Riverside on life, death and the Eye Of The Soundscape
Riverside’s Mariusz Duda talks about facing the tragedies of life through his songs, embracing ambient music on Eye Of The Soundscape, and why he’s finally ready to make something that matter
Like Robert Johnson waiting to make a deal with the devil, Riverside stand at a crossroads. To describe 2016 as a tumultuous year for the band seems to be the grossest of understatements. In February, guitarist Piotr Grudzinski died suddenly of a heart attack, casting the whole future of the group into doubt.
In September they won the Prog Award for Anthem of the Year with Towards The Blue Horizon from 2015’s Love, Fear And The Time Machine and they’ve just released Eye Of The Soundscape, a collection of cuts from the vaults and four new tracks showcasing their ambient, instrumental side. Bassist and frontman Mariusz Duda says the band had always wanted to spotlight their electronic influences, but they didn’t have enough material to fill a whole album until now.
“You can see our music from a different perspective,” he says. “Thanks to this we will not be just a prog metal band any more.”
The seeds for Eye Of The Soundscape were planted in 2007 when the band cut a bonus disc to accompany the special edition of their third album, Rapid Eye Movement.
“We went in the studio, the three of us mostly because we didn’t want to have all this messing with the drums and microphones again – only the guitar player, the keyboards player and the bass player,” says Duda. “We decided, let’s just improvise, let’s do something without writing and we will see what happens.”
The result was the 12-minute epic Rapid Eye Movement. “That was the first time we released an instrumental track which was not only connected with all these progressive things but it was more like Tangerine Dream or ambient stuff, all these things I grew up with, connected with Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis,” says Duda.
Thereafter, whenever the band had the chance to make a bonus disc, Duda, Grudzinski and keys player Michał Łapaj set to work crafting new instrumentals – leaving drummer Piotr Kozieradzki looking in from outside like the pauper in a Dickens novel.