Duda, Mariusz (Riverside) (August 2006)

Riverside - Out Of MyselfIn 2003, Poland's Riverside released their debut album, Out Of Myself in Poland -- and in the US in 2004 -- to rave reviews. What started as an instrumental side project by Piotr Grudziński (guitar) and Piotr Kozieradzki (drums), grew and developed in 2001 with the addition of vocalist/bassist Mariusz Duda. Though a demo CD Riverside was released prior to the full-fledged debut, it was with Out Of Myself that the band gained attention outside Poland. In early 2005, the band released the fan club CD Voices In My Head, which featured 5 new pieces and 3 live tracks (now reissued by InsideOut) and later in 2005, their sophomore release Second Life Syndrome. The band's first performance in the US was at this past June's NEARfest. Joshua Turner spoke with Duda following their Saturday afternoon performance.

Joshua Turner: So, how's NEARfest going right now?

Mariusz Duda at NEARFest 2006 (photo: Stephanie Sollow)Mariusz Duda: I think it was pretty nice. I think we had a quite good show. [He laughs[ People liked us. [Actually, I heard they were the talk of the festival.]

JT: Did you have the show today?

MD: Yeah, we had a show today. We've played a concert today.

JT: Oh great. Yeah, I just wasn't sure?

MD: Cause we are in the United States now, you know, only for NEARfest. We're just leaving.

JT: Is this your first time in the States?

MD: Yeah.

JT: Have you gotten a chance to see the States at all or basically you just came in to play?

Riverside at NEARFest 2006 (photo: Stephanie Sollow)MD: This was only one chance, you know, this year. [I laugh] Maybe after the third album. You didn't know about it?

JT: About what?

MD: About our concert in United States.

JT: Oh no, I knew about it. I just didn't know what time it was, because there's other acts playing. I didn't know if you were playing tomorrow or if you were playing today.

MD: Ah, we played as the second band of NEARfest.

JT: Okay.

MD: And, it was nice.

JT: How did that gig come about? How did that get all setup? How did you guys get invited to it?

MD: We just last year... Um, we received the information from the organizers of NEARfest that they want to see us at NEARfest and auditioned last year. It didn't work out because of the thing, like visa. We have problems with visas, because Polish people when they want to go to the United States, they need some documents like visas.

It didn't work out last year, but it worked out this year and all were great, organized, and we could finally came here and just play for American people and I have to say that it was a very great show. The audience was very nice and when we were on the stage, we felt some kind of vibrations.

JT: Great.

MD: Very nice, very nice.

JT: Have you gotten a chance to watch any of the other acts that are playing at NEARfest?

MD: Not yet.

[At the time the interview was taking place, FM were on stage -ed]

JT: Are you going to? Is there any one in particular that you're looking forward to?

MD: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yesterday, I saw Tony Levin Band. That was nice. I imagine that was very great, because after our show, well, we just started to finish our play and Mike Portnoy said hello to us. Hi, I've just came to see you guys. Wow, nice, nice, very nice. [Levin and band opened the Progressive Legends Showcase II for the Friday night "pre-show" - ed.]

JT: Some people say I look a little bit like him.

MD: Yeah?

JT: Yeah. Do you have any interest in playing in any other festivals in the States or touring through the States?

MD: I think if we're talking about the United States, maybe after the third album, there will be a chance to organize some kind of tour. Now this year, we're going to play a couple of festivals in Europe and in Poland also and then we need to, you know, start to record our third album. It's very necessary I think.

And, after that, maybe next year, after we release this album, there will be a chance to play again in the US. That would be nice.

Riverside - Second LIfe SyndromeJT: I wanted to ask you a couple questions about the latest album that you've come out with. Starting with Second Life Syndrome. I think it's a great album.

MD: Yes. [He giggles]

JT: It's kind of unique. You can tell a lot of thought went into it and there's some very good musicianship on there, but I'm wondering, because I'm a little confused, what is the theme of it and what does the title mean?

MD: The title of the album... you know, it was from after "Second Life Syndrome," we knew that we need to prove that we are not a band of one album only and we just need to create something with more Riverside styles, because to be honest, on the first album, you can sometimes see Porcupine Tree. You can sometimes see bands that are mentioned on the sticker on the box.

