Q & A: RIVER OF SOULS

The doom/heavy metal band talk about their new track 'Prometheus Unbound' and how they make music.




PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.


Hi, I'm Paul Beltman, guitarist of River Of Souls, we play a mixture of all kinds of metal, which we describe as Doomed Heavy Death. We have released 2 full length cd's and an EP so far. Oh, and a single called 'Prometheus Unbound' on all streaming services.


TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM ?


'Usurper' was released last May, and it is the logical follow up album after our first album 'The Well Of Urd' from 2017. Just like the first album, we incorporated different styles, but I think the new album has a better balance and flow throughout the album when compared to the first. This time we also incorporated some faster death metal and black metal parts, and we simply have become better musicians in the years in between.


WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?


Musically seen, the goal was to create a musical journey throughout the album. Regarding lyrics, that's Bart's department. He usually sings about something life/death related, the cycle of life, karma, the pain of grief, etcetera.


CAN YOU SUM UP THE ALBUM IN A FEW WORDS?


That's simple : Doom, Heavy, Death, and Metal! Hahaha!


WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?


Can't really recall which album, but Iron Maiden definitely changed my life. I think it must have been Piece Of Mind or Powerslave. When I heard that, I knew I had to be a musician. Didn't care what instrument. Later when I also discovered Metallica and Slayer, I decided drums would be my choice of weapon. A bit unfortunate, I should've chosen guitar, that would have been a lot easier regarding the amount of noise a drumkit makes. I could only practice 1 or 2 hours per week on drums. If I'd chosen guitar, I could've played all day long, hahaha! A few years later I started playing guitar, only because the guitarists in the band I played in back then couldn't read the music scores of the songs I had written, so, I started playing guitar to be able to learn them the songs, hahaha! But this all caused by Iron Maiden.


DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?


Not really. I prefer to enjoy music without visual distraction. But live videos are usually cool. Pink Floyd at Pompeï, Life After Death of Iron Maiden, various Gojira video's, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But when I see music video's that aren't live, I do like clips that show a proper atmosphere. If I have to name one of River Of Souls, I think I prefer the video of 'Soilsorcerer'. It's dark and atmospheric.





WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?


As hobby ? Probably doing something technical…..


DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?


I don't get nervous for live performances anymore, I only experience a little bit of an adrenaline rush. I do however get very nervous when I have to play the drums in the studio. Then I make many, many fails until I reach a nervous breakdown, and after that, I just perform.


HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?


I had written a number of songs while I was playing in other bands like Judgement Day, Sinister, etcetera, that couldn't be used because it sounded too melodic and not fast enough. So, I was thinking to record that stuff with as a project, and I asked Benjamin, one of my best friends, if he'd be interested to start playing bass guitar, and to join me with the project. He had a bass guitar, but didn't really play it yet, and had zero experience playing in bands. So, I learned him a bit to play, and how to play the songs that I had written. Then we started looking for a vocalist, that's when Bart came in. We started recording the album, and asked another friend of ours, Ingmar Otter, to play a few guitar leads, and that resulted in 'The Well Of Urd'. That was the point where we decided to turn the project band into a normal band, and then we started searching for a 2nd guitarist and a drummer to complete the band.


HOW DO YOU WRITE? - DO YOU HAVE A KEY SONGWRITER, OR DO YOU ALL WORK TOGETHER?


In the past, I used to be the only composer, (although the track The Nihilist is written together with my friend Willem Hofs). Bart wrote all the lyrics and most of the vocal lines, and after that, I usually re-arrange the things to the final version of the song, with the input of Bart and Benjamin. But with the new line up things will change. Our newest members Koen and Mathijs are currently also writing parts and basic song structures.


WHAT INSPIRES YOU?


For me personally, it can be anything. Cool new guitar sounds, stuff I see on Youtube, preferably from non-metal playing guitarists, any kind of music, atmospheric music themes of tv series, just about anything. Then I turn the ideas into metal.


Sometimes I also challenge myself with some experiments. For instance, with 'Requiem in Am' I wanted to see if I was able to write a track with just one single riff. And it worked out very well in my humble opinion. It's an acoustic strumming riff, on which everything is based. You'll only hear the original bass riff only a few times. I have also played it backwards and reversed the guitar tracks. (Which wasn't easy, I must add). I got that idea from the Danzig song 'Can't Speak', I really found that fascinating. Later on I found out it's just another song played backwards with re-recorded drums and vocals, but still, brilliant.


Another example is the drone note in 'At Rope's End'. I started with the open D string (which is actually the note B with my tuning), and simply added a melody using nice-sounding notes. And then try to maintain that as long as possible before it gets boring. There's an inside joke on the end of the track by the way… which I won't tell (yet), hahaha


Another example is the chuggingriff in 'Of Pit And Snare'. I wanted to see if it would sound cool if I'd use a speedmetalriff on slow doomdrums. It doesn't sound like something really unique, the trick is to incorporate everything in a manner that people don't experience it as something off-sounding. Well… maybe the guitar solo in Of Pit And Snare' sounds a bit off...


WHAT IS NEXT?


We're not sure yet. Koen, Mathijs and Bart are currently writing a few tracks for an EP, we have plans to do a live session in the rehearsal room once the recording gear is all set up, but it could also be we'll be doing some real live shows earlier. Hard to tell what will happen in the near future…..


PLEASE TELL US ANY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS SO WE CAN SHARE.


Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/riverofsoulsband


Website : www.riverofsouls.nl


video of the track “Of Pit and Snare” from 'Usurper' on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsYZXQHps34


The full-length cd’s can be purchased at our website www.riverofsouls.nl

and all our material can be purchased digitally on https://riverofsouls.bandcamp.com/ , iTunes, Amazon, etc. and streamed from all streaming services, including https://open.spotify.com/artist/4YTY52z5Uietm2rBUhhvel


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