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Getting To Know: River Drive




River Drive are a band hailing from the UK, this 4-piece ensemble, consisting of members between the ages of 20 and 23, shares a compelling origin and an even more impressive rise in the music world.Originating from a mix of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, and Retford, Nottinghamshire, River Drive's members Matt Shaw (lead singer and guitarist), Jack Harris (drummer), Dima Yarwood (guitarist), and Oliver Mallatratt (bassist) each bring a unique musical background to the table. Shaw's love for music was sparked at a tender age by Busted, while Harris honed his drum skills from Colorado to the UK. Yarwood's guitar influences include the iconic sounds of The Rolling Stones and U2, and Mallatratt's bass playing is inspired by his father's musicianship.


The band's journey began with Shaw and Mallatratt bonding over music in high school, eventually leading to the formation of River Drive alongside Harris and Yarwood. Their first live gig in September 2023 was an instant success, marking the beginning of their journey in the indie rock scene. River Drive practices religiously every week, having already supported popular upcoming bands and headlining events like the opening weekend for The Sherlocks at the Jolly Brewer. Their debut single, "Lonely Ones," is set to release soon, with plans to drop more singles in the coming months. We spoke to them about their journey so far:


1. Can you share more about the individual musical influences that each member brings to River Drive, and how these diverse backgrounds contribute to the band's overall sound?


Matt Shaw (Lead vocals/Guitarist): Throughout growing up, after bands such as Busted and Mcfly sparked Matt's love for music at a young age, he then started to listen to alot of music a few mentions of his favourite artist from this time are Green day, Feeder, Linkin Park, Snow Patrol and Coldplay. 


Alot of his musical influences were guided by the help of his older brother Dan, as Matt got older into his teenage years he found a strong love for bands such as Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, Courteeners, Kings Of Leon, Kasabian, The Killers, The Wombats, Wolf Alice, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, DMA'S, The Beatles and Biffy Clyro the list is endless. But the main one being Blink-182 after hearing the track "Mutt" in the movie American pie and then listening to all their albums followed by eventually seeing them in 2017 at Nottingham motorpoint arena.


These days Matt's been listening to alot classic stuff which was sparked by attending the Taylor Hawkins tribute gig at Wembley stadium in 2022 with the likes of Rush, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Queen. Finding love for older music, looking at bands/artists that influenced him. Matt also is a fan of local Sheffield band 'The Sherlocks', he's seen them at Leeds O2 Academy and also alongside Kaiser Chiefs & The Fratellis at Nottingham motorpoint arena, both in 2022. Which is a positive coincidence as they recently bought The Jolly Brewer pub in Lincoln where River Drive then got to play on the same stage as they did, playing on the Sunday night following The Sherlocks opening on the Friday night. Olly Mal (Bassist): Olly grew up listening to a lot of Queen and Erasure due to his parents' interest in them. As he got older he moved more into the indie scene, but his heart is still with classic rock music such as Queen. 


Dima (Guitarist) Dima's music taste is mainly with classic bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and REM. Although he's also become more interested in more pop/indie music such as U2 and Coldplay. Jack Harris (Drummer):

Jack had lessons growing up where he went through each grade and eventually went on to achieve a performance diploma in drums. In order to achieve his diploma he was required to play various challenging jazz, funk and rock songs from the likes of Rush, Buddy Rich and Dave Weckl. 


Moving forward Jack became more into indie and rock music, such as Catfish and the Bottlemen, the arctic monkeys and Foo Fighters. For personal listening he's more into softer indie rock music, however when it comes to drumming he also enjoys heavier stuff such as foo fighters, along with pop punk bands such as Blink-182 and Green Day. 


Overall musically, Jack enjoys lots of music and really anything has a good tune. Over the last few years his music taste has ranged from indie bands like Oasis, the stone roses, Catfish and the Botllemen and Sam Fender to the heavier riffs of the Foo Fighters, to pop punk along with classic bands such as Queen, Dire Straits and The Alarm (to name a few).

Jack finishes by saying his aim is always to make a song sound better and "bring it to life", not by showing off with crazy fills, but by adding the correct drums he thinks the song requires, in this sense he takes a lot of influence from Ringo Starr and Roger Taylor. 



2. River Drive started with a strong musical connection between Matt and Oliver, who bonded over their shared love of music. How did the addition of Jack and Dima enhance the band's dynamics, and what unique elements do each of you bring to the creative process?


Dima is into softer music from classic bands such as The Rolling Stones, U2, R.E.M and The Beatles. We like to think that he brings the 'River'. 


Matt & Olly prefer heavier music with more grit and riffs; this stems from Matt's influences of pop punk and Ollys influences of classic rock from his dad with bands like Queen. We like to think that Matt and Olly bring the 'Drive'. 

Jack is somewhere in between the two, he's into softer indie music similar to Dima, however when it comes to drumming he's not against getting a bit heavier as well. Making the band complete as River Drive. Mixing gritty, catchy hooks with melodic and softer melodys throughout the songs.


