Publication: 01 November 2005
Interviewee: P.GRUDZIŃSKI
Interviewer: Louis Koot

Riverside are stirring up the progressive rock genre! Their first album is overall acknowledged as an impressive first statement and found a warm welcome with devotees of the progressive. Their surprising Dutch debut performance at the Progpower festival was a success and labels the band further as quite promising. Now the new album, the very impressive Second Life Syndrome (review can be found here), is bound to hit the stores it’s time for Pitfather to have a chat with the guys from Poland.

Congratulations with your great album Second Life Syndrome! I think it's sounds very refreshing with some original twists for the progressive genre. Can you tell us something about how Riverside started out?
It all started quite spontaneously and pretty quickly. Piotr (drums) and I were looking for some sort of escape from playing metal in our mother bands, so we started assembling musicians with whom we could play different kind of music. We found Jacek (ex-keyboardist) and Mariusz. Our music basically composed itself, we were playing without any assumptions that we have to sound in a particular way. What we were doing in Riverside absorbed us to such extent that for each of us it became a priority and we gave up playing in other bands. In fact, right from the start, everything has been happening so fast that it's been difficult to embrace. But it's all really nice :-)

Are you guys deliberately creating a specific sound?
No. It was all about spontaneity. Every one of us had had some musical experience, his own style and sound. After we merged our assets, it turned out that we sounded and played in quite an original way.

Do you think it's hard nowadays to come up with an original sound?
Yes, I think it's really difficult to surprise the listener these days. The happier I am that we have somehow managed to do it. We're not trying to follow anybody either in lyrics or in sound perhaps that's the reason behind it. It often happens that a young band who have only started their career, find their inspirations in other artists and then they try to follow them as closely as possible. We actually didn't know exactly what we wanted to play and as each of us had a different musical background, the result is what it is.

How did the band come to write such an amazing song as Conceiving You? :-)
I guess writing a short song is easier than composing a suite. Pieces like "Loose Heart", "Acronym Love", or "Conceiving You" took shape quite fast from casual improvising. Naturally, arranging them took much longer but the main ideas, frames were created in about 10 minutes.And that's what's fantastic about composing - suddenly we're playing something that gives us all a thrill and we know we just have to develop the idea.

What is your plan to bring this great song to the ear of the masses and score a huge hit with it?
Honestly, we weren't thinking about it this way. We've always thought of an album as a whole. We're not a band who'd wonder which track could be a potential hit and how to promote it. We want people to listen to our whole records, not just to one or two tracks. Though there will certainly be people who'll like just one or two of our songs.

I think there is a lot of great music out there that doesn't get the attention it deserves. It's mostly the radio friendly pop that is in the picture here. How is this situation in Poland?
The situation in Poland is the same as anywhere else. The radio plays catchy tracks and the ones that are promoted by big labels. The bigger the cash involved, the better promotion for a band or a song. The same is true all over the world. Progressive rock is not the music for masses, so its presence on-air is scarce and it's mostly played late at night. Certainly, such situation doesn't do any good for young, unknown bands, who often split up before they get any attention. That's sad.

Is there some sort of Polish scene for your kind of progressive metal?
Let's start with the fact that we don't call our music progressive metal. We'd rather use the term "progressive rock." There are a few Polish bands playing this kind of music, who are known all over the world - Satellite, Quidam. Also, a lot of new bands are being formed - sometimes they're closer to art rock, sometimes to progressive metal. The progressive scene in Poland has been revived a bit after a few years of silence.

The album is the second part of a trilogy that started on the debut. Can you tell us something about the story behind the trilogy?
The story in the trilogy is about the main hero's struggle with reality and with himself, with his adapting to life and with all the inner changes he undergoes. On Out Of Myself (debut) he was a bit lost and alienated; on Second Life Syndrome he becomes stronger but loses his sensitivity on the way, which he doesn't really like. On the third album he'll probably find what he is looking for. Or maybe he won't? :)

How important is the story (and the lyrics) in reference to the music?
Music and lyrics are inseparable. We're trying to combine both so that they fit together, so that the music reflects emotions described in the lyrics and vice versa.

How have the reactions been so far on your debut album?
The reactions to our debut album have been really enthusiastic. I guess that as a result of it, Inside Out offered us a contract. Everything that's happened since the release of "Out Of Myself" both in Poland and abroad has surpassed our most daring expectations.

You did a performance on the Progpower festival in Baarlo (NL). How did this come about?
We went to Baarlo quite unexpectedly. A month before the festival, two bands withdrew from it. The organizers asked us to substitute for one of those bands.

How did the performance go?
We were really stressed out before coming up on stage. Our performance at ProgPower was our first gig outside of Poland. We were unsure about the audience's reception. But once we started playing, the stage fright was gone. We played a good gig. Later it turned out that we were hailed as the surprise of the festival. :-)

What do you think about the Dutch audience?
The Dutch audience is truly great. Very open, enthusiastic and spontaneous. We already have many fans and a few friends in the Netherlands. Greetings to Thijs and John if they are reading this. :-)

I hope to see you perform soon! When can we see Riverside play again on the Dutch stage?
We're planning a spring tour and we definitely won't miss a chance to play in the Netherlands. But we don't know the details yet. It will certainly be somewhere in April/May.

Thanks for the interview!
Thank You.