Rivers of Nihil – Planting Seeds for the FutureMonday, 25th November 2013
Rivers of Nihil happen to be one of the more interesting young bands to come crawling out of the death metal scene as of late. Keeping one foot rooted in the past, they combine a number of more modern influences to hone their sound away from the multitude of death metal cutouts. Not only that, but hard working and humble to boot. Upon hearing “Raineater” this summer, it seemed they were on to something special. Their full-length debut, The Conscious Seed of Light, was just released last month and certainly held up to the lofty expectations that it quickly generated. Among other things, the band’s conceptual basis of the four seasons was intriguing, and luckily guitarist Jon Kunz was able to take some time to answer some of my burning questions.
Dead Rhetoric: Congrats on the release of The Conscious Seed of Light. It’s been out for about a month now, what has the general response been so far?
Jon Kunz: Thank you! The response has been incredible. We’re all very surprised at how positive it has been going over with people.
Dead Rhetoric: Is there any story to how you came up with the name Rivers of Nihil?
Kunz: Like any other band starting out, we had music before we had a name. We were throwing around names and Jake said “Rivers of Nihilists,” which we all thought sounded cool, but didn’t make any sense at all. I took that and made it “Rivers of Nihil,” which can be thought of as emptiness, nothingness, nihilism in everything. Everything flows and everything is nothing.
Dead Rhetoric: The Conscious Seed of Light is said to be the first of 4 conceptual albums, representing each season. How does this album fit the spring setting, conceptually speaking?
Kunz: It is the beginning of it all. It is the beginning of our band in the public eye. Everything is coming to life, and the lyrics reflect this. Dive in to the lyric sheet with the album on 10 and you will catch the drift.
Dead Rhetoric: Now that we have heard ‘spring,’ how do you suppose the sound will change as we go through the remainder of the seasons? Will there be more dramatic shifts, such as a bouncy, lighter summer album or perhaps an oppressive, bleak winter release?
Kunz: We will abandon everything we’ve done for what people want us to play. I’m kidding…it’s too early to say. We never do anything that is forced. We will not write an album based on the feelings each season is supposed to bring you. The theme comes second to the music. The music will always take precedence over our themes. We use the themes as a link, but not as the do all end all to the band.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you know at this point what season you will approach next?
Kunz: It will be summer.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s your connection with Erik Rutan? I believe I heard somewhere that he helped with getting you guys signed to Metal Blade, is that correct?
Kunz: Erik Rutan contacted us shortly after we released our first EP. He really liked it and expressed interest in recording us in the future if things ever worked out that way. Erik was a huge part in our signing, as well as where we are at right now with the band. He is the realest dude out there, and it’s incredible to call him one of our closest friends.
Dead Rhetoric: You guys seem very open and connected with your fans through Facebook, Twitter, etc. Do you think that in this day and age, there has to be a certain level of interaction with your fans?
Kunz: Absolutely. We live in an age where all of that stuff is super important. If you are a band and use any of those platforms to promote your band, you better be interacting with your fan base directly, or you are just another machine exploiting a human for personal gain. We all love talking to our fans, it keeps things real, it keeps things interesting. That is what we do it for. Don’t get me wrong, I love the anonymous masked black metal band as much as the next guy, but I don’t want to be that band.
Dead Rhetoric: You recently asked your fans on Facebook what their top 3 albums for 2013 were, what are your top three?
Kunz: I’ve been getting asked this a lot, and it is so hard to pick. I’ll go ahead and say Weekend – Jinx. Deafheaven – Sunbather. Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury. I give a different answer in every interview! Picking favorites is way too hard.
Dead Rhetoric: It seems you’ve been on tour constantly this fall with a number of different national acts; as a younger band, how receptive has the crowd been to your material? I’d imagine that “Soil & Seed” must go over pretty well.
Kunz: The touring we did was so awesome. All the bands kicked so much ass. It was like a giant party for a few months. “Soil and Seed” is definitely a crowd favorite, it’s a good way to end the set. It’s funny, when I wrote that song, I wanted a song that sounded like “Where the Slime Live” by Morbid Angel. Even though it doesn’t sound like our other songs, people love it.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel the best and worst parts of nonstop touring are?
Kunz: Best = partying and playing music. Worst = you’re fucking broke.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you have any more touring plans in the immediate future?
Kunz: We’re working on our spring schedule right now, so keep checking the Facebook page for updates on that stuff.
Dead Rhetoric: Were there any bands in particular that were a lot of fun to play with?
Kunz: Every band we’ve toured with has been awesome. Most recently, watching Exhumed every night was fucking awesome. They opened with The Walking Dead intro. Regardless if you like or watch the show, what a badass song and perfect way to start a gore-filled set. Dillon and the chainsaw, man….
Dead Rhetoric: I recently read the band’s stance on using crowd funding like Indiegogo and Kickstarter and found it quite admirable. Why is it that you think that bands (and fans) are more or less welcoming this with open arms lately?
Kunz: I’m glad you understand our point. I really don’t know. People with disposable income? People who have never been in a band and know how it works? I really don’t know why people are supporting it considering it has been used almost entirely in the wrong way so far. I do feel there is a right way of going about, like I said about recording and pressing a record. If a band gives incentives that are actually worth it, much like an investor does with a company, than yes go for it, but it has not been done that way in my eyes at least. But asking for a handout for a van or trailer or mechanic costs? $25,000 grand to record your album in a friend’s basement? Fuck outta here homeboy. I was brought up to work hard for what you want in life, and that is the way it is and always will be for this band.