I get the chance to catch up with Sponge the bass player from Electric River, after releasing their brand new EP ‘In Your Name’. There is talk of a new album and a tour in October…Enjoy!
Lara Kisel – Electric River I have to say is a very intriguing name, tell us some background behind the band as a whole?
Sponge – Yeah i guess it is, although four musicians with the paternal instinct of choosing the perfect name for their brainchild was never going to work, so with that in mind we were very lucky to find ours offering itself to us.. literally. During one of our early brick wall writing sessions we experimented with the ‘Bowie’ method of playing ‘lucky dip’ with random words (in the hope of getting some lyrical inspiration). Though we’re not the most superstitious of people, the following emerged… ‘Become’ ‘Electric’ ‘River.’ (And no there weren’t just three words in the bag). All of us had messed about in other stuff before ER but once we found each other, the rest was history. Hours were spent in our drummer’s garage forming our sound & friendship, built on punk, metal and rock.
LK – Electric River seem to have collated everything back from the 80s in regards to Indie, punk and pop rock and making the sound revelant today, these types of genres do really work well together, how have you managed to make your music contemporary and up to date?
Sponge – I think because our lyrics touch upon so many relevant issues and play such a big part in our music, we’ll always be contemporary in that respect. Musically, its been fairly natural as we listen to a lot of different music, old & new. A lot’s been thrown into the melting pot over the years.
LK – What is your individual music backgrounds and how do you implement that into the sound of Electric River?
Sponge – The four core elements of the band are solid drums, big guitars, catchy melodies and purposeful integral lyrics – and this runs parallel with our roles and backgrounds as musicians.
We started off in the garage predominately as a metal/punk band, but we were always writing songs in different styles. We were massively into old school metal/hard rock but we all quickly become interested in loads of other music once we discovered ‘London Calling’ by The Clash. That was a turning point for the band- to hear an album that travels through a bunch of styles with out loosing the skeleton of the band’s sound. It really inspired us, both musically & lyrically and we have nothing but love and respect for ‘Strummer & Jones’ as songwriters.
LK – You communicate social issues within society through your lyrics, in your new EP ‘In Your name’ what speaks to you most? Do you have any political beliefs as a band or individually? Is there any relgious views at all?
Sponge – Life speaks to us most. We aren’t going out of our way to be political for the sake of it. It’s just the way it comes out; life is political & that’s what we write about…life. It’s probably read into further than what is meant.
‘In Your Name’ the title track is particularly close to the mark for me as a singer. It’s about doing your friends & family proud as they have sacrificed a lot, along with us, to still be supporting ER with everything we do, so it feels almost like a testament each time I sing it.
LK – You have just performed a headline show in London, Camden at Barfly venue, it was also a free show, for those of us that couldn’t make it, what did you have special planned?
Sponge – It was mad, totally last minute with less than a week to plug but we were so fucking pleased with the turn out & support we received. In London it’s easy to get washed along in the current but last Tuesday spoke to us on a higher level with us finally feeling like word is starting to get out about E.R. We let loose a couple of new songs, but we don’t like to plan too much as to what happens at every show. We’re always changing a drop down or a jam, no gigs are ever the same. The backbone of the set may be there but the shows are different every time.
LK – Your also confirmed for a UK tour hitting off in October, where will you be heading and will be seeing new material and maybe some Electric River Classics?
Sponge – It’s a bit premature for us to reveal dates- but so far we know we’ll be at:
Thursday 25th October – Timebomb at Bucks New Uni, High Wycombe with ‘Ghouls.’
Friday 9th November – The Anvil, Bournemouth
Sunday 2nd December – The 02 Islington Academy, London with Spear Of Destiny
Were working on some dates in October with ‘The Cockney Rejects’ & a few weeks touring in November. Obviously the aim is to hit as much of the UK as poss. Material is in the pipeline and we’re hoping to have a whole new album together for early 2013; maybe even put out another E.P before then- guess we’ll wait & see…but what it does mean is that there’ll be lots of new stuff making its way into our sets.
LK – So tell us about Bt Live Festival ay Hyde Park? What an experience…
Sponge – We were really chuffed to be involved with playing Hyde Park as part of the Olympic celebrations & the response we got was amazing. It really was a pretty special day: Team GB won a bunch of medals, the sun was belting down over the park & come the evening when everyone was ready for a party- we gave it to em! Of course no Olympic gig can be complete with out getting the whole audience to slow motion run across one side of the park to the other to our shoddy version of ‘Chariots of Fire’ – that was a highlight!
LK – You are in process of writing for a brand new album, which will be your second, you haven’t released an album since 2008/9. The EP ‘In Your Name’ suggests different ways you could go with your type of music, I am curious what direction your looking to take with your album and how far in the process your are?
Sponge – We’re just looking at exploring the dynamics of the band a bit more this time round. ‘Radio No Go’ was an out and out stomper & we’re really proud of that album but there’s more to us than full on punk rock. What ever happens we just want to make a record that speaks to people, is worth their time & money, does every single song justice in the way they’re delivered on record.
LK – In the mean time you are sending out cheeky demos for your fans, ‘Backbreaker’ is clearly about working class life, it does have a more punk pop feel than your EP….
Sponge – Our followers influence us a lot, so its good to put the feelers out with rough demos to see whether they agree with us flirting with different styles here and there. We’ve had a pretty positive response with ‘Backbreaker’ & its helped keep the hook baited. ‘Backbreaker’ is just another track in a long line of demos were working on & I guess we put that up- more so for its lyrical purpose.
We like to show our supporters that we’re working on new material as I think with the internet nowadays people can have really short attention spans. That said, it keeps small independent bands motivated & gives us a better connection with the supporters so it’s not all bad. On that note- Keep your eye on our Facebook page for more demos, news and all things E.R.!
LK – Thank you for your time Sponge, it has been a pleasure.