Added just over a year ago, death metal newcomers Rivers of Nihil have been slaying crowds in support of their Metal Blade debut, The Conscious Seed of Life. While close to the end of the tour with Dying Fetus, Exhumed, and Abiotic, these guys still came out and put on a killer support set. I caught up with guitarists Jon Kunz and Brody Uttley afterward for their thoughts on the next tour, how they ended up on Metal Blade, and learned exactly how they feel on the “extortion” in crowd-sourced funding. I definitely got an earful on that one.
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You guys are just about done with tour, yeah?
Jon Kunz-Second to last show man.
Wow. How long was it?
JK-For us on it, I think we did the last week of it. Maybe the last four shows riding out, so not long. Nothing crazy.
Is there another tour lined up?
JK-We’re going home until maybe early January. We plan on writing. We’ve already got a couple songs we’re hashing out.
Where would you guys like to tour next?
JK-Pacific northwest. I’m a big Twin Peaks fan. I’d love to go to that area of the states.
Brody Uttley-Some of my favorite death metal bands are from that region like Fallujah and Decrepit Birth. Those are two bands I absolutely love. Separate Savior is from California, Zenith Passage, Exhumed. You see so much good death metal coming out of that area. We’ve done the south, we’ve don’t the Midwest and the northeast. Really, everything but the northwest. We want to get out there and make some new friends.
Since The Conscious Seed of Life album came out, what has been some stand out praise?
JK-People have been saying it has the same sound of early death metal, but with a new twist.
BU- It just seems like a lot of people that are into genres other than death metal have accepted what we put out. A lot of post-metal fan base has come on board with what we’re doing.
How have some of the new songs been received live? Soil and Seed is one of my favorites. I was so pumped to hear that one tonight.
JK-That song has been going over really well since we started playing it. People love it. It’s an easily played track. That was one of the songs I contributed entirely and I basically wanted to rip off Morbid Angel the entire time. I’m going to write a song that sounds like fucking Morbid Angel. It’s easy, it grooves and it’s fun to play. All the new material has been going over super well.
How did you guys get linked up with Metal Blade?
BU-After we put out our very first EP, when MySpace was still around, we checked our band page on there and there was a message from Eric Rutan [Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel]. He was reaching out saying he saw some real potential in us as a young metal band and that he wanted to work with us, at some point. We worked with him and our manager who we met here in New York. We recorded Raineater and Soil and Seed at a local studio around us, Atrium Audio, and sent those into Metal Blade and they were totally into it. Eric was into it and pulling for us and we signed with them and went down to Florida to record the full length with Eric.
JK-That dude has been the best fucking guy.
BU-I was really nervous going into the studio. He’s recorded guys like Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore, Hate Eternal, and Through the Eyes of the Dead, all these huge bands. I was super intimidated, but when we got there he was a really cool, down to earth and hard working dude with a super cool sense of humor.
What are your thoughts on crowd-sourced funding?
JK-Collectively all of us, and as individuals, are really hard working people when we go home. I managed a grocery store before this band got signed. Now I just teach guitar lessons. I’m constantly promoting myself and trying to take on new students. He [Brody] works in retail, our drummer and bassist are cooks. Our singer works in a kitchen. We all put in the work at home, so why wouldn’t we put in the work as a band? Why would we look for the easy way out? It’s easy to say “Hey! We’ll send you some cool posters if you give us a thousand dollars” or whatever.
BU-The biggest problem I feel it is the incentives. I have yet to see one campaign where the people who invested in it get a proper return. I’m sorry man, “Give me five hundred dollars and you can go out to dinner with me” is ridiculous. What a fucking ego.
JK-You’re putting money on yourself. You’re a fucking human being like everyone else. There’s no rockstar, no glamor in it. A lot of that stuff just doesn’t sit well with any of us. I think it’s being misused a lot right now. I think the viable way is making an album, but if you’re going to pay twenty dollars then when that album comes out you better get the CD or you better get the vinyl, and a t-shirt. You better get your twenty dollars back. If not, it’s exploitation man. It’s not right.
BU-There’s no liability in it. You don’t have to put the work anymore. You don’t have to suffer having to pay the eight hundred dollars to get your van fixed, the thousand to buy a new trailer. You can almost establish yourself as an artist nowadays by asking for money from people on Facebook.
JK- We are the most vocal two of the band about it, but I know they would all agree with us. We want to put the work in even though it might put us on our asses financially.
I ask a lot of bands that and you guys are one of the few very staunch, band wide no’s.
What’d you guys do for Halloween?
JK-We played in Worcester last night. We unfortunately did nothing. Days blend together so much. We were talking to the Exhumed guys at the bar and it dawned on me tomorrow was Halloween. We did have some Miller Lite merch we signed and wrote shit on that we threw out to the crowd, so we treated.
BU-We didn’t dress up like the Exhumed guys. They did the glam metal thing, all in cheetah tights. It was sick.
JK-Our friends in Dysentery from Boston did corpse pain, like crazy fucking Hesher dudes.
I interviewed a band Tuesday called Diamond Plate.
Do you like those guys?
Their new singer said they are doing Motorhead!
He also said they might do Rush.
BU-No way! You gotta do Motorhead!
What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve seen this year?
BU-I thought the horse head guy tonight is fucking sweet. I saw a stage diving banana last night.
I went as Kenny Powers.
BU-Danny McBride is awesome.
What was your favorite candy getting as a kid trick or treating?
JK-We always trick or treated in my grandparents’ neighborhood. One lady owned a diner, Mrs. B, and she always made these delicious homemade caramel apples. I don’t know what was in those things, but these were amazing.
I saw some asshole repost a picture of caramel covered onions.
BU-That was Rings of Saturn.
Yes! Rings of fucking Saturn! I would have been livid.
Anyone ever shit themselves onstage?
JK-No, but I threw up on stage once.