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Effortlessly successful young lads By the Rivers are my new hope of an original band that captured such a rich sound so early in their career. Hardly categorised under "british reggae" the guys are chill enough not to think about it as much. As long as they're concerned, they want to make good music and they are on the right track.
They performed at The Garage, Shoreditch, few weeks past, opening for Groundation, an idol for the guys themselves. They haven't had their break for while, after the release of their album they've just been gigging, but their love of music is paying off, they are in the future top 5 for The Pyramid Stage of BBC already. Guitarist Sam Read comments on this recognition "It's a cool thing to say but we don't want to have that in our heads when we're doing stuff. We do say thank you but we're going to carry on what we do. We don't want to let it go to our heads and think yeah that's what we're going to be doing".
As I mentioned before, By the Rivers are not easily defined in terms of genre so guitarist Sam Read says, though it's fundamentally reggae music, there are bits of world, funk, soul music and pop. "Anything we listen to sort of fills into it". They have great tracks very fun to either listen or dance to; a favourite of mine was Take Control with its groovy tunes and memorable lyrics. That's not the only track with a "hit" quality; the lads seem to pay attention to this because their other songs such as Run Home and Vulture are also keeping the expectation high.
Their live performance also plays into their vibe, I was struck by how multitalented they were, seeing them all either play more than one instrument or sing while they play was refreshing, as Sam put "We don't feel like we have a choice in it. We are hooked, addicted. We need to play music. We can't grow up. We can't do anything else, it'd be wrong to do anything else". Though they admit they struggle in the process now and then, vocalist Nile Barrow says "I don't think it's [the process] not always a straight-forward thing", he explains how during the writing process it can be frustrating to listen all ideas and decide if a song is ready or not, but they sort it out by "not taking the band too seriously" and "having fun with it" as drummer Jordan Birtles puts.
Though they are pretty laid-back and admit to live in the moment, they know their instruments and they seem to work hard, maybe not to be the best but to be the best they can be, to fulfill their potential.
We're hoping for new tracks from the guys soon enough, make sure you keep an eye on 'em! Meanwhile, you can check their soundcloud page:
They'll be playing Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on 16th of December!
By The Rivers are: Nile Barrow (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Jordan Birtles (Drums/Vocals), Sam Read (Keys/Guitar/Vocals), Matt Willars (Bass) and Will Todd (Tenor Sax).