Artist Interview: Wild Rivers

*We are excited to cover the Winnipeg Folk Festival again! Here is some of our highlights from last year!*

by Isabella Soares

Indie trio Wild Rivers might have started their career in 2016, but their music reached other parts of the world through streaming during the pandemic. Now that touring and playing festivals are back on the table, Devan Glover (vocals), Khalid Yassein (vocals and guitar), and Andrew Oliver (guitar and bass) have been witnessing crowds singing along throughout Europe, the US, and Canada. After the band members left the Snowberry Field Stage at the 2022 Winnipeg Folk Festival, they talked to Stylus Magazine about their favourite songs to play live, the process behind their latest album Sidelines, and weighed-in on writing love and heartbreak songs. 

Kicking off the Western Canada leg of their tour, Wild Rivers came to Winnipeg after a few years only to notice that there was a jam-packed crowd ready to hear their songs live in the festival grounds. 

“The last few times we performed were big shows, but not all were our fans. Today it was a big show and a ton of people were singing along, so it feels like we made some progress,” Oliver says.

The band released their sophomore album, Sidelines, in February 2022 and its soothing, happy/sad sound reached over 300 million collective streams. Despite it coming out recently, they started working on the record prior to the pandemic. To Glover, the extended time played in their favour. 

“We had written most of it right before the pandemic, which was great. We moved into a house in L.A. together and wrote a lot of the songs there. It was our first time doing that whole thing of living together and setting up all our instruments in the living room. When it came time to record, it was March 2020. We started in Connecticut, and we were kind of finishing it throughout the year. Some of it was done remotely and finally we went back to Kingston, where the band actually started, to a beautiful studio named The Bathouse Studio and finished it there,” she says. 

In addition to Sidelines’ production process, the band also shared their interest in writing songs about love and heartbreak. Although there are equal shares of both throughout their discography, Yassein says that “the love songs happen first and the heartbreak ones tend to happen later.”

“For me, and the rest of the band can attest, it’s easier to write songs when you are not so good. It’s kind of a therapeutic thing to help you come to terms with how you are feeling,” he continued.

Now that they are back on the road, the band has gotten to play a few of their latest tracks as well as their earlier songs. “Thinking ‘bout Love” for instance, continues to cheer up the crowds in and out of shows. The single even received a GOLD Music Canada certification in June 2022, symbolizing its fan-stamp of approval. 

“We usually close with “Thinking ‘bout Love” now and that is one that everyone stands up and sings along to, which is really special. “Small Talk” is also fun and most of the time in venues we get people to go really low and get as small as they can. At a certain point, the song bursts open and we do a solo,” Oliver says.

Following Canada’s tour dates, Wild Rivers will take a couple weeks off before heading to their US run starting in September. 

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