But, when we're trying to... We know that we have some second life syndrome before the next album and that's why I decided to just do the title Second Life Syndrome, because this is our, you know, some kind of another way of the main hero. He's trying to change himself and he's changing, of course. We will find how much he's changed on the third album. If we're talking about Second Life Syndrome, I think that this time, we just, uh, we did something like, you know this is more Riverside music than a band, I think. We just wanted to put our emotions [into it] when we recorded that, and that's why the album is much heavier and much more darker, a little bit more aggressive. But this is Riverside. Riverside is a unique contrast and you can see those contrasts on Second Life Syndrome, I think. Just find some kind of solution with? we just want to be a band with our own style. We don't want to cover different bands.

JT: Now is that a concept album?

MD: Yeah. This is, I have to say; Out Of Myself is the first part of trilogy. Second Life Syndrome is the second part the trilogy. That's why the first song is called "After." All the things are coming after Out Of Myself and "Before," is the last title [song], before the [next] album.

That's why you [get] something like "Reality Dream Part III." You know, "Part I" and "Part II" is on the album, Out Of Myself.

JT: I was going to ask about that, because I was trying to figure out why it would start with "After" and end with "Before."

MD: That's why, um, I think all [of the] trilogy we called [the] "Reality Dream Trilogy" and we have Out Of Myself, Second Life Syndrome, and the third one will be in, I think maybe, May 2007. We have some ideas and we just... after all these concerts we need to go to the studio and record that.

JT: What is the story? What is the thread going through these albums?

MD: Well, what can I say. It's some kind of expedition into, you know, into a man who's looking for himself, who's looking for his own true self and fighting with his loneliness. On Out Of Myself he just decided to be alone and he was very good with that. On Second Life Syndrome, he decided to change his life and he decided to become a true person and he's changing, of course. On the last song, there's a question, "is this what I really wanted?"

JT: Right.

MD: He's just missing, you know, the guy from first album, Out Of Myself. I don't know how to say, the whole story, there's a lot of place [room] for your own interpretation.

JT: Aha.

MD: It's just about looking for yourself. Each of the songs you can just interpret by your own, I think. You know, just like you wanted. When we finish our third part, it will be much more complete... and clearer than now, but I think this is some kind? in the vein of some David Lynch films or Stanley Kubrick. There will be [a] musical trilogy for Riverside in [that] range, we'll see. It's a very important thing. This is a trilogy. Second Life Syndrome is the second part of the trilogy.

JT: Okay.

MD: This is a concept [he laughs] to answer your question, yeah.

JT: What's that whispering about at the beginning of the album? What's the idea behind that?

MD: You know, this is a beginning of a new person. He don't want to be the guy who is always crying and "oh, I feel so bad. Oh, I'm so?" He's just starting to doing [getting on] with his own life. That's why it's "Volte-Face." That's why he just, you know, he's becoming more and more stronger. That's when we're talking about... that's why for instance song like "Artificial Smile" on this album. This is anger and he needs to do something, you know, he needs to show that he is among the people and he's strong.

On Out Of Myself, there's always [a] situation about two people and, you know, this guy [is] afraid of contact with other people all the time. His connections with them are totally different. He becoming... he's touching, you know, everybody; but of course, the most important question is at the last song of Second Life Syndrome.

JT: Maybe I'm not pronouncing this right, but the second song "Volte-Face." What does it translate to, what does it mean?

MD: You know, uh, "Volte-Face" means that you're turning 180 percent. [Oh, he must mean "About Face," which I should know from all my years of French - JT] You're just turning back or you just try to change something new. That's why it's the first..., during, what are the lyrics? I don't remember now. I have changed all my life and blah, blah, blah. This is the beginning of something new. The beginning of a new person and "Volte-Face" means that you just, uh, you're changing your place. You're changing your point of view at this moment and I think there's, uh, lyrics like you can put me into lion's cage, you can take my soul and give a second name and some kind of Riverside situation.

JT: Okay.

MD: Because we know that we're not of American [descent], you know, we just doing things like many bands did before. That's why, for instance, on the first album, there's a title "The Same River." We know that we're entering the same river, but the most important thing that we want to [do], in spite of everything, [is] doing our own, working on our own style and sometimes people will tell us we sound like Porcupine Tree. We sound like Opeth or something, but okay, it's good, these are good bands. But we're trying to do Riverside music and this is [the] most important thing, you know, and that's why we became more and more popular, because people will hear that we're trying to do something new.

JT: How did you come up with the name Riverside? What does that mean?

MD: Um, you know, somebody dropped that name on the first rehearsal and it just stayed. That's all. There's no logic behind it and if, you know, we would have known something would happen with our band, we just maybe think up something more original.

