Hello people of the Internet!!! Last Thursday (January 16th, 2014), I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing band Rivers Monroe (cue the clapping….ok let’s continue!). I already knew that these guys were phenomenally gifted musicians, but my experience interviewing them led me to find out that they are also really funny, cool guys. The band was very enthusiastic to share details about their music, memories of past tours, and future dreams with all of their fans. So, if you’ve just joined the “Rivers Monroe Family” (a term the guys use to describe their unwavering supportive fans), or if you’ve known about these guys for years, please allow me to help you become better acquainted with Mat, Mike, Doc, Kirby, and Dan, the masterminds behind music’s newest sensation. Also, remember to pick up their album, which drops digitally on February 18th, 2014.
Celinda: I noticed that you guys are signed to a label now, so that’s exciting right!? How did that happen?
Rivers Monroe: A girl named Jenny that was a big fan of our band,worked at a jewelry store in Philadelphia, and Pat (O’Connor, Rivers Monroe’s manager) walked into the store to buy his wife a necklace for their anniversary, and he mentioned something about working in the music industry. So Jenny said “you gotta check out this band Rivers Monroe, they’re really awesome”. So when he came back into the store to pick up the necklace, she reiterated the fact, and I guess after that he did check us out. So Jenny gave us Pat’s number, and we reached out to him at that point, and that’s how everything got started. That’s the story of how we got our manager, but as far as how we got a deal, it’s really been a lot of hard work over the past few years. We’ve just been able to gain enough traction to release the album through the label. We’ve really just tried to hit the social media as much as possible, and we try to reach out to a lot of people who we think might be interested in checking out our music.
Celinda: Yeah they say that it takes 10 years to be an overnight sensation, so I think that you guys are a little ahead of the curve.
Rivers Monroe: Yeah, that’s pretty accurate. We’ve heard before that if you were locked in a jail cell, and you had a very dull spoon, and you basically dug your way out through the wall with the spoon, that’s basically what it’s like. There’s no quick way from point A to point B, you just gotta chip away little pieces at a time, and if you’re patient enough then you’ll get there.
Celinda: Now I know that your new album is going to be released on February 18th through The Phosphorylative Entertainment Group, Inc. (with digital distribution through Universal Music Group), but is that just a digital release or will it be in stores as well?
Rivers Monroe: I think we’re really going to try to push the digital, because everything is digital. I mean we might do some physical copies that we can sell at the shows, and we may get some in stores.
Celinda: What’s the theme of the album?
Rivers Monroe: Lots of colors! I don’t know if there’s a general theme, we would say we’ve just kinda been writing about what we’ve been going through the last couple of years, you know relationships, being on the road, struggling, the good and bad of life.
Celinda: Awesome, so what's your favorite track on the album?
Rivers Monroe: Moments is a good one. We love playing ‘Moments’ live. But honestly when you choose, it’s kinda like saying which one of your children you love the most. It’s like you don’t wanna choose, because you know one of them is a brat, and one’s an honor role student, and you know one of them is just definitely going to make enough money for you to retire on them.
Rivers Monroe: Celinda I have a question for you, what’s your favorite song?
Celinda: I’m glad you asked that, no body mentioned my favorite song.My favorite is ‘Chasing Sunsets’. I was hoping somebody would say that one. I guess that’s just the child left alone in the dark, that you’re like “oh yeah you’re here too!”
Rivers Monroe: That’s a good one. We love that song, the intro is really cool. You know we spent like a month writing the music for that song, and we went back and forth hating each other every night, but to actually write the lyrics, it only took like under an hour. Yeah, but we still hate each other! We wrote that song when we had just gotten off tour, so we had a lot to write. That song is definitely all about the first east coast tour that we did, which was a very cool experience.
Celinda: I saw on your Facebook page that there are a lot of really cool rock bands that you guys look up to. Are there any bands or artists that influence you that may be surprising to your fans?
