I See Rivers – Interview

Thursday 30th March 2017

Pitched to me as “Float Folk” with tender melodies and harmonies, I was very intrigued to listen to I See Rivers.  Currently based in Liverpool, the girls originate from Norway and it’s clear their homeland plays a big part on their sound.  They are influenced by the likes of Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens and Newton Faulkner, and are currently making waves on the folk music scene.  The girls also have a string of lives dates and festivals to be announced, so I catch a moment to find out how it’s all going so far.

I’m interested to find out where it started for you all.  Where did you meet and what made you want to start a band?

We all met in Liverpool studying music at the same university. We formed the band quite naturally and quickly after we first met as we spent loads of time together.

Your vocal harmonies are just wonderful and your sound is very warm and gentle.  When did you realise you had such great voices and wanted to make something of it?

Thank you so much! Gøril and Eline studied music back home in Norway, and Lill studied fine arts. When we met in England we had such a good time playing music together and found out that it was so much fun to sing together. We actually never talked about making harmony-based music/having one, two or three vocalists. It just happened to be this way naturally.

I notice that you all play instruments too.  Who plays what in the band, and how long have you been playing for? 

Gøril plays guitar, bass and some percussion. She’s been playing guitar in different bands since she was 13. Eline plays piano, synth and percussion. She’s played the piano for 10 years. Lill started to play the guitar just before moving to England, and learned how to play drums and percussion when we started out as a band.

I’ve never heard a genre called ‘float folk’ before.  How did that come about?

We thought it was hard to put our music in one specific genre the first time we got asked that question so we made up the genre ”Float Folk”. We like to think about it as music that floats between pop and folk. Also, we made up the quite defuse genre because we don’t like to put music into one genre only. We think music should represent you and what you are when you make it, without thinking too much about genre. Just write and have fun with as little limitation as possible!

What about ‘I See Rivers’, how did you arrive at that as a band name?  I’m having dreamy thoughts of a picturesque Norway.

We actually decided on the name the day we became a band. That was the first thing we did, we had not even written a song at the time! We wanted to keep a piece of our home in the name, and nature is a big part of all our three home towns.

How are you finding the move to Liverpool, and how is that helping your music career?

Liverpool is very different from Norway, but we all feel at home here. We would never have met if we hadn’t move to Liverpool and we feel quite close to the city since this is where it all started.

What have been your most memorable moment so far, and have you been given any lasting advice?

Our most memorable moment was when we recorded our upcoming EP, Standing Barefoot. We have written and produced the EP ourselves, but what made the experience so special was the collaboration we did with our engineer Owain Jenkins and co-producer Toby Couling.

When we started the pre-production for the EP, Toby said that he thinks an EP/album is really just a snapshot of what you are right here and now and that it’s no such thing as making something sound ”perfect”.

Your debut EP is due to be released in April.  How was the process of putting that together, and what can we expect from it?

The EP consists of five songs, some of them written a few years ago and some are very new. We did pre-production in Eline’s bedroom in Liverpool right before we went to Wales for ten days to record. We had never met Owain before and we were quite nervous, but it turned out that he was the best dude ever and he made our stay perfect.

We think the EP offers a bit of every colour – “DA RAM” is the most sparkly track, while “Ocean” has a darker shade. The three other songs floats somewhere in between the two.

How was the recording process, and how easy was it to pick the tracks that made the EP?  We’re there any tracks that didn’t make the final cut? 

Since this was our first time both recording and producing at the same time, we found it the recording process quite challenging, however we had so much fun. We spent a lot of time figuring out how to recreate the way we sing live in the recordings. After going back and forth for a while we ended up singing a lot of the songs live together.

We picked the songs that we think represents our time together in the best way. The EP was supposed to have six tracks, but we simply didn’t have enough time to record all six.

It sounds as though we’re going to be seeing a lot of you on the festival scene this summer and it would be great to see you performing the new material.  Where can we catch you performing live?

We’re celebrating the release of our EP in the beautiful St. Luke’s Church in Kentish Town, London on the 20th of April. After that we’re going on a little tour in May (we can’t announce where we’re going yet, but keep an eye out!) before we play some lovely festivals such as Belladrum in Scotland (August 5th) and Sørøyrocken in the North of Norway (July 27th) – we can’t wait to do some traveling again!

Connect with I See Rivers via their SoundCloud, Twitter and Facebook.