JT: I think it works okay.

MD: Someone dropped that name and okay, Riverside. No problem Riverside, so we have Riverside. Very American by the way. [He laughs.]

JT: On the album, every track is great, but I would probably say my favorite one is the title track.

MD: Yeah.

JT: Is there a track that makes you most proud? Is there one that's your favorite, one that might stand out among them?

MD: You know, I think, um, we're very proud of our longest track. I think it worked out with a title track. I think "Second Life Syndrome" and "Dance With The Shadow," because I like epic form in music. "Second Life Syndrome," I can say that [there are] three songs in one. This is mostly one journey and one, uh, one story, yeah. "Second Life Syndrome," I think this is some kind of business card of Riverside music. There's a lot of emotions there. We're changing contrasts all the time and when you, for instance, if somebody will ask you, Riverside, what kind of music do they play? I think "Second Life Syndrome" is the best, uh, you know, song to play.

JT: Oh, definitely.

MD: And, just listen to this, they're playing like this. I think this is a good choice. I like it, yes, I like it very much, the title track.

JT: Why does your music have such a dark feel about it? What inspires that? Are the motives angry or they kind of melancholy feelings or bittersweet?

MD: I've mentioned on our web site, I think. Riverside is a music of contrast. Pain, sadness, whisper, and scream. Joy, sadness, whisper, and scream. Those four elements, I think, they are elements, which are all the time in Riverside music, maybe without joy, but, uh, we need to find out, we need to wait for the third album to complete all those elements.

But, when you want to talk about Riverside music, I think those four words are the best to express it.

The quote from their website: "Riverside is a way of expressing reflections, dreams and fantasies through music. It is an idea for exposing emotions, for an escape from the grey or unnaturally overcoloured reality. It is a music inspired by a time, a place, a thought and a word, a figment of their own and other people's imagination. It is joy and sadness, a whisper and a scream." - ed.

JT: Is that just a style that you enjoy playing or are those emotions that you're trying to express?

MD: Yeah, exactly.

Riverside - Voices In My HeadJT: Both, okay. How did the Voices In My Head album come about? You came out with that pretty quickly after the other one.

MD: Okay, you have to know that Voices In My Head was recorded at the beginning of 2005, the end of 2004, the live track from 2004 and all because Out Of Myself has been released in 2003 in December and the Laser's Edge edition of our debut was 2004. We wanted to wait another year and to, uh, to release the second album, but what about the Polish people. They had to wait for two years, yeah? So, we needed to... we decided to give them some surprise and just record mini-album only for the fan group. That one, people liked that very much and we decided to release it only in Poland. It was released in March 2005, and then we released Second Life Syndrome and I think, you know, after the success of Second Life Syndrome, InsideOut decided to share this mini-album with people all over the world. That's why they released it. I think, because [he laughs] I don't know why they released that, but it's good that our two albums and this mini-album people listen to, you know; you can buy it. That's most important; you can buy it in each shop all over the world.

JT: Basically, when you came out with it so soon, I thought, oh, this must just be like a bonus disc.

MD: Yeah, it's kind of quite a bonus disc of Out Of Myself. There are five tracks in the vein of Out Of Myself and three tracks [that are] live versions from Out Of Myself. We just recorded it and we just released it, between Out Of Myself and Second Life Syndrome, but only in Poland. So, that's why we decided to it.

JT: What I was going to tell you is that it's a very good album, which kind of stunned me. I like it quite a bit.

MD: Yeah?

JT: Yeah.

MD: I think I like this album also very much, because it shows a different phase of Riverside music. When you just putting Out Of Myself, Voices In My Head, and Second Life Syndrome next to each other, you don't know what to expect from, you know, the third album. So, it's good, it's good.

JT: You kind of mentioned Porcupine Tree as a potential influence or at least that's what people compare your music to, but I also hear Tool, Pain of Salvation, Opeth, ...

MD: That's good, that's good, you know, because we're not guys only release Porcupine Tree. Porcupine Tree inspired us the same [as] like thousands of bands, so it doesn't matter. But I can say that, I think, uh, Riverside's music is much closer to, I know Tool, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Anathema, or somewhere, than to bands like Pendragon, Marillion, those neo-progressive stuff, which I maybe don't like so much, but we just trying to put some elements from all progressive rock to our music. Maybe that's why it sounds kind of original, because we've noticed that, um, to our shows are coming a father and his son. That's great. All generations listen to our music. Father likes elements from, oh, I just listened to that thirty years ago and son saying, oh, my favorite song is "Artificial Smile." I like it very much. That's great.

