I have a guilty confession. Outside of pre-req interview research and a quick listen “to get a feel for their sound,” I didn’t know much about Run River North when they showed up to meet me. Do you know what I’ve been doing ever since then? LISTENING TO THEM.
Without batting an eye, they sat down, some in chairs, some on the floor, in a semi-circle around me, and began to tell me the story of their band, why they love festivals, where they’re going next.
What’s the most important thing to know about them? They are (self-professed) Korean kids with dad issues, all hailing from immigrant families. (They take a second here to cite Donald Glover as an inspiration to them to share the stores of their community. Atlanta is awesome.) For this, the band IS their family and they found each other and formed this musical entity as a way to tell the story of this shared identity. One wrought with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy that unfolds into stories and songs that move you in just the right way. Songs that make you stop and think, “Damn. This is beautiful.” Even in the most upbeat songs that make you shimmy, you are driven to feel.
The band is touring, making music, road-testing new songs, all while acclimating a new drummer. With all of that going on, their central focus remains the same. How to remain authentically connected to the people. It’s easy to connect to a crowd in a dive bar when it’s intimate, but at a festival it takes some work. Shaky Knees was one of the band’s first big festivals (they joked that they got new clothes for the occassion) and they talked about how excited they were, not only to play, but to go see other bands. Their excitement and eagerness to learn from seasoned performers a resounding sense among the band.
**Side note: They talked about much they loved Cage and Portugal The Man’s sets.
As we wrap up the interview, I ask them if anyone has any final words and out came this:
“We live in a really tense climate. I think one easy way to combat this is to go to shows and engage with music and with people. That’s having a conversation. Go to shows and be around like-minded people. Be confronted with a lot of things.”
In the meantime, check out the band’s sophomore album, Drinking From A Salt Pond.