DATE OF INTERVIEW:
22nd October 2015
METAL DISCOVERY: Everyone seems to have made a big thing out of the change of direction on the new album, this optimism and stripped-back approach but, as we’ve already said, it still sounds very Riverside at core…
MARIUSZ: On the previous albums, we’ve got tracks like ‘I Believe’, ‘In Two Minds’ or ‘The Time I Was Daydreaming’, and that kind of stuff was always in our music, but we never recorded an album based mostly on that kind of tracks and moods, so that’s new, for sure. But the whole idea, I think it’s just a huge 180 degrees… it’s still Riverside, exactly… but maybe the approach is different. First and foremost, this is what I mentioned before, we wanted to show that this is our progression and this is our progressive rock. We’re not playing ten minute solos on stuff like it was in the past.
(Mariusz Duda on his laidback vocal performance on 'Love, Fear and the Time Machine')
"I didn’t have to be angry this time. This album is about finding the peace within, so I wanted, truly, to find the peace and I wanted to sing that way."
Mariusz Duda backstage at The Ritz, Manchester, UK, 22nd October 2015
Photograph copyright © 2015 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Riverside Official Website:
Out Of Myself (2004)
Albums & EPs
Thanks to Freddy Palmer for arranging the interview
Voices In My Head (2005)
Second Life Syndrome (2005)
Riverside Official Facebook:
Rapid Eye Movement (2007)
Anno Domini High Definition (2009)
Memories In My Head (2011)
Reality Dream (2008)
Shrine of New Generation Slaves (2013)
Love, Fear and the Time Machine (2015)
MD: It’s your personal progression; not progressive as a genre.
MARIUSZ: It shows that progressive music doesn’t have to be like it used to be, right. We are an example of some kind of new, different approach. And, to be honest, when you take a look at the musical scene now, you see that there are not so many bands that are somewhere in the middle. Of course, I could say about what Steven Wilson does because we’re kind of similar to each other, mostly talking about contrasts – playing the hard tracks; there’s some mellow tracks; long tracks; short tracks; some pop tracks; some metal tracks… everything is a mixture. I don’t see many artists – maybe Anathema, maybe someone else – who are in this area. We are always somewhere in-between this old-fashioned, progressive music, like lots of these artists from the seventies who are still going out and doing their stuff, and lots of new bands, like Haken for instance, that are still connected with this progressive music. You can hear that this is prog music. But, on the other side, you’ve got all this tech metal, djent, whatever it is – Animals as Leaders, Periphery, whatever – and we are somewhere in the middle of this. So, this time, I wanted to show exactly who we are and what we feel. And, I think, on this new album we’ve showed what is most important in our music for many people.
MD: Which, at core, is the Riverside sound.
MARIUSZ: Yeah, the melodies, the mood, the atmosphere… that’s something that always was much more important than the technical side.
MD: Your vocals are a lot more laidback this time too, throughout the album, so did you feel a mellower approach was needed this time?
MARIUSZ: I didn’t have to be angry this time. This album is about finding the peace within, so I wanted, truly, to find the peace and I wanted to sing that way. So I didn’t have to scream; I didn’t have to rebel… [Laughs]… that’s why it’s in that way. Besides, because I was smoking from time to time and now, it seems like I don’t smoke since almost one year, so it helped me very much in the studio; everything was very easy to sing. So the vocals sound different, I think.
MD: So the line on the last album – “I smoke too many cigarettes but I don’t care” – this was autobiographical?
MARIUSZ: For sure, maybe, I don’t know. There are some parts that are very autobiographical and some are just because they sound good.
MD: The video for ‘Found’ is a wonderful piece of filmmaking with some truly beautiful visuals.
MARIUSZ: This was made in Poland, this video, by the way.
MD: Yeah, by a guy called Tomasz Pulsakowski?
MARIUSZ: Yeah, the guy who did some trailers and pictures for Lunatic Soul. We’ve been working together since the last Lunatic Soul and I wanted to use him in Riverside too.
MD: Did you want to break free of the more clichéd type of video that has footage of the band performing, intercut with a narrative? You just wanted a straight narrative?
MARIUSZ: Yeah, exactly. When we started to work on this video, I said, “guys, we need space; lots of space and a lot of freedom – I still don’t have lyrics, just do what you feel.” And then, later, we just met each other somewhere in the middle… that was very nice.
MD: And you make a little cameo appearance right at the end; that’s you on the bench?
MARIUSZ: Yeah, that’s me. That’s nice closure.
MD: Is Sightsphere quite a new production company? I couldn’t find much info about them.
MARIUSZ: I think they’d only done one video, for Tides From Nebula, a Polish band, and that’s it.
MD: This guy’s got a good future.
MARIUSZ: Yeah, I think so, he’s very talented, for sure.
MD: Back on the album’s theme, when you decided to give up your day jobs and pursue Riverside as a full-time profession, would you say that’s one of the biggest life changing decisions you’ve made?
MARIUSZ: Sure. Probably, what I did when I had to make this decision, all this stuff was connected in my head. ‘Love’, because I was full of excitement and I felt this freedom approaching. And ‘fear’ of the unknown, because you didn’t know what to expect… I didn’t know, for sure. And all my experiences from the past and your imagination about the future, ‘time machine’. Yeah, that was my life changing decision, for sure, one of the few I think that I’ve made.
MD: And the best one you’ve made?
MARIUSZ: So far!
MD: The final thing I want to ask then – I know the ‘Time Machine’ referred to in the album’s title is a metaphorical reference about reflecting on the past and speculating about what the future might hold, but if time travel did become a reality, what period of time would you like to travel back to?
MARIUSZ: I’d like to go back to my childish days. And, of course, I would maybe try something and visit some other countries and stuff. But I like the time we live in; I think that’s the most peaceful times. In the ancient times, there were lots of things connected with war all the time, so I wouldn’t chose those kind of periods of time. But, anyway, I would like to go back to my childhood when my excitement was totally different, and I was discovering so many things. I’d like to maybe try to make different life changing decisions and see what would happen… only for a short time, because I think that I shouldn’t regret anything that I’ve done. This year, I turned forty and I think that all my stuff, all my prizes and all my mistakes, have helped me to realise and helped me to grow up, and I am what I am now, and I feel really good at forty.
MD: Would you use time travel to go back and see some classic gigs that you might’ve been too young to see at the time?
MARIUSZ: I’d like to see Pink Floyd in Prague, that was the last show, and I missed it unfortunately, because I thought that they will return, but they didn’t.
MD: It’d be great to go back and see Floyd with Syd Barrett. That would be amazing, I think.
MARIUSZ: Probably, yeah.
MD: Or maybe not…
MD: Well, thank you very much, appreciated.
MARIUSZ: Thank you so much.