JT: That's funny... I hear Opeth in the guitars. I hear Dream Theater in some of the bass. The way some of the sequences run even sound like Pink Floyd at times.

MD: We're trying to put [in] all elements [that] we like very much.

JT: We've kind of talked about comparisons, but who do you actually consider your influences?

MD: You know, when we're talking about influences, it's not only music we listen to.

JT: Sure.

MD: So, you know, all things going around us. Books we read and films we're watching and just from our lives. I think, okay, we like Pink Floyd. We like Anathema [who are] a favorite of Piotr, and my favorite music, I think? I grew up with Tangerine Dream, for instance. I very [much] like electronic music with a lot of space, and some? I can also, you know? I also very [much] like just a U2 album, for instance. We're just influenced, influences are everywhere. We don't want to cover any bands. We just want to play our own music and, of course, we need to listen to everything. We're just listening, very soft mellow sounds and just some kind of tricked up, some kind of new age, I don't know. And some death metal bands or somewhere, you know. Our drummer has been playing death metal for ten years. [ Kozieradzki was a member of the bands Hate and Domain (not the German band of the same name) - ed.]

JT: Hmm.

MD: So, he knows something about it.

JT: Okay, we've kind of talked about what you're trying to accomplish with music and kind of some comparisons and influences, but I'm curious about your songwriting process. How do your songs come together? How do you collaborate? How does that work out?

MD: I'm some kind of, I don't know how to say, if we're talking about a body, a human body, I'm the brain.

JT: Okay. [I laugh]

MD: Our drummer, legs and arms. Our keyboard player, [the] lung... how do you say, the stuff, breathing, and well, it's always the same situation, I'm trying to bring a lot of music to our rehearsals, but there are mostly some kind of drafts, you know. And we're working together and? Because I think when you need to find a best solution and all those ideas and [for them] to be okay with each of us... and that's why we decided to compose songs together. I'm some guy who, you know, is playing the bass guitar and I have also the vocals or microphone so I can scream something and finish some discussion.

JT: What are the origins of your musical education? How did you decide to become a musician and ultimately form a band?

MD: You know, we just played in our previous band for ten, twelve years. Piotr had been, as I've said, a drummer in death metal bands. Our guitarist also had his previous band for ten years. You know, we're just doing all things by ourselves and we just are growing up with that and Riverside was our first band when all of us has some kind of experiences, previous experiences, and that's why we decided to avoid some things, you know, which we don't like. I had my first band where I was playing some kind of progressive rock. I didn't want to [be] doing the same things. I wanted to avoid some things and just, you know, doing some fresh rock in our music. For instance, on our debut album [there] is song called "Loose Heart." This is some kind of ballad, sad song, nice, but at the end of the song we're just playing. The sound is? it just sounds like it's been taken from nu metal like Korn or something. That was new. That was something progressive I think.

JT: Right.

MD: Yeah, we're just playing on our instruments since we met in Riverside, but at our first rehearsal we started to do something with music.

JT: You play the bass and you sing. How did you decide you wanted to take on both those roles?

MD: I just felt with that, you know, I really like to play bass guitar and I have no problem with singing and playing bass guitar both. So, [it] just happens, you know.

JT: Do you actually have formal music education in your background? How did you learn your instruments?

MD: For one year, when I was ten years old I think, I had piano lessons. That was about all my music education. So, my first instrument... because you have to know, in my previous band, which played progressive music, I played the keyboards.

Our time was cut short due to other interview commitments that Mariusz and the rest of Riverside had. Proof that their two albums to date (plus the demo and the ep) have caught the interest of the progressive music press. The band will be playing live at the Bergkeller Art Rock Festival in Reichenbach, Germany on July 15 and at the Masters Of Rock festival in Vizovice, Czech Republic on July 16. Plus they'll be at ProgPower Europe the weekend of September 30 - October 1. And watch their website for autumn 2006 live dates.

Out Of Myself (2003/2004)
Voices In My Head (2005/2006)
Second Life Syndrome (2005)
Rapid Eye Movement (2007)
Anno Domini Hight Definition (2009)
Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (2013)
Love, Fear And The Time Machine (2015)

Added: August 7th 2006
Interviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner

Artist website: www.riversideband.pl
Hits: 1818
Language: english

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