Earlier this week I conducted a safe, socially distanced interview on the phone with Grace and Aaron Bond who together are When Rivers Meet. The name came about when they were in Sardinia overlooking two rivers that flowed into each other – then they got married and the name seemed appropriate because of the way their music flowed when they got together.
How are you two doing in this crazy world?
AB: We’re good mate, we are doin’ OK
GB: It was a bit tough to start with because we had just left or jobs to become full time musicians. We booked loads of gigs and of course everything went ka-put. But we have said ‘Right! We’ll just have to be online musicians.’ for a little while, and it’s good, we are doin’ alight.
Lets talk about the new EP, Innocence of Youth, which is out today – has it been something that you had been working on pre-lockdown or has it come about in lockdown?
AB: We always planned on releasing an EP, we just didn’t know when it was going to be necessarily. We had plans to write an album which we crowd-funded for.
GB: We though it would be quite good to have an EP in between – luckliy we had recorded these tracks before it all kicked off. In that way we’ve been really lucky to have had music that we recorded before the lockdown – we are no engineers!
I watch a lot of livestreams and you can instantly tell the musicians whose day job is as a sound engineer.
GB: We try to be clever with our Saturday livestreams – we make nice sounds in the room and then just go live on the iPhone – its our best bet at the moment. We should probably try and expand. But it would probably all go wrong if we tried to make it more technical.
At this point I fell into the trap of asking what their favuourite new track was – you know, that old chestnut for the school of stupid journalists’ questions. I mean, if they didn’t like a song they wouldn’t have recorderd it – doh!
GB: …I think my favourite is the title track… but I’m proud of all of them
AB: Or ‘Want Your Love’…
GB: Oh yeah, I like that one
AB: I love the second one
GB: I think…. is cool because its the first one we’ve done on cigar box and it has a bit more of a gritty sound on it.
Having started the fight I left them to it! Later we spoke about gigging…
GB: Gigging is what we miss most because we love it. To start with it did kinda get us down a little bit. That first weekend of lockdown we were supposed to be in Scotland.
AB: Yeah, we had a tour planned for Scotland and North Yorkshire – about fifteen or twenty dates.
GB: We’d been gearing up for that for quite a while, we were really excited, getting the van ready, we were really hyped up about it.
AB: And of course there were lots of people planning to go to the gigs.
GB: But we’ve moved on from that, the lifestreams have really helped.
AB: Because we are doing it consistently, every Saturday night. We dress up, treat it like a proper gig…
GB: ...we just don’t go as far!
AB: Yep – just into the next room! But we are not just doing it for ourselves we are doing it for everyone else as well, we want them to see it as a gig.
GB: But you do need to knock down a few barriers to go live. We are lucky because there are two of us – if you are on your own you have to do everything, including interacting with the audience.
Technically though when it goes wrong on a livestream there is no roadie or sound engineer to fix it?
AB: No we had one where everything went wrong, leads broke, stream died – it all happens. But that is the beauty of being live I suppose, you never know whats going to happen. Exciting for whoever is watching but terrifying for us!
Apart from today’s EP launch, you crowed funded an album, whereabouts are you with that?
GB: Well we got two weeks of crowd funding in before the lockdown hit so we decided that we didn’t want to push the crowdfunding, it didn’t seem appropriate – no one knew about their jobs or anything. The plan was to release the album in Spetember but we haven’t started recording it yet. We plan to go in in the third week in June, but a lot of it will be where we record from home and our producer is working out ways we can do it remotely. We are hoping it will be out in November, we definetly want it out this year.. People have pledged money and they are waiting.
Despite the wonderful things you can do online its just not the same as a studio, is it?
GB: Its a shame that we can’t but we are trying not to think of the what ifs, just go with it and try and get he album out this year. Where we record – The Boathouse Studio, its right by the Orwell River at Shotley, it is so lovely there, you get a little bit lost – it is so peaceful. When we are at home – the dog needs to go for a walk, there is always something to do when you are at home. Once we feel we can go into the studio, if appropriate, we will but we’ll have to do the best we can.
Asking a married couple the next question can be dangerous: Like the rest of us you two have been cooped up together for weeks – what annoys you most about each other?
Grace at this point just falls about laughing, her infectious giggles filling my headphones and Aaron is the personification of diplomacy. Eventually Grace finds words…
GB: For Aaron thats going to be easy, I’m going to find it more difficult!
AB: I don’t know really…
GB: To be honest Tony, we are together all the time anyway so its not a lot different!
AB: Yeah – we annoy the hell out of each other all the time anyway!
We conducted this interview early one morning, in my experience early morning is an unusual time to interview musicians. I made a point of thanking Grace and Aaron for being so generous and getting up so early – once again Grace’s giggles filled my headphones… “…actually, we’re still in bed!” (Another Grapevine interview first!)
Innocence of Youth
The new five track EP from When Rivers Meet is available to buy directly from the When River Meet website along with a range of cool merch with some very distinctive graphics designed by Max Blake.
Unfortunatley there have been no opportunites to create promotional videos for any of the tracks from the new EP so here is a little flavour of what When Rivers Meet are about…