1. What's the name of your band? What's the origin of that name?
We are These Wicked Rivers from Derby in the UK. The name came up early doors, when trying to decide on one our front man said he wanted it to have a vintage name, so we started looking through Spotify at some of the OLDE Blues guitarists. There was one who had a song named “Those Evil Children” or something like that. Someone said they wanted the word “Rivers” in there, so we juggled about with some words and then came “These Wicked Rivers” – and it stuck. Nothing romantic or sexy about how it was chosen!
2. What are your names, nicknames and corresponding instruments?
John Hartwell – Lead Vocals and Rhythm Guitars
Arran Day – Lead Guitar 7 Backing Vocals
Sam Williams – Bass
Dan Southall – Drums & Backing Vocals
We don’t really do nicknames unfortunately!
3. If you could fill a pool with anything but water, what would it be?
4. What’s an average day like for the band?
Well, we all work full time jobs alongside the band, so usually it’s get up, go to work and deal with any band stuff that comes up as we go along! On a gig day, we’ll do our own things until it’s time to head to venue. If it’s a fair distance away we go in our van, if it’s reasonably local we’ll travel by ourselves in our own cars. We’ll always eat before we play. There’s nothing rock n roll or sexy about being in a band at our level!
5. Where/When was your last show, when/where is your next show?
At the time of writing, our last show was in a city called Nottingham at a cool venue called “Alberts”. Next up for us is a venue called “The County Music Bar” in a town called Chesterfield on March 28th – If Coronavirus doesn’t put paid to it!
6. What are some of the best pranks you as bandmates have pulled on each other?
We don’t do a lot of pranks to be honest, we just kind of get on with our lives and try to have as much fun as possible – having said that, if we go away and don’t receive a video in the band chat of either Sam or Arran bursting in on one another in the hotel bathroom when taking a dump then it’s just not the same kind of gig!
7. How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?
It’s harder. More riff driven. Originally, when John wanted to form a band he was listening to a lot of blues and blues rock – people like John Mayer Trio and Gary Clark Jr and that’s what the basis of the band was at the start. Now it’s evolved into this blues tinged, southern rock kind of vibe. Very Clutch/Black Stone Cherry/Rival Sons. Were all digging it at the moment, that’s for sure!
8. What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite?
Favorite part is definitely meeting new folks, whether they be fans or other bands. Also, probably the actual performance part of it. There is no replication of the buzz you get from a great crowd response.
The worst bit – without doubt loading in and out at the start and end of the night. We’d give anything for some roadies/tech guys! We have a lot of shit to lug about!
9. If you were a super-hero, what would your power be?
The power to load our gear in an out of a venue with the click of a finger!
10. What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
a. First of all – DO IT. It’s totally worth it!
b. Don’t rush getting out to play live. Hone your songs first. No point taking them to an audience if they aren’t as good as they can be in the practice room
c. Get yourselves some good gear. If your gear isn’t well looked after or in good condition, then your audience will see it and hear it.
d. Build yourself a local following and then take it out on the road.
e. Talk to everyone. Don’t play and leave straight after. Other bands/promoters HATE that. Stay and watch the other bands, have a beer and make friends!
f. Be prepared – it costs money to get yourselves going! If you’re wanting to take it on the road, be prepared for this, it doesn’t come cheap!
11. Who are some of your favorite musicians?
John – Jeff Buckley, Rival Sons, Pearl Jam & Highly Suspect
Arran – Pink Floyd, CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), Blackberry Smoke, Babe Rainbow
Sam – Black Sabbath, Audioslave, Marilyn Manson
Dan – Eric Clapton, Coheed & Cambria, Rival Sons and individual drummers include Portnoy, Todd Sucherman & Eric Moore.
12. What is the craziest thing you have ever received from a fan?
Not something we’ve received, but something we saw – One fan (who is also a friend) made himself a homemade These Wicked Rivers t-shirt, but it was just a close up photo of John from a gig with the band name underneath it :’)
13. What song means the most to you and why?
JOHN – “When the War is Won” – It’s all about getting through dark times and looking back on them wanting to tell your past self that it’ll all be alright and you’ll pull through. I think a lot of people need this kind of reassurance from time to time. The other song for me is “Black” by Pearl Jam. Lyrically, I think it’s a song most people will have been able to identify with at some point in their life.
ARRAN – Don’t Pray for Me” – When I first came in to the band and jammed with John and Dan they showed me the basic structure and within the first few jams I could feel how awesome the energy was and what was forming between us. I improvised the solo in the jam and felt perfect first time and live it brings out so many emotions when closing the show. The other song is “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Before I met my partner Jade my dad told me to listen to this album. As soon as I heard ‘Our House’ I could remember my dad listening to it when I was kid and immediately the words came to me. When me and Jade moved into our first home together in my nans bungalow, we had a little record player and we’d always smile when this song came on saying that it was about our little home together with the cats.
SAM – Our song that means the most is “Testify” – The boys got me to learn it for my jam when they were looking for a new bassist, so it reminds me of that time. The other song that means the most is Tiny Tims “Tiptoe through the Tulips” because it breeds anarchy and puts a smile on my face *Insert devil face emoji*
DAN – The song of ours that means the most is “When the War is Won”. I think it speaks to people in different ways and you can apply your own meaning to it. I love stuff like that. In terms of other songs, “Atlas” by Coheed & Cambria always moves me, because it’s Claudio (their front man) writing about his little boy and how his little boy is his anchor that always brings him home. Being a Dad myself, I get those feelings about my kids too. It reminds me how much I love them and need them.
14. How can people gain access to your music?
15. If you had one thing to say to all your fans, what would it be?
The only thing we can really say to them is THANK YOU. They’re incredible people who support us, attending our shows, buy our merch and just get behind us in brilliant ways. We’re still a bit dumbfounded about what we’ve done to deserve it, but we’re delighted they’re here and we love them all!
Check out their latest video!