Riverhorse is described by frontman Brian Motyll as “gritty yet soothing electrified folk music with a haunting undertone in an awkward yet confident nature.” A perfect description for their brand of indie folk, which began as a solo project but evolved over a few years to become a fully fledged band.
“My first songs were written when I was around sixteen or seventeen. At some point I bought some recording gear and eventually learned enough to feel comfortable recording a collection of those songs I thought were the best. That became our first album Opal.” Their second album, On A Windy Tree, featured their favourite song that they’ve written, ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’. “It’s therapeutic for me. The song has four verses and a bridge that I wrote at all different times. It really reflects how many different emotions you can feel within a relatively short time period.”
“Both albums have been pressed to vinyl by Fonoflo Records (Opal, OAWT) and Jett Plastic Records (OAWT), and I must say the things these guys come up with are incredible. With the help of Wax Mage Records, there are variants like you’ve never seen before. We even have the World’s first Guinness filled record!”
Inspiration for the songs on these albums comes from the most humble, but interesting places; “Ideas and stories. I also really like when people say strange but poetic phrases. I pretty much build entire songs off one phrase. Just listening to people talk is a beautiful thing.” “I love that we humans have limitless imaginations. I love that everyone sees things completely different. I love the idea of alternate realities and far-away lands.” You can see this influence on the beautiful and surreal album art, often featuring hot air balloons in the distance.
Musically, the band’s varied taste spans from bands like Thrice, Black Sabbath to a load of Reggae, as well as all being very much into Modest Mouse. Lately, they’ve “been really into The Antlers. I think I’ve listened to their ‘Hospice’ album every single day for the last five or six months. I really love how I can listen to something like that and feel as if I’m in a totally different world. I can feel every lyric and it hurts, but in a good way. It’s a heartbreaking and absolutely beautiful album.” There’s also the local music in Joilet. “Not many people know about it, but the music scene here is extraordinary. – There’s a little place we hang out at called Chicago Street Pub, where you can walk in on almost any given night and leave feeling like you’ve truly witnessed something special.”
This mix of influences contributes fantastically to their wonderfully unique and atmospheric sound. “Creating an atmosphere is something that is really important – I’ve heard many times now that when we play live we change the mood of the room and create a spacey vibe.” Their idiosyncratic approach to inspiration, thinking and creation truly sets them apart from other artists. “Nobody’s gotten anywhere by being generic. Nobody’s accomplished anything meaningful by repeating what’s already been done. There’s no better feeling than experiencing something that’s refreshing.”