RIVER is the type of artist that sounds straight out of fiction – she has the glamourous aesthetics of pinup model with an enigmatically risqué aura that mesmerizes you. And her music is not far from that description – her latest release “We’ll Be Together” ft. Lute is the perfect slice of Scandipop splashed with hip-hop interludes that sends hip-shaking beats through your veins.
Originally from Sweden, RIVER grew up listening to her parents music collection and was deeply influenced by her dad who was a journalist and ran his own band. Upon her dad’s passing, RIVER went globetrotting and lived in Asia, NYC, San Francisco, and Mexico. She spent years busking and performing, honing her sound before returned to Stockholm. We had the chance to chat with the rising artist on many things including music, Bettie Page, creative process, and more.
Describe your sound in 3 words.
I find it hard to describe with only three words. My current sound could be described as if a sexy, luxurious, female-empowering, unfiltered and dark, old school-movie was transformed into something you could hear in an old vinyl player.
You lived in different parts of the world in these past few years. What’s the one city that you would like to go back to and why?
Mexico and New York. I loved the pace of NYC, the diversity of people, fashion, music, bars. Omg, the jazz bars. I loved it to the point that I completely forgot my flight back to San Francisco where I was living at that time. I was drinking champagne in Central Park as my flight departed. And just like NY, I loved Mexico. I went there thinking I would stay for two months, but ended up living there for over two years. That’s the place where my music found space to really grow. I loved the food, the people, the tequila, the climate, everything.
“We’ll Be Together” taps into the irresistible and destructive bond between two people. How did you come up with the concept of the track?
I wanted to make a song that both tapped into that old school soul music that I grew up with mixed with the attitude of today’s hip-hop. So, my producer August and I sat down and went through old records and found this great sample from “Sunshine and Promises” by The Finishing Touch. It just felt so straight on-point with what I wanted my first EP to sound like.
Later I showed it to my friend Tobie Tripp who helped me put it all together. The song was simply written as a personal love-threat-letter.
I had recently heard Lute’s part on J.Cole’s “Under The Sun” so my team reached out to him and asked if he wanted to put down a verse, which shortly thereafter I got a version with his verse on it and I LOVED it. To get Lute on the track helped me accomplish that vision and take it all to another level.
The track’s about the destructive relationship between two people who shouldn’t be together but who also can’t move on without comparing everything else with what they had together.
How many songs do you write in a month?
Well it depends on the circumstances. One month I do zero, another I’ll make twenty. I can be a perfectionist when it comes to my projects which leads me obsessing over details of one song or video for months, unable to move forward. The fact that I’m also my own manager at the moment creates other responsibilities besides songwriting that takes my time. I also make pretty much all the visuals myself, which is something I’m very passionate about. I believe that my visuals and my music come together to tell a story.
What do you do when you experience creative blocks?
It depends on what I want to create. Sometimes, I go to the movies while other times, I go to some dive bar to get fucked. Other times I look up an art gallery or I’d go to sex clubs. Sometimes I just need to take a walk in nature.
If you had the opportunity to talk to Bettie Page, what’s the one question you would ask?
Wanna go to my place or yours?
What can we expect from RIVERland in 2022?
My EP is dropping this summer with a couple of singles coming out until then. I’m planning a lot of exciting live events with my agent right now, that is, if the circumstances allow. Oh, and I’m also working on my second music video.
Other than that, I’ll stay focused on studio time, keep experimenting with different sounds, find new ways to get inspired, write better songs, enjoy my time, and have good sex.
The world ends tomorrow and you decide to throw an apocalyptic party tonight. What song will you choose as the opener? And which one is the closing one before we all die in flames?
We’d open the night with “Inside My Love” by Minnie Riperton. And then we’d burn with “Goodnight Moon” by Shivaree.
And in the afterlife party, we’ll be playing “We’ll Be Together”