Rivers Monroe: I would say Prince for Mat Rivers. I think people would be surprised at this, but a big influence for Mike is Barbara Streisand. Kirby what do you got man? Well what I’m listening to right now, is Parachute, Coldplay, The Script, anything with the world “the” in front of it could possibly be on my iPod right now. But I’m definitely listening to a lot of slower songs, getting ideas for the next album. I’ll then pitch all of the ideas to the band, they’ll say that they all suck except for one, and we’ll proceed from there, and I’ll be great. Michael Jackson is another surprising influence on our music. Outside of the rock genre I would probably say Eminem.
Celinda: How have you evolved musically throughout this whole process?
Rivers Monroe: Well we’ve definitely become better musicians than when we first started. We practice a lot more, and we’re a lot more focused. Focus is huge because when you’re not out on the road all of the time doing shows, sometimes when you’re at home, you can lose focus because there’s so much other stuff going on in your life. If you can stay focused every day, and keep practicing as a band, then you get better. Now that we’re signed and we don’t have day job, all we have to worry about is making music, and going on tour. I think we’ve really learned a lot from each other as far as songwriting, and writing as a unit. We know who has strengths where, and we know each other so well that we’ve become a family of brothers.
Celinda: You guys have opened on tour for a lot of bands such as Paramore, Fun, All Time Low, Relient K, etc., are there any bands or artists that you’d love to go on a dream tour with?
Rivers Monroe: I think Jimmy Eat World would be awesome and maybe 30 Seconds to Mars. I would also say Anberlin; I’m a huge fan of them.
Rivers Monroe: Let me ask you this though, if we were gonna go on tour with any band, what band would you match us up to go with? Counter Question!
Celinda: Let’s see, well I know thatyou’ve already opened for them, but selfishly I would love for you to go on tour with Paramore, just because I love them. This is a really obvious answer but Fall Out Boy would be cool. I do have one that may not be so obvious; I would really like you to go on tour with Switchfoot.
Rivers Monroe: Yeah, I will tell you one thing though, if we could go on tour for any band we’ve played for, it would be All Time Low. We got to play a really cool show with them a couple of months ago, and they were awesome. They were literally the nicest, coolest guys.
Celinda: Is there anybody that’s already dead, that if they were alive, you guys would like to tour with?
Rivers Monroe: The Beatles and I would say Michael Jackson as well.
Celinda: Personally I see a lot of the same characteristics in you as successful bands such as; Fall Out Boy, 30 Seconds to Mars, and We The Kings, musically is that the direction you would like to go in eventually?
Rivers Monroe: Yeah, definitely! All of those bands that you mentioned are bands that we listen to, and it’s not like we try to write music that sounds exactly like them, but that’s the kind of music that we listen to, so naturally we write music that sounds like that.
Celinda: Ok, here’s a fun question. What’s your favorite memory of past tours you’ve been on?
Rivers Monroe: I think the first stop we had on the first tour was like one of those things were you’re out of your element, and you’ve slept on a bus all night long, and you wake up in a funk, and you’re like “Oh my god where are we?”. It’s hard to explain it, but it’s like a good and unfamiliar feeling. We’ve had a lot of really great experiences, I mean every place that we went was cool and unique in its’ own way, because we were in so many different towns, and the culture in those towns is very different. We had a really good time in Nashville, and I think one of the reasons for that was because we actually stayed there a little bit longer than some of the other places, so we were able to kind of get out and explore the town a little bit. Here in the northeast when you go out they have cover bands that will play Top 40 music, but down there, it’s all country, and they all had on their cowboy hats and boots so that was cool. That was definitely one of the more fun experiences on tour. Everywhere we went into, everyone was so nice. Even the bad stuff that happens when you’re on tour is good stuff, because you can look back and laugh. One time we ran out of gas, and we were like “did we seriously just run out of gas?”, but looking back on it now, it’s pretty funny.
Celinda: If you had a crystal ball, where would you see Rivers Monroe in 10 years?
Rivers Monroe: Wow 10 years, that’s a long time. I would like to say that we’re playing on Top 40 radio stations, we’re doing national tours, and we’re playing with some of the bands that we previously spoke about. Maybe we could have one or two “Best Of” albums. We hope for that, but at the same time we see that happening, because we know how hard all of us have worked to be successful, and we know that we’re gonna do it. I think a lot of bands don’t see the bigger picture, and we want to be very successful, to just write and record, and just reach out with our music to as many people as we can.
