Folk-rock band, River Whyless released their new album “Kindness, a Rebel” on June 8th. We asked the North Carolina-based band to dive to new depths of the album and all the work that goes on behind the scenes of shows and making an album.
Each song starts with something as simple as lyrics or a melody. NPR mentioned that this foursome was an incredible group of songwriters. One of the four band members, Ryan mentions the whole band loves the songwriting process, and if he could do mostly that, he would.
“I'd still like to play 20 or so shows a year, but writing is the highlight for me. It has many different phases in this band. We all sketch songs individually and then build on those sketches collectively to come up with the finished product. Everyone writes lyrics, and everyone writes music. It's a pretty special group of people.”
This band of writers, display their talents in all 11 songs of the new album and loves how the album turned out and wouldn’t change anything about it. Daniel mentioned that sometimes the changing of a song can be a very bad thing by relating it to the butterfly effect, “Picking a flower and the next thing you know the entire history of the world changes.”
He mentions that sometimes the changing of a song can lead to something great, but other times it would be easier to hit “control Z” and go back to the beginning, before changing too many aspects. With the perfect summer soundtrack and a folky-Americana sound, we’re glad that the album came out just the way it did.
During the recording process there were many times when the band finished a song, and wanted others to hear it right away. Specifically “All of My Friends” because the band wrote and recorded the song right around the same time. Ryan recalls that it was a “whole new sonic pallet... that was fresh and visceral.” He sent an iPhone recording of the playback immediately to his wife that evening. (If that isn’t marriage goals, we don’t know what is.) Family aside, Ryan wants other people to show any amount of gratification toward the new album. Whether the listener is attracted to the album as a whole or just one song, anything would be a win for the band.
“Music is filled with colors and textures that mix with personal emotions and experiences, and I've never been able to describe that relationship in writing. We didn't have an agenda with this album honestly.”
Two songs that stand out to Ryan are “The Feeling of Freedom”, a bass heavy and upbeat song, and “Mama Take Your Time”, a relaxing tune with more folky beats. These songs are some of the tracks he wants people to hear most. He mentions that people will also be able to see how much he enjoys playing the songs when they see the band live.
River Whyless will be going on tour steadily from June until September. Ryan outlined a typical day on tour. It consists of driving to the venue, setting up, sound-checking for about 3 hours, hopefully find a quick bite to eat, warming up, playing a show, selling some merch, breaking down the equipment, loading the van, and last but not least, heading to a hotel or staying with family.
“You have to fall into the lifestyle. The van ride is precious time. We chat some and get some work done, and then put headphones in and read, listen to a book on tape, listen to music, or get a little sleep.” Sounds like a fun and worthwhile but exhausting few months.
River Whyless has played multiple music festivals as well as smaller venues. To Daniel, the sign of a good show is that the music is “locked in” and feels good. He says this is the same as if he was on Photo via Facebook stage, or in a crowd at a show. “All other details are ancillary.” As for their own tour, the band loves learning how the new songs work together when playing them live. They have been trying new approaches, different sequences and keeps what feels best. Catch River Whyless on tour here. Listen to the new album here. Follow them here.