In Conversation with…RUN RIVER NORTH

Run River North are like your best friend: they’ll always be there when you need a shoulder to cry on or when you want to let loose and party, they’ll talk to you straight and of course, you know they’ll always have your back. Run River North are a band that have honed that timeless combination of rich vocal harmonies, swelling string arrangements and resonant life lessons, and all in the matter of a couple of years.

Now they are decisively making their move on UK shores, with their début UK release ‘Excuses’ out today and their début eponymous album out later this year (29th September 2014). Now is the time to introduce yourselves to the wonderful alt-indie of Run River North.

We caught up with the band’s vocalist and acoustic guitarist, Alex Hwang, to talk about making music videos, their recent trip to the UK, pubs and much more.

So you recently spent some time in the UK headlining some shows and gracing the stage at BST Festival in Hyde Park. Firstly, I wanted to say I hope the UK treated you well? How did the shows go? Was the UK everything you expected it to be?

The UK treated us very well. We met the right folks and had all the right meals. We even got to visit Parliament and have a beer while watching World Cup games right along river with the London eye across the way. Don’t think we can get any more British than that.

The shows were incredible – all the venues had their unique charm and we were encouraged to find fans at every stop. Hyde Park was unforgettable. Playing on the same bill with the Libertines and the Pogues – don’t think that will happen again, yea. 

Do UK crowds differ at all to audiences in the states?

We’re still getting a feel for states crowds as we’re usually opening for other bands and/or doing acoustic sets. I think these UK shows were the first time we felt like we were doing our own proper shows so we’ll see how states audience compare to UK ones. For the UK ones, they were awesome – dancing when they could, good vibes and offers to buy us pints afterwards. Can’t ask for much more. 

Did you go sight-seeing whilst you were in the UK and if you did, where was your favourite place that you visited?

Pubs and Parliament. The pub in parliament. Wish we could have seen more than London, hope we can soon! 

Your début single in the UK, ‘Excuses’ is a vibrant indie pop song out on 28th July. Do you feel that it is a good introduction to what we can expect from your début record?

It’s definitely a side of our band that we’re getting more comfortable with in our live set. You can definitely expect the same kind of energy and the songwriting/musicianship just gets a little more interesting with the rest of the début album. Excuses is a great way to start the listening party. 

Does it feel like you’re starting out all over again in the UK, having to build up excitement about your music and building a strong fan base? It must feel exciting though, playing in a new country to new people? 

Surprisingly, it feels like that in the US as well since we’re just starting to tour on our own as well here at home. Having this happen nearly simultaneously with each other makes it seem like we’re in parallel dimensions. It’s like going down a river and seeing two different landscapes on each side, but it’s the same river. 

It looks like you have so much fun together. What is it like being a part of Run River North?

Magic of video editing and the also the power of a live show. Playing shows as the band is cathartic and hard to describe in words. Those moments where the harmonies blend well or the swells rise perfectly – those are happy moments. But like any band or family, there’s always a healthy amount of tension and to keep it that way, open communication is important (as well as the occasional family meals!)

Your music videos just seem to get better and better, from the gory horror epic ‘Fight To Keep’ to the hilarious ‘Excuses’. Out of all the music video’s you’ve made so far, which one has been the most fun to make? Do you have much input into how the video’s play out? 

We love being a part of the music video experience, both in coming up with the ideas and the execution. The ‘Fight to Keep’ one was definitely a fun one, and getting to camp out while getting murdered by Diedrich Bader – another unforgettable experience. 

If you could choose to have you music featured in any film or TV show, which would you choose?

Game of Thrones. Probably not Excuses. 

Your about to embark on a huge US tour which will see you through the summer, for someone that is still to catch a live set from Run River North what can they expect to experience?

A huge, swelling river – sometimes bombastic and sometimes quiet and still. But always moving and moving together.

What does playing a gig for your fans mean to you?

It means the river keeps flowing. It means we get to keep doing this and also hear and be a part of other folk’s stories – and write more folk music. 


Songs that make you smile – “Smang it gurl by Yung Humma and Flynt Flossy

Songs that make you cry – “Quieter Christmas songs and the Lion King soundtrack – specifically the stampede instrumental – because the scene right after that kills me every day. “….dad?”

Musicians that inspire you – “Musicians in long-standing bands that have generally kept the same lineup yet still continue to make music and tour.”

Favourite tour memory – “Stage diving for the first time in North Carolina at the Wild Goose festival earlier this summer.”

Best piece of advice you’ve been given – “Climb the mountain with our hands wide open.”


A special thanks to Run River North for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below:

Website . Facebook . Twitter

Charlotte Holroyd
Editor, Creator and Founder of Bitter Sweet Symphonies. A lover of music and cinema, who's constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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