For all the benefits that pulsating cityscapes have to offer, creative power is likely to be unleashed more substantial in settings less turbulent and rather undisturbed, or even quiet. I See Rivers, the buzzing float-pop trio hailing from Pembrokeshire in Wales, basically have found their own myth out of this experience. „We had spent four years in Liverpool, finishing university, starting up the band and trying to make a name for ourselves“, vocalist and drummer Lill Scheie explains to me. When the trio was first invited to a studio in Wales, to record their first EP in 2017, all of them had quickly realised they „were done with Liverpool“.
“Let’s move to the countryside!”
It is only fitting then, that their long-awaited debut carries the title Deep & Rolling Green. Both an ode to the secret wonders of the countryside and an enchanting invitation to question „where we are in the world“, I See Rivers here turn their own world into a passionate stream of melodies. Airy, „sparkly and upbeat“ and yet full of „existential“ topics, the sixteen songs of their first full-length create multi-layered, harmonious soundscapes that are worth unraveling and sinking in to.
Dreams of green
„When we first got to Wales, this beautiful, green landscape opened up“, Lill tells me with a huge smile on her face. „I think we immediately fell in love with it and stayed for ten days“. And from what I can gather, that first impression lasted so heavily that there was no turning back ever since. They were „sick of the city scene“ and ready to move ahead. „We really took every excuse to go“, singer and guitarist Gøril Nilsen is keen to add.
“The sense of community in smaller, rural places is a lot stronger, at least in our experience. When we moved to Wales, we were at once included in the scene and the community. It seems like there is a lot willingness to support each other on a different level. It’s just beautiful to be a part of that, to see that happen.”
„We thought we were kind of committing musical suicide by moving to Pembrokeshire“, singer-keyboarder Eline Brun reminisces on early fears of the trio. „We thought, we’re so far away from all the cities, were everything’s happening.“ Actually, the opposite came to be true. Horizon, a local broadcasting program soon picked them up, providing them with significant support from early on. „We just moved here, but we were already part of a bigger scene“, Eline muses on their initial steps. „That was just amazing“.
Floating, back and forth
Lush instrumental patterns, built around subtle guitars, solemn keys and the airy flow of synths streaming through the individual pieces, pair up with carefully arranged vocal harmonies, standing at the core of each song. And while this soothing touch takes on imagined dimensions of gently floating from one shore to the other, there are stories underneath this soundscape, waiting to be told.
Dying Moon illuminates this passion in a manner that is haunting and soothing at the same time. Inspired by Hemingway’s The Old Man And The Sea, this pensive piece explores the passions of giving everything you have to offer. Eline reflects on the song and unravels the fragile moment of seeing your own walls of control breaking down on you:
“The whole song is just about really giving your whole self into something or someone and kind of giving too much of yourself. You really put your soul into something and at one point you realise you’ve gone way too far and maybe shouldn’t have given yourself away that easy. Or given that much of yourself away.”
Part of something bigger
In its entirety, Deep & Rolling Green is really „all about the balance“, of several layers working together. There is the essential lightness in the light-winged vocal harmonies, and yet, a „juxtaposition of the heavy themes, packed into this soundscape“, as Lill puts it. It is these complex quests for meaning and identity, personal and deeply individual in their manner, which gives the record its edge, making the songs truly valuable.
“It is about loss and also kind of existentialist, asking where we are in the world. But there also a feeling of hope for the future and appreciative of the community that we have. We are part of something bigger. So it is actually full of hope.”
In the end, it is these three voices that remain on the surface, as they breathe life into the musings one is about to journey through on Deep & Rolling Green. Or, to put it differently:
‘It’s always gonna be the three of us singing the songs, making the songs into what we are in the end.’
I See Rivers‘ stunning debut Deep & Rolling Green is out on 2nd October.