Every so often, an opportunity comes along where you discover a band who completely blow you away. Moments that make being a music webzine writer all worthwhile, if you will. Last year, we had one of those opportunities when we discovered Kent rockers Electric River via their rather fantastic “In Your Name” EP. Originally a straight-up punk band, in the last year, the River have started to to expand their sound and if the EP is anything to go by then their next album, due later this year, should be well worth a listen.
We had the opportunity to see the group live a few weeks later and were so blown away that we booked ‘em in for the Pure Rawk Awards at the Boston Arms Music Room on the 8th March so all you lucky people coming can find out for yourselves just why we’ve been raving about them so much in recent months. In the run-up, yours truly was lucky enough to grab a few words with the group’s charismatic frontman Sponge and this was what he had to say…
PR: First up, for the uninitiated, can you give us a bit of background on the band and its story so far?
SPONGE: The band was brought together through teenage angst, friendship and a love of music. We started out as kids and are now young men having grown up together like brothers playing hundreds of gigs across the country and carving out our sound and live show. Electric River has a real DIY ethos behind the music, we’ve never expected anything from anyone and just got on with what we love doing. We are a garage band at heart. Our music has been on a journey through punk and metal to ska and rock ‘n’ roll. Where we’ve ended up now is an energetic mix of solid drum beats, punchy bass lines, big guitars and melodically driven songs that aspire to represent some of the everyday trials and errors of life.
PR: The new EP (“In Your Name”) has seen you progress your sound a bit to a more new wave sort of feel from the more punky vibe of before - how did this come about?
SPONGE: As I said above we’ve been on a real musical journey over the last 8 years. We’ve evolved as our music tastes have. We just wanted to make an honest record this time round and I think we’ve achieved that.
PR: Is this change of sound something we can expect to hear more of on the new album when it comes out?
SPONGE: Yes the new stuff has certainly maintained the sound, it’s been a fairly easy task putting this next album together as once we had the first building blocks down with the EP, everything was much clearer. Being in a band together for so long you can often just know where you want a song to go. We’ve paid extra attention to detail on the lyrics as to us they’re arguably the most important thing. There’s always been a punky element to the lyrics in our songs but we wanted to broaden the landscape with the new material without losing the integrity. I think we’ve capture that well with ‘In Your Name’ and ‘This Garden Will Grow.’ I’m certainly wearing my heart on my sleeve with them songs.
PR: You mention on your website that the new release is either your second or third album depending on which way you look at it – what’s the story there?
SPONGE: Basically we’ve put out a bunch of EP’s since our first studio album ‘Radio No Go’ and there is also a double album we recorded on some shoddy home equipment when we very first started out… only a handful of people probably have them. For me the next album will be ‘officially’ our second album.
PR: You’re off on a nationwide tour this week. Are there any new places that you’re looking forward to playing on it?
SPONGE: Yeah we’re really looking forward to it…we’ve been shacked up for the most part of this year working on the new album so it’s going to be good for us to try out the new material on the road and get it nice and tight for the studio. Plus we can get a real feel for the songs- we like a lot of audience participation at our shows so all of this will help gauge where we can do little drop downs and jams etc. I’m looking forward to the date in Colt 45′s home town (Carlisle) – sounds like it’s going to be awesome!
PR: You’ve also been confirmed for the Rebellion Festival this year – is this something you’ve had your eye on doing for a while? Are there any other festivals you’re hoping to play this summer?
SPONGE: Definitely I think the line up is a little more diverse this year – as we’re not an out and out ‘Oi Oi!’ punk I think 2013 is going to be a good year for us to join the line up. We love festival audiences so we hope to play as many as possible!
PR: …and obviously you’re playing the Pure Rawk awards in a couple of weeks as well! You guys looking forward to it?
SPONGE: We can’t wait! We’re totally honoured to be up for ‘Best E.P/Single’ I think what you guys are doing is awesome, a lot of underground bands work fucking hard for little or no recognition so this is a great little thing to be part of. We are truly humbled!
PR: Finally, what can we expect from Electric River in 2013?
SPONGE: The new record, touring & more festival dates. I think we’re pretty much booked to go into the studio with (producer) Pete Miles in April so just looking forward to cracking on with that & making the most of 2013….
Many thanks for Sponge for taking the time out to talk to us. Make sure you come along to the Boston Arms Music Room on the 8th March when you can see Electric River for yourself and check out those new tunes. If they play their cards right (and if there’s any justice left in the music world), you might just be able to say that you saw ‘em live before they went supernova later this year! Tickets at www.purerawkawards.com