The start of a band usually comes in three steps – write songs to perform, record the songs so people can have something to listen to, and play a show to get in with the local scene.
It’s a lot easier said than done, but it’s part of nurturing talents in order to push an artistic community forward.
Cranston instrumental rock act The River Bends have two out of the three steps completed so far, and now they’re about to embark on the last one. Their first show ever is happening at Dusk, located at 301 Harris Ave. in Providence, on Feb. 25. They’ll be on the bill with Rhode Island hip-hop acts such as Slitty Wrists, Edibles and Drent along with fellow local punks Dying Undiscovered, among others.
I had a talk ahead of the show with guitarist Shamar Talley, bassist Matt Marino and drummer Jake Duran about starting out in an apartment, paying tribute to a beloved pet and what they hope to bring to the Ocean State’s music community.
ROB DUGUAY: So, first things first – how did The River Bends come to be?
SHAMAR TALLEY: We were all mutual friends in the first place. Jake and Matt actually used to skateboard with my brother Jaleel back in the day. Fast forward from that to around 2017, one day we were just jamming in my apartment and it just felt right.
MATT MARINO: That’s when we wrote our first song, “Fade Away.”
RD: You guys also recently put out your debut album, titled “Remy,” last month. Where was it recorded and what was the experience like making the record?
JAKE DURAN: For me, the experience was just laying the tracks down since we’ve been working on them for a while, so it was a busy day. Also, we recorded the album at Big Nice Studio.
RD: Bradford Krieger and Chaimes Parker are great people there.
MM: Absolutely. The studio days there were like vacation days to me. When we went there it was really nice and sunny, so every break we took was great. Then getting back and playing it was just fun.
ST: I do want to mention that most of this album was conceived in my apartment living room (laughs).
RD: Whose dog is on the album cover?
MM: That would be mine, and she’s who we named the album after. Remy was the best damn dog ever. I could walk her without a leash around Roger Williams Park. I had to put her down last year due to a stomach tumor, so this album is dedicated to her.
RD: That sucks.
MM: Yeah man. Dogs are family, it’s tough to let them go.
RD: Do The River Bends plan on strictly being an instrumental band going forward, or would you guys be open to having vocals?
MM: That’s a tough question.
ST: We have a song or two in the vault right now. I think people will hear me on vocals, but I wouldn’t count out the idea of us having others involved. There are so many ways to collaborate in this business, why hog all the fun? I would say look out for a song called “Climbing” by us in the future.
RD: What are your feelings on the show coming up at Dusk, and what do you hope people take from your performance?
MM: This will be my first-ever live performance, so I am definitely a bit nervous, but Shamar is very confident in us so that calms my nerves and gets me excited. So for me, it’s a rainbow of stuff.
JD: I think it’s going to be sick! I like that the artists of Rhode Island are coming out to do what they love. I think I can speak for all of us when I say I’m excited and I hope we help build a community of artists of all genres that support one another.
ST: I feel like this is the beginning of something great. These days all the genres are blending, so why not blend the crowd? I’m a huge fan of the ’90s. It wasn’t just hip-hop or rock, but it was the blend of both genres releasing such compelling material year after year. Hopefully we can spark that same flame with all of the turmoil in the air, we need to be seen and heard. I can only hope that everyone feels welcome and important because, well, what’s music without the listeners?
To learn more about The River Bends, follow the band on Facebook and Instagram.