beat recommended us for it. It was a good seven hour journey but it was well worth it. We loved it.
Nile: Yeah it was great.
How did you find the northern audiences?
N: They were all really friendly and we met Ally McRae who is one of the Radio One DJs. The crowd there were really up for it, by the end of it we got quite a few people up and dancing.
J: In Scotland no-one really knows us but by the end of the set there was a fair few people dancing.
Did you make any new friends?
N: Yeah, we got on really well with Ally McCrae, he’s a really nice guy! We did an interview with him after our set, and we had a right laugh. Also, the backstage crew there we really friendly, made us feel really welcome.
What other gigs, festivals have you been doing over the summer?
N: We got to headline the Riverside Festival in Leicester, that was really fun. There was a great turn out for it, and the weather was great too!
J: It was well cool, nice weather.
You’re playing at Strawberry Fields this year too. Are you looking forward to that?
N: Yeah after Summer Sundae, that should be really fun. I’ve never been there before but I’ve heard really good things about it.
Is there anyone playing that you want to see?
N: These Furrows are playing, so I’d definitely like to catch them.
J: They’ve got some big things coming up soon so it’ll be fun to see what they’ve got in store.
You’re playing Summer Sundae again this year. Tell us a bit more about that.
J: Yeah, we can’t wait to play it! Summer Sundae is always a great atmosphere.
N: We got a great reception at last year’s, so hopefully this year it will be the same!
Do you think it’s important that venues like The Musician get involved in festivals?
J: It’s definitely a positive thing, it creates a scene doesn’t it?
N: They put forward performers that you wouldn’t always get the chance to see. Without those sort of stages, a lot of these acts wouldn’t be seen, like ourselves. Our name wouldn’t get around if it wasn’t for those kinds of stages.
Are you hanging around for the rest of the festival?
N: Unfortunately not, we have a gig on the Saturday at LeeFest in London, but will be coming back for the Sunday, so we won’t fully miss out.
Why do you think By The Rivers are so popular?
N: If I’m honest, I don’t really know. We’re just going with the flow, we don’t really think too much into it, but we’re chuffed with the reaction we’re getting from people.
Was it a deliberate decision to make this kind of music?
J: Not really, we’ve always liked it and we’ve just evolved into this.
N: It’s still quite weird for us how well it’s going. We are just taking it as it comes and trying not to really think too much into it.
J: In fact everything seems to be going too smoothly.
You two just need to have a massive argument now.
Both laugh. Yeah maybe we can time it right? Just in time for this to come out.
J: The Specials thing for us has made it so much easier for us to get a name. You can take that to anyone else and they’ll be interested.
You must be pretty chuffed with that?
N: Yeah I got the call whilst I was in my bedroom at home to tell us about the support. I was trying all the while to stay cool but thinking at the same time, this is pretty wicked. We’ve been fans for such a long time. We are so excited. We’re also going to release a single as well in line with the tour. We’ve recorded five new tracks at The Yellow Bean studio, that should be released sometime soon. We don’t really know when but that’s in the pipeline. It’ll be available on Spotify and iTunes.
J: It’s the biggest tour that they have done so we’re pretty honoured. They have never done a full arena tour before. It’s gonna be big for them and pretty crazy for us!
N: All these locations are new towns and new places for us and it’s out to a much bigger audience. We’ll then try and set up our own tour for all the cities and places that we’ve been to with them.
When you started this band, did you ever imagine that you’d do so well so quickly?
J: No way! It’s incredible, in just a year we’ve supported the likes of Fun Lovin’ Criminals, The Buzzcocks, Neville Staple, Maxi Priest, and now the Specials tour, it’s amazing!
Talking of messages, what message does your band have?
N: We talk about stuff that we think is important. If we have something that we want to say we’ll say it.
J: We ain’t preaching. It’s not like we sat down and said we have a message, we just speak about what we think is important. We just want to make people happy through the music, make people groove and have a nice time to our music.
Watch below to see the lads perform an exclusive session of Take Control filmed earlier this year at The Donkey.