Rivers Monroe: Let me ask you a question, where do you see Rivers Monroe in 10 years?
Celinda: I see you guys as a really huge band being played all over the radio, with shelves and shelves of Grammys and all of those awards. I see a lot of supermodels in your future. I just see a lot of success for you guys, and I’m excited. Honestly I don’t see a reason why in 10 years, you guys aren’t a household name. When I first heard your music, I downloaded it, and have had it constantly on repeat. I actually played your songs for my dad who was a DJ in the 80s and he played with MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, and a lot of other acts that were popular in the 80s, and when he heard your music, he said that if he was still on the radio your music would definitely be the kind of stuff he would put on rotation.
Rivers Monroe: That really means a lot! It’s really cool to get respect from an older crowd that might be into other genres. I think we definitely are influenced by a lot of classic rock, even though you may not hear it in our music.
Celinda: I can definitely hear in your music how dedicated and meticulous you are with your work. I think when you listen to different artists; you can tell how dedicated and involved they are in the process, just by the sounds that they come up with, how each track differs, and how they grow over time. Especially with a band like you guys, where each member is playing an instrument or lending vocals, you can predict the ones who are going to make it, and the ones who are just around for now.
Rivers Monroe: We agree. There’s a lot more to it when it comes to songwriting, than just getting together in a room and playing a lot of loud music for an hour a week. I mean we do that a lot, but there’s also a lot of different songwriting, producing, and recording that we do on our own. The way that we put different tones together, I don’t think we’ve ever written two songs the same way. You definitely have to be able to write in different ways in order to be a successful band.
Celinda: I think that this mentality is something that sets you guys apart from other established bands, and some bands that are up and coming. You can hear differences between each of the tracks on your album, and I think that when someone can buy a band’s full album and listen to it from start to finish without feeling like they’re listening to the same track over and over, then that’s what gives you staying power.
Rivers Monroe: We definitely appreciate you saying that! That was actually one of the things that I thought was really cool when I read your original write-up, the fact that you said that you could listen to the album from start to finish. I think that it really shows how much effort we put into the production and songwriting. As far as the production and stuff goes, Mat Rivers has really gotten good at producing and recording at home. Because of this, when we write songs we don’t just go and practice them, we get the guys together, record some stuff, and Mat will add a lot to make the music different, and this extra effort really sets us apart.
Celinda: Is there anything else you'd like to add for your fans, or for people who are just discovering your music?
Rivers Monroe: We would encourage fans to reach out to us, because we love to take time for fans and people who want to be a part of what we’re doing. First and foremost, we appreciate everyone who supports our music, because the fans and family are the basis of any band. Anyone who knows us knows that we’re positive guys, and you have to surround yourself with positive people, because there are so many negative people out there who are jealous of what you’re doing, or are just haters. The crazy thing about some bands is that some of them aren’t super social, and we’ve different, we’re all really outgoing and we just love talking to people. It’s all about being able to interact with your fans, and we take a lot of pride in reaching out to people and making them feel like they’re a part of our breaking out, because they are a part of it.
Celinda: Yeah, just speaking to you guys for a little while now, I can tell that you’re all really nice guys. I really appreciate that you took an interest in the write-up I posted about you, and I think that this shows that you are really nice guys who care about their fans. I definitely see you guys becoming a huge, widely known band, and I’m just excited that I was able to talk to you just when everything is about to change for your band. I’m really excited for you guys!
Rivers Monroe: Yeah we’re really excited too, because we feel that this is finally our time to really shine. This is just the start of everything, so we’re really excited to drop the album, and get it out to as many people as possible.
Celinda: I think that this is all of the questions that I have for you guys, but thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I’m really excited that I had the opportunity to meet you guys. Are there any last minute things you guys want to add?
Rivers Monroe: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! We don’t have anything else to add, we just hope that everyone loves the album, and continues to support our future projects.
Here are the links to stay in touch with Rivers Monroe, and PLEASE remember that their album drops digitally on February 18th, 2014:
Website: Rivers Monroe
Facebook: Rivers Monroe | Facebook
Twitter: Rivers Monroe (RiversMonroe) on Twitter
YouTube: RIVERS MONROE - YouTube