“By The Rivers” are an awesome six piece Ska, Reggae, Soul, Motown, Afro-Beat, Dub group. So for those people complaining perhaps that there’s not much new out there, time to check out these people out!
Their self named first album made it’s debut in May 2013, followed up by a terrific performance at Glastonbury, was extremely well received, and since then have gone on to tour extensively throught Europe and the UK.
Nile Barrow, Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, and all round awesome person was kind enough to answer our questions.
Many thanks for agreeing to answer our questions! I think we’ll kick off with the immense show you did in Leicester earlier this month, how was that for you, and is there added pressure coming home to Leicester and doing a show here?
No worries, thanks for having me! Ahh, the Leicester show was crazy, so much fun! We’re always so over-whelmed with the support with have in Leicester.
No, I wouldn’t say there’s added pressure, although I am always most nervous before going on in Leicester. I don’t know if it’s having friends & family in the crowd, I can never really pin point it… But once I’m on stage, it becomes something very special.
When you’re on tour, is it a bit more difficult logistically, what with you being a six piece band?
It’s not too bad at all actually, the majority of us are from Leicester, it’s only our trumpet player who is from Birmingham, which is just down the road really.
In preparing the setlist, do members of the band have their own personal favourites that quite simply “have to be on”?
Yeah, I guess we all have a favourite to play live, but we tend to mainly include the songs that go down best live. Usually introducing the new material to the set is most exciting for us, as there is always that anticipation of how it will be received.
The Reggae scene at the minute is still a bit underground, despite acts like Major Lazer. Do you think that goes some way to explain the longevity of Reggae music?
Yeah, I really think there is something stirring, there are some great bands out there. I think a lot of people can be put off by the ‘Reggae’ tag for some reason. There are Reggae influences in a lot of mainstream music at the minute, but it’s just not labeled as ‘Reggae’. Something is going to push it firmly to the surface soon.
You’ve done very well, playing Glastonbury etc, but was there ever a temptation to just go and “do X Factor”, or do you think that it’s best to just enjoy the ”journey” through the music business?
Hahaha, no never. I could go on about everything I hate about that programme for a very long time. It shouldn’t ever even be considered as an option in my eyes. Keep music live, keep music real. It’s fake ”success”.
Your video for ”If They Don’t Know” was unleashed on Youtube a few days back, where was that shot and who came up with the concept for it? Did it meet with your expectations and what you had intended with the single?
The video was directed by a good friend of ours and very talented videographer called Matt Allsop.
I told him what the song/lyric were about, and he came up with his own concept that portrayed that for the video. It’s something we feel relates really well to the song, and has a deeper meaning than what’s on the surface. I feel he’s captured that well with the visual aspect.
I think in the past you’ve commented on Leicester and it’s venues, or lack of. Do you think things are improving, and that it’s not just Leicester where there is a shortage of venues for new bands to play at?
Leicester has definitely stepped up it’s game. Venues such as The Cookie / Musician / The Donkey are constantly bringing good music into city. The main problem lies within promotion… there’s not enough info around the city for people to know what’s going on music/arts wise. People are pushing for change though, and things are moving in the right direction.
Is the problem a bit more than lack of venues in that, in places like Leicester, it can be incredibly hard to get an audience to show up?
I wouldn’t say so necessarily, if more people were aware of the shows, I think there would be a very noticeable difference. There just needs to be more funding put into promoting the arts I feel.
What advice would you give to other young aspiring musicians in Leicester?
Do it for the reason that you love it, and the rest will come naturally. Oh, and stay well away from X Factor!!