Matt is the songwriter in the band and these songs have started with him over the years messing about with a loop pedal with a guitar and a bass and just making the music that he liked and then merging the 30 second clips of loop all together using apps on his phone. he then started using garage band to record demos witch made the picture clearer. But he was a guitarist before he was a singer songwriter, he only started singing last year! He'll then take the song to the other 3 lads and say how he wants them to go. Olly, Jack & Dima will then play along and most of the time putting their own little twist on things making it more unique to their own playing styles making it then sound like a River Drive song. Olly, Jack & Dima are starting to work with Matt now on some song ideas that they have themselves as well.



3. Your upcoming single, "Lonely Ones," is set to release soon. Can you provide a sneak peek into the inspiration behind the song and what listeners can expect from the track?


In their debut single, "Lonely Ones," River Drive skillfully tackles the pervasive theme of universal loneliness, showcasing their musical prowess right out of the gate. The track delves into the challenges of isolation, marrying profound meaning with an irresistibly catchy sound. Its upbeat tempo, coupled with a compelling chorus, make the track instantly recognisable. throwing you back to the early 2000’s. But the sound alone isn’t all that River Drive has on offer, and a deeper examination reveals that "Lonely Ones" transcends into a sonic facade.


The lyrics draw inspiration from the band members' experiences in Northern England, particularly the areas around Lincoln & the small town of Retford. Matt Shaw (singer, guitarist), Oliver Mallatratt (bass guitarist), Dima Yarwood (guitarist), and Jack Harris (drummer) all hail from this region, and their everyday encounters with the trials and tribulations of Northern life have become the crux of the single's narrative. "Lonely Ones" resonates with the monotony inherent in daily life, a sentiment we’ve all shared at some point in life.


"Lonely Ones" masterfully channels these struggles, transforming them into a song that forges a connection between the listener and the music through shared experiences. Beyond its catchy exterior, the track is a vessel for communal understanding, offering a deep insight into the isolation of contemporary society. River Drive’s debut single offers a chance to acknowledge the isolation we all feel, while simultaneously inviting their listeners to sing away their troubles together.


“This track is a classic British way of looking at things; anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. But we wanted to add a positive twist to it.” Matt Shaw adds. “So what if it's gone wrong? F*** it, let’s have a good time and come together in song, for the lost souls, the forgotten, and the lonely ones. Life can be sh**, but River Drive are here for you.”

To bring their vision to life, River Drive have been performing at as many local venues as possible in order to continue growing as a band. Still in relative infancy, the group haven’t been together for even 12 months, but the promise has been evident for all to see and hear. Performing locally has allowed River Drive to interact with the very audience who fuel the inspiration to their tracks, ensuring that there is an authentic essence embedded in every note. The single was recorded at Swanyard Music, a local studio in Retford that has allowed them to record their emerging talent in the music scene, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the project.


River Drive’s debut single, “Lonely Ones" is scheduled for release on 26th January, With a promising debut on the horizon, this Lincoln/Retford-based band is poised to leave a mark on their local music scene, but the real question is just how far they can climb.


Reference - Morgan Reah (2024)

Here is a link to his wix page. He's an aspiring young journalist, who gave his take on the song and I think it fits well. https://morganreah.wixsite.com/morganreah?fbclid=PAAabJ0DYteP9XAvvAK0sccjgYOSgB9ovED3NIj3NbZkZBr_a5P0jGv0NlK0k



4. As a band with members hailing from both the UK and the US, how do cultural differences or influences play a role in shaping River Drive's music and overall identity?


Jack lived in the US for over 5 years, however was born in the UK. Having lived in the UK for over 10 years, there aren’t any significant cultural differences. (Sorry, not much for this question) 


5. River Drive has received positive feedback from both audience members and events organizers. How has this early success influenced your approach to creating and performing music, and do you feel any added pressure as expectations grow?


Early success and positive feedback is nothing but motivation to work harder, whether that be gigging more, recording more or working on our social media more. We’re very aware that anything worth having takes a lot of hard work so that’s essentially what we’re trying to do. We don’t yet feel much pressure from outside the band, all the pressure we receive is put on ourselves due to the drive to succeed. 


6. Looking ahead, you mentioned your long-term goal of going on nationwide tours and playing at festivals. How do you envision the future of River Drive, and what steps are you taking to achieve those aspirations?


As said previously anything worth having takes hard work. The music industry is no different, whether we’re getting an immediate reward from it or not we’re all aware of how much work, time and effort it will take and we’re all willing to do it. To follow our passion.  In terms of specific steps, one main thing that will help any band (or business) grow is social media so that’s something we’re working hard on to make sure it’s the best it can be. Added to this we’re putting lots of effort into recordings, gigging and mainly practicing to ensure we’re the best band we can be! 


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